Why Do Cats Eat Hair? What You Should Know….

a black and white coloured cat eating hair

Why do cats eat hair? Cats eat hair for a variety of reasons, but the most common is to remove any excess dead skin cells that might be on the cat’s tongue or fur. Like humans, cats have bacteria in their mouths. The bacteria can get the dead skin cells off and leave the mouth clean, but it can also cause bad breath and plaque buildup.

However, hair isn’t just good for killing bacteria! Cats often ingest fur to help them with digestion — both because regular intestinal tract food doesn’t fulfill their nutritional needs and provides a lot of long-chain fatty acids that are good for their bodies as well as ours! Fur is also very high in arachidonic acid which helps maintain healthy skin cells and teeth enamel.

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Why do cats eat hair?

There are a variety of reasons why cats eat hair, and some of them are quite serious. Cats will often eat the hair of their prey, which is why you’ll see your house cat bring home mice from time to time as a way to get protein into their diet.

In addition to providing essential nutrients, there’s also the fact that ingesting fur can help a cat to get rid of unwanted hair and maintain their natural body temperature. All cats have whiskers on their faces, and they’re all covered in sensory receptors.

When the whiskers grow too long, they become an annoyance for cats — so they bite them off and then ingest them to keep their bodies clean naturally.

Cat behavior specialists say that kittens who are separated from their mothers too early are more likely to develop an unnatural attachment to human hair. When they get older, they can’t distinguish between their own fur and the hairs on their human companions.

That’s why you’ll often see a cat growl or hiss at their owner when they’re petting them — the cat wants the person to stop touching its fur and start stroking them with their hand instead. The reason for this is that cats are very tactile creatures and love to rub against objects in order to mark them as well as seek attention.

There are some very serious medical conditions that can be brought on by a cat ingesting hair. The most common is Demodex mange, which is caused by a type of mite that lives in the ears and nose of cats.

If the demodex mange is left untreated, your cat may develop open sores, which can cause the cat to lose its fur or even die. While the causes are different for each ailment, cats will often get sick after ingesting their own hair.

Most cats do not suddenly start chewing their fur out of no apparent reason! If you notice your cat is chewing on his or her fur in a way that seems similar to a hairball, it’s usually an indicator of illness. Cats typically feel the urge to chew on their fur when they’re over-heated or stressed.

If you suspect that your cat is not feeling well but the area in question is clean and free of clumps, try giving him raw, freeze-dried chicken — high in protein and calcium, it can help to get cats back on track.

cat putting its hand inside its mouth

If the hair has been chewed through, you may need to get your cat checked out by a vet. If it’s something more serious, you’ll need to take your pet to the vet sooner rather than later!

One final reason that cats eat their own hair is because they simply love it! Many cats will sometimes chew and gum their fur for the enjoyment of it — although this is typically only done by adults or when it’s painful for them.

Cats that have been declawed may also get a bit carried away when they are bored. Cats eating hair can be very serious, and you should always check with your veterinarian if you notice that your cat is chewing on his or her fur in an abnormal way.

If you’re not sure about something when it comes to your pet’s health, consult with a certified veterinary technician. They’re trained in veterinary diagnostic medicine as well as occupational safety, so they can help you to make the correct medical decision for your pet.

How can I prevent my cat from eating hair?

While cats are often very funny when they chew on their own fur, it can be really upsetting for cat owners who don’t understand why their cats are doing it. If you’re not sure why your cat is chewing on their fur, don’t go right out and try to diagnose them in an effort to come up with an answer for yourself.

Instead, talking to your cat’s veterinarian about the problem will help to provide you with the answers that you need. They have experience dealing with cats who have health issues that cause them to eat their own hair.

If you’re worried about your cat’s behavior in any way and suspect that they may be ingesting hair, try leaving a piece of raw meat out for them after they’ve eaten it. If they start pushing it around or trying to pick it up, it’s a sign that they want more.

Just like human children, cats also like to open their food package to see what’s inside. Don’t be alarmed when you see your cat rifling through their dinner bag, it’s just their way of finding out what they’ve been eating.

If you keep a close watch on them while they’re eating, you can probably prevent hair from getting into their systems in the first place. You can also try to distract them with fun toys and treats if they have an urge to chew on something that’s not considered food by humans.

Don’t be alarmed if your cat suddenly stops eating when you’re gone. This can be a sign that they want your attention, and they want to come inside to play with you.

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What are the side effects when cats eat hair?

In addition to hairballs, ingesting hair can cause other problems for cats. Often times, a cat will tear apart an animal carcass in order to get at the meat inside of it. This is why you’ll often see them bring home mice.

While cats are omnivores, they need to eat a variety of different types of protein in order to get their nutritional needs met. A mouse only provides protein from one source.

When your cat eats fur from another animal he or she is getting the necessary nutrients from multiple sources at once, and can thus be satisfied for longer periods of time.

The dangers to cats eating their own hair are very serious and potentially fatal. Most cats don’t eat enough young animals during their first year of life, which can cause them to get nutritional deficiencies later in life.

While cats are carnivores, they aren’t able to digest their food completely, so some is wasted or passes through the body uneaten. This tissue is called hairballs, and it can cause some serious problems for cats.

Many owners don’t even realize that their cats are eating their own fur at all, and they continue to let their cats live in dirty conditions instead of taking the necessary steps to improve their health. Hairballs are a sign that something is not right with your cat’s diet, and you should consult with a vet before taking matters into your own hands.

However, there is more to it than just raw meat! Cats also like to eat fish and other seafood because they are full of essential fatty acids that cats need in order to maintain their body weight and shed excess fur. If your cat isn’t getting these nutrients, he or she is likely trying to find them somewhere else.

Talk to your vet if you’re worried that your cat is not getting the nutrients that they need to maintain their health, and watch them closely for any signs of illness or discomfort. If they show any signs at all, it’s important to get them checked out right away.

If you’re not sure what to do, consult with your vet about what type of supplements would be best for your cat. If your cat has a specific diet that they have to follow, you should also ask them which supplements they take or recommend you do the same.


When cats eat their own hair, it can be very upsetting to their owners. Luckily, there are many simple ways that you can prevent your cat from doing this.

Talk to your vet when you’re worried about something like hair getting into your cat’s diet. Extreme cases of ingesting too much hair can be deadly for cats, so it’s important to check with your vet as soon as possible if you notice something odd or want them to check the health of your cat.

In addition, you can also avoid the problem in the first place. Keeping your cat’s fur groomed will help to prevent hairballs from forming, and make sure that you are providing them with a balanced diet. Cats need essential fatty acids and protein from multiple sources in order to stay healthy.

The most important step that you should take is to watch your cat when he or she eats so that you can determine if their chewing is abnormal or something that they do on purpose.
Using these simple techniques for preventing your cat from eating hair will keep both of you happy and healthy!

black cat eating its hair

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