Why does my cat bite my head?
Many individuals may have asked: Why does my cat bite my head’’ at one point or the other. It is not as straightforward as you think. But if biting your head occurs once in a while, you can see it as a way your cat shows its possessiveness and love to you, the owner.
But in a situation where this has transitioned into normal behavior, it may show some serious behavioral or health issues. Your cat could be anxious, ill or even stressed. It should encourage you to learn the reason your cat does this and determine the best steps for limiting or stopping this sort of behavior.
In this article, we shall be learning a few reasons your cat engages in this behavior and ways you can curb them.
Reasons your cat may bite your head
There are numerous causes which you will require to learn and pay attention to understand the case for your feline. After learning that, you will be able to deal with the situation correctly.
Below are a few of the primary reasons:
Soothing and Stress
Your cat could bite your head or hair as a means of calming himself when he is anxious. If changes in your living situation, routine or housing have left your cat feeling insecure, his attention to your head could just be a way of confirming your bond together or reasserting her claim on you.
If you do not find this behavior annoying and it does not happen so much, you can relax and enjoy as your cat helps in your grooming.
If your cat has a compulsive habit of biting and you are unable to distract him once he has your head or hair in focus, its best to consult a licensed behaviorist or vet. Noting the likely triggers can aid you in averting the biting.
However, the behavior may be due to external stress or a need your cat needs to fulfill. If this occurs, a behaviorist can aid you in dealing with the underlying problems and direct the urges of your cat in more healthy and appropriate ways.
As stated by an article in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, allogrooming, a form of mutual grooming occurs when a cat grooms the neck and head of another cat.
It is a way of them expressing their affection and love. With cats, mutual grooming helps in the reduction of stress and the development of the communal scent. If a cat does this with you, it means the cat sees you as an aspect of its life.
It likes your Hair’s taste.
Presently, there is a broad range of product brands for your hair that comes with smells that are appealing to your cat. That is why your cat enjoys biting your head, to access your hair.
When it has to do with this issue, all you need to do is replace your hair product preferably to one without a scent. If you do desire a product that has a smell, ensure you pick one with lemon, grapefruit or orange. This is because cats do not like citrus scents.
Your cat is dealing with Pica
Pica is a condition where your cat tends to chew non-food related items like fabric or hair. The causes of pica can consist of medical problems or nutritional deficiency.
Biting hair also shows how cats that don’t have lots of physical energy or are stressful redirect energy. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in some instances, weaning too fast may result in pica in the long run.
In comparison to others, Siamese cats tend to develop Pica easily.
How do you deal with your cat biting your head?
Sometimes, cats chew or lick the head of their humans as a way of showing affection. It is similar to the way they groom other feline counterparts. In other situations, this behavior can be as a result of health issues or stress.
They can also occur when your kitten gets weaned too quickly. The sentiment may be nice, but not everyone likes getting their head and hair messy with cat saliva.
The first step to curbing this behavior is to learn why your cat does it in the first place.
Pinpointing the Cause
Determine if this is a normal behavior
If your cat chews or licks your hair or head routinely in little or moderate amounts, it might be normal behavior for your cat. It might be a way of showing affection or how your cat claims ownership over you.
Although you may not find this behavior appealing, and you may want to take measures to curb it, you don’t need to be extremely worried about it.
This is because:
- Grooming is a core aspect of the emotional and social life of cat’s right from the instant they are born. Similar to how cats lick or chew one another to display affection, your cat may give your head a few licks or bites here and there to demonstrate its love for you.
- Your cat might be placing its scent on you. This marks you as part of its group or territory.
Assess stressful situations
Cats may often start the biting or licking behavior during the periods of stress. This could be for example, in response to a move or when you introduce a new pet to the household.
Consider if you just introduced any considerable change to the life of your pet that may have led to or increased its head chewing or licking.
It is also ideal to note the following:
- It is crucial not to use physical punishments or raise your voice when trying to stop the hair chewing or licking. They only tend to enhance the amount of stress your cat may feel.
- Note that a cat may not find the same thing you find stressful. Try to place yourself in the shoes of your cat to understand the reason for the stress. Usual stressors for cats include:
- Listening to an argument between family members
- Having visitors over
- Seeing other cats via the window and unable to reach them
- Having a loud dog close-by
Also, if this behavior begins when the cat is older, it could be a sign of a more serious issue like hypothyroidism. This occurs in more than 20 percent of cats 10 years and above, and it requires diagnoses and treatment from a Veterinary doctor.
Treatment can aid in reducing the behavior. If that is not the case, you can keep discouraging the behavior after treating your cat’s hyperthyroidism.
How do you discourage this behavior?
If you want to discourage this behavior in your cat, you can try out the following:
Step away from your cat when it tries to bite your head
If you stay in the same location and perhaps pet or speak to your cat while it bites or licks your hair or head, you send the signal that it is desirable behavior. Better still, get up and leave the vicinity.
If you are laying on your bed, you can place your head underneath your sheets to get away from your furry friend. You can also try to place a pillow between the cat and yourself although this is not effective.
When discouraging the behavior, you have to maintain consistency. For this strategy to function, you would have to resist the licking and biting each time your cat goes after your head. You must also act swiftly. Responding inconsistently by allowing the behavior at times and rejecting it other times may send your cat into confusion.
It may take a while for your cat to begin to understand, but in the long run, it will learn that the biting or licking is not acceptable behavior and it will not be rewarded with your company if it does not drop the habit.
One of the best methods of getting your cat to leave your head alone is to provide it with an alternative to chew on. These could range from:
- Cat Grass
Mental stimulation and physical exercise, which it can attain from additional playtime with you are terrific distractions that don’t cost a penny.
- Daily Exercises lasting from 5-10 minutes may be adequate to get rid of this behavior. It does this by minimizing anxiety. You may also want to consider utilizing a feather wand or laser light to motivate your cat to move.
- Although treats may be a great option, you have to exercise caution and not overfeed your cat. It could lead to health issues and weight gain.
- Always ensure that the toys you offer your cat are secure and would not lead to it choking.
Assist your cat in coping
If you observe that stress is not the issue, try to look for ways to aid your cat in dealing with instances that are triggering its anxiety.
For example, you can offer a safe location that has all items he is familiar with to ease the stress of a new home. You can also spend additional time together with your cat to aid in relieving anxiety that has to do with the arrival of a new baby or cat.
- Eradicating specific stressors is not impossible. For example, if your cat is biting or licking your head as a result of stress from seeing another cat in the back window, you can pull the blind on that window down, so your cat is unable to see the other one anymore.
- You can equally purchase feline pheromone products which come in collars, sprays, diffusers, and wipes. These chemicals copy the pheromones that come off contented cats. This will aid your troubled cat in coping with instances you both can’t control.
If you are still wondering why my cat bites my head, let’s take a look at the summary below:
The typical reason for hair and head biting include:
- Showing Affection
- Experiencing Pica
- Being attracted to your hair taste
Based on every case, you can put the following treatments into consideration:
- Offering your cat a distraction
- Providing distance between your cat and yourself
- Assisting your cat in coping
If you try out all of these methods and none of them seem to do the trick, your cat may be suffering from an underlying condition, and you may need to pay a visit to your Veterinary doctor.