Why Does My Cat Want To Eat His Own Hair?

Have you ever caught your kitty nibbling on their own fur? It might seem like a weird habit, but it’s actually quite common among cats. These fastidious felines are known for their grooming rituals, and that includes licking themselves to keep their coat clean and free of loose hair. But why do some cats take it a step further and chow down on their own locks?

One possible explanation is anxiety or stress. Cats tend to groom more when they’re feeling nervous or uneasy, and all that extra grooming can lead to hairballs in their tummy. Eating the hair might be a way for them to prevent these uncomfortable blockages from forming, even though it can cause digestive problems.

Another reason could be a lack of nutrients in their diet. If your cat isn’t getting enough fiber, they might crave hair as a source of roughage in their digestive system.

Lastly, some cats just seem to enjoy the taste and texture of their own fur. These finicky felines can have some pretty peculiar preferences, after all.

So if you’ve been wondering “Why does my cat want to eat his own hair?” now you know. In this blog post, we’ll explore each of these explanations in more detail and share tips for preventing excessive hair-eating in your furry friend.

What is Wool-Sucking or Pica?

Wool-sucking or pica – it’s a curious behavior that some cats exhibit. But it’s not something to be taken lightly. This behavioral disorder is characterized by an irresistible urge in cats to chew or suck on non-food items like wool, clothing, plastic, or hair. It may seem harmless at first, but if left untreated, it can lead to serious health issues.

Why Does My Cat Want To Eat His Own Hair-2

So why do cats develop this peculiar behavior? Factors like weaning too early, lack of socialization and stimulation during early life stages, and even genetic predisposition in certain breeds like Siamese and Oriental cats can cause pica. In some cases, stress and anxiety can also trigger the compulsive grooming behavior.

It’s important to recognize the symptoms of pica in cats, such as excessive chewing or grooming and vomiting after consuming non-food items. If you notice these behaviors in your feline friend, don’t hesitate to take them to the vet for a thorough check-up. A physical exam and behavioral evaluation can help determine any underlying medical conditions that require treatment.

Treatment options for pica in cats may include providing appropriate toys and stimulation, dietary changes, medication, or behavior modification techniques like positive reinforcement training. Patience and understanding are key when dealing with this complex condition that requires careful management.

To prevent wool-sucking or pica in cats, provide them with adequate socialization and stimulation right from the start. Engage them with toys and scratching posts to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated. And always keep a watchful eye on your feline friend to ensure they’re not indulging in non-food items that could lead to health complications.

Stress and Anxiety as a Cause of Hair Eating

This could be a sign of stress and anxiety. Cats are highly sensitive creatures, and various factors like environmental changes, new pets, or routine alterations can trigger their anxiety. When anxious, cats resort to excessive grooming as a coping mechanism, leading to hair ingestion and potentially serious health issues in the long run.

Recognizing these signs and taking proactive steps to reduce stress levels in cats is crucial for their wellbeing. Providing a stable environment with plenty of attention and regular playtime can help alleviate anxiety. Additionally, natural remedies such as pheromone diffusers or herbal supplements can work wonders in calming anxious felines.

However, if your cat continues to exhibit hair-eating behavior despite your best efforts, it may be time to seek veterinary advice. They may recommend behavioral modification techniques or prescribe medication to manage your cat’s anxiety effectively.

Trichobezoars are hairballs that accumulate in the stomach due to excessive grooming and hair ingestion, causing serious health issues like vomiting, constipation, and even intestinal blockages that require surgery. Therefore, as cat owners, it is our responsibility to recognize and address stress and anxiety in our furry companions to prevent such discomforts.

Nutritional Deficiencies and Hair Eating

While it may seem like a harmless behavior, it can actually be a sign of nutritional deficiencies. As a cat owner, it’s crucial to understand the root cause of this behavior and take proactive steps to ensure your cat’s health and wellbeing.

One of the significant factors contributing to hair eating behavior in cats is their diet. If they’re not receiving enough of certain nutrients, like fatty acids or protein, they may resort to eating their own hair to supplement their diet. This behavior is commonly seen in cats who are on a low-quality diet or are not being fed a balanced diet.

One nutrient that is particularly important for cats is taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that is essential for cats’ health and wellbeing. It helps with the development and maintenance of the eyes, heart, and immune system. A lack of taurine in a cat’s diet can lead to a condition called “pica,” which causes cats to eat non-food items, like hair.

Another nutrient that can contribute to hair eating behavior in cats is fiber. If a cat’s diet lacks sufficient fiber, they may develop hairballs in their digestive tract. Eating their own hair may help them pass these hairballs, but it can also lead to other health problems, such as intestinal blockages.

If you suspect that your cat is eating their own hair due to a nutritional deficiency, it’s essential to speak with your veterinarian. They can conduct tests to determine if your cat has any nutritional deficiencies and recommend dietary changes or supplements to help prevent this behavior. In some cases, your vet may also prescribe medication or recommend grooming techniques to help reduce the amount of fur your cat ingests.

In addition to addressing nutritional deficiencies, there are other steps you can take to prevent potential health issues like trichobezoars. Providing a stable environment with attention and playtime can help reduce stress and anxiety that may lead to excessive grooming. Using natural remedies like pheromone diffusers or herbal supplements can also help calm your cat’s nerves.

Medical Conditions That May Lead to Hair Eating

This behavior, known as “wool sucking” or “pica,” can be a cause for concern and may even be an indication of an underlying medical condition.

One such medical condition that may lead to hair eating in cats is hyperthyroidism. This condition causes the thyroid gland to produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormone, which leads to increased metabolic rate. As a result, cats with hyperthyroidism may become restless, irritable, and have an increased appetite. Some cats may also develop pica and start eating their own hair.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is another medical condition that may lead to hair eating in cats. Cats with IBD experience inflammation of the intestinal lining, which can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. In some cases, cats with IBD may develop pica and start eating non-food items like hair.

Additionally, cats infected with feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) may also develop pica and start eating their own hair. These viral infections weaken a cat’s immune system, making them susceptible to other infections and diseases.

It’s important to note that not all cases of hair eating in cats are due to medical conditions. Sometimes, cats may engage in this behavior due to stress or boredom. However, if you notice your cat frequently engaging in this behavior, seeking advice from a veterinarian is crucial to rule out any underlying medical conditions and address the issue appropriately.

Signs and Symptoms of Hair Eating in Cats

Cats are notorious for their self-grooming habits, but when they begin to eat their own hair, it could be a sign of a more serious issue. Hair eating, also known as trichophagia, can cause a range of health problems for cats, including digestive issues and blockages in their intestines. As an expert on this topic, it is important to share with you the signs and symptoms of hair eating in cats that every cat owner should be aware of.

One of the most obvious signs of hair eating in cats is the presence of hairballs. These are formed when a cat ingests too much fur during grooming, and they can be difficult for cats to pass on their own. If you notice your cat vomiting hairballs or see them in their feces, this could be a clear indication that your cat is eating their own hair.

Another symptom to look out for is excessive grooming behavior. Cats are known to groom themselves constantly, but if you notice your cat spending too much time grooming themselves or have bald patches on their skin, this could indicate that they are over-grooming and possibly ingesting their own hair.

In more severe cases, hair eating can lead to digestive issues such as vomiting or diarrhea. This can be a sign that your cat’s digestive system is struggling to pass the hair they have ingested and may require medical attention.

It’s important to note that hair eating in cats can be caused by a range of factors, including underlying medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), as well as stress and boredom. Therefore, seeking veterinary advice is crucial in addressing the issue appropriately.

How to Prevent Your Cat from Eating Its Own Hair

Cats are infamous for their fastidious grooming habits, but sometimes this behavior can become a problem. When cats groom themselves excessively, they can ingest too much of their own hair, leading to health problems. Here are five sub-sections with tips on how to prevent your cat from eating its own hair.

Regular grooming

One of the easiest ways to prevent hair ingestion is by regularly grooming your cat. Brushing your cat’s fur can help remove loose hairs before your cat has a chance to swallow them. Not only does grooming help prevent hair ingestion, but it also keeps your cat’s coat shiny and healthy. Use a gentle brush that won’t irritate your cat’s skin or coat.

High-fiber diet

Feeding your cat high-quality, high-fiber food can promote regular bowel movements and aid in passing ingested hair out of the digestive system. Additionally, make sure your cat has access to plenty of fresh water to keep its digestive system running smoothly.

Hairball remedies

If your cat is prone to hairballs, there are various products available such as special foods or supplements that can help break down hair and prevent blockages. Consult with your veterinarian for recommendations on which product may work best for your cat.

Environmental enrichment

Providing your cat with toys and activities can help reduce stress and anxiety levels, which can lead to over-grooming and excessive hair ingestion. Make sure your cat has a comfortable and safe environment where it feels relaxed. Interactive playtime can also help keep your cat mentally stimulated and reduce boredom.

Consult with a veterinarian

If you notice that your cat is still ingesting excessive amounts of hair despite these measures, it may be worth consulting with a veterinarian for further advice. Your vet can help determine if there are any underlying health issues contributing to the behavior and provide recommendations on how to address them.

When to See the Vet for Hair Eating in Cats

Cats are known for their fastidious grooming habits, but when they start consuming their own hair, it’s important to know when to seek veterinary care. Although some hair consumption is normal, excessive grooming and hair ingestion can lead to serious health issues.

One of the first signs that your cat may need veterinary care is frequent vomiting or difficulty passing stool. If your cat is unable to expel a hairball that has become lodged in their digestive tract, it can cause discomfort and even blockage. Weight loss is another symptom to look out for since excessive hair consumption can lead to malnourishment if your cat is not getting enough nutrients from their food.

It’s also important to pay attention to any changes in your cat’s behavior. If your usually active and playful feline friend appears lethargic or isn’t eating or drinking, something could be wrong. These symptoms could indicate pain or discomfort from hair ingestion.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it’s crucial to schedule a visit with your veterinarian immediately. During the physical exam, the vet can identify potential health issues caused by hair ingestion and recommend treatment options like special diets or medication.

In some cases, hair eating may be a sign of underlying behavioral issues such as stress or anxiety. Your veterinarian may recommend behavior modification techniques or medication to address these underlying issues.

Treatment Options for Cats Who Eat Their Own Hair

It’s not uncommon for cats to spend hours licking and cleaning their fur. However, if you’ve noticed your cat excessively grooming themselves and ingesting their own hair, it can lead to serious health issues such as vomiting, difficulty passing stool, weight loss, and even blockages.

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for cats who eat their own hair. As an expert in this field, I’ve compiled some research notes to help you give your furry friend the best care possible.

Regular Grooming

One of the most effective ways to prevent your cat from eating their own hair is by grooming them regularly. This will help remove any loose or shedding hair that your cat may ingest while grooming themselves. Regular grooming can also prevent matting and skin irritation.

Dietary Changes

Another treatment option is to change your cat’s diet to include more fiber. This can help move hair through their digestive system and prevent hairballs from forming. Consult with your veterinarian about the best dietary options for your cat.

Medications and Supplements

If regular grooming and dietary changes aren’t enough, your veterinarian may recommend medications or supplements to aid in digestion and prevent hairballs from forming.


In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove a blockage caused by a large hairball. This is usually a last resort option if all other treatments have failed.

Environmental Enrichment

Aside from medical treatment, providing your cat with mental stimulation and environmental enrichment is essential. Boredom and stress can contribute to excessive grooming behavior. Providing toys, scratching posts, and interactive playtime can keep your cat mentally and physically stimulated.


In conclusion, hair-eating in cats is a common and complex behavior that can be caused by various factors. Stress, anxiety, and nutritional deficiencies are some of the leading culprits behind this peculiar habit. However, medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism and inflammatory bowel disease can also trigger hair ingestion.

As a responsible pet owner, it’s crucial to recognize the signs and symptoms of hair-eating in cats to take appropriate action. Treatment options include regular grooming sessions, dietary changes, medications and supplements, surgery, and environmental enrichment.

Preventing excessive hair-eating behavior involves providing adequate socialization and stimulation from an early age. Feeding your cat a balanced diet with sufficient fiber and taurine is also essential for their overall health. Regular grooming sessions help prevent matting and shedding while keeping your feline friend’s coat healthy.

If you notice any unusual behaviors such as frequent vomiting or difficulty passing stool or if your cat appears lethargic or loses weight suddenly due to excessive hair ingestion, seek veterinary care immediately. With proper care and attention from pet owners, cats can live healthy lives free from the discomforts associated with trichobezoars.

In summary, understanding why your cat wants to eat his own hair is crucial for maintaining their health and well-being.