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Why Does My Cat Lick My Hair? 7 Possible Reasons

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

cat licking man's hair

Obviously, cats spend a large majority of their time grooming themselves, but it can leave us a bit confused when they start licking us constantly. You start to question whether or not they’re showing affection or trying to tell you that it’s time to take a shower. You’re not the only one who’s had to deal with constant licking from their feline companions. This article provides you with some possible reasons for this behavior as well as strategies to amend the behavior if you’re not a fan of it.

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The 7 Reasons Cats Lick Your Hair

1. They Love You

More often than not, a cat licking your hair or other parts of your body is their way of showing you affection. She is including you in a part of her grooming process. If you know anything about cats, you know that they aren’t going around licking anyone who walks through the door. This shows that your cat thinks of you as a close companion and is their way of taking care of you.

cat licking man's side hair
Image Credit: Kasefoto, Shutterstock

2. Territorial Issues

Cats have many ways of marking their territory, and spreading their saliva is one of the most common. By spreading her scent across your body, she’s telling other cats, pets, and people that you are her property and belong to her. It’s endearing when you think about it. Of course, you don’t want your cat to get too territorial and act out in other ways.

3. You Taste Good

Humans use an array of different products in their hair, and the scent of them can be enticing to some cats. It’s possible that your furry friend is simply enjoying how you smell. Instead of telling you that you stink, she’s telling you that she likes your fresh scent.

4. Being Playful

If you’re cozied up on the couch and watching TV, your cat might take this as an opportunity to be a little playful with you. Playful behavior is slightly different from affectionate behavior. Chances are your feline will lick your hair for a few seconds, followed by a few gentle nibbles. However, she could be a little more aggressive if she’s feeling extra frisky.

Image Credit: Caterina Trimarchi, Shutterstock

5. Keeping You Healthy

Cat spend anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of their day grooming themselves. This is the equivalent of us taking a shower. It keeps their skin and coat in good health and doing the same to you could be their way of keeping you healthy. All in all, it’s just another way of telling you that they care about you and want to have your around for a long time.

6.   Instinct

New mothers must follow their instincts when they give birth to their first litter. One of the things that all mother cats do is start to groom their kittens within minutes after being born. Grooming kittens stimulates their bodies and cleans them from any bodily fluids. As they mature, the mother cat, as well as the kittens, all groom each other and form a close bond. Even though your cat might not be a mom, grooming their tribe is simply something that comes naturally.

7.   Stress

Grooming isn’t only for cleaning purposes. Cats also clean themselves and others when they are dealing with a lot of stress. The process soothes them and helps them settle down a bit in tense situations. To help her calm down, try to find a dark, quiet place for her to go to where she can relax and have some time to herself.

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How To Stop My Cat From Licking Me

While the affection is nice, it’s a little annoying to have our cat’s saliva in our hair and bodies. Not to mention that they could groom us for hours while we humans get a little sick of the stimulation. So, how do you stop this behavior?

Every time you give your cat attention while they groom you, it reinforces the behavior. One of the only ways to get them to stop is to avoid them altogether. You have to remove them from your side and not look at, speak to, or touch them. If this doesn’t work, you can even pull a blanket over your head until she goes away. If you suspect that they just like the smell of your hair, you should consider switching shampoo brands.

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Some people love when their cats groom them, and others can’t stand it. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this behavior, but we understand why you don’t want it happening on a regular basis. Hopefully, this article has helped make the behavior make sense and shown you how to stop it if you truly can’t stand it. At the end of the day, she’s probably just trying to show you how much she loves you and cares about having you in her life.

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Featured Image Credit: MegSopki, Shutterstock

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