Why does my cat eat his fur from the floor? Have you seen your cat licking off and eating its fur? Weirdly, a cat would ingest his hair. They are often found to engage in this abnormal activity. They see their fur lying on the floor or the couch, and for some reason, they decide to eat it.
Cats eat their fur because of their instinct to lick it; once they smell part of their hair lying around, their first instinct is to lick it and often ingest it. Often, they can ingest their fur due to overgrooming actions caused by stress, medical conditions, such as pica, and a desire for attention.
Let’s see all the reasons cats eat their fur in detail.
WHY DOES MY CAT EAT HIS FUR?
Cats can shed and lose part of their fur on the floor, couch, or bed. This is not a weird thing. What is weird is that when they realize they have lost part of their fur, the first thing they do is lick it and ingest it.
It may seem odd to us, but cats have their reasons for doing it. Think about their habits in the wild. Would they leave their own fur around for other predators to find them?
Or since they are used to licking their fur for a significant part of the day, it may come naturally for them to lick it when they find part of it around.
Let’s see what all the reasons for cats licking their fur are.
1. THEIR INSTINCT
Cats lick their coat constantly. Therefore it is normal for them to put their fur in their mouth. They do not want to leave the track of their presence, and these tend to eat their hair. Indoor cats do not need to do it, but it is part of their instinct; therefore, even in an indoor environment, they keep doing it.
If this is the case, your cat may not overeat fur but occasionally ingest it. The best remedy would be to vacuum clean the house often to avoid your cat running into too much air and ending up ingesting it.
Over-grooming is when a cat spends more time than usual grooming himself. If that happens, your cat may cause fur loss and other problems like skin sores.
Typically, overgrooming can be caused by stress factors, such as changes in the routine and environment, the loss of a family member’s absence, a new pet is introduced to the family, moving to a new house, and a chaotic household.
How do you see if your cat is over-grooming?
You can spot over-grooming signs from your cat licking the same spot over and over, or he pulls out tufts of fur, you spot bold areas on his coat, or you find red and broken skin.
3. MEDICAL REASONS
Medical reasons can cause a cat to over-groom. For example, an allergy or another reason can cause cats to be itchy, and in an attempt to release the itch, they go too far grooming themselves.
In addition, cats can be allergic to food, fleas, skin mites, ringworm, bacterial or fungal infections, metabolic conditions, or other things.
When cats lose their fur after over-grooming, they may ingest it. To determine if it is an allergy problem or any other health reason, the cat has to go to the vet for a series of exams.
Sometimes vet could prescribe anti-anxiety drugs for a short period to help a cat break his obsessive licking, at least until the real medical condition is found.
Cats that feel the urge to eat non-food items may have a condition called pica. It can be dangerous for a cat because they will try to chew cords, hairs, plastic, papers, and fur. It may cause vomiting and diarrhea in the best of the possibilities or a blockage in the worst cases, leading to death.
If you suspect your cat can ingest fur because of this condition, you must go to the vet for further analysis and possibly start a cure. Some of the things that can be done to prevent cats from eating non-edible objects are:
- Vacuum cleaning (to remove fur from around the house)
- Remove objects your cat tends to chew
- Improve his diet
- Play with your cat
- Provide chewing alternatives
Vacuum cleaners ideas for cats’ fur:
5. CATS WANT ATTENTION
Cats are more intelligent than we think. If they are not getting enough attention, they may start chewing odd things as a means to attract your attention, even if it is just a reprimand. Maybe they want you to play with them because they feel bored.
Try to play more with your cat, or get him a teammate to play with. Sometimes two cats can keep each other company and play with each other.
HOW TO PREVENT CATS FROM EATING THEIR FUR?
Cats will still ingest some of their furs when grooming themselves, but it is possible to prevent excessive fur ingestion by following some simple preventive methods. Here is what one can do:
- Vacuum clean often to remove cats’ fur around the house. If cats do not run into their fur on the floor or other surfaces, they are less likely to eat it.
- Bring him to the vet if you see that your cat is obsessed with eating fur or any other object.
- Provide engaging toys for your cat to play with, release stress, and have some fun.
- Play with your cat and give him attention. Cats need attention. Even if they seem uninterested bout getting it, they want it. If you ignore them or leave them too alone, cats can become stressed and develop unwanted behavior. So try to play with your cat a bit every day.
- Groom your cat often. Try to brush your cat often to remove excess fur routinely.
If you can train your cat to follow your directions, you could teach him to avoid particular objects or not do certain things. It is still challenging to make cats follow directions, but you can try.
CAN EATING FUR BE DANGEROUS FOR CATS?
It is quite normal for cats to ingest fur when they are grooming themselves; typically, a small quantity of air can pass through and be ejected with their poop.
But, if they overeat fur and the hairball formed inside their stomach is too large to travel through the cat’s digestive tract, it could be stuck, and the intestine becomes obstructed.
It can be life-threatening without veterinarian intervention. Sometimes the vet can do surgery to remove the hairball. In better cases, your cat could try to expel hairballs through vomiting, but if they can’t do it because it becomes stuck, it can create problems.
HOW DO YOU REDUCE STRESS IN A CAT?
If your cat is too stressed and has behavioral problems, including eating fur, you may want to destress and make him as comfortable as possible. For example, here are some practical tips:
- Provide enough litter boxes of the correct size
- Provide enough good quality food
- Provide plenty of water
- Provide cat trees to give them elevated positions to watch outside or feel safe
- Provide cat caves where to hide if they feel the need
- Provide scratching posts for them to release the stress and stretch
- Play with your cat routinely
- Pet your cat and cuddle him if he lets you
- Avoid changes
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why does my cat eat the hair off the carpet?
Cats like carpets may end up eating hair or fur on them while playing or simply for fun. In addition, rugs can remind cats of their fur or other cats’ fur and thus trigger their grooming habits.
How can you tell if your cat is stressed?
When cats are stressed, they behave in a certain way. Besides excessive grooming, they also engage in other activities, such as hiding, staying away from people, avoiding food, not using the litter box, misusing the litter box or matted coat, and being always scared of minor sounds or movements.
My cat eats my hair when i sleep; why?
Cats are known for their grooming habits, and they may sometimes try to groom their owners as well. This can include nibbling on hair, which the cat may see as an extension of his or her own fur. For example, your cat may be nibbling on your hair as a way to get you to wake up and pay attention to him or her.
Cats eat their fur involuntarily often. When it becomes too much, or they make it a habit, it can become dangerous and indicate other health problems. I hope you could find some helpful information. If you have any questions or want to add anything, leave it in the comments below.