Why Do Cats Eat Their Fur?

Some people have to deal with the stress of cats who are too choosy with their eating habits. Others, on the other hand, have to contend with cats who are simply not picky enough. If your cat has taken to eating hair of all things, compulsive pica may be to blame. Why do cats eat their fur?

Why Do Cats Eat Their Fur: About Pica

why do cats eat their fur

If your cat possesses a seemingly uncontrollable desire to eat hair, whether it’s yours dangling off of your head or her own shedding fur on the floor, then she may have pica, an obsessive-compulsive medical condition that not only occurs in cats but in dogs and people, too. When a cat develops a propensity for eating things that, simply put, aren’t really edible, it is referred to as “pica.”

Hair doesn’t seem to be too appetizing a meal, so consider all the potential reasons why your cat might want to chow down on such a strange thing. In some cases, cats resort to eating oddities as a way of having some much-needed attention, whether or not it is “good” attention. And if you rebuke your baby for eating fur, you’re focusing on her, and for a moment.

1. Stress

Eating their hair may also be a stress reaction in your felines. According to the ASPCA, pica can be a “displacement behavior.” Maybe your cat is desperate to play with her beloved motorized toy mouse, but she just can’t reach it, so she decides to eat her hair instead. It might sound weird, but it’s just feline. In some cases, this type of behavior is beyond the source of stress. It may begin as a stressful reaction, but as a regular habit, it may spiral out of control. Occasionally, cats may also begin to eat strange things out of simple boredom, nothing more, nothing less.

If your cat grooms her fur to an obsessive degree, it also may be linked to tension and pure nerves. If a cat really doesn’t know what to do with her feelings of insecurity and confusion, she might turn to something more soothing to her—her grooming routine. Licking the fur nonstop very sometimes contributes to unintended ingestion of hair, as well.

2. Health Terms And Conditions

As soon as you note the unexplainable feeding patterns of a pet, take it to the doctor to make sure it is due to any health conditions. Pica often is a symptom of a bigger underlying ailment, whether food allergies or nutritional disorders. Once you know exactly what’s going on with your pet, you’ll be able to help her manage — or eliminate — the problematic situation sooner.

Hairballs Are Not Just Gross. They’re Dangerous.

If your hairball is too heavy, it might make your cat start choking. Often they can spit a hairball in a short period of time with no problem at all, but there’s always a risk that your cat could choke while trying to spit one up.

Most of the time, if a hairball finds its way to the stomach of a cat, it will quickly move through the digestive tract as your kitty cat finds a trip to the litter box. However, there is a risk that a hairball may become too large for your cat’s digestive tract and cause intestinal blockage. Although the cat’s digestive system is built to handle hairballs, often, it just can’t handle larger ones. If a hairball was to get stuck inside your kitty, the poor feline wouldn’t be able to relieve herself, develop bad stomach pain, and stop eating. The only way to cure the feline is by seeing a doctor, which sometimes results in surgery if a strong laxative doesn’t do the trick. So, you can see why it’s so critical to be on top of the signs of a dangerous hairball epidemic.

Why Do Cats Eat Their Fur: How Do You Know If Your Baby’s Got A Hairball?

Some hairballs are fine, but too many of them can cause problems. For example, a few warning signs for hairballs could include constipation, weight loss, inability to eat, and suffocation. If your cat is continuously gagging or vomiting without producing a hairball, it is vital that you take it to the vet to check it out. It doesn’t hurt to see what’s going on and to learn what you can do to help your cat make hairballs quick.

Why Do Cats Eat Their Fur: How Do You Keep This From Happening?

Preventing hairballs can be easy for as long as you take the right measure. Grooming your cat can be an incredible aid in getting rid of the dead/loose hairs already so that way they don’t get trapped in your cat’s stomach. We suggest brushing your cat with a soft rubbery brush will help loosen the fur, making it less likely for your cat to get hairballs.

Don’t you have time to hold the mane of your cat? Or maybe your kitty cat just has too much hair to handle. Either way, you should let the professionals handle it! Pet groomers can be found locally, and some are in the veterinary department, so they are easy to locate. Long haired cats, in particular, may benefit from the professional cut, style, and rinse off a trained feline fancy professional.

Why Do Cats Eat Their Fur: Management

why do cats eat their fur

If your cat’s pica doesn’t have anything to do with her wellbeing, it may be up to you to help her quell it. Next, do what you can to make your cat’s life as easy as possible. If her fur is stress-motivated, find out what triggers her distress, whether the appearance of a new dog or the lack of attention on your part. 

Moreover, if she’s worried about the newbie, make an effort to set aside your pet’s cozy and isolated refuge in your home, at least until she has had time to fully adapt to the transition. Also, if your cat is lonely, spend a meaningful “together” time with her for at least 15 minutes every day, whether you’re having a back-stroking session or tossing a stuffed toy bird around to chase her.

Make “hair” inaccessible to your cat in any way you can. Don’t leave brushes with hair left overlying around, for example. Even while you’re brushing your pet, you’re going to clean the floor clear of her coat afterward.

If you suspect boredom as a cause for your pet’s pic, invest in new, engaging, and exciting toys for your cat. Think, for example, of feather wands or catnip balls.

Consult an animal behavioral expert near you for extreme cases. Ask your veterinarian for accurate and reliable advice in your area.

Final Words

Hairballs are a common cause of the vomiting and may also lead to constipation. However, vomiting immediately after eating can be an indication that your cat eats too fast or that the type of food (for example, dry versus canned) irritates the gastrointestinal tract of your cat.

Cats may also vomit either from a metabolic problem (such as renal failure or hyperthyroidism) or from a gastrointestinal problem. Blood and urine tests can rule out common metabolic causes of vomiting. 

If you suspect gastrointestinal reasons, consider changing your cat’s food to a gentle, non-irritating diet or hypoallergenic diet. If your cat continues to vomit, ask your vet if an ultrasound or endoscopy will help determine the cause of the problem.