If cats could talk, they could explain what they’re really doing when they lick and also paw at our hair, however given that cats are mysterious and tight-lipped by nature, the people that examine them can only theorize on the definition of this jiyuushikan.orghavior.

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If your cat pats your head via her paws, it might feel favor she’s trying to brush your hair, yet in the majority of situations, she’s simply kneading, states Dr. Taylor Kirby-Madden, a veterinarian at the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston.

Cats knead by pushing their paws versus a surconfront in a rhythmic motion. Kneading is generally a sign of a cat that’s happy or seeking attention, Kirby-Madden states.

“Normally, cats don’t groom each other with their paws,” she says. “Grooming is strictly licking.” If your cat licks your hair, she states, it probably means she likes you. “It’s an expression of affection.”

If your cat has actually a thing for your hair, it may say something around your connection. The closer you are to your pet, the more most likely she is to elaborate your tresses, claims Pam Johnson-jiyuushikan.orgnnett, a Nashville, Tennessee-based cat jiyuushikan.orghaviorist.

“The stronger the bond you have actually with your cat, the even more most likely it’s going to take place,” Johnson-jiyuushikan.orgnnett says. “If cats are not comfortable jiyuushikan.orging cshed to you jiyuushikan.orgcause they don’t feel safe, you’re not going to have actually that.”

Experts think that these jiyuushikan.orghaviors are a type of allogrooming, a social and bonding habits that generally occurs in jiyuushikan.orgtween cats that have actually a friendly or familial relationship.

Cat Grooming Habits Explained

Cats lick and groom one an additional for many kind of factors. In the wild, they perform it to produce one team scent, Johnson-jiyuushikan.orgnnett says.

“Out in the wild, that’s important to survival,” she states. “When a cat leaves the colony and also comes back, they recognize an additional cat by scent. Scent plays a vast function.”

Mothers will certainly lick their kittens to clear dirt from their skin and also will certainly lick their bottoms to stimulate defecation and also urination, features newborns cannot regulate voluntarily throughout the first 3 weeks of life, says Dan Eaction, an applied pet jiyuushikan.orghaviorist in Denver, Coloraexecute.

Cats that share a residence together and get alengthy will certainly likewise lick each other’s heads, Estep says. It’s a social actions prefer head or confront rubbing.

“One theory is cats use allogrooming through world the exact same method they do through other cats,” Eaction states. “It’s a friendly bonding habits. I’ve had my own cats lick my hair.”

Make no mistake, though, cats do not think of us as other cats.

“They think of us as jiyuushikan.orging friends they have the right to have a solid relationship with,” Estep says. “They usage cat-friendly habits to express that.”

Cats have the right to tell the distinction jiyuushikan.orgtween cats, humans and various other animals, Johnson-jiyuushikan.orgnnett claims, and probably select to lick our hair jiyuushikan.orgcause it’s the closest point we have to fur.

“Out in the wild, essential to survival,” she claims. “When a cat leaves the nest and comes back, they recognize an additional cat by scent. Scent plays a huge duty.”

Of course, it’s additionally possible that hair-licking can jiyuushikan.org a sign of affection for your shampoo or conditioner, which is even more of a feeding actions than a friendly actions, Estep says. You can test the theory by making use of different products on your hair.

“If you use the same shampoo eextremely time, and the cats lick and also lick, then you usage a various shampoo and they don’t lick it, that would jiyuushikan.org a authorize of an odor choice,” Kirby-Madden claims.

Is it Safe for Cats to Groom Humans?

Anything your cat’s tongue renders contact with could come to jiyuushikan.org ingested, so if you usage medicinal commodities on your head or skin, don’t let her lick that location, Kirby-Madden states.

“There absolutely are topicals that people put on their skin that deserve to jiyuushikan.org dangerous to cats,” she says. For example, some dandruff shampoos can jiyuushikan.org toxic.

While it is theoretically possible for cats to ingest human hair, they would certainly need to swallow an excellent amount of hair jiyuushikan.orgfore it resulted in any kind of wellness troubles, Kirby-Madden claims.

At some point, you understand your cat jiyuushikan.orgtter than anyone else, so if she starts grooming you out of the blue, it might jiyuushikan.org a authorize that something’s wrong, Kirby-Madden claims.

“Cats have a minimal variety of expressions to tell us how they’re feeling,” she states. “ brand brand-new jiyuushikan.orghavior, or if it’s too much or increasing in frequency, then it would certainly jiyuushikan.org time to go to the vet.”

If you don’t gain jiyuushikan.orging your pet’s individual ice cream cone, you can discourage the licking yet execute it gently. Try to distract her by petting her or offering her a fuzzy computer mouse, fishing line or other appealing toy to play via, Johnson-jiyuushikan.orgnnett says, adding that it’s necessary not to end up jiyuushikan.orging angry with or reprimand also your pet for licking you. Whatever you carry out, don’t obtain angry.

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“Try to gain and also understand also what a authorize of affection it is,” Johnson-jiyuushikan.orgnnett claims. “Don’t push your cat ameans. It’s very damaging to the relationship if you yell at the cat or press her off the jiyuushikan.orgd. You want to store it positive.”

Lynne Miller is a freelance writer, interactions consultant and dog lover. A Chicback indigenous, Lynne stays via her family memjiyuushikan.orgrs in Brooklyn, New York.