Why Does My Cat Nuzzle My Hair?

Cats are full of surprises. When you think you’ve figured your kitty inside out, he does something that blows your mind again. Take nuzzling your hair. Not many pet parents expect this behavior from their feline buddies. A majority are taken by surprise when their charming kitty walks up to them and gently pushes their hair using their nose and mouth. Licking the hair is rather common. Nuzzling? Not so much. So, what does it mean when your cat nuzzles your hair? There are a few possibilities.

1. The Desire To Nurse

First off, a cat that runs her nose over her owner’s hair may just be looking to nurse. Obviously, this applies to kittens or slightly older cats. By nuzzling your hair, the cat is looking for a chance to breastfeed. This is particularly true if the cat was separated pretty early from his mum and siblings. Your fur baby recalls how good nursing felt as he seeks another opportunity to feed on mommy’s yummy milk.

The reason why he chooses the hair over everything else is that it’s the only furry part of your body. If you have a male partner with chest hair, the cat may nuzzle his chest hair as well. If the behavior drives you nuts, find a way to bring it to a stop. Consider using catnip on his toys if he responds to it. Else, ignore it until it passes. As she grows up, her nursing memories will disappear and she may stop nuzzling your hair.

2. Show of Affection

Meows, grooming, cat kisses, chirps, tail fluffs, rubbing the body against your feet, and licking your feet. These are normal ways by which cats show affection to their human companions. While that is how many cats express love to you, some also sniff the hair. To them, doing that makes them feel as close to you as possible.

In the wild, cats snuggle together forming what seems like one giant cat. They feel safe and comfortable being that close to one another. It also helps with bonding. Domesticated cats still have some of the qualities of their wild counterparts. When your delightful kitty nuzzles your hair, she’s saying you are her favorite person. That she loves and trusts you completely. The next time she displays the behavior, be sure to return the favor or at the very, least, let her have her moment of showing her ultimate devotion and love to you.

3. The Smell Of Your Hair Pleases Or Displeases Her

Another probable reason cats nuzzle their owners’ hair is because they either like or dislike the smell of their hair. Kitties have an incredible sense of smell. They can pick up scents fast and easily. Your hair products may be appealing to your cat. Think about it; if it were you, you’d want to explore where the good smell is emanating from. Similarly, if a smell irks you, chances are you will want to find out its origin as well. Cats sometimes behave the exact same way. Sometimes, the scent of your scalp’s natural oils attracts your kitty rather than your shampoo or hair spray.

4. Territory Marking

As mentioned, cats are good with smells. They rely on their scent to hunt, communicate, and look for information. Although you may not understand it, your cat always talks to you through scents. For instance, when she rubs her body against your face or legs, she may be marking you. Of course, the main strategy of marking territory for felines is urine marking but nuzzling your hair is also on the list.

See, felines have special glands on the cheek area that release subtle scents and allow them to mark people and objects. For instance, if you brought a second cat to join your family, your resident cat will feel the need to throw her scent around. You can tell this if she becomes overly possessive alongside rubbing your hair with her nose and mouse. Other times, she simply marks you as a member of the family. It’s essentially a form of protection from other cats.

5. Stress

When you are stressed, you tend to do all sorts of things to alleviate the stress. These range from binging on your favorite TV shows to biting your nails to rubbing your hair continuously. If you can do that, so can your cat. After all, she has feelings just like you do. She can get nervous, depressed, and anxious.

There are many things that cause a cat to be stressed. For the most part, changes in her environment can throw her out of whack. Perhaps you recently moved into a new home, purchased a new dog, brought a kitten home, or changed the position of the litter box. In addition, if your cat is sick or overly obsessed with you, she may want to play with your hair to stay calm. The repetitive motion of stroking your hair using her nose reminds her of calm and peaceful kitten memories.

What to Do

Pushing your kitty away will not get her to stop nuzzling your hair. She doesn’t have the capacity to receive the message that you want her to stop. If you are especially gentle with the push, she may think that you like what she’s been doing. This will only reinforce the behavior further.

To achieve your goal, find a way to move your head away from your kitty when he starts to nuzzle the hair. This is a clear message to her that you are not interested in going that direction. If nothing changes, simply get up and leave the room. This will take a lot of courage to leave your friend high and dry but it might solve the problem once and for all. If you are in bed, consider covering your head with a blanket until the kitty finds something else to do. While you are at it, be sure to offer alternatives such as food-dispensing toys and other treats to grasp your cat’s attention.

Parting Thoughts

Licking and nuzzling the hair is primarily canine behavior. So when you see your sweet cat exhibiting the behavior, you may wonder whether things are okay or not. Hopefully, the reasons on this guide will help you make sense of the whole thing once and for all.