What Is Cat Eating Hair Syndrome?

Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.

In this blog post, we will unravel the mysteries surrounding Cat Eating Hair Syndrome, shedding light on its possible causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Are you a cat owner who has noticed your furry friend obsessively grooming itself? While grooming is a natural behavior for cats, excessive grooming can sometimes be a cause for concern. One possible explanation for this behavior is Cat Eating Hair Syndrome, also known as “trichobezoar” or “hairball syndrome.” This condition is more common than you might think and can lead to serious health issues if left untreated. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of Cat Eating Hair Syndrome, including its causes, symptoms, and treatment options. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of this condition and be able to provide the necessary care and support to your beloved feline companion.

What Is Cat Eating Hair Syndrome?

Cat Eating Hair Syndrome, also known as Pica, is a compulsive behavior where a cat feels an irresistible urge to consume non-food items, including its own hair. This condition can manifest for a variety of reasons, including dietary deficiencies, boredom, anxiety, or even underlying medical conditions. It’s essential for pet owners to consult with a veterinarian if they notice such behavior, as it can lead to serious health complications such as intestinal blockages.

Is Cat Eating Hair Harmful For My Cat?

Yes, cat eating hair can indeed be harmful to your feline friend. Ingesting hair can lead to the formation of hairballs in the stomach and intestines. While small hairballs can often be expelled naturally, larger ones can cause blockages, leading to severe health issues like vomiting, decreased appetite, constipation, or even life-threatening emergencies requiring surgery. Furthermore, the compulsive behavior associated with Pica can lead to the ingestion of other non-food items that could cause additional health risks.

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What Causes Cats To Eat Hair?

Physically, nutritional deficiencies might be a factor. Some believe cats may ingest hair due to a lack of certain nutrients in their diet, attempting to supplement this deficit. Furthermore, certain medical conditions like hyperthyroidism can cause unusual eating habits, including eating hair.

Environmental factors can also lead to hair eating. For instance, anxiety, stress, or boredom can lead cats to engage in excessive grooming and subsequently ingest too much hair. Changes in the household, a lack of stimulation, or a lack of social interaction could potentially contribute to these behaviors. Additionally, some cats might develop the habit as kittens during the weaning process and continue it into adulthood. 

It’s noteworthy to mention that while occasional hair ingestion during self-grooming is normal, compulsive hair eating is not, and warrants a consultation with a veterinarian.

Read more: Why Do Some Cats Eat Poop?

How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Eating Too Much Hair?

If your cat is consuming too much hair, there are several key signs that you may notice. Frequent and unexplained vomiting could be a sign of hairballs in your cat’s digestive tract. You might also see hair in the cat’s feces, or notice that they are straining or having difficulty during bowel movements. Other potential signs can include a decrease in appetite, lethargy, or an unexplained weight loss. In severe cases, your cat may have a distended abdomen or display signs of discomfort such as excessive grooming.

How Can I Prevent My Cat From Eating Hair?

Preventing your cat from eating hair involves a combination of behavioral modifications, effective grooming, and in some cases, dietary changes. Here are some strategies you might find useful:

Regular Grooming: Brush your cat’s fur daily to remove loose hairs. This can significantly reduce the amount of hair they ingest during self-grooming.

Use Hairball Control Products: There are several products on the market, such as hairball control cat foods and treats, which can help to reduce the formation of hairballs in your cat’s digestive tract.

Provide a Balanced Diet: A high-fiber diet can help to improve digestion and reduce the likelihood of hairballs forming.

Hydration: Ensure your cat drink enough fresh water. This can help to keep their digestive system working efficiently and prevent hair from accumulating.

Mental Stimulation: Provide plenty of cat toys and engage your cat in regular play to distract them from excessive grooming.

Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Regular vet visits can help detect any underlying health conditions which may be causing the increased hair ingestion.


In conclusion, Cat Eating Hair Syndrome is a serious issue that can affect both cats and their owners. It is important to understand the causes and symptoms of this condition in order to provide the best care for your feline companion. Through this blog post, we have explored the underlying reasons behind Cat Eating Hair Syndrome, including medical conditions and behavioral factors. We have also discussed treatment options and preventative measures that can be taken to prevent this syndrome from occurring or recurring. Hopefully with this knowledge, more cat owners will be able to identify and address this problem early on, leading to happier and healthier cats. However, if you suspect that your cat may be suffering from Cat Eating Hair Syndrome, it is always best to seek advice from a veterinarian for personalized recommendations.