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Why Do Cats Like Wet Hair? 10 Interesting Reasons

Written by: Melissa Gunter

Last Updated on January 31, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

a woman holding a cat that's licking its mouth

Why Do Cats Like Wet Hair? 10 Interesting Reasons

Cats do a lot of things that we consider a bit strange. How many cat owners have woken up in the middle of the night to find their cat staring at a spot on the wall and there’s nothing there? What about all those cute noises your kitty makes when they’re watching birds outside the window? Yes, cat owners are quite aware of strange antics from kitties. They even realize over time that their cat likes things that we simply don’t understand the appeal of. One of those things is wet hair.

If you’re a cat owner whose cat seems to come around a lot more when your hair is wet, you’ve most likely wondered why. Let’s take a look at 10 interesting reasons your cat may like wet hair so you can better understand your cat’s odd behavior.

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The 10 Reasons Why Cats Like Wet Hair

1. They Like Your Shampoo

We choose shampoos that work well and smell great, so your kitty could be enjoying the aroma of your shampoo. If your cat hops up while your hair is wet to sniff, lick, and bite your hair, don’t be shocked. That great-smelling shampoo you chose may appeal to them just as much as it does to you.

2. Your Kitty Thinks You’re Dirty

a woman laughing happily with a cat on her head
Image Credit: Olesya Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

On the flip side of cats liking the smell of your shampoo is the possibility that they hate it. If this is the case, your cat may feel that you’re dirty and want to get rid of your foul-smelling shampoo. Again, you could notice them licking and biting in hopes of cleaning you properly. They may even notice something in your hair that you didn’t. Most likely, you’ll notice the difference between a cat who enjoys your fresh scent and one who thinks you did a bad job at cleaning yourself.

3. They’re Trying to Socialize

Cats that live together in a group setting often groom one another. You’ll notice that they rub, lick, and even bite each other. This is simply normal cat behavior. It is a cat’s way of saying those they are grooming are safe to be around. It also spreads the cat’s scent. Having their scent on you is your cat’s way of saying you’re part of the family and someone they feel safe around.

4. They Love You

a tabby cat licking it's owner's head
Image Credit: Caterina Trimarchi, Shutterstock

While many cats aren’t big on showing affection, others enjoy it. If you have a cat that doesn’t mind showing you how much they care, taking the time to show interest in your wet hair may be a great way for them to show you this. While grooming those they care about like we mentioned above is how cats show that others around them are safe, it can also be a way of showing affection and marking you as theirs.

5. You Remind Them of Their Mother

Cats learn a lot from their mothers when they are kittens. While they may become separated from their moms, that doesn’t mean they don’t remember things about them. It’s also possible for cats to associate you and the care you provide them as being motherly. Considering grooming is common between mothers and kittens, it only makes sense for your cat to groom your wet hair when they remember their moms.

6. Your Cat Wants to Play

cat licking the girl's hair
Image Credit: yuris, Shutterstock

Perhaps you hopped in the shower at the wrong time. If that’s the case, your kitty may have been in the mood to play. If they didn’t get into something while you were away, becoming interested in your wet hair could be their way of initiating you into the fun. If a kitty is batting your hair, chewing, and trying to have fun, take time before grabbing the hair dryer to play with them.

7. It Could Be Compulsive Behavior

There are cats out there who are compulsive chewers. If your cat happens to be one of those, the appeal of wet hair may be too much for them. Unfortunately, if this behavior gets worse, your cat could have pica. This is where they have a driven desire to eat things that aren’t food. If you feel your cat’s compulsive chewing is getting out of control, contact your veterinarian.

8. Your Cat Is Calming Themself Down

a woman hugging her cat
Image Credit: U__Photo, Shutterstock

Like humans, cats can get stressed out. When this happens, grooming is one of the ways they decompress. If your hair is wet, your cat may choose to groom you instead. This allows them to chill out from whatever upset them while bonding with you at the same time. You’ll notice that this type of behavior can be especially true when changes have taken place around the house or in the cat’s situation.

9. Your Kitty Feels Ignored

Cats can feel like they aren’t getting enough attention. What better time to approach you about getting a bit more love than when you’ve come out of the shower? If your kitty comes to you and licks your wet hair, purring, and acting affectionate, they may simply want a little extra love. Take the time to give it to them. You never know when they’ll deem your worth again.

10. You’ve Reinforced the Behavior

a woman holding a cat on her lap
Image Credit: Wanwajee Weeraphukdee, Shutterstock

If your cat has hopped up and licked your wet hair after a shower and you’ve shown them affection while they have done it, you may have reinforced this behavior. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—if your cat isn’t eating your hair, that is. However, it may not necessarily be the drive of your cat to frolic in your wet hair. It may simply be that they remember the attention you gave them when they did it before.

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As you can see, there are several reasons why your cat may like wet hair. You may never know the true reasons behind your cat’s actions, but luckily, it isn’t all bad. Keep in mind, however, that if your cat starts showing new behaviors, especially those that go beyond normal interactions with you, something could be going on. If you’re concerned, simply reach out to your veterinarian. They will help you determine whether everything is okay and help you better understand your kitty.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: Olesya Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

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