Did you know that cats can spend as much as a third of their waking time grooming themselves? Kitties take their beauty regimes very seriously, so this behavior in and of itself isn’t abnormal. But it’s possible for a cat to lick herself too much. This is called overgrooming. Read on to find out more from your local veterinarian.
What Counts as Overgrooming?
Your furry little diva will spend somewhere between 25 and 50 percent of their day grooming. That’s a lot! Understandably, it can be hard to tell what might be considered overgrooming. That’s why it’s important to look for additional signs of trouble.
Fluffy might start licking and chewing intently at a particular area. You may also spot significant hair loss or even bald patches around the body. Other warning signs include finding more hairballs and loose fur lying around your home. If any of these apply, you could have a case of overgrooming on your hands. It’s time to check in with Fluffy’s vet.
What’s the Cause?
Cases of overgrooming in cats are generally categorized into one of two camps: medical or behavioral. The medical cases are caused by some kind of underlying medical problem. Things like allergies, parasitic infestations, skin infections, physical injuries, or even neurological conditions could be to blame.
With behavioral-based cases, the overgrooming is caused by stress and/or anxiety. That’s right, your feline friend could be upset about something and taking her anxieties out on her own fur. It’s hard to believe considering Fluffy’s pampered life, we know, but it’s not uncommon!
How is Overgrooming Treated?
If a medical issue is behind your cat’s excessive licking, it must be dealt with before the overgrooming behavior will stop. In the case of a skin infection, for example, antibiotics can be prescribed. Parasite control products would take care of fleas or other parasites. Your veterinarian can help you get your cat back to full health.
When a cat is overgrooming because of a behavioral problem like anxiety, the key is to determine and address the cause. Fluffy might be stressed out because of a recent move, a change in the household like a new pet, or even a dirty litterbox. Ask your vet for specific advice. In some cases, the help of a professional feline behaviorist might be needed, and pheromones and anxiety medications can be prescribed if necessary.
Learn more about overgrooming in cats by contacting your vet’s office. We’re here for you!