Does your kitty lick herself frequently? Our feline pals certainly do spend a lot of time grooming themselves by licking. This behavior in and of itself isn’t abnormal. But it’s possible for a cat to lick herself too much. This is known in the veterinary world as overgrooming. Read on to find out more from your local vet.
Since Fluffy spends somewhere between 25 and 50 percent of her day grooming herself, it’s often hard to tell what might be considered overgrooming. You’ll have to look for additional signs of a problem, aside from the licking itself.
You might notice your cat licking and chewing intently at a particular area. Or, you may spot significant hair loss or even bald patches around the body. Another indication would be to find more hairballs and loose fur lying around your home. Sound familiar? You could have a case of overgrooming on your hands. It’s time to check in with your vet.
There are many possible causes of overgrooming in cats. These are generally categorized into one of two camps: medical or behavioral.
Medical overgrooming cases are caused by some kind of underlying medical problem. Allergies, parasitic infestation, skin infection, physical injury, or even neurological conditions are a few possible options.
A behavioral-based case of overgrooming is one that is caused by something like stress and anxiety. Your feline friend could be stressed at home and taking her anxieties out on her own fur. It’s hard to believe considering your cat’s pampered life, we know, but it’s not uncommon.
If a medical issue is found to be the cause of your pet’s excessive licking, then that issue must be dealt with first. The exact treatment needed will of course depend on the diagnosis. In the case of a skin infection, antibiotics can be prescribed. Your vet will be able to go over options once a diagnosis is confirmed.
When a cat is overgrooming because of a behavioral problem like anxiety, it’s important to determine the cause. Fluffy might be stressed because of a recent move, a change in the household like a new roommate, or even a dirty litter box. You may need to consult your vet or a professional feline behaviorist. Fluffy may be prescribed pheromones and/or anxiety medications can be prescribed.
Learn more about overgrooming in cats by contacting your vet’s office. We’re here for you!