If you are owned by a cat, you’ll notice that your feline overlord licks herself frequently. Cats spend a lot of time grooming themselves, so this behavior in and of itself isn’t abnormal. But it is possible for a kitty to lick herself too much—this is known in the veterinary world as overgrooming. Read on to find out more on this from your local veterinarian.
What Counts as Overgrooming?
Since cats spend somewhere between 25 and 50 percent of their time grooming themselves, it’s sometimes hard to tell what might be considered overgrooming. That’s why you’ll need to look for additional signs of a problem aside.
You might notice Fluffy persistently licking and chewing intently at a particular area, or you may spot hair loss or even bald patches. If you’ve noticed these signs plus more hairballs and loose fur lying around your home recently, you could have an overgrooming furball on your hands. That means it’s time to call your vet.
What’s the Cause?
There are many possible causes of overgrooming in kitties. Cases are generally categorized as either medical or behavioral. Medical cases are caused by some kind of underlying health problem—allergies, parasitic infestation, skin infection, physical injury, or even neurological conditions could be to blame.
Behavioral-based overgrooming is caused by stress or anxiety. That’s right, your feline friend could be stressed out at home 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 will stop. In the case of a skin infection, for example, antibiotics can be prescribed. Your veterinarian will be able to offer advice and treatment options.
When a kitty is overgrooming because of a behavioral problem like anxiety, it’s helpful to determine 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. A professional feline behaviorist might be needed. Pheromones and/or anxiety medications can be prescribed if necessary.
Learn more about overgrooming in cats by contacting your vet’s office. We’re here for you!