Cats spend most of their waking life grooming themselves, so you can be forgiven if you don’t notice excessive grooming right away. In fact, you might only notice it when she starts pulling chunks of fur out, and bald patches start appearing. This often results in a vicious cycle as the raw, exposed skin can lead to infection, which in turn, leads to more licking – and so it goes on. So what does one do when you notice your cat’s got a problem?
Firstly, you need to identify the cause of the problem. It could be either medical where often a veterinarian should be consulted, or emotional, in which case you need to get to the root of the problem in order to rectify it.
Causes of over-grooming & how to deal with it
– Skin irritation/allergy/disease
Your cat could be suffering from dermatitis, have fleas, be allergic to pollen in the air, her food, or some form of disease.
Try: A trip to the vet is in order for appropriate treatment.
Is the excessive licking in a specific area?
Try: Check for wounds and treat accordingly.
– Obsessive compulsive disorder
This is where it gets more complicated. Your cat could be suffering from an obsessive compulsive disorder known as psychogenic alopecia. This is when your cat becomes so anxious or stressed and literally grooms herself to calm herself down. Often owners won’t notice the excessive grooming because they won’t do it when the owner is around due to them feeling safe.
Your cat can be stressed because of a number of reasons; cats thrive on routine so if their routine is disrupted or there is any change to their feline world (be it a new member of the family – feline or human, a change of house, or even their food bowl in a different place) this can result in stress.
Try: Help reduce your cat’s stress by keeping her routine as familiar as possible, give her hiding spots and perches that she can identify are specifically hers, and play with her – the laser pointer is a fantastic interactive game all cats love. You can also try supplements such as Regal Pet Health’s Cat Health Tonic which is specifically formulated to calm and heal.
The good news is if you get to the root of the problem, excessive grooming can be managed, and your cat’s skin and fur condition can be restored to its former glory. It just takes patience and some good old fashioned TLC.
You can also try supplements such as Regal Pet Health’s Cat Health Tonic which is specifically formulated to calm and heal.