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Is Your Cat Licking Herself Too Much?

December 1, 2020

Cats spend a lot of time grooming themselves. Have you ever wondered if Fluffy is going overboard? It isn’t abnormal for kitties to lick themselves a lot. 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 veterinarian.


What Counts as Overgrooming?

Since kitties spend somewhere between 25 and 50 percent of their day grooming themselves, it’s sometimes hard to tell what might be considered overgrooming. That’s why it’s important to look for other signs of a problem aside from the licking itself.


You might notice your kittylicking and chewing intently at a particular spot. You may also spot significant hair loss or even bald patches around the body, or find more hairballs and loose fur lying around your home. If any of these sound familiar, you could have a case of overgrooming on your hands. Check in with your vet right away!


What’s the Cause?

There are several possible causes of overgrooming in cats. Cases are generally categorized into one of two camps: medical or behavioral. The medical cases are caused by medical problems. Allergies, parasitic infestations, skin infections, physical injuries, or even neurological conditions could be to blame.


Behavioral-based overgrooming is caused by stress and anxiety. That’s right, your feline friend could be stressed at home and taking her anxieties out on her own coat. It’s hard to believe considering your cat’s pampered life, we know, but this is actually not uncommon!


How is Overgrooming Treated?

If a medical issue is behind Fluffy’s excessive licking, then that problem must be dealt with before the overgrooming behavior will stop. In the case of a skin infection, for example, antibiotics or other medications may be prescribed. Parasite control would be needed for a flea infestation. Ask your vet for more information. 


With a behavioral problem, like anxiety, it’s helpful to determine the cause. Fluffy might be stressed because of a recent move, a change in the household, a new pet, or even a dirty litter box. The help of a professional feline behaviorist might be needed. Kitty calming pheromones and anxiety medications may also help. Ask your vet for more information. 


Learn more about overgrooming in cats by contacting your vet’s office. We’re here for you!