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Is Your Cat Licking Herself Too Much?

December 1, 2020

Have you noticed that your cat cleans herself frequently? Cats spend a lot of time grooming themselves by licking, so this isn’t abnormal in and of itself. However, 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 from your local veterinarian.


What Counts as Overgrooming?

Our feline pals spend somewhere between 25 and 50 percent of their day grooming themselves. Unsurprisingly, it’s often hard to tell what might be considered overgrooming. That’s why you’ll need to look for additional signs of a problem aside from the licking itself.


You might notice your pet licking and chewing intently at a particular area. Another red flag is significant hair loss. If you’ve noticed these signs and/or more hairballs and loose fur lying around your home recently, you could have a case of overgrooming on your hands. It’s time to check in with your veterinarian.


What’s the Cause?

Cases of kitty overgrooming are generally categorized into one of two camps: medical or behavioral. Medical cases, as the name suggests, are caused by some kind of underlying medical problem. Allergies, parasitic infestation, skin infection, physical injury, or even neurological conditions are a few possible examples.


A behavioral-based case of overgrooming would be caused by something like stress and anxiety. That’s right, your feline friend could be stressed out at home and taking her anxieties out on her own fur! 


How is Overgrooming Treated?

Do you know or suspect that Fluffy is overgrooming? Call your vet right away. If a medical issue is behind your cat’s overgrooming, then that must be dealt with before the behavior will stop. In the case of a skin infection, for example, antibiotics may be prescribed. 


When cats overgroom because of a behavioral problem like anxiety, it’s helpful to determine the cause. Fluffy might be stressed because of a move, a new pet or human in the house, or even a dirty litter box. Pheromones and anxiety medications can be prescribed if necessary. Of course, it’s also important to pay lots of attention to Fluffy, and make sure she feels comfy, loved, and safe.


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