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Is Your Cat Licking Herself Too Much?
December 1, 2020

Do you have a kitty? If so, you’ll notice that your feline friend licks herself frequently. Kitties spend a lot of time grooming themselves, so this behavior in and of itself isn’t abnormal. But it’s possible for Fluffy to lick herself too much. This is known as overgrooming. Read on to find out more from your veterinarian.


What Counts as Overgrooming?

Did you know that cats spend somewhere between 25 and 50 percent of their day grooming themselves? Fluffy takes her beauty regimen very seriously! It’s often hard to tell what might be considered overgrooming. That’s why it’s important to look for additional signs of a problem aside, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or appetite loss. Fluffy may start licking and chewing intently at a particular area. Or, you may spot significant hair loss or even bald patches. You might also find more hairballs and loose fur lying around your home. If any or all of these apply, you could have a case of overgrooming on your hands. Call your vet!


What’s the Cause?

There are several possible causes of overgrooming in cats. Overgrooming ases are generally categorized into one of two camps: medical or behavioral. The medical cases are caused by some kind of underlying medical problem—allergies, parasitic infestation, skin infection, physical injury, or even neurological conditions could be to blame.


Behavioral-based cases of overgrooming are caused by things like stress and anxiety. That’s right, your feline buddy could be stressed 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 determined to be the cause of your cat’s excessive licking, it must be dealt with before the overgrooming behavior will stop. For example, in the case of a skin infection, antibiotics can be prescribed. Work closely with your veterinarian to get Fluffy back to full health.


When a kitty overgrooms 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 litter box. A professional feline behaviorist might be needed. Pheromones and anxiety medications can be prescribed by your vet if necessary. 


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