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Is Your Cat Licking Herself Too Much?

December 1, 2020

Have you ever noticed that your cat licks herself frequently? Cats spend a lot of time on their beauty routines! They groom themselves by licking, so this behavior in and of itself isn’t abnormal. However, it is possible for a kitty to lick herself too much. This behavior is known in the veterinary world as overgrooming. Read on to find out more from your local veterinarian.


What Counts as Overgrooming?

Most cats will spend somewhere between 25 and 50 percent of their day grooming themselves. It can be hard to tell what might be considered overgrooming. You’ll need to look for additional signs of a problem. You might notice Fluffy licking and chewing intently at a particular area. Or, you may spot significant hair loss or even bald patches on her body. If you’ve noticed these signs and/or more hairballs and loose fur lying around your home recently, you could have an overgrooming kitty on your hands. It’s time to check in with your vet.


What’s the Cause?

There are many possible causes of overgrooming in cats. Cases of overgrooming are generally categorized into one of two camps: medical or behavioral. Medical cases are always caused by some kind of underlying medical problem. Allergies, parasitic infestation, skin infection, physical injury, or even neurological conditions could be to blame.


A behavioral-based case of overgrooming, on the other hand, is caused by something like stress and anxiety. That’s right, your feline pal could be stressed at home and taking her anxieties out on her own fur. This can be hard to believe considering your cat’s pampered life, we know, but it’s not uncommon!


How is Overgrooming Treated?

If a medical issue is found to be the cause of Fluffy’s excessive licking, then that problem must be dealt with before the overgrooming will stop. In the case of a skin infection, for example, antibiotics can be prescribed. Parasite control may be needed as well. Your vet will be able to give you more information after diagnosing your cat.


When Fluffy overgrooms because of a behavioral problem like anxiety, you’ll need to determine the cause. Your kitty might be stressed because of a recent move, a change in the household like a new pet, or even a dirty litter box. The help of a professional feline behaviorist might be needed. Pheromones and anxiety medications may help as well. 


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