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Is Fluffy Licking Herself Too Much?

December 1, 2020

Most cats lick themselves quite often. Cats spend a lot of time grooming themselves by licking, so it’s really not abnormal. But it’s possible for a cat to lick herself too much, which is known in veterinary circles as overgrooming. Learn more about overgrooming in this article by your local vet. 


What Counts as Overgrooming?

Did you know that a cat can spend between 25 and 50 percent of their day grooming themselves? That can make it hard to tell what’s overgrooming and what’s normal. That’s why it’s important to look for additional signs of a problem besides the grooming. 


You might see Fluffy licking and chewing intently at a particular area, or you may notice significant hair loss or bald patches on the body. If you’ve noticed these signs, or perhaps more hairballs and loose fur lying around your home recently, something might be amiss. It’s worth placing a call to the vet’s office to be sure. 


What’s the Cause?

Overgrooming in cats can have several causes. Cases are generally categorized into one of two categories: medical or behavioral. Medical cases are caused by some kind of underlying medical issue, like allergies, parasitic infestation, skin infections, physical trauma, or even neurological conditions. 


Behavioral-based cases of overgrooming are 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 not nearly as uncommon as you might think!


How is Overgrooming Treated?

In cases of medical overgrooming, the underlying issue must be dealt with in order to resolve the grooming problem. If a skin infection is to blame, for example, antibiotics can be prescribed. You’ll need your vet’s help, so call the office as soon as you suspect a problem.


In the case of a behavioral problem like anxiety, it’s helpful to determine the cause. Perhaps a recent move, a change in the household like a new pet, or even a dirty litter box has stressed your pet out. A professional feline behaviorist might be needed to correct this, and pheromones and anxiety medications can be prescribed in some cases. 


Call your vet’s office to learn more about overgrooming in cats.

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