Is My Cat Overgrooming?

Is My Cat Overgrooming?

Jul 1, 2022
11 min

Cats are known for being meticulous groomers. These loving pets can spend up to 50 percent of their uptime licking their fur. Nevertheless, grooming for an extensive period might no longer be normal, especially when it gets to the point of hair loss, skin wounds, or ulceration. Overgrooming in cats is usually a sign of underlying psychological or medical issues. Hence, cat owners must know the signs of overgrooming and how to stop it.

What Is Overgrooming in Cats?

Overgrooming or excessive grooming is when a cat spends a lot of time grooming itself obsessively. Excessive fur licking can result in hair loss, skin sores, or inflammation. In severe cases, the cat might start biting areas of the skin. Sometimes, you might witness your cat overgrooming or a patchy coat/damage to the skin. On other occasions, you might only see the signs of overgrooming, like clumps of hair on the furniture or behind the sofa.

Causes of Overgrooming in Cats

There are two significant causes of overgrooming in cats. The first is behavioral – when the furry licks excessively to relieve its stress (psychogenic alopecia). The second cause is medical, with skin parasites and allergies being the main culprits. Skin parasites, like fleas, are one of the common causes of overgrooming in cats. If appropriately treated, the cat can stop this behavior within a week (in most cases). Other medical and environmental causes of this condition include:

  • Constipation
  • Infections
  • Skin irritation
  • Boredom
  • Food allergies

Signs/Symptoms of Overgrooming in Cats

The most common symptoms of overgrooming in cats are skin irritation and hair loss. The commonly affected areas are the legs, abdomen, chest, and flank, as they are easily reached areas. Other common signs of overgrooming include:

  • Over-zealous scratching
  • When grooming interrupts and replaces your cat’s regular activities
  • Discomfort or irritability when scratching
  • Scabs, pus, rashes, or redness on bald areas
  • Excessive throwing up of hairballs

How to Stop Overgrooming

The first step to resolving your cat’s overgrooming issues is to visit the vet. The vet needs to examine the cat for any medical condition. If the overgrooming problem is caused by a medical condition, the vet will handle the treatment or recommend the best solution. A thorough physical examination, lab work, and skin biopsies can help the vet find medical reasons for this condition, which could include flea infestation, allergies, fungal or bacterial infections, ringworm, and skin mites.

However, if the vet rules out any medication condition and confirms psychologic alopecia, then you have to diagnose the underlying cause and resolve it. Identifying and getting rid of any potential cause would help reduce the action. If your cat is overgrooming due to boredom or increased stress levels, you can introduce a new cat to help keep them company or provide them with interactive toys. Other psychogenic alopecia treatments include:

  • Enhance your cat’s environmental stimulation by introducing kitty videos, catnip-pack toys, and new lay centers.
  • Keep your cat as busy as possible during the day with play, feeding, and exercise.
  • Provide new perching areas for the cat.
  • Grow a little garden (indoor) with safe plants for your cat.
  • Play and spend time with them, at least 15 minutes daily.

Product Recommendations

  • Dermosent Essential 6 Spot-On for Cats: This product is formulated to restore the hydration level of your cat’s skin and reinforce the skin barrier function. It helps diminish hair loss and reduce scales/dandruff, which are some of the causes of overgrooming. If your cat’s overgrooming issue is caused by a skin problem, this product can help reduce it.
  • Kala Health Dermatrix Original Pet Supplements: This chewable, tasty tablet is formulated for a healthy coat and skin. It contains plenty of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to provide your cat with a shiny and healthy coat and skin. It would help prevent skin issues that could trigger overgrooming in your cat.
  • Pawise Cat Litter Mat: Stress is one of the culprits of overgrooming. This mat will give your furry friend a super comfortable place to relieve stress. It has a soft surface that is gentle on the skin and paws. It is made with premium quality and safe material.
  • Absolute Plus Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil: Fungal and bacterial infections are top culprits of overgrooming in dogs. Fighting these medical issues is one of the best ways of preventing your cat from overgrooming problems. This product helps prevent bacterial and fungal infections. It also heals yeast infections and reduces the risk of pet cancer. Furthermore, it would give your cat a smooth, healthy, shiny coat.
  • Frontline Plus for Cats: If you suspect fleas and ticks to be the cause of your cat’s excessive grooming issues, this is the perfect product for you. It breaks the flea cycle in every state, killing adult fleas, larvae, flea eggs, and pupae.

Cat owners should not condone excessive grooming. This condition can worsen if not treated early. Hence, consult your vet once you notice the signs or see your cat grooming excessively.