Cat Overgrooming: What You Need to Know
Lick, lick, lick. Did you know cats spend 30–50 percent of the day grooming? But how do you know if your cat’s grooming has shifted from normal to excessive? If you notice bald patches on your cat, increased hairballs, or ouchies on the skin, you could have a case of cat overgrooming on your hands. To help your cat come clean of the habit, keep reading!
Common Medical Causes of Cat Overgrooming
- Food Allergies: Just like people, cats can be allergic to certain foods. If your cat’s overgrooming coincided with a change in diet, you’ll want to investigate the ingredient lists and make some changes.
- Fleas: These flat, dark, itch-inducing insects thrive in the spring and especially like to hang out near a cat’s belly and groin. Keep in mind, unless the infestation is severe, you may not notice fleas hopping around. If your cat is otherwise happy and healthy, make an appointment with the vet.
- Cat Ear Mites: Cat ear mites cause intense itch and could be the culprit behind your cat’s excessive licking and pawing.
Ear cleaning is an essential part of cat grooming to help prevent mites and odor. But choose a cat ear cleaner wisely. Many contain alcohol, which can sting or dry out the delicate ears, creating MORE ITCH and a possible ear infection. Groomers and vets recommend gentle and effective Oxyfresh Cat Ear Cleaner. Always alcohol-free and easy-to-use because there’s no rinsing required!
Is Stress to Blame for Cat Grooming Gone Wild?
When cats are stressed, they don’t head to the tub with a pint of ice cream. Instead, they self-soothe by overgrooming. If this causes itchy bald patches on their skin, they’ll lick to alleviate the itching, creating a vicious cycle.
If you’ve ruled out a medical problem, then it’s likely you have a stressed-out cat. This stress is usually caused by a major change in the cat’s life, such as changes in the pack or a move.
Check out these tips to help your cat de-stress, and if they don’t solve the problem, consult your vet. Antianxiety medication could be an option to break the habit in about one month.
5 Ways to Help Your Overgrooming Cat De-Stress
1. 15 Minutes of Interactive Playtime
Dogs get all the attention for, well, WANTING attention, but cats want it too – they’re just more subtle about it. Commit to 15 minutes of one-on-one interactive playtime with your cat each day, doing something your cat loves. Need some inspiration? Check out these fun cat games.
2. Provide High “Hangouts” for Your Cat
Remember when you were a kid and you loved having a secret hideout, whether it was a treehouse or the top of your bunkbed? Cats are no different. They like having their own high-up space to chill and relax, like a “cat condo” or a cozy nook on top of the fridge.
3. Stick to a Routine
Cats are creatures of habit, and they love routine just as much as us humans. Try to stick with a regular feeding, sleep and play schedule to make your cat a happy camper.
4. Cuddle Buddy
Let your cat get some quality cuddles to feel secure. Maybe this means a trip to the store to pick out a special stuffed animal or small blankie, or maybe that “world’s best cuddler” is YOU!
5. Caught in the Act? Play It Cool.
If you catch your kitty overgrooming, don’t scold. This will just make the stress worse, and therefore the licking worse. Instead, offer a fun distraction. Flashlight tag, anyone?
We hope your sweet little cat is back to its usual awesome self in no time! Speaking of awesome, check out all of our cat grooming and dental products!
P.S. One of the best ways to boost the overall health of your cat is to take care of its smile. If tooth brushing raises the hairs on your neck, no worries! We have a solution that’s so easy-peasy: just add Oxyfresh Cat Water Additive to their water bowl. This award-winning, vet-recommended water additive for cats is a lifesaver for cat bad breath and helps protect their gums and teeth from plaque!
Cat Water Additive Benefits
- Helps prevent cat bad breath
- Fights plaque & bacteria
- Non-toxic & vet recommended
- Tasteless & odorless
- So easy … just add to the water bowl!