in cats is something that may seem harmless at first but in fact
is very bad for the cat. It is a stress-related condition that is
a little like self-mutilation or obsessive-compulsive disorder in
It can result in physical problems such as skin disorders but primarily
it is a sign that the cat needs help and you should talk to your
vet right away to see what can be done for your pet.
As you might expect, over-grooming usually starts with a stressful
event, which is often a big change in your life too. This may be
something like a new pet in the household, a move, a new baby, or
something that means that you are around a lot less than you used
to be. Normal
grooming is pleasant and relaxing for the cat, like a massage.
So when they feel stressed about anything, cats will tend to perform
this activity to excess, constantly licking or pulling out fur,
resulting in bald patches on the legs.
Sometimes over-grooming is not caused by stress but by skin irritations,
or parasites such as fleas and mites. Either way, you should see
your vet right away because either the physical cause or the stress
will need to be treated. The longer the habit of over-grooming continues,
the harder it will be for the cat to stop. Also, the constant licking
at fur is very likely to cause hairballs in the cat's stomach which
can interfere with digestion and cause discomfort for the cat.
Help your cat get over excessive grooming
If your cat's constant grooming is caused by stress, there are
several things that you can do to help your pet get over it. You
may be able to make changes in the house or in your life that will
put things back to normal for your cat.
Spending more time with the cat will help him adjust to most of
the major changes that may have happened. When you see him licking
and biting at his fur, don't scold him but stroke him or talk gently
Playing with the cat and encouraging him to take an interest in
instead of in his own coat can help too. Take him with you when
you go someplace if you can. If you have to leave him in the house
when you are not home, think about leaving a cat video playing,
put him in a room where he can easily watch out the window, or get
a fish tank to keep him entertained.
may also recommend medications to help relieve your cat's stress
and help him get over the constant grooming. It is possible to get
anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds for pets and a course of
these will help your cat to break his self-destructive habit. Excessive
grooming in cats should not be ignored so do not hesitate about
seeking treatment for your pet.