This is the most in depth guide on how to stop your Cat from over-grooming
The best part?
I’m going to show you how you can save your Cats fur and ensure your Cat is not suffering due to excessive grooming
In short: If you want your Cat to have a healthy shiny coat and no more fleasÂthen you’ll love this article
Let’s get started
Cats are very clean
Very very clean!
They are probably more cleaner than us humans (Even though you probably shower everyday!)
It’s natural behavior for Cats to groom themselves.
[su_box title=”Here’s a little fact about Cats self grooming”]Cats spend around 30% of their waking hours grooming themselves. Can you imagine how clean they love to be![/su_box]
You see, Cats don’t need to stress about getting through their 9 – 5 or about what they have to cook for dinner however when they do stress then they tend to bite their nails or pull at their hair or what we may call it over grooming.
When Cats groom they do nibble which is normal however when they are stressed then they do it out force and you’ll notice this.
You would be able to see the difference when your little feline friend is grooming or over grooming
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What Is Over-Grooming In Cats?
Before we talk about over grooming we need to understand what is over grooming.
Cats are constantly grooming themselves.
As I mentioned earlier they tend to spend 30% of their waking hours as grooming themselves.
If your Cat is spending more than 30% of their time grooming themselves then we need to be concerned.
I know this might be difficult to spot this because every time we look at our Cat he’s always grooming which we may consider to be normal but there is one important thing to consider when you see your Cat grooming.
What you need to consider is -Â Is your Cat losing hair?Â
It is not considered normal if your Cat starts to develop bare patches on the skin because of self grooming. If this does happen then you should seek professional help.
What Causes Excessive Grooming In Cats
Have you ever watched your cat during his grooming sessions?
Cats usually have a very particular and thorough method of grooming.
I actually find it interesting!
I mean they’re so thorough and clean right?
Not only do adult cats groom themselves
But even young kittens too
You can even observe very young kittens being just a meticulous, and this is because they learn the techniques from their mother from birth.
Here are some interesting facts about why cats lick themselves:
- It is normal for an adult cat to spend between 30 – 50% of their time grooming.
- Cats have a natural instinct to lick away any scents of food or other odors, and you can always observe your cat cleaning himself thoroughly after mealtimes. This comes from an instinctive desire not to be detected by other predators in the wild
- Cats lick themselves to cool down. They rely mostly on saliva evaporation for temperature moderation as they sweat minimally through their paws. Grooming actually controls around a third of their cooling process.
- Licking also helps the cat to distribute their natural oils evenly around its coat, and this guards against dampness, helping the cat to stay warm.
- Licking helps to keep wounds clean and guard against infection.The bristles on a catâ€™s tongue help to stimulate blood circulation.
- Cats lick each other to show affection and trust. Licking also has a calming affect.
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Over Grooming
Despite it being normal for adult cats to groom themselves for up to 30% of their time, there is such a thing as overdoing it, and of course reasons for doing so, and consequences.
Over grooming can be a problem because it can cause excessive hairballs which you cat will have to throw up and it’s not a pretty sight to see
The excessive licking may also indicate an underlying health problem.
If you think your cat has been licking more than usual check them all over for bald patches, as this is a sure sign that something is wrong with your cat.
Pay attention as to whether your cats licking behavior is accompanied by itching and scratching, or any other type of behavioral issue, as these may give a clue as to what is causing the behavior.
Why Is Your Cat Over Grooming?
Here is a list of potential explanations for your cats excessive grooming:
- Your cat could be trying to relieve itself of an irritation caused by a food allergy, or by fleas or other parasites.
- Your cat may be trying to relieve itself from pain. They say animals tend to lick their wounds, but just because the wound isnâ€™t visible it doesnâ€™t mean that it isnâ€™t there. Your cat may be bruised or have fallen and damaged himself.
- Your cat might be suffering from a neurological disease, especially if you have an older cat.
- Your long-haired cat could have excessive fur matting that he finds uncomfortable or painful.
- Stress can cause cats to lick themselves in order to relieve anxiety.
Imagine having mosquito’s bite you constantly! It can become really frustrating.
I remember when I went India and the whole night I constantly had mosquitos biting me. I forgot to purchase them cream to treat mosquito’s so that whole night I was scratching myself! It was not a very great night of course.
Now, when I put myself in my Cats “paws” I can imagine how frustrating it can be to have fleas bite them continuously.
That’s it’s important to treat them immediately and help them fight this battle against fleas
Psychogenic Alopecia – Excessive Grooming
What isÂ psychogenic alopecia?
psychogenic alopecia is a condition when the Cat excessively grooms themselves which then becomes an obsessive behavior. This is usually bought on by stress or anxiety.
Grooming for Cats can be calming for them so when they are faced with sudden changes to their environments or a sudden conflict or even a perceived threat they will groom themselves in order to feel calm.
In most cases, once the threat has gone the Cat will stop with this behavior.
You’ll need to keep an eye out for this because once that threat is gone but your Cat continues to lick and groom themselves in a irresistible manner then it is likely that your Cat now cannot control himself and has become compulsive behavior.
How To Treat Psychogenic Alopecia & Stop Your Cat Over Grooming
If your vet has diagnosed your Cat withÂ psychogenic alopecia then it is vital that you try and find out what environmental changes or social changes that has occurred which has led to your Cat to being stressed.
You need to ask yourself
- Have you recently moved home?
- Have you introduced a new Cat?
- Has there been an additional member to your family?
- Litter box problems?
- Change in litter box location?
These are some of the questions you need to answer and only you as a Cat parent would know because you know your Cat more than anyone else
If your Cat is stressed out then you need to make your Cat relaxed
Check out my article on How to calm a stressed Cat downÂ
Your vet may provide some medication but I believe both medication and environmental change will help your Cat
Here are some tips to help your Cat if he is suffering fromÂ psychogenic alopecia
- It’s important that we give our Cat some play time otherwise they will get bored and this may result in them over grooming. We should at least give them 10 – 15 minutes of playtime. Your Cat will love the attention and this is a way of keeping your Cats mind off over grooming
- Try to keep your Cats daily routine the same as possible. Keep their play time and eating time the same time as possible.
- Introduce new play areas for your Cat. Maybe buy some new toys or some cat nip pack toys. You could also get them a scratching post, they love that! Change the toys often as this will keep them interested.
- Avoid punishing your Cat or shouting a them as this could make the problem worse. In reality we should never shout or punish them.
How Can I Relieve My Cats Stress?
One of the main reasons your little furball is excessively grooming themselves is because they are stressed
That’s right, Cats can get stressed just as how we get stressed too
And one way of your Cat is dealing with this stress is to over-groom themselves
You must be wondering how can you calm a stressed Cat down?
I actually have written a in-depth article on how you can relieve your Cat from stress
You can check it out by clicking the link below
One thing I would recommend for you to do is to get yourself a Feliway Plug-In Diffuser Refill, 48 mL, 3-Pack
- FELIWAY is vet recommended, and the #1 selling solution: FELIWAY Classic may help with common stress-related behaviors such as: urine spraying, scratching, visitors, and home changes
- 9 out of 10 cats show an improvement in urine spraying*
- FELIWAY Classic is a drug free solution that mimics cat’s natural facial pheromones, which may help your pet feel calmer in common stressful situations - for the best results, plug in the diffuser where your cat spends most of his or her time
- FELIWAY Classic heated diffuser covers up to 700 square feet; make sure to plug your diffuser in with the vents up, and avoid placing the diffuser under shelves and behind doors, curtains, or furniture
- This product includes 3 refills that each last for up to 1 month (diffuser not included); to maximize effectiveness replace the refill once a month and the diffuser every 6 months
It’s a great way to calm a stressed Cat
It’s important to keep your Cat stress free because you don’t want any problems
And not only that, it’s not fair on them to be stressed right?
If they’re stressed they’ll also mark their territory and spray all over the house
How To Stop Your Cat Over Grooming
If your Cat does suffer from over grooming then it is very important that you find out what is causing this problem
Look at the possible causes and once you have identified what the cause is, you can make the necessary changes
Try all the above methods and work on it consistently and in good time you have will have a happier and healthier cat!
If you notice fleas on your Cats then you should get this treated immediately
You don’t want your Cat to be infested with fleas
I personally have had much success with both although it’s easier to put drops on your Cats then give tablets
For example, my Cat is very clever, I would mix the tablet in his food so he’d eat it
But what he does is, eats everything and leaves the tablet out!
Here’s a quick video showing you how to apply spot on treatments
As mentioned earlier, I would recommend checking out Advantage 2 flea control for cats and kittens over 9 lbs
What’s also very important is
Fleas can be everywhere in your house
And those tiny things can infest your cat again
We can’t see them but they could be everywhere and it’s your little Furball that will suffer
A sign of fleas on your Cat means fleas in the house
The worst part?
You can’t even see the fleas or where they’ve laid their eggs
They lay eggs everywhere and that’s it – Your house is infested with fleas
And this is obviously not good for your Kitty
So you need to kill the fleas on your Cats and also kill the fleas and eggs that are in the house
And this can be a impossible job
I mean how can you kill all fleas in the house when you can barely see them
You don’t know where they are or anything
So you don’t even know where to start!
But don’t worry
There’s always a solution to a problem right?
You want your house to be flea free?
Then you need to check out Ultrasonic Pest Repellent Control 2019 (2-Pack), Plug in Home,Â
You must be wondering what is this?
It’s a ultrasonic pest repellent
It pretty much works for sorts of pests including fleas
So it can be a win win situation if you have other fleas in your house
What I love about this is
Non toxic and Non poison
Completely safe for humans and pets!
Oh, how do you install this?
Just plug it in
And no, you don’t need refills
Just plug it in where you think there’s fleas
Or sometimes you may have seen one actually on you, or if you’re lucky jumping around on your floor in a certain room
If you do
Plug it in that room
And do the vacuum too!
This is a great way to kill them fleas
A house that is flea free means your cat will be flea free
And that means, your cat won’t over groom!
So this is a great way of dealing with fleas
It’s a battle but I’m sure if you’re prepared you will win
The Harmful Effects Of Fleas On Cats
One of the main issues about fleas on cats is the fact that they are often so small that a person would not notice one or two fleas that might have gotten on their cat.
This, however, does not mean harmful effects may develop with only those few fleas that have made their way onto the coat of your cat.
Not all cats respond the same to a bite from a flea. Some cats will only have a mild reaction, where a bite mark will be present for a few days.
In other cats, however, complications like an allergic reaction may develop.
This can be unpleasant and lead to problems such as scabs, as well as red patches. The cat may also experience pain and tenderness in the areas where the fleas have bitten them.
Even though things may not seem serious initially, the presence of fleas on a cat can lead to the development of allergic dermatitis.
This can cause the cat great discomfort and, in addition to the symptoms mentioned above, may also lead to hair loss.
There are other dangers lurking among fleas as well. For example, in some cases, a cat may be at risk of developing tapeworms, a type of parasite, which can be transmitted through fleas.
When the flea carries the larva of the tapeworm, the larva may develop in the cat should the flea be ingested.
This can cause a number of additional side-effects and symptoms, which could often lead to a trip toward the veterinary and additional expenses.
Other potential conditions that a cat may be at risk to if they are infested with fleas include:
- Flea bite anemia
Can Fleas On Cats Be Prevented
There are ways to prevent a flea manifestation on a cat, with one of the most important being preventative care â€“ in the form of appropriate flea treatment.
There are different treatment options available that a cat owner can opt for. Some are applied on the coat of the cat, while others are rather in the form of a pill that is ingested and then gets to work from the inside of the cat.
It is important for the cat owner to be aware of the fact that not all of these treatments are equally effective â€“ some tend to work better than others, but may also cost more.
Thus, it is crucial to consider the risk factors for the cat. If there is a higher risk that the cat may catch fleas, then a more effective preventative treatment option should ideally be used.
This can help to lower the risk of an infestation with fleas significantly â€“ and would not only be beneficial for the cat, but also for the entire home.
Furthermore, the cat ownerâ€™s house should be treated frequently. Any bedding and linen, as well as furniture, where the cat will frequently spend time on, Â should be washed with warm water.
This can help to kill both fleas and their eggs, avoiding further infestations of these parasites.
An additional preventative measure that can be taken by a cat owner is to keep the cat on the inside of the house. In the modern day, people are increasingly buying accessories for cats to walk them and take them outside. These can help to avoid the cat entering areas that are infested with fleas â€“ providing a significant reduction in the catâ€™s likeliness to catch fleas.
My Recommendation For A Treatment To Kill Fleas On A Cat
While there are quite a large variety of treatments available to help kill fleas that have already infested a cat, as well as to provide a mechanism of protection against future infestations, they are certainly not all the same.
I would like to recommend which I believe is the best product to kill fleas on Cats and that is Frontline Plus for Cats
- Waterproof flea and tick treatment for cats and kittens: Frontline Plus for Cats provides waterproof, fast-acting, long-lasting flea and tick treatment and control for your cat. This product is approved for use on cats and kittens 1.5 lbs and over.
- Break the flea life cycle with frontline: Frontline flea and tick treatment for cats kills adult fleas plus flea eggs and larvae to stop existing infestations and prevent establishment of new infestations.
- Kills fleas and ticks: Frontline flea and tick treatment for cats kills fleas, flea eggs, lice, and ticks. This flea and tick treatment kills ticks, including those that may transmit Lyme disease.
- Trusted flea and tick protection for cats: Frontline Plus for Cats has been trusted by veterinarians for nearly 20 years. Made with 2 tough killing ingredients, fipronil and (S)-methoprene – one to kill adult fleas and ticks and the second to kill flea eggs and larvae – this fast-acting, long-lasting protection provides flea and tick control for cats and kittens 8 weeks and older.
- Lasting flea and tick protection: Frontline's long-lasting formula is stored in the oil glands of the cat's skin to give non-stop flea and tick protection for a full 30 days. Frontline flea and tick treatment for cats works non-stop for a full 30 days. A 3-dose supply lasts for 3 months.
This is a proven and tested product that millions of people are already using.
The Frontline Plus option is an upgrade from the standard Frontline option and can provide assistance in killing parasites that have already called a cats coat their home.
In addition to providing an effective mechanism for killing existing fleas on a cat, the product has also been equipped with ingredients that work systematically â€“ once applied, the cat will be protected against fleas for as long as a month.
The treatment only needs to be applied once a month and comes in convenient packages that give you a bulk supply of the treatment at a significantly reduced price.
While strong and effective, it is important to note that Frontline Plus for Cats has also been proven a safe option for killing fleas and will not cause harm to the cat when applied according to the included instructions.
You can check out the price over on Amazon by clicking the link below
Stoping Your Cat From Over Grooming
It can be tricky to actually realize if your Cat is over-grooming so make sure to pay special attention when they are grooming themselves?
Do you notice your Cat licking himself more than usual?
If your Cat is grooming excessively due to boredom then play with your Cat. You should spend at least 15-20 minutes per day playing with your Cat
This will keep your Furball active and will also build love and a strong connection between you two
If you’re in doubt then pay a visit to the Vets just to make sure everything is okay with your Kitty
Also, if you do notice fleas then make sure this is treated immediately
You don’t want to wait around too long because fleas can reproduce
Last update on 2022-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API