Why Cats Overgroom and Tips for Helping Them Stop
Posted by Yushira Budhram on
Cats are notorious for being particular about hygiene. Most spend half of their awake time during the day making sure their coat is pristine. While all cats are likely to be attentive to their cleanliness because it is in their nature, cat overgrooming can also be an issue.
Signs Your Cat Is Overgrooming
As noted earlier, cats like to be clean. This inclination stems from the fact that cats rely on stealth when they are hunting prey, which means they are particular about odor-causing particles in their fur. This is why you'll see your cat grooming right after a meal. Cats also use grooming as a means to stay cool, distribute oils for water protection, and even stimulate blood flow. However, there is a fine line between normal grooming and cat overgrooming.
Your cat may be grooming too much if:
- - You spot signs of hair loss, such as bare spots or short stubble
- - Your cat has a lot of hairballs
- - Your cat develops irritated hot spots on its skin due to excessive grooming
Why do cats overgroom to start with?
Cats may overgroom for a few reasons, and, sometimes, the reasons are not immediately clear. Here is a closer look at a few reasons for cat overgrooming.
Cats can have allergies, which can cause their skin to itch or feel irritated. For example, cats can develop an allergy to certain ingredients found in cat litter. Sometimes, you may need to switch to a natural litter to deter negative reactions. Likewise, some cats are allergic to ingredients in their food, which is why some pet parents follow a grain-free or gluten-free diet. Cats can also have a flea allergy, which will also cause them to groom more than usual.
Pain or Discomfort
Cats may also groom specific areas of their body when something is uncomfortable. If your kitty is especially attentive to something like their ears or paws, take a closer look to ensure there are no signs of an abrasion or ear infection, both of which cause substantial discomfort.
Boredom or Stress
A stressed-out or bored cat may also groom more than usual. This can mean there is something in the cat's environment causing stress, but it can also mean that the cat is simply not getting enough stimulation.
How to Stop Cat Overgrooming
Here are a few quick tips to help:
- - Help keep your cat clean with things like ear wipes and occasional baths
- - Brush your kitty regularly to remove loose hair and dirt particles
- - Give your cat treats, toys, and ample attention
- - Try to control or remove stress, such as by providing a quiet place away from other pets
- - Consider switching to a natural cat litter
If you make these changes and your cat still has an issue with overgrooming, it may be time to speak to a vet. At Aleyr Pet Wellness, we would also be more than happy to offer recommendations when you stop by to see us at our pet store in South Tampa.