Excessive Cat Gooming: How to Stop Cats from Grooming Themselves

Cat grooming is important for the health of the coat and skin. Typically, healthy cats will perform the grooming themselves, but some cats may groom in excess. Firstly, you will have to establish what causes this behavior and then you treat the cat, preventing him from overgrooming.

Causes of Excessive Cat Grooming

Detecting the causes of excessive grooming is a step ahead in treating your cat. The causes of feline excessive grooming may include:

  • Allergies to various irritants in the home or outdoors, which land on the cat’s coat and skin and can cause itchiness. The cat licks his skin, as the saliva will temporarily reduce the discomfort. Look for additional symptoms such as sneezing, dermatitis, swelling and redness of skin.
  • Fleas or skin parasites can cause skin itchiness and the cat will try to remove these. In addition to excessive licking, the cat can also bite the skin.
  • Skin infections, that cause major discomfort. Look for symptoms such as foul odor of the skin, dermatitis and swelling of skin.
  • Stress or depression can cause excessive grooming. The cat may not feel at ease and will try to soothe himself by grooming.
  • If the cat is in pain, he may be grooming himself excessively, but only in the affected areas. If you notice your cat is licking a particular area, that may be affected by an internal problem
  • Wounds or fractures that are more or less visible can be licked in excess

It is important to see if there are additional symptoms, which can help detect the problem of the cat.

Treat Excessive Grooming 

The excessive grooming may be easy to stop, depending on the actual cause of the behavior.

If the cat has a skin infection, a few topical ointments, oral antibiotics and rinses can reduce the discomfort and the cat will no longer feel the need to groom himself.

Fleas and external parasites can also be removed with topical solutions and insecticides.

Allergic reactions will require further testing and detecting the exact allergen. Meanwhile, antihistamines and steroids can relieve the symptoms and reduce the itchy skin, so that the cat won’t groom himself in excess.

If the cat has a health problem and is in pain, the vet will perform a series of tests to find the problem that also leads to the cat grooming himself. Once the problem is treated, the cat will resume his normal grooming habits.

Emotional problems are more difficult to detected and treat, but there are drugs and alternative remedies that can help.

Problems Caused by excessive Grooming

A cat that is grooming himself in excess can cause a number of problems:

  • Hair loss in patches
  • Acral lick granulomas
  • Skin infections, due to the bacteria in the saliva
  • Skin lesions
  • Poor skin condition, as the cat removes the essential oils and the coat will appear dull and coarse.