Is your cat licking itself too much? Cats are clean animals, and they groom themselves multiple times per day. They do a good job of keeping themselves clean, which is why you don’t have to bathe your cats like you would your dog. However, if your kitty is licking itself excessively this should be cause for concern.
Below are a list of reasons why cats will overgroom themselves with suggestions on how to address the issue.
- Skin issues. If your cat is licking all the time, this could be due to a topical condition like fleas, mites, dermatitis or allergies. I’m sure you’ve already checked for fleas or mites, but if this started suddenly you might want to have your cat checked by a veterinarian. Food and environmental allergies often surface with itchy skin, so if the vet doesn’t find any skin conditions you will want to be sure this isn’t an allergy. One of our cats had a topical issue that went away as soon as we took fish out of his diet. Cats can develop a sensitivity to certain proteins if fed the same one over a long period of time, so start by switching up the diet a little and see if that helps. Getting to the root of the skin issue will help resolve the itchy skin.
- Comforting a pain. We recently had an interview with Dr. Judy Morgan DVM and she mentioned that sometimes cats will lick or groom one area of their body because they are in pain. In her practice she saw this a lot with older cats who had arthritis and would overgroom their legs. If your kitty is licking one specific area, be sure to rule out underlying conditions.
- Stress. The overwhelming majority of overgrooming in cats is due to anxiety. Bored cats are stressed cats, so don’t mistake your cat that sleeps all the time as a chill cat. Cats also groom to sooth themselves. If skin and health issues have been ruled out, start taking steps to reduce your cat’s stress. Start adding routine into your cat’s life. Routine schedules of feeding, litter scooping and playtime have been proven to reduce anxiety in cats. Natural calming formulas will help the stress too.