Overgrooming in Cats
Symptoms, Causes & Natural Remedies
Overgrooming in cats, also known as psychogenic alopecia, is a behavior in which cats excessively groom themselves, leading to hair loss and skin irritation. It can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition or a behavioral issue. In this guide, we will discuss the symptoms, causes, and natural treatments for overgrooming in cats.
Symptoms of Overgrooming in Cats
The following are some common symptoms of overgrooming in cats:
- Hair loss: Cats with overgrooming behavior often have patchy or complete hair loss on the affected area.
- Skin irritation: Overgrooming can cause redness, inflammation, and scabbing on the affected area.
- Excessive licking: Cats with overgrooming behavior will frequently lick and groom themselves, even to the point of causing injury.
- Behavioral changes: Some cats with overgrooming behavior may become more agitated, anxious, or irritable.
Causes of Overgrooming in Cats
The following are some common causes of overgrooming in cats:
- Stress: Cats that are stressed or anxious may turn to overgrooming as a way to cope. It can become a self-soothing habit.
- Boredom: Cats that are bored or not stimulated enough may turn to overgrooming as a form of entertainment.
- Allergies: Cats may have allergies to food or environmental factors that can cause them to overgroom.
- Parasites: Fleas and other parasites can irritate a cat’s skin and cause overgrooming.
- Pain: Cats that are in pain may turn to overgrooming as a way to distract themselves. They may lick an area of their body – like an arthritic joint or inflamed urethra – in an attempt to soothe the pain.
Natural Treatments for Overgrooming in Cats
The following are some natural treatments for overgrooming in cats:
- Reduce stress: Reduce stress in your cat’s environment by providing a comfortable and safe space for them to relax. You can also try playing calming music or using natural calming formulas or pheromone sprays to reduce anxiety.
- Provide mental stimulation: Provide your cat with toys and activities that will keep them mentally stimulated, such as puzzle feeders or interactive toys.
- Change their diet: Dry food contains high amounts of carbohydrates, which cats are sensitive to. Try switching to a diet that is low in carbohydrates to reduce skin and internal inflammation.
- Herbal remedies: There are a variety of herbal remedies that can help reduce anxiety and stress in cats, such as valerian root, chamomile, and lavender.
- Supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids can help improve skin health and reduce inflammation. You can also try giving your cat a probiotic to help support their gut health.
Overgrooming in cats can be a challenging behavior to manage, but with the right treatment plan, it can be controlled. By addressing the underlying cause of the behavior and providing your cat with the necessary support, you can help them live a healthier and happier life.
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