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Why Cats Overgroom & How You Can Stop It

Why Cats Overgroom & How You Can Stop It

Sometimes a cat likes to groom themselves, but sometimes they can go too far. In this blog, our Carrollton vets share tips on how you stop your cat from overgrooming and explain why they do it.

What Is Cat Overgrooming

Overgrooming is when cats spend excessive time licking and grooming themselves. It is very important to keep your kitty well-groomed and clean because it clears away any dead skin, detangles knots as well as prevents matting that can be very painful for your feline friend. Although, too much grooming is not a good thing. When cats begin to overgroom themselves it can lead to hair loss and an increased number of hairballs. When a cat spends more than 50% of their waking hours grooming, it can be considered overgrooming. If you have any questions about cat overgrooming, be sure to ask your vet during your next routine exam

Why Cats Overgroom

Referred to as psychogenic alopecia, compulsive grooming typically arises due to alterations in the cat's daily routine or environment. This could include events like moving to a new residence or the introduction of a fresh family member or pet. Cats are notably perceptive creatures and can even pick up on the stress levels of those around them.

There can be a number of other reasons for your cat to be overgrooming. Whether this is a new or recent habit, see if you can identify any of the following reasons why your cat might be grooming below.


If your kitty loves to groom themselves, it could be a sign that they may be in pain. Cat excessive grooming serves as an indicator that your cat is experiencing discomfort or distress. This is often present when the cats are consistently focused on licking a specific area of their body.

Allergies or Infections

Overgrooming can be caused by factors such as infections, food allergies, parasites, or environmental substances. Look at the pattern of fur loss in your cat, it might offer clues to the underlying issue. For example, Flea allergies cause a noticeable irritation at the tail's base. Ear mites cause hair loss and scabbing appearing on the neck and ears. Allergic reaction to pollen causes heightened paw pad chewing. 

Boredom or Stress

Certain cats engage in excessive grooming as a strategy to manage stress or alleviate boredom. The act of licking is believed to trigger the release of endorphins, which in turn helps to ease anxiety. Thus, when a cat dealing with stress discovers comfort in licking, this behavior can transform into a habitual practice.

How Pet Owners Can Stop Overgrooming

Effectively managing and ending a cat's excessive grooming, relies on tackling its underlying cause. Your veterinarian possesses the expertise to identify the fundamental reason and offer medical interventions or recommendations to discourage the behavior if it's linked to behavioral issues.

If you are noticing your cat's fur disappearing, or are concerned about overgrooming, contact our Carrollton vets today. 

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Carroll County Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Carrollton companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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