Cats groom themselves for several different reasons. The most common reasons are to remove dirt and debris from their coat, to regulate their body heat and to remove themselves from a stressful situation. However, sometimes the grooming becomes excessive. If your cat is over-grooming one particular area or if it is beginning to remove its fur, your cat could be suffering from something more serious such as fleas, allergies or too much stress. The best way to determine why your cat is over-grooming itself is to consult with your veterinarian. Let’s take a closer look at the most common reasons that cats over-groom.
Both outdoor and indoor cats can come into contact with fleas. Fleas attach themselves to a cat’s skin and suck their blood. When a flea’s saliva comes into contact with the cat’s skin, it can cause an allergic reaction. The cat will over-groom itself, sometimes removing its fur, to relieve the itching. Eliminating fleas on your cat and in your home is the only way to stop this type of over-grooming.
Female cats that are pregnant will constantly groom their genitals in order to prepare themselves for the impending birth. Although this type of grooming might seem excessive it is completely normal.
One of the leading causes of over-grooming in cats is stress. Stress grooming, or psychogenic alopecia occurs during an extremely stressful period in a cat’s life such as a move or the introduction of a new pet. During stressful times, a cat might focus on one specific area and lick the spot excessively, sometimes removing its fur or causing injury. Cats that suffer from this type of condition typically focus on their abdomen and the inside of their legs.
Like fleas, ticks can cause a cat to obsessively groom one area. Ticks are parasites that attach themselves to a cat’s skin and drink their blood. This can cause an allergic reaction that leads to over-grooming.
Cats commonly develop allergies to the ingredients in commercial cat food such as chicken, fish, corn, wheat and beef. These allergies can appear without warning in cats as young as five months or as old as fifteen years. Giving a cat the same food every day for several months or several years makes it more likely that your cat will develop allergies. When a cat develops a rash from food allergies it will obsessively lick at its paws, legs and stomach.
Claws N Paws Day Spa has been grooming dogs and cats in Orange County, California since 2001. For more information or to schedule your next grooming appointment, please call 714-962-1005 today.
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