My Cat Is Overgrooming - Causes

By Ameera Mills. Updated: December 4, 2018
My Cat Is Overgrooming - Causes

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Is your cat overgrooming? If your cat is licking everything or even if your cat is licking a specific area a lot, it may be a sign of pathology. Cats lick themselves naturally, in order to groom and keep clean. However, this behavior should not be excessive. If your cat licks itself raw, it is important to know that it’s not normal.

If you are wondering why your cat is licking everything, itself, or a specific area a lot, you have come to the right place! For more, keep reading this AnimalWised article to find out why your cat is overgrooming and how to stop cat overgrooming.

You may also be interested in: Hyperesthesia in Cats - Causes and Treatment

Cat keeps overgrooming - symptoms

Before explaining why a you cat may be licking excessively, let’s take a look at the symptoms of overgrooming in cats; so that you can recognize them. A cat’s tongue is rough, therefore, if your cat is licking a lot, you might notice a loss of hair or sores on your cat’s skin. These sores will be present themselveson the area which your cat is overgrooming.

Overgrooming in cats can be caused by either a physical or psychological problem, which will have to be identified by a veterinarian. If the physical examination done by a professional is normal, one can gather that this excessive cat licking is due to stress or boredom. In order to recognize when this behavior is becoming problematic, it’s important to understand why cats lick. For more, take a look at our AnimalWised article on; Why Do Cats Lick Each Other?

Cat overgrooming lips

Cat licking lips occurs when a cat wants to clean itself after eating or drinking. However, if you notice that your cat is licking its lips excessively, it may be a sign of oral discomfort. Such pathologies associated with cats licking lips include; gingivitis, periodontal disease or mouth ulcers. Accompanying symptoms to your cat licking it’s mouth may include, hypersalivation and/or bad breath.

To know for sure whether this is the reason your cat is licking its mouth and lips, you should consult a veterinarian who will examine your cat’s mouth. A cat that is repeatedly licking its mouth may also suffer from nausea or discomfort when swallowing. For more on cat dental health, we recommend taking a look at our article on; The Most Common Oral Diseases In Cats.

My Cat Is Overgrooming - Causes - Cat overgrooming lips

Cat overgrooming paw

Are you wondering why your cat is licking its paws? Well, as mentioned before, cats lick their bodies in order to groom; including their paws. If you cat is licking its paw excessively, it may be a sign of pathology. If your cat seems to be overgrooming its paws, your cat may be suffering from a wound on its paw or between its fingers or paw pads.

In this case, you should first examine your cat’s paw or paw pads, by doing this you may be able to visually see the presence of an injury. If the wound is superficial, you can disinfect it and control its healing process through daily examination. If, however, the wound is deep, there is infection or you notice the presence of a foreign body lunged into your cat’s paw; we suggest going to the vet. For more on a cat’s paws, have a look at; Healing Wounds On A Cat’s Paw Pads.

My Cat Is Overgrooming - Causes - Cat overgrooming paw

Cat overgrooming stomach raw

A cat’s belly is considered a very vulnerable area for a cat. A cat’s stomach is very sensitive and highly prone to injury or damage, specifically when it comes into contact with different irritants. Therefore, if you notice that your cat licking fur off, you should consult a veterinarian. Your cat may also be licking its stomach excessively because it is suffering from dermatitis or allergy.

A cat licking its stomach raw may also be a sign of pain in the lower abdomen. This type of lower stomach pain in cats may be caused by conditions such as, cystitis, otherwise known as bladder inflammation. If your cat is bleeding from her private area, as well as licking excessively, we recommend going to a veterinarian immediately.

Cat overgrooming penis

A cat that keeps licking its genitals may be suffering from a urine infection. Urine infections in cats may cause pain and itching, in addition to repeated urination. In addition, a wound on a cat’s penis can cause a cat to lick its genitals excessively, as well as struggle with urination.

If your cat keeps licking its genitals, a veterinarian will be able to diagnose your cat’s specific case, treating it accordingly. It is important that, in the case of infections, diagnosis is established early enough for this treatment to be effective. In addition, if a cat’s urine infection is not attended to as soon as possible, it can result in kidney infection in cats, as well as an obstruction in your cat’s urinary tract.

Cat overgrooming butt

If your cat is licking its butt excessively, it might be experiencing irritation cause by diarrhea or constipation. Both diarrhea or constipation in cats can cause pain or itching in this area, which is why your cat may be licking this area constantly. In addition, the presence of stool or a foreign body that hasn’t been able to expel itself, can cause your cat to lick its bum excessively.

Internal parasites in cats may also result in your cat licking this area excessively, in an attempt to get rid of discomfort. If you believe this might be the case, analyse your cat’s butt in case of anal prolapse or anal gland problems. Both of these pathologies result in a visible lump or mass, apparent on the affected area and a veterinarian will need to treat this condition accordingly. To find out more about internal parasites in cats, we recommend reading our article on: Intestinal Parasites In Cats.

Cat overgrooming base of tail

Your cat may be overgrooming the base of its tail raw. If your cat licks the base of its tail excessively, it will result in the loss of hair or presence of wounds in this area. This type of overgrooming is commonly due to the presence of fleas on your cat. In addition, if your cat is allergic to fleas, these injuries will appear to be considerably worse. This is because of the itching that the parasites cause; resulting in your cat overgrooming.

Although one cannot visibly see fleas, their remains can be identified. In addition to providing your cat with the necessary antiparasitic, a veterinarian may need to administer additional necessary medication; treating dermatitis (if present). In addition, you can take a look at our natural alternatives to treating fleas in cats; Home Remedies For Fleas In Cats.

My Cat Is Overgrooming - Causes - Cat overgrooming base of tail

How to stop cat overgrooming

If you want to know how to stop cat overgrooming, you need to know exactly why your cat is overgrooming. Therefore, a diagnosis by a veterinarian needs to be made. However, if you believe your cat is overgrooming because of stress (most common reason), here are some ways to calm a stressed cat:

  • Play with your cat.
  • Make sure your cat is in a safe, calm and secure environment.
  • Make sure if changes have been made to your cat’s routine that they have been socialized correctly. For example, have you moved house with a cat? Have you adopted a new cat? Make sure all of these changes have been made and your cat has been introduced to these changes correctly.
  • Make sure your cat is receiving the correct diet, with its required nutrients.
  • Make sure you clean your cat’s water bowl daily.
  • Make sure your cat’s litter box is clean.

For more, take a look at our article on: What to do if my cat is stressed.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to My Cat Is Overgrooming - Causes, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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Why is your cat overgrooming its butt? For the same reason I would be if I could reach it. The cat enjoys it!
Administrador AnimalWised
The word 'over' is key in this situation. Grooming is fine and healthy, but doing it too much is not.
That was really more of a joke. But yes, too much of anything is good, I mean bad for you. Thank you for posting my first post. I enjoyed the article.
We discovered our cat had urinary crystals because he was overgrooming his stomach. We've changed his diet and he grooms his stomach less, but he's expanded to his thigh. Our vet said it's a vicious cycle of him grooming irritated skin. He doesn't seem to be in any other discomfort, except from licking his skin raw on his leg. Once it's become a habit, what can be done?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Jason,

While the most important thing to do is to follow the vet's advice, we provide practical information in the article. Have you been able to try any of these suggestions?
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