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Did you know that grooming is a learned behavior that helps your purr-fect kitty stay clean and soothe themselves? Some grooming is necessary for your furry friend to keep their coat looking fabulous!
However, there are times when your kitty may groom a little too much! This may be as a result of skin itches, allergies or other health concerns and you might notice that they’re licking, biting or nibbling themselves more than normal. Or your kitty may be overgrooming due to stress; licking releases endorphins which naturally soothes your cat so they may become addicted to this feeling.
So how can you help your feline friend and prevent furballs? If you notice that your kitty is grooming more than usual and this is a new habit, then you’ll want to ensure that you create a comforting, stress-free environment to help them feel more relaxed.
5 Steps To Prevent Over-Grooming
1. Take Your Cuddly Kitty To The Vet
Your kitty may be grooming as the result of a skin condition or to soothe pain they may be experiencing so it’s always a good idea to take your kitty to the vet and rule out any medical issues. Overgrooming can result in a self-inflicted injury, especially if overgrooming is causing hair thinning, balding, and skin infections so it’s important to help your cat reduce grooming to normal levels. Once you’ve ruled out any health concerns, your vet can also help you understand what may be causing your cat stress.
2. Pamper Your Paw-some Pal
Make your home as cat-friendly as possible and remember that felines love a bit of affection! Cats are creatures of habit so it’s best to establish a daily routine to help them feel more secure and in control. Setting regular times for food and play time with your cat will help keep them happy. You should also ensure that you provide your kitty with plenty of resources, including access to fresh water, food, a litter box, scratching posts, toys, treats, and plenty of cosy places to sleep. Make sure you follow the golden rules for your kitty’s resources: provide one of each resource for every cat in your house, plus one extra!
3. Try To Remove The Source Of Stress
Did you know that kitties don’t like change? Events like moving, decorating, or introducing a new pet or family member, or even being home alone without something to keep them occupied can trigger stress for your cat. If you’re introducing changes around your home then try and carry these out gradually. If you’ve just moved to a new house, it’s best to keep your kitty to one room for a while, containing all the resources they’ll need, before you introduce them to the rest of the house.
4. Never Punish Your Kitty
You should never punish your kitty for their behavior as this will only create more stress and damage your friendship. If you notice your cat overgrooming then try and distract them; encourage them to play with you, as this will also help relieve any stress they may be feeling and strengthen your bond. Your kitty may be less likely to overgroom when you’re around, so if you’re leaving them alone ensure you provide their favorite toys, and plenty of cozy blankets. Leaving an item of clothing with your scent on it can also help them feel more secure.
5. Seek Help From A Behaviorist
If your cat has been overgrooming for a considerable amount of time then it may have become a habit for them. Just as humans have a hard time kicking certain habits, it may be difficult for your cat to stop grooming even once they’re no longer stressed. In this case, additional treatment may be needed to help reduce your kitty’s overgrooming. You can contact a qualified behavior professional or veterinarian to advise you on how you can help your cat modify their behavior.
Calm Your Kitty To Reduce Overgrooming
Helping your furry friend to overcome their stress is crucial to reducing overgrooming. Also consider using FELIWAY Optimum to help your kitty feel more secure in their environment.
Remember that grooming is a necessary behavior for your cat - but you’ll need to recognize signs of overgrooming to ensure that your kitty’s grooming doesn’t get out of hand! FELIWAY Optimum supports a calming environment and is clinically proven to help reduce stress-related behaviors such as overgrooming.