Cat overgrooming is when your feline begins excessively cleaning themselves to the point it causes inflammation of the skin.
Overgrooming in cats is not life-threatening, but symptoms can lead to long-term discomfort and pain.
The majority of felines are highly accomplished groomers. This practice of self-cleaning, where dust, dead skin, dirt and loose hairs are removed from the body, is as natural to them as showers are to us.
Excessive grooming in cats isn’t natural though, and can occur for a number of reasons.
Compulsive licking is a way of making themselves feel better during stressful situations or when they are feeling anxious.
This could be down to a change in their daily routine or the home environment. Some felines don’t respond well to the arrival of a new pet, or a baby, for instance. Others struggle with loud noises. Do they have proper access to water, food and litter trays? Do they have a comfortable place to sleep?
Some cats may start repeatedly licking themselves simply because they are bored.
Once you have ruled out any potential behavioural issues, you will need to start considering medical causes.
Skin allergies and infections are two common culprits.
It may be that your cat is experiencing pain or discomfort in a particular area, and they are grooming themselves there in an attempt to soothe the irritation. This will only intensify the pain.
Addressing the cause as quickly as possible is key to managing excessive grooming. If you think it may be a medical condition, consult with a vet.