27 May 2011

Excessive grooming in cats

Cats groom themselves a lot - and sometimes it can become excessive. Why do they do it?

Cats groom themselves a lot - and sometimes it can become excessive - why ?

  • Removes dead hairs
  • Removes scurf and other debris collected in the coat
  • Cats lose body heat by licking, leaving saliva on their hair and skin which then evaporates producing a cooling effect
  • Grooming can be a "displacement behaviour" in cats - that is, when a cat is confused or frightened it may stop what it is doing and start grooming vigorously. Owners often notice this when a cat has had an encounter with a dominant, aggressive neighbourhood cat , or when a cat has been frightened by loud noises such as fireworks or thunder claps.

Excessive grooming might be present for a variety of reasons :

  • If the skin is itchy or irritable - eg if the cat has fleas, a skin allergy or other form of skin disease.
  • If the cat is being dominated by a neighbours cat, or it has been frightened by something else.
  • If the cat is too hot and is trying to lose body heat.
  • If the cat has foreign material on its coat -it will groom itself vigorously to remove it.


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