Cats naturally groom themselves multiple times a day to stay clean and tidy. But sometimes, cats can become too fixated and groom themselves a lot. If your cat is licking himself too much, he might develop bald spots or sores on his skin. How can you stop your cat from overgrooming?
Stress, whether caused by the environment or a health issue, is a cause of overgrooming. Your cat feels comforted when she licks herself, so she may groom more if she's stressed. First, take your kitty to the veterinarian for a checkup. If she gets a clean bill of health, then look for stressors that could trigger overgrooming. These could be wide-ranging, like another pet intimidating your cat, moving the litter box, rearranging the furniture, or even a schedule change that left your cat feeling lonely. Try solutions that address the trigger directly, like reintroducing pets that aren't getting along. Or take a shirt worn by the person your cat misses and leave it near your cat's bed. Maintain your routines as much as possible, so new triggers don't develop.
Sometimes a bored cat will start overgrooming because he doesn't have enough mental stimulation.1 In those cases, there's a lot you can do to help your kitty. Start playing with him every day, getting him to chase you around the house. You can use a feather wand toy or even hold a treat in your hand and entice him to run. Try using an automated toy that works during the day while you're gone. Clicker train him and teach him tricks, eventually building up to homemade obstacle courses. Get a cat harness and leash and take him outside in your yard. Open your window shades and put a bird feeder outside the window. These are some tried-and-true methods that can help a bored cat.
Sometimes your cat needs help to relax, and that's why Comfort Zone products can be so effective. They mimic your cat's natural pheromones, signaling everything's okay. Plug Comfort Zone Cat Calming Diffuser with Opticalm Diffuser or Comfort Zone Multi-Cat Diffuser with Opticalm Diffuser into the rooms where your kitty spends the most time. If her unwanted behaviors extend into scratching or spraying, use Comfort Zone Spray & Scratch Control Spray on the affected areas once a day. If she's often on-the-go, whether inside or outside, put a Comfort Zone Calming Pheromone Collar on. The calming notes will follow her wherever she goes.
Help reduce the effects of stress on your cat. Focus on her e-meow-tional health with calming pheromones and interactive play, and by reducing the external sources of stress to help bring your kitty back to a calm state of mind.
1. Stilwell, Natalie. "Why Cats Overgroom and How You Can Stop It." PetMD, 12 November 2020, https://www.petmd.com/cat/general-health/how-tell-if-your-cat-over-grooming.