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Is Your Cat Stressed? Reasons For Excessive Cat Grooming

Is Your Cat Stressed? Reasons For Excessive Cat Grooming

Did you know that kitty grooming is an essential part of a cat's daily routine? It is a behaviour they learn from their mother and it keeps your pet's fur looking fabulous and clean.

However, if you've noticed that your furry bundle of joy has started to groom excessively then you'll need to uncover the cause. First, you should consider any underlying medical issues that could be affecting your furry friend. Next, you should consider if there are any other issues, (read more about what causes cat stress here) like changes in their environment, or a new kitty on the block! Did you know that excessive grooming is one of the most common compulsive disorders in cats?

If you have a stressed kitty then its important to try to uncover and remove the source of their stress.


1. Your Cat May Be Unwell

It's important to take your cat to the vet to rule out any existing medical conditions. If your cat is unwell or in pain then this could be causing your cat stress, resulting in overgrooming. Or your kitty may have a medical issue which is causing them to overgroom in order to soothe their discomfort. For example, if your cat has fleas or is having an allergic reaction, then grooming may be helping them to soothe the irritation or pain - a bit like humans do when they scratch and itch. However, your kitty doesn't know that their overgrooming could be harmful! So they'll keep on doing it unless you help them!

2. Your Kitty is Stressed

Cats are pretty purrticular! Even small changes to their environment or routine can cause them to feel stressed, and overgrooming is their emotional response. Licking is a soothing action that helps them to feel comforted. Try to understand if any changes around the home have triggered this behaviour - for example, is there a new family member, loud noises or has something moved around the home? Cats are very sensitive so even a new vacuum cleaner could be upsetting them!

Try to stick to your cat's daily routine, and keep to regular meal times as this will help your kitty feel more secure. If you are making changes around the home such as redecorating then try and keep the changes gradual and quiet, if possible, to help your kitty adapt. You should also ensure that your cat has all the resources they need - plus some extras such as a cat climbing tree and interactive toys.

ginger cat grooming itself

3. Boredom May Be Causing Your Cat To Overgroom

If your kitty is left alone for long periods of time without much to keep them occupied, then they may be overgrooming to fill their time. Ensuring that your cat has lots of mental and physical exercise as well as a dedicated playtime every day will help them feel pawsome! Just like people, they need things to fill their time to ensure they don't get bored. When you have to leave your puss at home, think about the kinds of toys that you can leave behind to keep them occupied - for example, food toys can take a lot of time to solve while stimulating them mentally.

brown tabby  cat grooming itself

4. Overgrooming has developed into a habit!

Because grooming is a soothing action that reduces kitty stress over time, this action can become familiar and develop into a habit; once your kitty gets used to grooming frequently, it may be difficult to break the habit. Consulting a behaviourist can help you understand your kitty's actions and help you to help them to overcome their overgrooming!


Most kitties want some affection and interaction from you, such as love or playing, especially if you have a more outgoing kitty! Be a friend to your cat and make sure that you're spending time with them as this can help reduce their stress. You can also consider plugging in a FELIWAY Optimum diffuser a clinically proven solution to reassure cats at home and make them feel secure and comfortable, reducing stress-related grooming. This will provide constant comfort to your cuddly kitty!

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