Why Is My Cat Overgrooming?

If you’ve noticed your cat spending more time grooming themselves than usual, to the point that they have started to lick off fur or create bald spots, this excessive grooming is called overgrooming. Overgrooming in cats can happen for a variety of reasons ranging from skin irritation to stress. Getting to the root cause will help you and your veterinarian address the issue properly.


Common Causes of Cat Overgrooming

Skin Irritations

Fleas, ringworm, food allergies, and other skin conditions often cause itching or discomfort that leads cats to obsessively lick, bite and overgroom themselves for relief. If you haven’t seen any hair loss yet, check your cat thoroughly for signs of parasites, rashes, redness or scabs. Consult your vet for diagnosis and treatment options for underlying skin issues.



Changes in environment, schedule, or household members can induce psychological stress that manifests physically through compulsive grooming behavior. Think back to any recent changes, stressful events like construction noise, or tension between pets that might be the trigger. Address the root cause of stress when possible by sticking to regular daily schedules, using calming pheromone diffusers, or talking to your vet about anti-anxiety medications in extreme situations.



Boredom can lead to idle cats engaging in over-grooming, especially when left alone for long work days. Over-grooming can result in skin irritation, hair loss, and other health issues for your feline friend. Consider bringing your cat to our daycare or grooming services to combat boredom and provide mental stimulation while you’re away. Professional grooming can help maintain your cat’s coat health and prevent excessive grooming-related problems. Another cat companion can also offer camaraderie and entertainment during the day. A day at daycare can ensure your cat has a stimulating environment with interactive toys, cat towers for climbing, puzzle feeders, and daily play sessions.Idle cats, especially those left home alone for long work days, will over groom simply out of boredom and a need for mental stimulation. Make sure your cat has an enriching home environment with interactive toys, cat towers for climbing, puzzle feeders, and play sessions each day. Consider getting a second feline companion to provide camaraderie and entertainment during the day.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder  

In rarer cases, overgrooming stems from a psychiatric disorder causing repetitive compulsions unrelated to medical or environmental factors. OCD is challenging to control but your vet can prescribe behavior-altering medications to help minimize the symptoms.


Treating Your Overgrooming Cat

If your cat’s excessive grooming stems from an underlying medical issue, skin irritation or parasite infestation, your vet will provide appropriate treatment options to address the root problem directly. For behavior based overgrooming, implement environmental enrichment and stress reduction techniques at home to curb the obsessive habit. 


In severe cases of hair loss, e-collars or bitter anti-lick sprays may be temporarily needed to prevent further damage and break the overgrooming cycle while anti anxiety medication kicks in. Some cats even require sedation or pain medication to essentially hit reset on their discomfort and obsessive habit.


Work closely with your veterinarian to identify the driving factor behind your cat’s excessive grooming so the right combination of medical care, medication, home enrichment and training can help resolve the issue. Patience and consistency will be key in breaking long established overgrooming behaviors.


Professional Cat Grooming 

If your cat’s overgrooming has gotten moderately out of hand, enlist professional feline grooming services to get their coat back into healthy shape. Our expert groomers at Pawhootz Pet Resort can trim your over groomed cat’s fur to an even length, or shave down completely to let the bare irritated skin heal. They will bathe your cat with gentle, soothing shampoos to clean and de-stress the skin as well. 


Let Pawhootz handle clipping your cat’s claws too so they cause less damage to already inflamed skin during excessive licking. Your cat will emerge clean, manicured and ready for a fresh retraining regimen to end their obsessive habits for good.

To schedule cat grooming or boarding in a calming home environment, contact Pawhootz Pet Resort today at 817-498-6410. Our cat care experts are ready to assist in your tricky feline overgrooming recovery.