Is your cat licking its own hair off and grooming itself excessively? You are now in the appropriate location if the response is yes. Say hello! James Johnson here, and today I’ll be discussing how to stop a cat from licking its fur off.
An e-collar placed around the neck of a cat will stop it from repeatedly licking its fur off, if you have one as a pet. Bandages or a specific solution can be applied to the wounds to make them taste unpleasant and prevent the cat from licking them.
In addition, there are a number of ways to stop your cat from licking its fur. However, before you can solve your cat’s issue, you must understand why cats lick their hair so frequently. I’ll now go over all of the cat-licking issues and remedies in this post.
So let’s start right now!
Why Is My Cat Licking Its Fur Off?
I want to start by explaining why cats lick their fur off. True, cats have tongues that are like rough sandpaper and coated with tiny hooks called papillae. With each lick, these hooks are intended to seize hold of stray hair and grime. They are therefore successful in maintaining cats’ glossy, clean coats.
Their tongues, however, are not made to sever whole patches of fur. If your cat is licking the hair off of its body, there is definitely a problem. Though it is a prevalent issue in cats of all ages and breeds, overgrooming is a tendency that may be controlled.
Psychological problems and medical problems are two general categories of the causes of this behavior.
Let’s look more closely.
When under stress, some cats will lick their fur. This is referred to as a “displacement habit” frequently. Displacement behavior reduces arousal, which helps cats deal with stress. An illustration would be if a cat felt threatened by another cat.
Some cats will react by grooming themselves as they choose whether to attack, flee, or hide. They feel less strain and stress as a result. Normally, this only lasts a short while, but it has the potential to develop into an unhealthy obsessive habit.
Cats groom themselves to release endorphins, which are happy hormones, from their brains. This explains why cats take so much pleasure in grooming and devote hours to it every day. They experience true joy and fulfillment as a result.
As a result, cats with psychological problems like worry, stress, or depression may overgroom themselves. This is how cats soothe themselves. It helps them feel more at ease and provides them a purpose. This results in psychogenic alopecia, or hair loss.
By recognizing the symptoms, you should be able to determine whether your cat is stressed. I can always tell when my cat has been startled since she tends to hide and behave strangely.
When a cat sheds significantly more hair than normal, stress is probably at blame. However, stress must be persistent and severe in order to cause psychogenic alopecia. It will frequently be a combination of several stresses working simultaneously.
Cat sadness with the arrival of a new kitten is frequent because your cat may feel as though their domain has been invaded. Moving houses can also lead to excessive grooming because it completely alters your cat’s habitat.
Obsessive licking and hair loss might result from moving your furniture, being alone without a family member home, or living in a hectic environment.
Some cats go to great lengths to groom. If the stressor persists, it could begin as a displacement behavior and eventually develop into a compulsive condition.
For instance, if a cat has frequent bullying from another cat, they could take displacement behavior to the limit and exhibit it even when not under stress.
Additionally, cats who are afflicted by certain medical problems may lick their fur off. The majority of these ailments result in painful and itchy skin for your cat. They then attempt to ease the itch by repeatedly scratching and licking it, which sheds their fur.
Cats may lick their fur off for a variety of reasons, including:
Fleas are likely to blame if you find that your cat is balding around its tail on its back. The base of the tail frequently attracts these bothersome parasites, which makes it particularly irritating there. Overgrooming may also be caused by lice and mites.
Skin Infection: Skin infections itch and hurt, making the affected region scratch, bite, and lick excessively. Rashes and sores should be watched out for since they both indicate an infection. Our feline pals frequently suffer from fungus-related conditions like ringworm.
Allergies: Cats with allergies will overgroom themselves. Most allergies are either brought on by environmental or dietary allergens. Try to identify the possible causes of the cat’s excessive brushing of its rear legs and tummy because allergies are quite likely to be the cause.
Arthritis: Cats with arthritis tend to be older cats and can experience significant joint pain and movement problems. Cats frequently overgroom themselves as a coping mechanism. Do not assume that a purring cat is cheerful; cats do purr when they are in agony! Your cat may have arthritis if they become abruptly sluggish, feeble, and more agitated than normal.
The term “psychogenic alopecia” is frequently used to describe excessive grooming. Pet owners will observe their cat licking the fur off of their legs, back, abdomen, or chest.
Some cats may use their teeth to tear off fur, causing skin sores and ulcerations in the process. This behavior is frequently linked to a fresh source of stress in the cat’s life. Although it can happen to any cat, psychogenic alopecia is more frequent in young female cats.
What Does It Mean When Your Cat is Licking Its Fur Off?
Although your cat may lick its hair to get rid of dirt and smells, if it does so frequently, this is not beneficial for the cat. This may occur for a variety of psychological or physiological causes. Let’s look at some of the reasons your cat licks its own fur.
Cat licking tendencies are often a result of parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites, which can cause severe itching all over the cat’s body. In other words, these irritants cause a cat to lick its own hair. An indication that your cat may have parasites is if you see it licking its lower back repeatedly.
Allergic dermatitis, another name for severe allergies, causes a lot of cats to lick their fur off. These skin conditions can be brought on by dust, mold, certain foods, and parasite hypersensitivity (for example, fleas). As a result, cats experience itchiness that causes them to lick their fur.
Cats’ dry skin might cause them to occasionally lick their fur off. They often don’t consume much water during the dry winter. Because of this, they have nutritional deficiencies and lick themselves to feel better right away.
Pain: If you see that your cat is repeatedly licking the same location on its body excessively, it may be in pain there. For instance, if your cat frequently licks its abdomen around its bladder, it may be trying to relieve pain.
Wounds and Infections: Your cat may sustain wounds from another cat’s bite, and it may also get infections right away. For this reason, your cat could lick its fur off. The cat frequently loses fur where it has been injured. To soothe the irritated region, it licks it.
Anal Gland Issues: If your cat is frequently licking the area around its rectum, it likely has anal gland issues. Your cat could lick the anal gland region and shave the surrounding hair.
Ringworm: Another potential cause of cat licking behavior is ringworm, often known as Dermatophyte Fungi in the medical community. If your cat is licking the same region repeatedly, it most likely has ringworm and is doing so to relieve the itching.
How to Stop a Cat From Overgrooming?
With this knowledge, we can better understand how to prevent cats from licking their own fur off. A trip to the veterinarian should always be your first action. They are able to exclude some medical disorders or provide remedies to cure them.
Additionally, there are things you may do at home to assist in preventing your cat from overgrooming.
To see whether they can stop your cat’s compulsive licking, try any of these suggestions.
Scabs on cats shouldn’t ever be picked off. This can exacerbate the illness and increase the likelihood of infection, opening up the skin and making your cat more prone to groom. A vicious cycle of scabbing, picking, itching, and scabbing again ensues.
While it is simple for us not to pick scabs, your cat cannot be taught to refrain from doing so. Cats will instinctively desire to scratch and lick their sores in an effort to reduce the irritation. This has the same result as picking scabs: the affected area will open up, become infected, and become more painful.
One of the greatest methods to prevent your cat from licking itself is using head cones. While you are trying to determine what is causing the behavior or holding out for the therapy to take effect, this is a fantastic alternative. It will be challenging to groom its back legs and stomach since the collar will get in the way.
There are certain restrictions, though. For starters, they don’t do a great job of keeping cats from licking the fur off their front legs. Your cat can continue to comb this region because the cone won’t get in the way too much. Additionally, most cats will manage to escape from a head cone.
These cones are uncomfortable for cats to wear, therefore I advise securing them to your cat’s usual collar to try to reduce the number of successful escape attempts.
Reduce Anxiety Triggers
Cats with anxiety need to learn how to handle their stress. A cat may lick itself excessively as a coping method when it’s agitated. Your cat may not be aware of what they’re doing, but their behavior may be a means for them to express their ideas.
Hair pulling is a typical stress response as well. Large clumps of hair may be pulled out by your cat, leaving bare spots on their skin. Self-harming conduct of this nature is a clear sign that treatment is required immediately.
Although stress is a major issue, your cat may actually be suffering from an anxiety disorder. These behaviors can occur even in peaceful environments since some cats are prone to higher levels of stress than others. Try to spend some time monitoring your cat to identify the source of their worry and, if at all feasible, eliminate it.
They’ll only need some time to get used to it. It might also be something smaller, like a change in the way the furniture is arranged.
You should consult your veterinarian to come up with a proper treatment plan for more neurotic cats.
No Lick Sprays
You could find no-lick sprays and overgrooming ointments at your neighborhood pet store. These are topical remedies that must be used on the region that your cat is constantly licking. They taste extremely bitter, which cats detest. This may deter licking because it is unpleasant to self-groom if it tastes bad.
In order to stop my cat from removing her head cone, I prefer to apply no-lick sprays. They are a fantastic backup plan even if they aren’t as good at preventing overgrooming. However, keep in mind that it could take some time and some testing with several products before you discover one that works.
Because different ointments and sprays contain unique components, they all have somewhat distinct tastes. Try another food if your cat doesn’t appear to mind the flavor of the first. In addition, you might discover that using a spray rather than a cream is simpler.
Remember that no-lick spays are an excellent choice for anxious cats with psychogenic alopecia. If your cat has open sores, bites, or other infections, they may irritate their skin. To minimize irritation, be careful not to spray or apply these lotions directly on top of a wound.
Explore Dietary Concerns
Allergies may be at blame if your cat seems to be licking their fur more frequently than usual and you observe redness on their skin. Environmental factors and food triggers are only two of the numerous possible allergy causes. The only accurate way to know is to have a veterinarian give your cat a complete examination.
Grass, certain chemicals, and other potentially irritating substances can cause environmental allergies in people. Food allergies are frequently caused by anything consumed on a regular basis, most frequently eggs, dairy, wheat, or soy.
Even though grain-free recipes are widely available these days, grain allergies are really among the less frequent health issues that cats might experience. In order to find a decent treatment, it is important to identify the actual cause before making any dietary modifications.
Treatment for Excessive Licking in Cats
Finding the root of the issue that is causing your cat to lick their hair off is the greatest approach to assist them. Taking your cat to the vet is the most effective course of action.
They’ll probably carry out or suggest any or all of the following:
History. A complete medical history will be obtained by your veterinarian. When the issue first began, the level of itching, the drugs or treatments you’ve tried, whether you’re administering any medications, and anything that has made the issue better or worse will all be things that they will ask you.
Examination. The skin and hair will be physically inspected by your veterinarian. They will carefully observe the area of hair loss, the state of the hair, and assess any skin problems.
scrapes of the skin. A treatment known as “skin scraping” is frequently advised. To collect skin cells for the purpose of checking for mites and other skin parasites, a sharp blade is softly scraped over the skin. A microscope is used to analyze these scrapings.
fungus populations. Dermatophytes, or ringworm, can lead to hair loss. Hair from the lesion’s edge can be removed and cultured by putting it on specialized culture medium. The presence of dermatophytes is indicated by the culture medium turning from yellow to red.
Trichogram. A trichogram examines hair under a microscope to see if it is growing normally or if any hairs are damaged, which would suggest self-induced alopecia.
food test If the alopecia is caused by pruritus, allergy tests or a hypoallergenic diet experiment may be conducted to rule it out.
Biopsy. Finding the reason for fur loss can be done with the use of a skin biopsy. A veterinary pathologist will examine one or more tiny samples of skin removed from a skin lesion.
Once the root cause has been identified, appropriate therapies can be suggested to deal with the issue.