Cat over-grooming him/herself and pulling hair out!

Parasites, like fleas and mites, will cause a cat to overgroom, lick excessively, pull hair out, and itch. Treating the cat for the particular parasite is imperative to get rid of the primary cause. Medications may be necessary to treat secondary complications, such as skin infections or allergic reactions to flea saliva.

Feline folliculitis is a common infection that can affect the hair follicles—the part of the hair that resides below the skin and regulates hair growth—in both dogs and cats. Folliculitis usually occurs when a healthy hair follicle becomes compromised and is then attacked by bacteria.

Alopecia is another condition in cats that will cause overgrooming & hair plucking. Cats are very psychological beings. They are easily stressed and can be very spiteful. A cat who experiences stress in his/her environment may overgroom. It is important to understand cat behavior and to realize that they may be stressed even if you don’t think they are. Stressors that commonly affect individual cats (& not all cats) are:

  • Poor relationships with other cats or pets in the household
  • Poor relationships with certain humans in the household
  • A new baby, A new pet, the Presence of other cats outside (who are seen through doors/windows)
  • Not having enough high areas to ascend to (cats love elevation)
  • Being confined.
  • A change in attention from the owner (amount or quality of time spent with the cat or just being home)
  • Change in diet or feeding schedule
  • Change in location of litter pans.
  • Pain may be another inciting cause.
  • Cats can experience arthritic pain, tail base pain, neuropathic pain, or any other form of pain that may cause stress.

Your veterinarian will perform a complete & thorough physical examination to help determine the cause of the overgrooming. Parasiticides, anti-anxiety therapies, and behavior modification techniques may be discussed with your veterinarian.