Nervous Fur Licking & Scabbiness in Cats

Grooming is sometimes a nervous habit for cats.
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If your cat seems obsessive about her grooming, it may be more an indication of her nerves rather than her cleanliness. Instead of assuming your kitty is the ultimate clean freak, consider the possibility that her anxiety is driving her to pull her hair out -- literally!


Many cats indeed are meticulous about their grooming without it having anything to do with nerves at all. However, some cats do compulsively lick, suck, chew and bite on their fur as a result of stress, which results in their fur falling out and sometimes even painful scabs on the skin.


Many different factors can cause your fluffy pal to be stressed out. Even if a cat's life may seem leisurely, it isn't always that way to her! Cats don't usually respond well to change, whether moving away to a new home or dealing with a new dog in the house. If a cat is obsessively grooming herself, it may be because she feels confused, disoriented, threatened and scared by all the unfamiliarity and newness. Cats also obsessively groom themselves when they sense tension and conflict in the home. Cats are creatures that thrive on harmony and stability.


If your cat's scabs are getting out of hand, take her to the vet for a checkup immediately, especially if you notice redness, large bald spots and flakiness. In some cases, these symptoms may be associated with other health problems, including bacterial infection and allergies. Also consider asking your vet about possible temporary anti-anxiety medication options for your overwhelmed fluffball.

How You Can Help

You too can be a great help when it comes to your kitty's obsessive grooming addiction. Get to the root of what is making your cat so nervous and stressed out, and then figure what you can do to change it. If your cat is feeling lonely because you work a new job, make a point to spend at least 15 minutes playing and cuddling with her at night when you get home. If she's freaking out over the presence of a new poodle in the home, set aside a quiet and calming sanctuary so she can chill out and take things slowly, at least in the beginning. If she's melancholy because of the loss of her fave feline companion, get her focus away from grief by buying her an exciting new interactive toy -- think laser pointers, feather wands, motorized mice or catnip-stuffed butterflies. Do what you can to calm and soothe your little one's anxious mind.

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