Senior cats & excessive grooming

Updated February 21, 2017

Excessive grooming is a problem that can strike cats at any point, but when it occurs in senior cats, it can take a significant toll on a cat's health and mental well-being. Being aware of excessive grooming in older cats and knowing more about what be contributing to the issue is something that can help you treat it. If your cat is experiencing this issue, be sure to consult with your veterinarian.


Excessive grooming in cats is when a normal behaviour has been taken too far. All cats will scratch at their fur or lick it, but a cat that grooms excessively will also bite his own fur or pull it out. According to, cats groom themselves to feel comforted, and excessive grooming is a sign that something is troubling them.


There are many things that might cause a senior cat to groom itself excessively. The cat might be experiencing some kind of stress or nervousness about a change in its environment, but there are several physical factors that might cause it as well. Hyperthyroididsm can cause excessive licking, as can kidney disease and diabetes. Parasites can cause excessive grooming as well.


Excessive grooming in senior cats can stem from a number of different sources, but the act of over-grooming can also have its own consequences. Older cats that have this issue can create bald patches in their fur, and their constant licking might also cause skin sores that can become infected because of the irritation.


Many people believe that excessive grooming is simply a sign of psychological stress. While stress does play a part in causing a cat to groom too much, there is typically some sort of physical factor in play as well.


An older cat who is showing signs of excessive grooming needs to be taken to a veterinarian for a full battery of tests. Excessive grooming can be a sign of serious health problems, and in the case of an older cat whose health might be delicate, early detection can be essential.

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