over-grooming in cats is common and a sign of stress

bald patches on cats, can mean overgrooming cat OVER-GROOMING

Cats are natural self-groomers. In fact, they spend up to 25% of their lives grooming themselves.
But when they overdo the cleaning it can lead to bald spots which are often indicative of deeper issues, either stress related or with their physical health.

Plugging in a FELIWAY Diffuser can ease the situation and help restore your cat’s normal, cuddly appearance. But first, you should identify the issue to make sure it’s not something more serious. 

What does over-grooming look like?

over-groomed cat with bald patches

You'll see a line or stripe down the back or on the foreleg of your cat with what looks like very short, stubbly hair. This can lead to open sores on the skin which might become infected.

Note that in some cases, you might not be able to see your cat while licking, chewing or hair pulling, as most of them over-groom at night or when you're away!

Not seeing your cat over-grooming does not mean they do not do it.

* image thanks to N.Massal

What causes a cat to over-groom?

There are a number of reasons why cats will over-groom.

One reason can be their environment, including fleas, allergies, or dermatitis.

Another reason can be due to stress from moving, renovating, having visitors over, multi-cat tension, or more. To see if this could be the issue take the Assess You Cats Well Being test.

Another reason could be due to genetic issues as purebred cats or cats that display several signs of anxiety over a long period more frequently suffer from over-grooming.



Firstly take your cat to the vet to address the issue and make sure it is not a serious medical problem.


Look for potential allergens recently introduced to your cat that may be causing the over-grooming (for example did you change the food).


Help reduce your cat’s stress by using a FELIWAY Diffuser in your cats favourite room/s.


Playing with your cat will help reduce its anxiety and keep it feeling happy.


Provide toys, climbing opportunities (cat tree, shelves...) to keep your cat active and occupied, to prevent boredom.

To see how to provide essential resources to your cat(s), download our



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