Most cats are meticulous groomers. Cats typically spend between 30 and 50 percent of their day grooming themselves. As a cat owner, it will understandably worry you if you notice that your kitten is incessantly nibbling and scratching away at some part of his body.
Female cats are more likely than males to lick, chew, or pull on their fur. This compulsive grooming behaviour can leads to the extend that he removes the fur and damage his skin, making it bleed. This sort of behaviour might be due to irritation from some kind of skin disease, such as mange or ringworm that requires medical attention. You should seek veterinary professional advice as soon as possible.
However, some of these self-chewing cats are not suffering from any physical form of ailment. Rather, it is all in their minds. Such mental disorders are more likely to occur in indoor cats, which may be due to the fact that they receive less exercise and excitement than outdoor cats.
Like over-grooming, together with other phenomena such as obsessive self- licking and self-pawing is stress related. Something in the cat’s environment or the way he is treated will influencing his behaviour.
As with other cat problems caused by anxiety and stress, you need to identify what has triggered his bizarre behaviour. Take steps to overcome or neutralize the triggers and find ways of more generally boosting the cat’s confidence. Provide opportunities for your cat to relieve his stress in other, non- damaging ways. Such as being able to take refuge on some high-up shelf or another vantage point.
Vet will normally recommend making surrounding changes or introductions gradually, if no medical cause can be identified. Treating over grooming as the result of some form of stress in a cat’s life by introducing changes such as:
- Bringing familiar items (such as bedding)
- Adding cat-friendly vertical space – high places where cats can retreat and feel safe
- Keeping their environment stimulating by finding a few minutes (ten to 15 minutes daily will do) to play with them each day