Why is my cat grooming herself aggressively?

  • Date: May 26, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Cats are known for their obsessive grooming habits, but if your cat is grooming herself aggressively, it could be a sign of an underlying issue. Aggressive grooming can be a sign of stress, boredom, and even a medical condition. It’s important to understand why your cat is behaving this way so you can take appropriate steps to help her. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why cats groom themselves aggressively, as well as how to address the issue and help your cat feel more comfortable.

Overview of Cat Grooming

Cats are fastidious groomers and will often spend up to half of their waking hours grooming themselves. Grooming is an important part of keeping cats healthy and can help to rid them of parasites, dirt, and excess oils. Cats groom themselves with their tongues, claws, and paws and may use a grooming comb or brush to help with mats and tangles.

In some cases, cats may groom themselves too aggressively, leading to excessive licking, biting, and scratching which can cause skin irritation and hair loss. This behavior is often seen in cats who are stressed, anxious, or have underlying medical conditions that need to be addressed. In this article, we will discuss why cats may groom themselves too aggressively and what can be done to help.

Understanding Your Cat’s Behavior

Cats groom themselves for many reasons, including to remove dirt and parasites, to maintain their coat, and to mark their territory. However, excessive grooming can indicate a psychological or medical problem. It is important to understand the context of your cat’s behavior in order to determine if there is an underlying problem.

If your cat has recently suffered a major change in his environment, such as a move to a new home, the introduction of a new pet, or the loss of a human companion, he may be experiencing stress or anxiety. This can lead to excessive grooming as a way to cope with the change.

In other cases, excessive grooming can be a sign of a medical condition. If your cat is grooming himself too aggressively, it is important to rule out any underlying medical conditions, such as skin allergies, parasites, or infection. Your vet can help you to determine if there is an underlying medical cause.

How to Help Your Cat

If stress or anxiety is causing your cat to groom himself excessively, there are several things you can do to help. If your cat’s environment has recently changed, you can help him to adjust by providing a safe place for him to retreat to if he feels overwhelmed. You can also try to provide him with more mental stimulation, such as interactive toys and puzzles.

If your cat has an underlying medical condition, your vet may prescribe medication or recommend specific treatments to help. In some cases, your vet may also recommend behavior modification exercises to help reduce your cat’s stress levels.

It is also important to ensure that your cat’s grooming routine is adequate, as this can help to reduce the need to excessively groom. Regular brushing and combing can help to remove dirt and debris, as well as reduce the amount of shedding. You should also check your cat’s ears and paws regularly for any signs of parasites or infection.


Excessive grooming can be a sign of stress or anxiety in cats, as well as an indication of an underlying medical condition. If your cat is grooming himself too aggressively, it is important to take steps to help him, such as providing a safe place to retreat to, providing mental stimulation, and ensuring his grooming routine is adequate. If your cat’s behavior persists, you should speak to your vet to rule out any medical conditions.

##Common Myths about Cat Grooming

Myth 1: Cats groom themselves excessively because they are bored or lonely.

Fact: Cats groom themselves for a variety of reasons, including to keep their coat clean and to help them regulate their body temperature. Excessive grooming can also be a sign of stress or anxiety, or it can be a response to an underlying medical issue.

Myth 2: Overgrooming is only a problem if your cat is balding.

Fact: Overgrooming can lead to bald spots and other skin problems, so it’s important to take it seriously even if your cat isn’t balding yet. It’s best to speak to your vet if you notice your cat grooming themselves excessively.

Myth 3: Cats can’t be trained to stop overgrooming.

Fact: While cats may not respond to traditional “training” techniques, they can be taught to stop overgrooming through positive reinforcement. Providing a distraction or an alternate behavior for your cat can help redirect their attention away from their fur.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my cat grooming herself aggressively?

Answer: Aggressive grooming, or over-grooming, is a common behavior in cats. It may be caused by stress or anxiety, discomfort or pain, parasites or skin conditions, or even boredom. If your cat is grooming excessively, it is important to speak with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause.

What can I do if my cat is grooming herself aggressively?

Answer: If your cat is engaging in aggressive grooming, you should take her to the vet for a check-up. Your veterinarian will be able to determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment. In the meantime, you can try to reduce your cat’s stress levels by providing her with a safe and comfortable environment, plenty of opportunities for play, and regular interaction with you.


to help cats stop excessive grooming.

Cats rely on grooming to keep their coats healthy and free of parasites and dirt. Excessive grooming can be a sign of stress or anxiety, or of an underlying medical condition. To help your cat with excessive grooming, provide a safe place to retreat to, mental stimulation, and an adequate grooming routine. If the behavior persists, speak to your vet to rule out any medical conditions.

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