- We strive to provide complete care for our patients. Learn more about all the services we provide.
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
3 Ways to Keep Your Indoor Cat Entertained
If your cat is bored, he or she may develop behavioral problems. To help prevent boredom, here are three ways to keep your indoor cat entertained.
It is normal for cats to groom themselves throughout the day. In fact, cats may spend up to one half of each day grooming themselves. For this reason, you may not even notice if your cat starts to groom himself or herself excessively. Nonetheless, if your cat constantly licks himself or herself or is pulling out his or her fur, the behavior must be addressed and you should consult with your feline veterinarian.
What Constitutes Excessive Grooming?
Excessive grooming includes constant licking as well as pulling out tufts of hair. It can be caused by a medical problem or may be a compulsive disorder known as psychogenic alopecia.
Why Does My Cat Groom Excessively?
Cats groom excessively for a variety of reasons. For instance, intra-dermal skin tests and dermatological observation by a feline veterinarian may reveal skin parasites, fleas, food sensitivities, cystitis or other conditions that can be easily treated. Treatment may include prescribed or over-the-counter medications, natural remedies or an alteration in your cat's environment. Sometimes a change in diet may be all that is required.
Another reason your cat may groom excessively is that he or she has internal parasites, an endocrine imbalance or other serious medical issues. Your veterinarian may perform a blood test to determine whether your cat is suffering from an internal parasite or other medical condition.
In addition, your veterinarian might ask you questions regarding your cat's other behaviors, especially those that have recently changed. Certain changes in your cat’s behaviors, such as repetitive licking in one area, known as fur mowing, can be indicative of pain in the area and can be caused by anal sac impaction or injury. Knowing whether your cat is engaging in activities such howling at night, regurgitating, hiding, twitching, sneezing, coughing or wheezing or destroying things will help your veterinarian diagnose the cause of any excessive grooming habits.
Other Potential Causes of Excessive Grooming
Over-grooming due to medical reasons should be ruled out before concluding that your cat is exhibiting a compulsive disorder. If there is no evidence of a medical issue, excessive grooming may be psychogenic in nature.
Psychogenic alopecia can be caused by certain conditions, such as age-related cognitive difficulty, anxiety or boredom. Cats with age-related cognitive difficulty may start to groom excessively as a reaction to neurological changes that can occur with age.
Perhaps your cat is seeking attention due to a change in or addition to his or her environment. For example, introducing a new baby or pet into your home may be too much of a disruption to your cat’s routine, causing him or her to over-groom.
Another possibility is that your cat is experiencing anxiety because you're working more hours away from home or because you're exhibiting stressful behavior yourself.
Your cat may also simply be bored. Keeping him or her better entertained can solve many behavioral issues, including excessive grooming.
Your feline veterinarian can help determine the underlying reason for your cat's over-grooming and ascertain the best course of treatment to solve the problem.
New patients get 50% OFF office call!
Sign-up using the form or call us at 208-436-9818 to take advantage of this exclusive offer.
Don't take a good vet for granted, that's what I say. I currently live in another state and have taken my 10 year old dog to numerous vets over the years (California, Colorado, Vegas, and then some). Never have I ever received the attention and care I've gotten w/Dr. Hines. Within the past 3 months alone, my dog went to 3 different vets for a horrible and painful skin problem that broke out all over her body.
The first vet: I spent more time ponying up the $175 for the visit than the Dr. spent actually looking at my dog. He performed a woods lamp exam for ringworm. Even without Google or a veterinary degree, I could tell it wasn't ringworm. Thanks for taking my money.
Second vet: "Here's some spray, now here's your bill. Bring her back in two weeks so I can charge you another visit." No tests, nothing.
Between the two, I felt like I got nowhere. No definitive answer on why this affected my dog and the medication given wasn't even for a diagnosed condition. Just some general topical spray. I could have bought it at Petsmart and saved myself the time and money.
Recently, on a visit to Idaho, I planned ahead to bring my dog to the Rupert Animal Clinic. I asked the same questions, had the same concerns and now have different results. Dr. Hines gave me options on what route to take, ran appropriate tests and communicated with me every step of the way (even calling me personally when test results came in). My primary concern was cancer. Our dog is like our child- we'll pay the money if we can keep her healthy and safe. In the future, I've resolved to bring my dog to Rupert Animal Clinic on our annual trip for all of her exams. I know she won't be treated as a little cash cow to exploit an owner's love for pets.