If you have recently noticed that your cat is obsessively licking, it might come as a concern. Whether they are overgrooming or lapping on random household objects, you probably want them to put the brakes on it.
Here, we will discuss some reasons why this might be happening and some at-home solutions you can try. You can work to combat the issue alone or speak with your veterinarian to rule out any significant problems.
Disclaimer: Home remedies are not an alternative to professional medical advice. If your pet has a serious issue, please consult your vet immediately.
Why Might Cats Excessively Groom?
There are several reasons why cats might excessively groom. So, we must stress that exploration of the underlying cause is essential.
Some main causes for excessive grooming include:
If you notice other symptoms accompany the licking, you should make an appointment with your vet to discuss the problem in more detail.
Why Might Cats Excessively Lick Objects?
Some cats are just plain weird—but licking objects can be a sign of a bigger medical issue. Typically with cats trying to eat or lick non-food items, it could be a sign of pica.
Pica is a nutrient deficiency causing the body to crave things with no nutritional value, such as dirt, clay, ice, paper, and sand.
Though pica may spike from an underlying health condition, it can also be the result of pregnancy or stress in your feline. Your veterinarian can determine the underlying reasons.
The 8 Remedies for Excessive Licking
1. Reduce Anxiety Triggers
Stress management is huge for cats with anxiety. When a cat is stressed out, it might cause excessive licking as a coping mechanism. Your cat might not realize they’re doing this, but their behavior can come as a way to channel thoughts.
Another frequent symptom of stress includes hair pulling. Your cat might pull out large chunks of hair, creating bald patches on their skin. This type of self-harming behavior is an indication that management is absolutely needed.
Stress is a huge problem, but it could be an actual anxiety disorder that plagues your cat. Some cats are naturally more high-stress than others, which can cause these behaviors even in calm settings. Try spending some time observing your cat to understand what is causing them to feel stressed, and remove it if at all possible. It may be something as big as bringing a new baby home—which they’ll simply need time to adjust to—or something more minor like a change in the furniture layout.
For more neurotic cats, you need to speak with your veterinarian to determine a good plan of care.
2. Explore Dietary Concerns
If your cat seems to be licking their fur more than normal, and you notice irritation on their skin, allergies could be the reason. Allergies can have many potential triggers, including environmental and dietary. The only real way to tell is to have your cat thoroughly examined by a veterinarian.
Environmental allergies include grass, certain chemicals, and other compounds found in their daily living space that could be irritating. Food allergies are typically related to something in their daily diet, most commonly egg, dairy, wheat, or soy.
As much as grain-free recipes are spread all over the place these days, grain allergies are actually some of the least common that cats can face. So, before you make any dietary changes, it is crucial to pinpoint exactly the cause so you can come up with a good solution.
3. Try Redirecting the Behavior
If your cat isn’t supposed to be licking something constantly, you might as well positively redirect their attention. Some really great alternatives to your cat licking everything in sight include catnip and cat grass.
4. Use Essential Oils
Before we make any recommendations, it’s important to understand that essential oils can be very dangerous for pets. Any time you’re going to use any essential oil, make sure that it is totally pet-friendly.
Certain essential oils will deter your cat from licking. Cats don’t like the smell or the taste, so they will steer clear of surfaces that contain these substances.
Most commonly, cats are put off by lavender, lemongrass, eucalyptus, and peppermint. Remember to dilute any essential oils to reduce the potency before applying, and application should only be onto other objects, never onto your cat.
5. Offer More Entertainment
Excessive licking could be a cause of sheer boredom. Maybe your cat just needs a ton of toys to keep them busy. The more your cat is occupied, the less downtime they will have to lick random things in your home.
And, if you haven’t thought of it already, maybe your cat could use a playmate. Instead of randomly licking objects around your house, perhaps they could enjoy grooming their new friend instead.
6. Keep Surfaces Clean
Cats can smell much better than we can. If they are smelling remnants of food and other attractive smells, they might be licking every single fiber they can gather. Clean your counters and other surfaces of your home thoroughly to remove the scent. Make sure the area where you collect garbage in your house is also free from residue.
7. Use DIY Citrus Sprays
Some cats despise the smell and taste of citrus. It’s extremely easy to get a few lemon rinds to make a lemon spray concoction. Once you add some lemon, or oranges, and water, you can spritz the different surfaces of your home where your cat might be excessively licking.
While this is usually an excellent way to deter them, some cats actually enjoy the taste, so you have to keep an eye on them.
8. Seek Veterinary Attention
If you think this is a very peculiar behavior that doesn’t seem to reduce no matter what you do, a vet appointment might be necessary. There can be many underlying health conditions that cause your cat to lick excessively.
It could be that they require a nutrient in their diet or have something going on with a part of their body. When the brain isn’t signaling correctly to the body, it can cause all sorts of weird behaviors.
Also, if you notice any accompanying symptoms, make sure to note them so you can discuss everything with your vet.
No matter the underlying reason for your cat’s obsessive licking, you can use one or more of these methods to curb the behavior. Ultimately, making an appointment with your vet is the best idea.
That way, if it can be helped, your vet can make recommendations or prescribe treatment as necessary.
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Featured Image Credit by: TeamK, Pixabay