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Anxious and overgrooming cat

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Your question answered:-Our cat has always seemed a bit nervous and over-reacts to noises or movements. She often hides and grooms herself excessively

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Our cat Becky has always seemed a bit nervous. She over-reacts to noises or sudden movements more than any other cat we have had. She often hides from the humans in the house and appears to anxious.

She also grooms herself excessively doing full body cleans about 2-4 times a day and will frequently "chew" the fur on her 'ruff' down her front.

At this stage, there is no thin or bare patches but the fur length is uneven.

We currently run a Feliway diffuser 24/7, and we put Rescue remedy in her water and try to distract her from the behaviour.

Karen, NSW.

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Hi Karen,

Your open statement says it all. Yes, I agree she does appear to be a nervous cat.

That she over-reacts to noises and hides from humans strongly suggests that she has either a Generalised Anxiety Disorder or a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

While we are using human terms here, these maladies are clearly seen in pets as well.

You will get a great deal of insight into this problem by reading this article that describes moods that pets exhibit in detail.

The grooming problem could be due to a dermatological issue and you need to have your cat checked by your medical Vet to determine if that is the case. However, cats with anxious personalities will often overgroom just like children with anxieties will often chew their fingernails. Listen to this Podcast for more details. It's good that she is not removing hair and becoming bald but it could get to that stage. Overgrooming in the absence of medical causes is often a compulsive behaviour.

As for the solutions. The Feliway Diffuser is a good idea. Rescue remedy often fails with pets but there is a pet-specific homeopathic preparation that may help. Click here for details on that.

Try proactively playing games with Becky because that can really draw cats out of their shells.

Some cats with anxieties like this benefit from calming medications but of course you will need to see your veterinarian or consult with us for details about that.

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