‘My cat Charlie doesn’t stop licking’

Cats groom and keep clean by licking themselves.

Published: 14th March 2018 03:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th March 2018 03:51 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Hi Sonia,
Cats groom and keep clean by licking themselves. However, excess licking on a spot on their body can cause the skin to bleed and result in unnecessary infections. This behaviour definitely needs attention.
Excessive licking can be a result of underlying skin infections, dry skin, fleas or even allergies. These are external factors that cause irritation in the skin resulting in your cat licking himself excessively. Consult a vet to eliminate any underlying medical issue. Your vet would also recommend hypoallergic shampoos or medicines to remove the itchy sensation.

Meanwhile, also consider if you have changed anything in his food. If you have recently changed his cat food brand or tried anything new, check to see if this is causing allergic reactions. If he has fleas, make sure you address that as well.

Since you have particularly mentioned that you moved recently, this is a big factor that you should consider as well. Cats do not like change and moving homes can be stressful for your cat. To cope with this, they tend to pick up certain habits that could potentially cause themselves harm. Excessive licking is one such behavior resulting as an outcome of stress.

Try to minimise the amount of change the cat has to go through in your new place. Set up his old toys, litter boxes, beds etc. in their similar relative positions so as to give him a sense of familiarity. Include objects that still have some of the old smells that he is used to. Reuse his old blankets or beds that are familiar to him.

Keep him mentally challenged and spend more quality time with him. Mental exhaustion via play is vital. Innovate games like spreading out his meal in places that he will search and find during the day. This will keep him occupied and take his mind off the stress and licking. This will also encourage him to explore the new home and get used to it.

Apply safe and strong smelling oils such as neem to discourage your cat from licking the spot. Take a vet’s advice on any topical ointment or lotion that will also help discourage this behaviour.

(Is your pet adapting to new surroundings well? Send us your queries to petfaqs@gmail.com)

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