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fur ball
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odd behavior
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Is Your Cat Stressed Out?
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Is Your Cat Stressed Out?

If someone had asked this just recently, I would have responded "No, but I sure am stressed out. All my cat does is eat and sleep and use his litter box. Why should he be stressed out?”

But today I have a totally new perspective on this issue.

We had a cat that used to groom to the point that I thought he was going to become one giant fur ball. It seemed very odd behavior because other cats we had never groomed to this extent.

This cat was the sweetest pet we ever had. It was responsive, loving and a delight to have around. But he had this thing about grooming himself all the time.

Unfortunately, he was not a very healthy cat. He suffered from some digestive disorder that was like an allergy to certain foods. His condition was examined by a number of different vets, but they never came up with a definitive diagnosis. He was on special medication that helped his symptoms, but he didn't really get cured.

So as I said he groomed all the time. Apparently, that is a symptom of stress. He may have been stressed as a result of his illness. Or perhaps since he probably did not feel well most of the time, he found stress in our normal activities.

This stress can come from situations that we would not give a second thought to, such as the arrival of a new baby, or adding another pet to the household.

No one is surprised to see a cat grooming himself because they naturally do this quite frequently. Apparently it feels like a massage to them. Who wouldn't like a nice massage when they are tired or stressed out?

So if a big change takes place in your household, such as a transfer to another city, this event can be stressful to your cat. It will most likely result in extra grooming, since they find this soothing.

But when over grooming continues and becomes a habit, where the cat may actually pull his hair till he has bald spots, it's time to consult with your vet in search of an answer.

Apparently there are some health conditions that can cause bald spots, and some are serious enough that they may be fatal to your pet. Your vet should be helping you resolve this problem.

The conditions that can cause bald spots may include ringworm, mites, allergies and fleas among others. Naturally, only your vet would be qualified to quickly identify these issues.

Your vet will probably advise you to work with your cat to try and stop the over grooming. But if this behavior has gone on for a while, it may have become a habit that will be difficult to break.

You may want to try distracting your cat by playing with him, or finding another distraction. For example, you can leave a radio on while you are out of the house so your cat doesn't stress about being left alone.

A healthy cat would probably not react at all to your absence, and just go to sleep. But an already sick, or stressed out pet may not react normally. You could get a fish tank or put on a cat video that would distract and entertain your cat while you are out.

There are certain medications that your vet can provide for your cat to stop the over grooming. Among the medications available are antidepressants and tranquilizers that may be sufficient to change your cat's behavior.

Hopefully, in working with your vet, you can finally find a way to change your kitty's behavior and ensure that he stays healthy.

Street Talk

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