- Your cat may be allergic to food or something from its environment.
- Fleas can cause itchiness and allergic reactions which lead to your cat biting its fur.
- Your cat’s diet can lack the necessary nutrients.
- Mites, ringworms, or lice can cause itchiness and incessant grooming.
- Your cat may be stressed or understimulated.
- Your cat may suffer from arthritis and use overgrooming and fur biting to soothe itself.
why do cats bite their fur
Every cat owner will tell you that their cat is a complex, highly intelligent being. And though that’s exactly why we love them, sometimes we can’t really understand them. For instance, why do cats bite their fur? If your cat has ever exhibited this behavior, don’t take it lightly — instead, read on to learn about the possible causes and solutions.
Why Do Cats Bite Their Fur — Common Causes
It’s no secret that cats love to groom themselves. Sometimes it almost seems like they spend most of their waking hours licking and nibbling on their fur! That’s no cause for concern — at least, as long as your cat isn’t pulling its fur out. But if it is, here is a few possible reasons for this strange behavior.
Since your cat is so furry, you may forget that it also has skin under that coat — and that skin can be quite sensitive. Cats can be allergic to all kinds of things — most commonly food, but also pollen, grass, mildew, fabrics, and cigarette smoke.
Allergies often manifest themselves as itchy rashes in humans, and it’s no different with cats. If you notice overgrooming, scratching, and biting fur, check your cat’s skin. You’ll likely spot welts or little wounds, which indicate that something in the environment doesn’t sit well with your cat.
If you have an indoor-only cat, it’s unlikely that it will contract fleas. However, a cat that is free to roam the neighborhood or hang out with your dog can easily become their target.
These nasty bugs are a real nuisance both for you and your kitty. Most of the time, you’ll notice that your cat is excessively scratching and losing its coat. Some cats, however, can develop flea allergy, which causes their skin to become red, inflamed, and extremely itchy. Your cat will simply have no other recourse but to bite its fur in hopes of relieving the itch — but that only makes things worse.
To make sure that fleas are the true culprits for your cat’s fur biting, look for them in your cat’s coat. That works best if the coat is pale — but if it’s dark, check the cat’s droppings or its bedding. You might see tiny red spots which are a telltale sign of fleas.
While your cat might enjoy eating leftovers from your table, don’t let it have them too often. Cats need appropriate nutrients that human food doesn’t always have — but cat food does. Deficiency in nutrients can cause skin irritation, itchiness, and loss of coat. Naturally, your cat will try to solve this problem the only way it knows how — by incessant fur scratching and biting.
Mites, ringworms, lice — your kitty can become a target of any number of parasites. All of these can cause itchiness, hair loss, and fur biting. It can be hard to spot them, so make sure to check your cat’s fur regularly for any changes.
Stress and Anxiety
Cats always seem calm and collected, so it’s hard to imagine that they can suffer from anxiety. However, it’s more common than you think — cats are just great at hiding weakness. Thus, you have to pay attention to small signs and changes in their behavior.
Overgrooming is one such sign. Cats use grooming to soothe themselves, so if it’s excessive, you can assume that something is stressing them out. You’d be surprised to learn how sensitive cats are to their environment, and that even the smallest change can cause them anxiety. So always be careful when you’re introducing your cat to something new — whether it’s a baby, another pet, or a visitor.
Cats don’t only groom when they feel anxious or stressed — they also do that to soothe themselves when they’re in pain. And if your cat is suffering from chronic pain, such as arthritis, it may engage in excessive grooming and fur biting. A telltale sign that joint pain is causing fur biting is hair loss around the affected area.
Who would have thought that an animal that’s awake for less than eight hours a day can get bored? But cats most certainly can and do. When they lack mental and physical stimulation, cats may start exhibiting unpleasant behaviors such as tearing curtains, scratching furniture, and of course — biting their fur.
This biting is usually accompanied by excessive licking and scratching — overgrooming, in other words. Overgrooming, in turn, causes skin irritation, which only leads to more of the same behavior. Thus, your cat enters a vicious cycle it can’t break on its own.
Why Do Cats Bite Their Fur — Solutions
Now you know why do cats bite their fur — so the next step is to find out how to put an end to this behavior. Obviously, different causes will require different solutions, but we recommend taking your cat to a vet in any case. They will precisely determine the cause of fur biting and advise you on what to do next.
In the meantime, here are some of the usual remedies for fur biting and overgrooming.
Minimize Exposure to Allergens
Just like you’d avoid peanuts if you were allergic to them, your cat should avoid allergens from the environment. Of course, the cat doesn’t know that — but you do, so it’s up to you to minimize its exposure.
Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. It’s extremely difficult to establish what exactly is causing an allergic reaction in your cat. Tests are unreliable, so vets usually try to eliminate unlikely causes and zero in on the possible ones. Once you get a list of possible allergens, do your best to remove them from your cat’s environment.
Change Its Diet
If your cat is allergic to some food or suffering from nutritional deficiency, there is only one solution — change its diet. You can do this on your own if you suspect you know what the problem is, but it’s always safer to consult a vet. Together, you can plan out a new, hypoallergenic diet for your cat. It can take a while for the results to become visible, so don’t give up if you see no change right away.
Don’t Stress Your Cat Out
We’re not saying you should never have guests over, or that babies and other pets are out of the question. Some stressors will have to remain, whether your cat likes them or not. However, try your best to minimize them as much as possible. That means that you shouldn’t yell at your cat or punish it — it will only get anxious, and probably won’t learn what you’re trying to teach it.
In addition, try not to change your cat’s routine unless absolutely necessary. Cats are creatures of habit, and if you travel a lot and keep sending it to this friend or that family member, it’s going to get anxious. Of course, there are anxiety meds for cats that your vet can prescribe, but do what you can to avoid having to go that far.
Stimulate Your Kitty
You get quite antsy when you get bored too, don’t you? Well, imagine how it must be for your cat who can’t even properly tell you that it needs stimulation. Cats are little predators that need to hunt and run and jump to feel fulfilled. We understand that you want to keep your furry friend inside to protect it, but don’t forget — you’re not taking care of a fluffy toy.
So find ways to stimulate your cat even if it can’t go outside and hunt pigeons. There are so many cat toys out there that are sure to keep your cat entertained for hours. And if you don’t feel like spending that much money on your cat, no problem — it can easily play with any household items you’re willing to give it or even your hand!
Why Do Cats Bite Their Fur — To Conclude
Cats are certainly mysterious animals, so you have to make quite a bit of effort to understand them. Why do cats bite their fur is a question many owners ask — and we hope we have shed some light on it. And next time your kitty starts biting its fur, don’t just ignore it. Believe us, your cat will eventually appreciate the trouble you go through for its well-being!
Our Cat Secrets Guide.
Just before you go I hope I have answered the question you asked today and I invite you to go and have a look at my Cat Care Guide. It is an absolute must for all cat owners and you can get immediate access to it right now by clicking here.