My cat has turned into an obsessive groomer - help?
February 18, 2014 9:39 PM Subscribe
How do I stop my cat from chewing on himself?
A while ago, our two-year-old neutered male ginger cat (we think) stepped in something sticky outside and got it between most of his toes. We took him to the vet, who managed to get some of it out and gave him some antibiotics to avoid any infection.
Since then, Barley has been obsessively cleaning and chewing between his toes to the point of taking off chunks of hair and making himself bleed. I've now also noticed that this seem to be spreading to other parts of his legs - raw bits of skin where he's chewed on himself.
I've read up on this and figure that this might be what is called psychogenic alopecia. Nothing (that we know of) has changed outside the house or inside that we think could have caused the guy stress. He has also started hanging out outside all day and night, only coming in for food in the morning and late afternoon. Usually, we would at least see him at some point during the night when he'd come to bed for a bit, or perhaps when he slept on the stairs during the day.
According to the advice of a vet, we should engage in some habitual form of attention with him every day, play time, perhaps with a laser pointer, to distract him from the obsessive behaviour and instill pleasurable associations concerning being inside the house.
Did I mention he's always been a bit of a scaredy cat? Basically scared of his own shadow.