Oct 15 2015

Your Cat Can Develop a Harmful Compulsive Behavior

Your calico cat Chelsea has personal grooming down to a science. Each morning, this five-year-old feline housemate begins licking her coat right after breakfast; and she continues all day long. Although cats regularly groom themselves, her fur is showing some bare spots.

Your companion has also traded her daily playtime and brushing/belly rub sessions for this single-minded pursuit. Tomorrow, your veterinarian will determine if Chelsea has developed a potentially harmful compulsive behavior.

Feline Compulsive Behaviors

Feline compulsive behavior can take several forms. An affected cat might display obsessive grooming habits, even though her fur appears neat and tidy. She could repeatedly pace back and forth, with her treks increasing in frequency. Continued meowing and yowling can also signal a compulsive behavior.

Strangest of all, you might see her suck, chew, or even eat a piece of fabric. If she chooses this route, she could become fixated on one texture, such as plush fleece blankets.

What’s Behind the Behavior

Male and female cats — from kittens to senior citizens — can become victims of compulsive behavior. Although the root cause varies, stress seems to be a common factor; and indoor cats are most affected. In addition, the cat’s owner (you) influences how the behavior develops. In Chelsea’s case, you could unknowingly reinforce her actions by providing her with more food or attention if she seems distressed.

Your Vet’s Diagnosis

When your vet addresses an apparent behavioral issue, he first wants to rule out a medical problem. He’ll give Chelsea a complete physical exam. He’ll ask detailed questions about the onset of her symptoms.

Next, he’ll obtain a complete blood profile and a urinalysis. If necessary, the vet will conduct specialized tests related to specific symptoms. In Chelsea’s case, he might opt for skin scrapings and/or a skin biopsy, or tissue sample.

Tailored Treatment Program

If your vet determines a compulsive behavior is to blame, he’ll develop a targeted treatment program. Follow his instructions regarding medication (if necessary); and change the way you respond to her antics. Finally, reduce disruptions to Chelsea’s home environment.

Give her a regular schedule; providing her with food, exercise, and playtime at the same time each day.
During follow-up visits, your veterinarian will tweak Chelsea’s treatment plan based on the initial results. If your cat might display compulsive behavior symptoms, contact us for expert advice.

Lifelearn Admin | blog

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Welcome to The Veterinary Clinic at Copper Crowne

The Veterinary Clinic at Copper Crowne Veterinary Services have been providing quality health care services to pets in the Opelousas area for many years. It is our aim to provide quality preventive, diagnostic and medical services so each of your precious pets lives a long and healthy life.

Location Hours
Monday7:30am – 5:00pm
Tuesday7:30am – 5:00pm
Wednesday7:30am – 5:00pm
Thursday7:30am – 5:00pm
Friday7:30am – 5:00pm
Saturday7:30am – 12:00pm

Appointments with veterinarian start at 9:00 am.

The Veterinary Clinic at Copper Crowne

5124 Highway 182
Opelousas, Louisiana, 70570
Phone: 337-407-8600

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