I've fallen asleep a few times, watching my cat groom her nails. The process is systematic and has a certain rhythm. But one day, her self-manicure took longer than usual. Over the next few days, I noticed her sessions were becoming longer and almost obsessive. When I took her to the vet, she said my kitty was suffering from anxiety and suggested a supplement to help calm her.
It was interesting to learn that anxiety is a principal reason for a cat's excessive grooming. To me, anxiety is a human diagnosis, and I asked my vet if I might be the cause of my kitty's stress. My vet told me anxiety in cats is caused by many different things, including an injury or infection, a new animal in the family, distaste for being alone, loud noises in or around the home, and more. We discussed possible factors and decided that my cat was probably anxious because of the construction of a home behind us. This was creating more noise in our environment, and she was trying to calm herself by over-grooming. Sure enough, once the house was built and the noise level around us subsided, she was once again a happy kitty.
My vet suggested I add one or two more scratching posts placed in different areas around the house. She said non-stressed cats keep their nails clean without a lot of biting or chewing if they have a scratching post or rug. My cat already had a scratching post, but it never seemed to get a lot of attention.
According to PetMD, cited below, providing a cat with multiple scratching posts helps with nail care. Dr. Carlo Siracusa, clinical assistant professor of behavior medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia, said, "I recommend having several types of scratching posts available, horizontal, vertical â€” as well as different materials â€” to keep the cat interested."
The scratching activity helps a cat file her own nails. Siracusa explained this is important because,"sometimes nails can grow too long and cause lesions on paw pads or even difficulty walking."
Nail care is vital for a cat's overall health - not to mention the well-being of your draperies and furniture. ExcitedCats, cited below, says the bottom line is: "Know your cat and watch for over-zealous grooming habits that might require a consultation with the veterinarian."
Quote to remember: "Perhaps God made cats so that man might have the pleasure of fondling the tiger." - Robertson Davies
"Nail Biting in Cats"
"Cat Nail Biting: What to Do If Your Cat Chews & Pulls His Claws"