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Excessive repetitive compulsive behaviour in cats

Together, let’s enrich your cat’s world and take their mind off their repetitive behaviours

Clinical Animal Behaviourists in Birmingham Wolverhampton Derby Stoke-on-Trent Solihull Burton-upon-Trent Dudley Halesowen Redditch Kidderminster Stafford Stourbridge Walsall Tamworth Lichfield West Bromwich Atherstone Aldridge Evesham Tipton Cannock Bromsgrove Smethwick Willenhall Oldbury Droitwich Spa Uttoxeter Rugeley Stone Stourport-on-Severn Brierley Hill Wednesbury Brownhills Alvechurch

Over-grooming due to some form of stress, or other repetitive behaviours like eating inedible items can be difficult and distressing to watch. This behaviour may signal a manisfestation of physical or emotional discomfort, likely impacting your cat’s overall wellbeing.

Cats are sensitive beings, who can become easily stressed by changes in their home and/or local neighbourhood environment. You long to provide a safe, comforting environment, but sometimes, despite your best efforts, your cat may exhibit signs of concerning, repetitive behaviour patterns.

Here to help

Remember, this is not your fault, and you’re not alone. As cat behaviourists, our goal is to help you decode this behaviour, understand its root causes, and guide you on ways to reduce the repetitive behaviour. By examining your cat’s environment, daily routines, and interactions, we can identify potential triggers and devise a personalised plan to address them.

Whether it’s through environmental enrichment, removing sources of worry, and addressing their needs, we’ll work together to reduce the stress causing their over-grooming or pica.

Remember, overcoming any behaviour problem takes time and patience. But with consistent effort, professional guidance, and a lot of love, we can help your cat feel more secure and confident. Together, we can work towards a happier, more peaceful life for your precious companion.

Meet Your Behaviourists

Zoe holding a cat

Zoe Demery

Zoe has a doctorate in animal cognition and behaviour, and she is one of the few independently accredited clinical cat behaviourists in the UK (CCAB). She is also a Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society, registered with ABTC, and certified by IAABC as a cat behaviour consultant. Zoe is a proud committee member of FAB Clinicians and chairs the feline subcommittee. 

Since starting practice in 2012, she has helped dozens of cats and their caregivers around the world better understand each other. Zoe also mentors budding cat behaviourists.

Victoria Stockley with her cat

Victoria Stockley

Victoria worked as a veterinary nurse for several years before specialising in feline behaviour.  She has a BSc (Hons) and an MSc (merit) in Clinical Animal Behaviour from the University of Lincoln.  Victoria is a Candidate Member of FAB Clinicians and Provisional Member of APBC.

Victoria’s particular interest in cat behaviour began when, at age 11, she adopted her first (feral) kitten (with adult help!). It was obvious from the start that Magic was a different cat, with special needs, and Magic taught Victoria how much patience and understanding cats need. Victoria is currently the loyal servant to a cat named Twinkle, an incredibly personable cat with special medical needs.

Since our baby arrived, our cat began overgrooming, exacerbated by seasonal allergies. Collaborating closely with our vet and following your advice to monitor baby’s movements and noisy toys around her significantly reduced her stress. Introducing a safe space and high-up routes really helped. The improvements are remarkable – she’s stopped overgrooming and is much happier. We’re so thankful for your team’s support.”

Tom and Anna

Comprehensive support

  • We visit you at your home in person or online, for an initial assessment generally lasting 2 hours and ideally, everyone in the household should be present.
  • We take a full and detailed case history.  Together we work out a treatment plan that is realistic and tailored to you and your cat’s needs.
  • You receive relevant information sheets, which tie in with the behaviour plan for your cat.
  • Soon after the consultation, a report is sent to you, which is later copied to your vet.  This outlines the reasons behind the problem and highlights the key steps of the plan.
  • Your vet is kept informed of how your cat progresses.
  • Plans are updated with new material for you to work on.
  • We schedule one 1-hour follow-up session about a month later, which is conducted via an online video link.
  • We are available for optional weekly check-ins for 6 weeks after your initial consultation. Each week you can book a 15-minute call through our online calendar, or send us an email or WhatsApp message.
  • If during the development of the case, the additional expertise of a veterinary behaviourist is required, then I integrate their advice into the plan.  I work closely with select, independently accredited cat vet behaviourists, who will review and discuss your cat’s case with your vet.
  • More follow-up support available as needed.

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Sally’s story

Sally the British short-hair cat chewing tissue

Sally, a three-year-old British short-hair cat, struggled with pica, compulsively eating fabrics. After ruling out medical causes, we focused on behavioural solutions. Claire, her owner, removed hazardous items and introduced cat-safe chew toys. We increased Sally’s mental stimulation with puzzle feeders and interactive play, addressing potential boredom or anxiety. Claire also established a consistent routine for Sally. These changes led to a significant reduction in Sally’s pica behavior over several months. She became more engaged with appropriate toys, showcasing the effectiveness of combining environmental adjustment, mental enrichment, and routine in managing complex cat behaviours like pica.

Next steps

1. Vet referral

Feline behaviour problems are often caused by underlying physiological issues, so we need to address these first

2. Booking

Online or by giving us a call on 0121 299 0188

3. History form

Give us some background about your cat and your relationship

4. Consultation

Let’s get started on the plan to dealing with your cat’s behaviour

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“As a vet, I have referred many of my patients to Zoe – she works absolute miracles on cats!”

Nikki the vet

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Have a more general question?  Check out our general FAQ.

Prefer to chat things through a bit more?

Contact Us!

Give us a buzz by email or phone
(+44) (0) 121 299 0188.

Is it okay to bring our cat to one of your behaviour clinics?

Cats often find unfamiliar environments rather stressful, so we ask you not to bring your cat to our clinic. However, we could chat face-to-face at the clinic without your cat, as long as you provide all the records that we requested beforehand. For instance, we ask you to draw a diagram of the layout of your home in the questionnaire that you complete prior to the appointment. Any videos or photos of your home sent to us prior to the clinic would also be very useful. If we are still finding it difficult to understand what’s going on though, we could also try a video or Skype call, facilities allowing. It may be harder to get to the bottom of the problem without a home visit, but our cat owners have found these clinics to be very useful.

How should I go about arranging a vet referral for my cat?

Cat behaviour problems often have some physiological element, which is why it is important for a vet to thoroughly check over your cat before referring onto us. For instance, often cats have urinary tract problems, which exacerbate house-soiling issues. Remember that vet visits are stressful for cats; so do chat through the different options with your vet first. For example, if you are having problems between cats in the household, taking one cat out can make things worse. One way to make the experience less stressful is to leave your cat transport box out for several days, then feed your cat(s) inside it.
Otis Grace & Dom
Finn and Deborah
Harry & Phantom
Nicki the vet
Hettie, Lily & Chester
Charlie & Milo
Marley & Elaine
Billie, Tammy & Mary
Riley & Paul
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If you are looking to make your cat’s repetitive, worrying behaviour a thing of the past, contact us to get started.

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