Categories: autogrooming

Cat suffering from self-harm OCD kicks himself (video)?

OCD self-harm in cats?

This cat’s behaviour is weird and disturbing. It is not amusing to me as it is to some people. It is difficult to explain. It looks totally illogical with no rational reason for it. It looks as if the hind legs have a mind of their own and have turned on the cat to whom they are attached. I have seen it before in another video of another cat who was also self-grooming excessively.

Involuntary play?

Having thought about it for a bit I HAD decided that it might be a cat playing with himself. Normally another cat would be kicking the face of this cat with his hind legs in play-fighting. The theory was that the cat decided instinctively to play with himself. It seems as if that when he groomed his hind leg it kicked off the desire to play. His hind legs automomously (acting on its own volition) start to kick his face.

Mental health issue?

However, reflecting on it, it does look like a mental health issue. We don’t know if cats can suffer from serious mental health issues. We know they can have OCD and behave compulsively such as in overgrooming. And this cat is apparently overgrooming. I wonder therefore if the involuntary action of the legs is an extension of compulsive overgrooming. It is shocking that the cat then bites his leg as if the leg belong to another cat and in retalition for the legs hitting his face.

I have decided that this has to be a mental health issue of some sort because the behaviour is a form of self-harm. This automatically has to be about mental health. The question is why do the legs kick out? The behaviour was provoked by the manic grooming. My conclusion now is that this cat lost control of grooming. He or she is stressed. They tried to relieve the stress through self-grooming which is pleasant. The cat decided it was too compulsive (it may have become uncomfortable) and involuntarily stopped it by kicking out; self-harming which caused further self-harming by biting the leg in response.

As mentioned cats overgroom (causing harm sometimes) when seeking relief from anxiety and self-harming through kicking is an extension of that process.

Human OCD self-harm

Is there a human equivalent which can help explain this? There is ‘OCD self-harm’ behavior in humans. The cause is very similar to OCD in cats: stress and anxiety. A desire to find control over one’s environment. Self-harm distracts from the emotional pain.

I’d appreciate input from others

Please tell me what you think. It is perplexing.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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