Why does my obese cat bite himself when I scratch him over his back?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – My cat is significantly overweight (25 lbs), he is approximately 8-years-old domestic male housecat. Within the last few months, every time I pet him on his back closer to his tail, or even touch him there, he licks and bites himself until I stop. Why is this?

Tiffany Chase


Hi Tiffany– thanks for your email. You wrote that your overweight cat licks and bites himself when you scratch him over his back. Why?

Well, I don’t know 100% but here are a couple possibilities. First, I’d make sure he doesn’t have any parasites such as fleas. Second, I see a lot of cats that are overweight get extremely excited when “scratched” at areas they can’t reach. I think that for some cats – it feels SOOO good they don’t know what to do and therefore will lick, bite at themselves, and/or make the funniest faces you have ever seen. I’ve seen this happen with many big cats.

If you are concerned that he might have an underlying health problem, I’d recommend that you see your veterinarian.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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