Sometimes cats have behaviors that miss us quite a bit. Not all of them are a sign of something negative, but there are times when they can be. This is the case of stereotypies in cats. Do you know that they are? We explain it to you.

What are stereotypies in cats?

Stereotypes in cats are repetitive behaviors carried out by felines, apparently without purpose. These behaviors are often associated with emotional problems, such as stress or anxiety.

Like stereotypies in dogs, in cats, they are also a clear indication of a lack of well-being in the animal.

In addition to the aforementioned, professionals also explain that stereotypes can be the result of a dysfunction of the central nervous system.

Classification of stereotypes

Felines are very intelligent, loving, and also very sensitive animals. They do not cope well with changes in their environment, stress, or being ignored when they require our attention.

Therefore, in response to the aforementioned, stereotypes may arise.

If this happens, what your caregiver should never think is that the animal has these attitudes to punish you. Absolutely. Stereotypes in cats are the reflection of something that needs to be solved as soon as possible.

Stereotypes are very varied and depend on each animal and the situation that triggered it.

In general, stereotypes can be classified into:

  • Self-directed: it is when the feline does self-inflicted damage, such as pulling its hair, biting itself, etc.
  • Locomotives: some examples are the repetition of walks with short distances, shudders or very abrupt jumps.
  • Oral: biting, licking, or eating all kinds of objects.
  • Vocalizations: constant meowing or crying.

Most common stereotypes in cats

Among the most frequent stereotypes that occur in felines, we find the following.

Chew tissues

Sometimes it happens that the cat becomes infatuated with a blanket, a sock, or a sheet and does not stop biting it. This is very dangerous because if you manage to break it and begin to fray it, you could swallow part of the fabric. This would cause digestive problems.

Knead tissues

It is also common that what it does with these tissues is compulsively knead them with its feet. This stereotypy is usually caused by very premature weaning.

Constant licking

We know that cat grooming is a very important task for them. However, it is not a good sign that they are cleaned very repeatedly.

One of the most frequent stereotypes in cats is repeated and uncontrolled licking, repeating the same area of ​​the body that has already been cleaned.

This can end up causing hair loss in that area, as well as wounds and other skin problems.


It is a set of symptoms that appear in the animal and consist of abnormal behavior and muscle contractions that are not normal.

In reality, these types of behaviors or contractions produced in isolation are normal, but they repeatedly become stereotypes.

Chase the tail

This is another of the most common stereotypes in cats.

It is normal for a puppy cat to chase its tail as part of its recognition game. That is to say, the little kitten is discovering the world and its tail is something that can attract your attention.

However, it is not normal for a non-puppy cat to compulsively chase its tail.

When do stereotypes appear in cats?

These repetitive behaviors without purpose can appear at any time in the life of the cat, regardless of whether it is a breed or not, or its sex.

The most influential is the environment in which they were raised and in which they live, as well as the characteristics of their day-to-day life.

Causes of stereotypies in cats

Some of the most common causes of stereotypes in felines are:

  • The feline stress.
  • The anxiety.
  • Boredom.
  • Loneliness.
  • Lack of socialization.
  • The arrival of a new member of the family, human or not. For example, if the proper steps are not taken to make a cat accept a new dog at home, stereotypes may appear in him.

How to treat stereotypes in cats

In order to help our pet in case of presenting stereotypies, the first thing to do is discover what has triggered them, because that is the main problem to be solved.

In addition to this, if the cat has suffered any physical damage as a result of repetitive behavior, a veterinarian should review his wounds and establish the appropriate treatment to heal them.

Among the most important considerations to take into account to avoid or correct stereotypes are:

  • Provide them at home with a suitable environmental enrichment for cats.
  • Take care of your hygiene and your diet.
  • If there is more than one pet in the house, each one should have its own space and objects.
  • Play with the cat several times a day.
  • Give your cat appropriate toys. Increase their complexity little by little to stimulate them mentally.
  • Do not yell at him, mistreat him, or punish him.
  • Avoid leaving the cat alone for days.
  • Do not play music or television with high volume at home.
  • Pet them only if they are receptive.
  • If the behaviors do not stop, then it is advisable to go to a feline ethologist to help you put an end to them.

Stereotypes in cats must be taken seriously. They are not funny behaviors or something to overlook. Your pet’s health is at stake!