Tue. Jun 6th, 2023
cat hair reasons

Do you notice that your cat is balding? Alopecia, or cat hair loss, can have a number of different causes. Here, let’s look at a few of them.

One of the foster kitten litters from the previous year brought more than just happiness and adorableness into my home. Unfortunately, the mother outdoor cat and her kittens also brought a pack of fleas, which settled in the fur of my resident cat, G.G., and gave her an agonizing itch. Soon after she started scratching, the fur on her tummy, at the base of her tail, and on her rear legs started to thin. So, does your cat have hair loss? What causes hair loss in cats? In G.G.’s instance, it was discovered that a flea allergy was to blame for her hair loss. Let’s find out more about feline alopecia, or hair loss in cats.

Let’s define cat hair loss

cat hair loss
cat hair loss

Alopecia in cats, or the loss of all or some of a cat’s hair, can occur in felines for a number of causes, the most frequent of which, according to specialists, are skin allergies. Hair loss in cats is a common occurrence in the clinic of Dr. Fiona Bateman, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Georgia’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Is alopecia in cats ever ‘normal’?

Some cats have hereditary alopecia. For example, Sphynx cats are born without hair and never grow any.

Pinnal alopecia, or hair loss on the outside of the ear pinnae, is another form of natural hair loss that is frequent in Siamese cats but typically goes away on its own. Preauricular alopecia, or the thinning of the hair on the skin strip between the ears and the eyes, is another common condition in adult cats, according to Dr. Hayworth.

What about acquired alopecia in cats?

The acquired alopecia that affects the other cats, who are born with normal fur, is a symptom and not a disease in and of itself. According to Dr. Bateman, the veterinarian will identify the underlying issue.

Will the hair that a cat loses grow back?

The good news for cat owners is that, according to Dr. Bateman, this hair loss in cats typically doesn’t signify a serious illness and the hair may normally regrow. According to Dr. Hayworth of VCA Northview Animal Hospital in the Pittsburgh suburbs, the underlying cause determines how well a cat’s hair loss may be treated and stopped.

According to Dr. Hayworth, if we can address the root of the problem, the hair will typically regrow. “This is especially true in cases of excessive grooming brought on by allergies. Therefore, it is definitely worthwhile to take your cat to the veterinarian if you observe hair loss in them.

These six disorders are among the most typical causes of a cat losing fur. As alopecia in cats is a broad disorder with numerous probable causes, it should be noted that this is not an exhaustive list.

1. Allergies — Particularly to Fleas — and Itching and Over-grooming

Any cat can get bitten and stung by a flea, but certain cats are hypersensitive to the antigens in flea saliva. When these allergic cats come into contact with fleas, they become excruciatingly itchy, and many of them may overgroom in an attempt to relieve the itching. The cats actually lick their hair so much that they rip it out rather than just letting it fall out naturally.

Dr. Bateman clarifies, “It’s not that the hair can’t grow. It is being consumed by these cats more quickly than it can be refilled.

She claims that most of the cats she sees in her clinic are over-groomed (around 90%). The likelihood that the hair is falling out and not growing back is substantially lower.

A cat may occasionally become compulsively grooming due to neuropathic pain brought on by nerve injury in the skin. In a few rare instances, a cat may overgroom and shed hair for psychogenic causes, such as fear following a tumultuous event; however, Dr. Bateman notes that it’s more likely that cats licking off their hair are scratching from flea allergies.

The itching caused by mange, scabies, and lice can also cause a cat to overgroom itself and lose hair. In addition to mites, food, environmental, and other allergens might itch and make you overgroom.

2. Pain

According to Dr. Bateman, a cat may occasionally lick a part of his body excessively not because it itch but rather because the tissue just below the surface hurts. For example, a cat with arthritis might lick at the troublesome joint all the time since licking eases the ache. The cat also sucks the fur away, which is an issue.

Dr. Bateman once observed a cat with a broken rib. The cat licked at the hurting rub so frequently that he developed baldness near that bone.

3. Infections

Although it’s less frequent than allergies as a reason for a cat to lose hair, it does happen. According to Drs. Hayworth and Bateman, cats with infectious diseases like staph infections and fungal diseases like ringworm may experience hair loss in the affected areas.

4. Endocrine Disorders

A cat losing hair can have hyperthyroidism, which results in weight loss and other symptoms and is caused by an overactive thyroid. In addition to thyroid issues, cats may have hair follicle death due to hormonal imbalances, an increase in steroid use, and hair loss due to aberrant hormone levels. For instance, cats may get alopecia as a result of Cushing’s disease, a metabolic illness that results in excessive cortisol production.

5. Medication Side Effects

Alopecia and ear pinnae curling are side effects of transdermal prednisone. Dr. Hayworth claims that typically, discontinuing the drug will make this issue go away.

6. Cancer

Fortunately, cats seldom lose their hair due to cancer; it is much more likely that your cat’s hair loss is nothing serious. But in cats, neoplasia, a word for abnormal growths brought on by unchecked cell proliferation, can result in hair loss. Paraneoplastic alopecia, which causes hair loss and is accompanied by itching and damp skin, is another severe ailment that develops after cancer, according to Dr. Hayworth. These severe causes are uncommon, though.

The verdict about feline alopecia and hair loss

Take your cat to the vet for an examination instead of freaking out if you notice that it is losing hair. Chances are it’s not serious, according to Dr. Bateman. However, you can’t tell just by looking at the cat, which is why it’s crucial to have it examined.


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