Why Is My Cat Losing Hair Hair Loss In Cats
Hair loss in cats, or cat alopecia, is a common problem for felines. Cat hair loss can be partial or complete, and the patterns can varied or symmetrical. The skin surrounding the area of hair loss can appear normal, or it can have redness, bumps, scabs and skin loss.
Treatment options exist, though they depend on the cause of the alopecia and are limited for many of the more common causes.
General Poor Health Nutrition Or Underlying Disease
An unhealthy diet, poor health or an undetected disease can all be causes for your cat to lose their hair. As these are all quite broad reasons, its important to visit your vet to identify the underlying cause.
Some causes for hair loss in cats can also affect humans, and are contagious. Although this is unusual, its worth booking an appointment with your vet as soon as possible to avoid an unhappy pet and owner, too.
Remember that a cat shedding it’s fur happens all year round, but they tend to shed more in the summer and autumn, known as cat moulting season. If the hair loss is from all over their body, with no bald patches appearing, this is completely natural and will soon pass.
Recognizing And Treating Medical Conditions That Lead To Hair Loss
What Are The Signs Of Hair Loss In Cats
The most easily recognizable symptom of feline alopecia is loss of hair, either all over the body or in patches. While alopecia may not leave observable bald patches at first, it may also begin with noticeable changes to the coat, including rough fur, fuzzing, or excessive shedding.
Depending on the actual cause of the hair loss, there may be other observable symptoms, such as those that do not appear related to the hair loss at all. Some other symptoms of hair loss may include:
What Is The Cause Of Bald Patches On Cats
There are many potential causes of bald patches on cats. Some can be a bigger cause for concern than others. If you notice any significant hair loss you should visit the vet immediately to find the cause and ensure your cat receives effective treatment. Weve described some of the potential causes below to help you spot similarities to your cats hair loss.
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Why Is My Cat Losing So Much Hair
If your cat is losing excessive amounts of hair, it may have alopecia. Alopecia is hair loss caused by your cat pulling hair out or hair falling out. Fleas, and an allergy to their saliva, are the most common cause of alopecia in cats.
Some cats have hereditary alopecia, like Sphynx cats that are bald. Siamese cats are commonly afflicted with pinnal alopecia, which causes hair loss on the ears.
A Thin Line: Normal Shedding Vs Feline Alopecia
As any cat owner who has tried to wear a black shirt knowswell, shedding is a normal aspect of cat ownership. However, there are times when the hair just keeps coming and an owner may become concerned that their pets hair loss is abnormal and indicative of a larger issue.
Dr. Alison Diesel, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A& M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, says that cat owners can differentiate normal shedding from feline alopecia, or hair loss, if the hair coat is noted to be thin or has the absence of hair in areas.
The biggest difference between normal shedding and alopecia in cats is that with normal shedding, there is not appreciable hair loss on the animal, said Diesel. While the owner may see tufts of fur and hairballs around the home, the cat looks to have a normal haircoat in regard to thickness, length, and density.
Feline alopecia can have many causes, according to Diesel, ranging from parasites, such as fleas or mites, to infections, such as dermatophytosis, or ringworm.
We can also see it with underlying allergies including to things like fleas, food, or the environment, she said. Genetics can also be a cause of alopecia this is normal in certain breeds of cats, such as the Sphinx. Lastly, there are some normal variants in cats that appear as alopecia. Examples include hair loss on the ear flaps of aging Siamese cats and sparsely haired skin in the preauricular region on cats of any breed.
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Healthy Diet Healthy Fur Healthy Kitty
A soft, shiny coat is a sign of a healthy cat. Its also a sign your cat is eating an optimal, high-meat, species-appropriate diet!
Cats are obligate carnivores, after all. They need a high-protein, meat-rich diet to thrive.
When your cat digests animal proteins , amino acid ‘building blocks start to build and strengthen your cats coat. The problem with most commercial cat foods is they rely on gluten-based protein to boost their protein levels, but cats don’t have the digestive enzymes to efficiently utilize these proteins.
Cats that aren’t fed a meat-rich diet also dont get the moisture their organs need to function safely. Without this moisture, your cats digestive system cant transport hairballs.
Conditions That Cause Fur To Fall Out:
- Skin infections – bacterial skin infections often result in alopecia.
- Feline eosinophilic granuloma complex – a condition that causes painful, raised, red patches of furless skin.
- Hormone disease – certain hormonal diseases such as hyperthyroidism can sometimes cause alopecia.
- Scars – permanent loss of fur is possible if skin and hair follicles are badly damaged and scarred.
- Ringworm – ringworm is a fungal skin infection that causes circular patches of flaky, red, itchy, furless skin.
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Home Remedies For Cats With Hair Loss
By: Shanna Freeman& Dr. H. Ellen Whiteley | Updated: Apr 9, 2021
When you’re a cat owner, you’re used to dealing with cat hair — using a lint roller to get it off your dark clothes, vacuuming it off of your sofa, even picking it out of your food on occasion. Unless you have a hairless breed such as a Sphynx, there’s a certain amount of natural hair loss that you should expect. However, if your cat’s hair is visibly thinning, there are bald patches, or you notice areas that are inflamed and red, there’s a problem. When your cat loses more hair than normal, the condition is called alopecia.
There are lots of different things that can cause hair loss in your cat, including parasites, diet, psychological factors, infection, allergies or something more serious. Your cat may scratch and groom excessively with an infestation of fleas or mites as well as a fungus like ringworm, causing hair loss. Hair loss can be self-inflicted as a result of stress. A less-than-adequate diet or a change in diet can cause hair loss. Alopecia can also be a manifestation of another condition or disease, requiring diagnosis by your vet.
But what if you can’t find any parasites on your cat to go along with the hair loss? Or there are other symptoms? Next, we’ll look at other potential causes of alopecia in cats, and how they can be treated.
When To Be Concerned About Hair Loss
If your cat is losing a significant amount of hair, it may be a symptom of pain, stress, or a health problem. I
Since hair loss is rarely normal in cats and can be a symptom of pain or other diseases, its important to schedule an appointment with your vet if you notice hair loss or bald spots in your cat.
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Allergies Particularly To Fleas And Itching And Over
Fleas can bite and irritate any cat, but some cats have a hypersensitivity to antigens within the flea saliva. These allergic cats get miserably itchy if they encounter fleas and many of them will over-groom as a way of scratching the itch. The hair doesnt just fall out the cats actually lick it so much that they pull their hair out.
Its not that the hair cant grow, Dr. Bateman says. These cats are licking it out faster than it can be replaced.
About 90 percent of those cats we see in our clinic are over-grooming, she says. It is much less likely that the hair is falling out and not regrowing.
Sometimes, a cat may engage in compulsive grooming because of neuropathic pain from nerve damage in the skin. In rare cases, a cat may groom too much and lose hair for psychogenic reasons, like anxiety after a stressful event but, its more likely that cats licking off their hair are itching from flea allergy, Dr. Bateman says.
Mange, scabies and lice also can make a cats skin itch leading to the same over-grooming and a cat losing hair. Mites, food allergies and environmental allergies also can cause itching and over-grooming.
What Can Your Vet Do To Help
Your vet will give your cat a thorough check over to find out whats causing their alopecia. If they discover fleas, which are a common cause of itching and subsequent hair loss, they may recommend flea treatment .
Your vet might also take hair samples or scrape a little sample of skin to test for ringworm and parasites dont worry, this is completely painless. Occasionally your vet may decide to take a small skin sample from your cat under anesthetic or to perform an allergy skin test to check for cat skin conditions. Alternatively, they may take a blood sample to look for underlying diseases that could be causing your pet’s hair loss.
If, at the end of their investigation, theres still no obvious reason for the feline alopecia, your vet may refer you to a veterinary dermatologist.
If, however, you or your vet suspect that there could be a behavioural reason for your cat’s over-grooming and making themselves lose hair, then you may need to discuss your cats lifestyle to work out what might be causing them stress.
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How Is Alopecia Treated
Treating alopecia depends on the cause behind your cat’s hair loss. Once your vet has run some tests they will be able to recommend flea control products or an anti-fungal treatment if they discover parasites or ringworm.
Treatment of allergic skin diseases can take a little longer but, with the help of a veterinary dermatologist, once the offending food or substance is found, a plan can be put in place to avoid it.
If stress-related over-grooming is suspected, your vet may refer you to a veterinary behaviourist who can help identify the cause of the stress and cat hair loss as well as provide you with advice on how to reduce it.
If your vets investigations show that your cat is over-grooming because of pain in their joints or bladder, they will treat the underlying problem with necessary medication. When the pain stops, the cat hair loss will too.
Once the cause for the alopecia in cats has been found, you should hopefully have a happy and healthy pet again!
We Look At This Common Skin Issue In Cats
Cats take good care of their fur, thats why any hair loss can be easily noticed by owners and can rightly be a cause for concern. Bald patches on cats are however fairly common, but they may be caused by any number of conditions sometimes routine, sometimes serious. In this blog we take a look at why your cat might develop bald patches or hair loss and what might be causing it.
If your cat has bald patches that are causing you concern, book an appointment at Knutsford Vets Surgery. We have specialist diagnostic facilities and staff with additional training in pet dermatology.
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Bald Patches On Cats: Symptoms Causes And Treatment
Posted by Argos, May 7th 2016, last updated February 24th 2021.
Is your cat losing hair? Perhaps youve noticed a new bald patch on your cat that you never noticed before? Or maybe there are multiple bald patches in your cats fur? Changes in your feline friends health or appearance can be a worrying thing for a pet owner, but fur loss is actually fairly common and may be no cause for alarm.
To put your mind at ease, here is everything you need to know about cat bald spots, from how to identify them, to why your cat may be getting bald spots and what treatments they may need to resolve the issue.
Fleas And Other Parasites
Fleas are one of the most common reasons to see hind leg hair loss in cats. Fleas are no fun for any cat and can cause your cat a lot of discomfort, many cats develop an allergy to flea bites. Flea bite hypersensitivity or flea allergic dermatitis is very common in cats. In these cats, just one flea bite can cause severe and prolonged itching which often results in hair loss and can lead to open sores or scabs on the skin, allowing a secondary bacterial infection to occur. Many cats will excessively chew or lick the hair off their legs when they have fleas or FAD. Hair loss around the neck, legs, and base of the tail can also be seen along with small crusty scabs called miliary lesions, a term that was coined because the scabs look like millet seeds.
Since the flea saliva causes the reaction, the most important treatment for flea allergy is to prevent fleabites. Both indoor and outdoor cats can get fleas and it is recommended to keep your cat on a veterinary approved flea prevention monthly to prevent fleas.
Other parasites, including mites and ringworm can also cause excessive scratching, licking, or chewing, but fleas are the most common to cause hair loss on hind legs.
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