Help! My Cat Is Losing Hair [Causes & What You Can Do]

Most of the reasons for your cat losing hair are simple and easily treatable. Some factors need a deeper investigation to figure out and few that might need serious medical attention.

We’ll take a closer look at the causes of car hair loss, the patterns it might take, and the best home remedies you could use to stop that condition.

Common Causes of Hair Loss In Cats

Here are some common reasons why your cat may be losing hair:

  • Overgrooming
  • Itching from Allergies
  • Flea or Tick Bites
  • Soothing Pain
  • Calming Anxiety
  • Itching from Parasite Infections
  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • Health Issues

Now let’s take a look at all of these in depth.

Is Your Cat Losing Hair or Just Shedding?

Cats leave a lot of hair wherever they go, you’ll find it on the carpets, chairs, spreading over the couch, and you know how much of it remains on your clothes.

Cat shedding is normal, and they drop most of their winter coat around the end of spring, and we don’t really take note.

So, when should shedding become less like a normal feline habit and more of a hair loss issue?

The first sign you should look for is excessive scratching, and the second is uneven hair shedding; both point out unusual issues.

Other red flags include loss of appetite, ulcers, and constant grooming. These usually indicate associated health issues that should be treated along with hair loss.

Hair Loss Pattern

Hair loss, or alopecia, isn’t always even like normal shedding. Sometimes it’s localized and focused in a certain spot, and that’s a good thing actually. It makes it easier to find out the cause of the cat’s losing its hair.

Let’s take a look at a few instances where the hair loss is in a specific place.

Hair Loss Where it Grooms

Cats lick themselves to clean up, sooth a scratchy part, or to calm themselves. You might notice your cat overdoing that cleaning ritual to the point where his or her hair starts wearing away or even falling off completely.

This is often due to stress or an irritant. Try to think back to when the hair loss started and any new changes that took place around the house. New cat food, you brought another animal home, the cat started spending more time outside, etc. Also think about any new cleaning supplies you might have been using, since these can be irritants for your cat.

This white cat is quite content grooming itself in the sunlight.

Remove the changes if possible. If not possible, keep an eye on the hair loss. If it persists or gets worse, it might be time for a trip to the vet.

Hair Thinning Away from Regular Grooming

The suspect area could be someplace where your cat doesn’t have easy access, like her head, or the back of her neck. This could indicate an allergy. It’s best to book a vet visit if you’re seeing excessive hair loss in a place your cat can’t reach.

Hair Thinning Around the Paws

This tends to be caused by coming in contact with an irritant close to its feet. It might be a substance in the new litter or a cleaning product for the carpet. Try to remember when this shedding started: had you bought new cat litter? Planted new plants around the garden? If possible, remove the irritant.

This type of shedding isn’t too dangerous. Keep an eye on it and if it doesn’t improve, call your vet.

Symmetric Hair Loss

Hormonal disorders could cause symmetric hair loss. This will be a type of hair loss that is over the whole body and can leave bald spots. Excess cortisol is known to start hair loss and other health problems.

It’s the notorious stress hormone we frequently hear about when doctors say that ‘this sickness is all from anxiety’. Cats get that too.

Try to figure out what’s stressing your cat. It might be a change around the home like kicking him or her out at night. It might be a new dog in the neighborhood, a change in diet, or a disruption of regular sleep.

Do the best you can to calm your cat and help him or her get used to the change. If you can’t help him or her get used to the change, try to provide extra comfort. Walk near the stressor with your kitty to show him or her that it’s not dangerous.

If you can’t eliminate the stressor or help your cat get comfortable with it, take him or her to the vet. Your veterinarian might be able to prescribe some medicine that can help with your cat’s stress.

Bald-Patch Hair Loss

A bald patch is usually caused by ringworm, fungal infection, ticks, or a similar parasite related situation.

The skin is usually red and inflamed around that spot, but occasionally it’s just a no-hair patch. The cat is seen heavily grooming that spot, and even biting it a little. It’s best to plan a vet visit if you’re seeing this type of hair loss in your cat.

Common Causes of Cat Hair Loss

Cat Hair loss is usually an incidental occurrence that can be treated and reversed, but first, you need to find the cause. Here are the most common ones.

Overgrooming

Cats could actually lick the hair out of their skins. Their aggressive grooming could thin the hair on their coats, cause it to fall off.

The constant licking keeps the growing hair from staying in place and developing back into the usual heavy fur.

As mentioned before, this could be due to stress or an irritant. Try to find out what might be causing this problem for your cat and remove it. If the overgrooming doesn’t get worse, reach out to your vet for advice.

It’s worth mentioning that overgrooming is often a symptom of another problem. Like one of these:

Itching from Allergies

Cats could become highly irritated from chemical or biological factors. Coming in contact with a plant, a new scented litter, or even a freshly washed carpet, could start an allergic reaction.

Cats try to soothe the itchy skin by licking and grooming, but that doesn’t always work, and could easily get worse.

Tricolor cat stick tongue out and licking itself, cat grooming

The inflamed spot could develop into a sore spot, and often the hair around it starts thinning and falling off.

Flea or Tick Bites

Most cats bear flea and tick bites well, but some of them are naturally allergic to these pests. Excessive biting could also initiate an allergy even in previously unaffected cats.

This leaves their skin raw, and the substances injected by the bug could be quite annoying to the cat.

The only thing poor kitty could do is lick her sore skin, and keep at it hoping it’ll make the itch disappear. It doesn’t, and its hair starts thinning after a while.

Soothing Pain

Excessive grooming isn’t always a response to an itch, cats also lick the spots that hurt them. Cats will keep on licking where the pain is, as that massaging action relieves them a little.

Decreasing their discomfort, unfortunately, takes away some of their hair too.

Calming Anxiety

Cats become stressed out for a lot of reasons; any change in their surroundings could make them anxious for days, and it usually takes its toll on their hair and skin.

They also indulge in excessive grooming in an attempt to calm themselves after a tense event. This usually ends up with evident hair loss.

Itching from Parasite Infections

Ringworm, cat parasites, and other fungal infections leave the cats with sore itchy spots and bald patches.

Fortunately, this isn’t a common condition, as it needs some effort for treatment and containment.

Hormonal Imbalance

Thyroid disorders aren’t abundant in cats, but they do exist, and when a cat’s thyroid gland is dysfunctional, their furs are usually affected.

Cortisol also causes cat hair loss. It’s associated mostly with stress and anxiety, and when it’s consistently stimulated, cats usually show hair thinning.

Health Issues

Aging cats especially suffer from a host of health issues, many of them lead to hair loss. But they’re mostly presented with other symptoms.

If the cat suddenly loses weight, has a fever, or shows digestive problems along with thinning hair, then a prompt visit to the vet is in order.

Woman combs a dozing cat's fur. Ginger cat's head lies on woman hand. The fluffy pet comfortably settled to sleep. Cute cozy background, morning bedtime at home.

The Best Remedies for Cat Hair Loss

Most of the causes of cats’ losing their hair are treatable and reversible. You just need to identify the cause first and remove whatever is starting the alopecia reaction.

Here are some remedies for cat hair loss.

Bathing and Grooming

Regular bathing of your cat could keep away infections, especially if it already has a sore spot that could develop further.

You should use a mild shampoo with aloe vera and other soothing ingredients. That should decrease the cat’s urge to lick itself excessively.

Cats aren’t overly enthusiastic about bathing, so you can use a dry shampoo that contains soothing oils.

You could also use a good quality grooming brush to keep her fur coat in good condition. A good set of combs could come in handy, and you might want to use it if it’s comfortable for your cat.

Removing the Irritants

Try to find the chemical or biological agents that could be causing the allergic reaction in your cat.

The excessive itching and insistent grooming would simply stop once the cause is removed. You’d still need to treat the sore skin.

Treating the Parasitic Infection

This needs a quick visit to the vet as it could spread to other pets, and even humans. It’s also highly uncomfortable for the cat.

Taking the proper medication, and decontaminating the area where the cat moves, is usually sufficient to solve the problem.

Reducing the Cat’s Stress

This could be particularly challenging as cats could get stressed out over any abrupt changes in their environment.

The hardest situation for a cat is probably bringing in a new pet. They both spend a while trying to figure out their ranks and territories.

Installing a new cabinet in the room could be too overwhelming for them, removing their favorite blanket for washing could send them into deep anxiety, you get the drift.

Introducing change gradually could help, or acclimatizing the cat to the new object bit by bit. In severe situations, you can ask the vet to give the cat a soothing medication.

Addressing the Other Health Issues

Excessive grooming in response to pain is hard to see, but if you know your cat well you might be able to see the telltale signs in the way it moves, and other unusual behavior.

Sickness, aging-related health issues, or hormonal imbalance might also be hard to pinpoint. A visit to the vet should reveal the underlying reason for the odd reactions, and proper medication should sort it out.

Conclusion

Some cats like the Sphinx are born with no hair at all, but the ones who have a rich fur coat look odd when they start losing parts of it.

The good news is that most of the reasons for your cat losing hair are reversible, only a few are serious and might be chronic. In all cases, it’s best to check with your vet.

Finding the root cause is imperative for curing their condition, and sometimes it’s a highly unpredictable factor like an allergic reaction from a potted plant, so play Sherlock a little till you get kitty back in shape!

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