A cat losing clumps of hair is a cause of concern for cat owners. It can happen for different reasons. Read on and get to know the causes and remedies for cat hair loss (alopecia).
Cat Losing Clumps of Hair: What are the Reasons?
Your cat may be losing clumps of hair because of the following reasons:
1. It could be due to allergies.
Cats could be losing clumps of fur due to environmental and food-based allergies. These allergies can result in a patchy loss of fur and itchy, inflamed skin. It can be difficult to determine the exact source of the allergic reaction; thus, a visit to the vet is advisable. He can administer a series of skin tests to determine the cause.
Remove certain objects from your cat’s play area or change elements of your cat’s diet to pinpoint the probable cause. Your vet may prescribe allergy medication if it is due to environmental sources. If the allergy is due to food, you must change your cat’s diet for a week and try to feed her with hypoallergenic cat food which is free from dairy, wheat, and beef.
2. It could be due to fleas.
Your cat could be losing clumps of hair because she has fleas. Hair loss due to fleas is usually observed on the cat’s hindquarters. Treat your cat by using a cycle of flea treatment and shampoo. Advantage solution is also advisable, and antihistamines and corticosteroids work well in treating your cat’s itchy skin. A regular monthly spot treatment is essential to prevent future flea infestations.
3. It may be due to ringworm.
Ringworm is a fungal infection that causes feline hair loss. It is contagious and can spread through contact with infected cats or dogs. It causes the fur to become brittle and break off in patches. Kittens with ringworm have reddish spots accompanied by a white or gray crust on the ears, face, and paw pads.
Consult your vet if you suspect that your cat’s hair loss is due to ringworm. He can find a ringworm infection through a fungal skin culture. The recommended treatment is the use of antifungal creams, sprays, shampoos, or medication. Your cat should also be quarantined for 14 to 28 days since it is a contagious condition.
4. Your cat has hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism in cats, or thyrotoxicosis, can cause hair loss. The fur becomes brittle, dull, and thin, and easily comes out when you are brushing or petting your cat. It affects middle-aged and older cats and is caused by an increase in the production of thyroid hormones called T3 and T4 from an enlarged thyroid gland. Recommended treatment includes surgery and the use of radioactive iodine.
5. It could be due to psychogenic dermatitis.
Psychogenic dermatitis is a condition caused by excessive grooming habits. It happens due to stress or boredom– your cat may be excessively licking herself to the point of hair loss. Your cat could be stressed because of a recent move or fear of another pet. It could also be because a new person or pet moved in, or due to conflict in a multi-cat household.
Hair loss can occur on the inner forelimbs, the groin region, the tail and/or the lower back area, and the rear area of the abdomen.
The condition can be treated by anti-anxiety supplements, like Fluoxetine, or by making changes to your cat’s environment. Make your cat’s life more interactive and less stressful. Remove the causes of your cat’s stress or rehome one of the cats if you have a multi-cat home. These measures usually bring about positive effects and curb the condition.
Other ways to reduce a cat’s stress level
- Give her access to cardboard boxes and paper bags where she can hide and play.
- Place climbing posts and perches in certain spots like the window to encourage your cat’s habit of viewing her environment and resting in high places.
- Schedule playtime with her using interactive toys like a feather wand to help her burn excess energy and stimulate her hunting instinct.
- Plug in a Feliway diffuser to calm your cat and make her relaxed.
6. It could be due to hormonal changes.
Cat hair loss can be due to hormonal imbalance. Certain hormones are responsible for hair growth but could also be the culprit for hair loss. If there is an overproduction or deficiency of these hormones, hair loss happens. Pregnant and lactating cats can also lose their fur due to hormonal changes, but it is not a cause of worry since the fur will grow back eventually.
Aside from those mentioned above, other reasons that contribute to cat hair loss may include poor health, an unhealthy diet, or an undetected disease. Consult your vet on the necessary steps regarding how to correct poor eating habits. He can also determine any possible illness your cat may have by administering laboratory tests.
Cats losing clumps of hair can be a cause for worry. It could be due to fleas, allergies, ringworm, or hyperthyroidism. However, it could also be due to stress, anxiety, or hormonal changes your cat may be experiencing. Take your cat to the vet so the proper evaluation and treatment can be done.
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