Posted on: 29 July 2015Share
If your cat's once-luxurious coat is now beginning to thin, or has noticeable bald patches, you may be worried. There are many potential causes for why a cat might start going bald, but this guide will help you to determine if your cat is experiencing any of the most common causes.
Stress can cause a cat's fur to fall out, much like how humans sometimes lose hair during periods of intense stress. The fur may begin to fall out on its own, or your cat may develop a disorder called psychogenic alopecia, which will cause them to obsessively scratch and lick themselves until the fur falls out.
If you can't already tell if your cat is stressed out, take a moment to think about the following. Has their environment changed at all recently? For example, has anyone moved in or out, or have you brought a new pet home? If not, consider your cat's other behaviors. Have they shown less interest in food, spent all of their time hiding, or otherwise acted erratically? If so, your kitty may be experiencing stress. In addition to making their home environment as stress-free as possible, talk to a vet about the possibility of putting your cat on antidepressants to reduce their stress.
Pica is an obsessive-compulsive disorder which can cause your cat to directly rip out clumps of their fur, and possibly swallow it. This can not only cause intestinal blockages, but it can potentially leave your cat looking quite bald.
Pica is common amongst certain breeds, such as Siamese and Oriental cats, so if your cat is one of those, it may very well be pica. If you ever notice your cat biting themselves or pulling out fur, or biting random objects like string, hair, or cables, those may also be indicators of pica.
Cats sometimes grow out of pica as they become older, but it can also be treated with antidepressants. Unfortunately, the exact reason behind why certain cats develop pica is unknown at this time.
Allergies can cause your cat's hair to fall out in two ways: it can irritate the skin to the point where the hair follicles swell and the hair falls out, or your cat may simply rub or scratch the area obsessively to ease their itching skin.
Despite the reputation cats have for being outdoor creatures, they can develop allergies to a wide variety of substances, including pollen, dander, certain types of weeds or wild grasses, and insect bites. Allergic responses to certain medications, especially topical ones, like those found in flea medications and collars, may cause the hair to fall out.
If your cat shows other signs of having allergies, like sneezing, weepy eyes, or coughing, take them to a vet to test your cat to determine what it is they're allergic to. Cats can also be treated by veterinarians with certain type of anti-histamine medications, but don't attempt to medicate your cat without a vet's advice.
These three causes are some of the leading reasons for a cat to develop bald patches or lose their fur. If none of them match up with what your cat is experiencing, you should see a professional vet, like those at Bearss Animal Clinic, right away. Baldness can also indicate more serious problems, like cancer, so it's not something to take lightly.