A little angel. Photo by Shutterstock
A little angel. Photo by Shutterstock

Is Your Cat Losing Hair? 6 Reasons for Hair Loss in Cats

Yikes … are you noticing your cat losing hair? Hair loss in cats, or alopecia in cats, may have a few different causes. Let’s examine some of them here.
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on email
Email

One of last year’s litters of foster kittens brought more than joy and heart-melting cuteness to my house. Unfortunately, the outdoor kitties and their mom came with a pack of fleas, and the pests took up residence in the fur of my resident cat, G.G., who had a maddening itch. The itch soon turned into thinning hair on her belly, at the base of her tail and on her hind legs. So, is your cat losing hair? What causes cat hair loss? In G.G.’s case the hair loss turned out to be caused by a flea allergy. Let’s learn more about hair loss in cats, also known as alopecia in cats.

First, let’s define cat hair loss

A tabby cat being pet.
First, what exactly is hair loss in cats? Photography by Ramon Espelt Photography / Shutterstock.

A cat losing hair — also called alopecia in cats — can be complete or partial and happens in felines for a variety of reasons, the most common of which is skin allergies, experts say. Dr. Fiona Bateman, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Georgia’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, regularly sees hair loss in cats at her clinic.

Is alopecia in cats ever ‘normal’?

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

Another type of normal hair loss is pinnal alopecia – hair loss on the outside of the ear pinnae — which is common in Siamese cats but usually resolves on its own. Many adult cats also experience preauricular alopecia — thinning of fur on the skin strip between the ears and the eyes, which is considered normal in cats, Dr. Hayworth says.

What about acquired alopecia in cats?

The rest of the cat population, which is born with normal fur, gets acquired alopecia — which is a symptom of a disease or condition, and not a disease itself. The veterinarian will diagnose the underlying condition, Dr. Bateman says.

With a cat losing hair, will that hair grow back?

The good news for cat parents is that this hair loss in cats usually doesn’t indicate a serious illness, and the hair can usually grow back, Dr. Bateman says. Dr. Hayworth, of VCA Northview Animal Hospital in the Pittsburgh suburbs, explains that how well a cat losing hair can be treated and reversed depends on the underlying cause.

“Generally, if we can reverse the cause, then we can get the hair to grow back,” Dr. Hayworth says. “This is especially true with over-grooming related to allergies. So, if you notice hair loss in your cat, it is definitely worth a trip to the doctor.”

These are six of the most common conditions behind a cat losing hair. Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list, as alopecia in cats is a broad condition with many potential factors.

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

An example of G.G.'s hair loss.
An example of G.G.’s hair loss due to a flea allergy. Photography courtesy Kellie B. Gormly.

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 doesn’t just fall out; the cats actually lick it so much that they pull their hair out.

“It’s not that the hair can’t 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, it’s more likely that cats licking off their hair are itching from flea allergy, Dr. Bateman says.

Mange, scabies and lice also can make a cat’s 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.

2. Pain

Sometimes, a cat will lick an area of his body too much not because it itches, but because the tissue underneath the skin hurts, Dr. Bateman says. A cat with arthritis, for instance, may lick at the achy joint constantly because it is painful, and licking helps relieve the discomfort. The problem is, the cat licks away the hair, too.

Dr. Bateman once saw a cat who had a fractured rib. The kitty licked at the painful rub so much that he had become bald around that bone.

3. Infections

This isn’t as common a cause of a cat losing hair as allergies are, but it does happen. Cats with infectious conditions like staph infections and fungal infections like ringworm may lose hair in the affected areas, Dr. Hayworth and Dr. Bateman say.

4. Endocrine Disorders

A cat losing hair may have hyperthyroidism — an overactive thyroid, which causes weight loss and other symptoms. Outside of the thyroid, if cats have a hormonal imbalance and an increased level of steroids in the body, the hair follicles may die; and with abnormal hormone levels, new hair may not grow back. For instance, Cushing’s disease, a metabolic disorder that produces too much cortisol, may cause alopecia in cats.

5. Medication Side Effects

Transdermal prednisone causes alopecia and curling of the ear pinnae. Usually, Dr. Hayworth says, stopping the medication will reverse this condition.

6. Cancer

Thankfully, cancer is a rarely the reason for a cat losing hair; it is far more likely that your kitty’s hair loss is nothing serious. But neoplasia — a term for abnormal growths caused by uncontrolled division of cells — may cause hair loss in cats. Another serious condition that occurs secondary to cancer is paraneoplastic alopecia, which is hair loss associated with itching and moist skin, Dr. Hayworth says. However, these serious causes are rare.

The bottom line on hair loss in cats and alopecia in cats

Don’t panic over a cat losing hair — just take your cat to the veterinarian for an exam. “Chances are, it is not serious,” Dr. Bateman says. “But you don’t know that just by looking at the cat, which is why it’s important to get it checked out.”

Tell us: Have you had your own experience with a cat losing hair? What issue was at hand?

Concerned about hair loss yourself? Read this!

Thumbnail: Photography ©foaloce | Thinkstock.

This piece was originally published in 2018.

Read more about cat skin conditions on Catster.com:

100 thoughts on “Is Your Cat Losing Hair? 6 Reasons for Hair Loss in Cats”

  1. So many are not aware that shampoos that grow your hair fast (of course without any sulfates, parabens or DEA) even exist. People are now able to enjoy longer hair and achieve more possibilities. Definitely worth reading.

    When you’re discussing hair loss, hair damage, avoiding skin disorders, fast hair growth, hair and scalp care normally, very similar rules actualize.

    In general, you have to avoid hair treatments and products that include chemicals such as parabens, DEA and sulfates.

    What’s healthy for your hair is good for your skin as well.

    Obviously the content here is spot on for so many reasons. It stays away from the common errors and errors too many fall into- purchasing horrible alternatives. Greatly appreciated!

    1. Susan Everingham

      My granddaughters cat will only eat dry food and is losing her fur , could dry food only cause problems or is she lacking in so ething, she has fleas , can I put flea treatment on her , shes scratching all the time

  2. Wow ! People are still doing the declawing! How barbaric ! Get a scratching post ! Or find a new home for the cat. Then you can look at your beautiful funiture. Try a squirt gun ( fill it with water only!)

    1. Declawing is barbaric. I have many scratch posts. On top of that, it should be a hygienic rule to cover the sofas with a cotton bedspread or cover because germs/fungus can grow & thus you resolve many matters with keeping the sofas covered. My kitty developed an ear fungus by constantly sleeping in one spot. Cover the sofa–no scratching, it keeps the sofa like new & you can wash & keep the sofa always fresh & new. Declawing is outlawed in many countries. It should be outlawed here in the USA too.

  3. Thought this might help another carer … we have rescued a cat since long back who gets recurring fungai infection on her skin. You forgot fungai infection in the list. When they happen again ususally it starts with a small area usually circular the size of a coin and grows. It is accompanied by both pain, a feeling of stings, itch and general fever sometimes too .. most common areas for this baby we’re caring for are the front of her torso, in front of her ears, under her neck and chin and behind her ears. No ointment usually does treat the condition and always we need systematic treatment with medications (tablets) that typically last for about 21 to 30 days. When spotted and treated the hair slowly grow back. If not spotted and treated in time the places hit by the fungi might stay hairless. Since fungi infection can move to the internal organs specially with animals who lick themselves, this does count as a life threatening condition so do be alert about this problem. Also the appearance of these fungi can sometimes not even be visible or at other times they might look like red dried wounds or dried blood clots on their skins.

  4. Marie – I, too LOVE vintage jewelry, it’s so unique! I’ve never seen the YouTube videos you mentioned in your comment, I need to check them out. I love old movies, the fashion they wore and their manners were so in check, we need that trend to come back around.

  5. owever my vet had me give .5ml orbax to him for about a month and there has been no improvement, and he also had me apply terbinafine twice a day for several weeks, but I stopped it because I thought it was actually makingi
    the hair loss worse. So I have another appointment scheduled fo

  6. Pingback: Why is My Cat Shedding So Much? Cat Owner Questions Answered – Updates By Kathy

  7. Pingback: Why is My Cat Shedding So Much? Cat Owner Questions Answered – Pet Training By Barry

  8. Pingback: Why is My Cat Shedding So Much? Cat Owner Questions Answered – Lucky Dog Solutions

  9. Pingback: Why is My Cat Shedding So A lot? Cat Proprietor Questions Answered | Facemoon

  10. I have a Tabby cat who has been biting his hair away on his stomach, sides of body and paws. I’m told by my vet he has hypothyroidism but sent me to a cat dermatologist. Thought he was allergic to his food. Changed his food and put on steroids. Helped for a little while, but, of course was ravenous. Took him back. So maybe it’s environmental. Put him back on steroids plus Atopica. $1,00 later, still has problems. Have checked for fleas, mites etc and has none. I don’t know what else to do and can’t continue to put out so much money. I feel really bad for him. Don’t think it’s stress
    Than you

    1. If you are using clumping cat litter, try changing to the unscented clay litter, non-clumping. Many cats are sensitive to the clumping ingredient. Hope this helps!

  11. I had a cat lose hair under her belly and behind her hind legs. Turns out it was fleas and larvae. I couldn’t find any fleas on her as she did a fantastic job of licking her hair to baldness. A trip to the vet with Cheristin for 3 months she has her hair back and no fleas!

    1. Switch away from Cheristin asap this stuff will cause hair loss and skin damage to your cat even if it does not happen the first time.

  12. Nancy J. Smith

    Just recently I had to remove my cat Rascal’s collar because where his collar rubbed around his neck, it left a bald ring around his neck. I asked my vet if she thought it would grow back, and she said she doubted that the hair would come back. I asked what caused that bald spot, she said it was caused by the friction of the collar rubbing around his neck. So I immediately took of his collar. I also took the collars off of my other two cats because I didn’t want them to get a bald spot too. So sometimes collars can cause bald places too.

  13. One of my five cats, Blacky, lost all his hair on his hind quarters as well as a lot on his arms. Only one. His brother and sister have had no problem, but Blackys fur just seemed to get more and more bare! I put a flea collar on him and waited. I didn’t notice it at first, but, after about 2 months, I noticed that his fur seemed to be coming back…with a small area still kind of bare, mostly, you would hardly notice. Note: I try not to take my cats to the vet “just because” since they are feral and any trips are EXTREMELY stressful for them. They absolutely HATE even going outside!!! I will take them if they have to…Blacky has been a couple of times, and for annual check ups.

  14. You left out another reason for over-grooming — stress. Cats who are under a lot of stress will often over groom.

    1. I have a male cat who is balding a bit below his left eye. I think the female kitty is always grooming him in that spot. But I’m wondering if it’s possible there could be an underlying skin condition there she is licking. Or she has created one, therefore the fur is reacting to her licking. I’ll bring him in to the vet as I realize it’s been ever so slight up to this point but now it’s progressing.

      1. Hi Anne, we had a cat that was constantly rubbing under his eye and we thought it was either some form of stress, or overgrooming from one of our other cats. Turned out to be a thyroid issue that became cancerous. It turned the once black and brown hair to grey. I would advise getting a complete blood panel done.

  15. I adopted a cat 5 years ago from Petsmart. She has grown to be very heavy and recently I have seen bunches of clumps of her fur where she lays. This is now an everyday thing. I have two other cats and read that it could be mites, fleas etc. I have treated all of my cats for mites, fleas, and now doing a three worm medication. Is there something else that could be causing the problem? She is not an outside cat.

    1. My 15-year-old calico is losing her hair at the back of her neck. She is long-haired and has a “mane” that was thick and that’s what is going bald. I’ve taken her to the vet and had total blood work & an exam completed? The veterinarian found no issue? She is an indoor kitty, the bald area is getting larger but doesn’t seem to bother her; I’m at wit’s end, so worried that something is wrong but don’t know where else to turn? I lost my other 12 1/2-year-old kitty suddenly about 5 months ago, the veterinarian’s office could not explain why she couldn’t eat or drink and she survived only on tube feeding the last five days of her life. I’ve lost confidence in our only local veterinarian because of this. Does anyone have a suggestion?

      1. Did you figure out the cause? A topical flea/tick medicine made one of our cats lose her fur where the product was applied.

          1. I would love to learn more about cats as I have a silver chinchilla persian and he is losing a lot of hair under his belly he is just turned a year 4th may

  16. Two years ago I took in an 8 year old spayed indoor cat who was to be put down and she has developed a smooth bald spot between her ear and eye. She had her back claws removed (vet said she reacted like a ferral cat) The vet also had she had fleas – don’t where she could have gotten them. However, after a month of spraying and vacuuming I believe the house is now clean of fleas and this bald spot has appeared. She is totally okay with me, her ears look clean , bms appear to be normal, no flakes in fur, not excessively itching or grooming and seems back to her usual self. I’ve just spent over $1000. vet fees and am on a fix senior’s income. Is this bald spot serious – after the flea infestion she has lost about 3-4 lbs. I am really not looking forward to another vet bill. She will be getting her front claws removed next year ( claw removal was decided by myself and the vet as she would have to be sedated for claw clipping in the future)

    1. Claw removal is actually more like amputation.
      Once the claws are amputated, the cats had no means of defending itself if it were to get outside.
      I’d seriously rethink amputation the kitties claws of it hasn’t already happened.

      1. I’m sure the little old lady that wrote the original post! You know the one who plainly stated that the Vet had removed its hind claws! So one, it’s obviously already been done and it was the Vet’s call. I’m sure thought than now after reading your reply, she’s worried herself t death over that! Try to be a little more thoughtful or show some consideration when you reply to something! Sometimes it’s best to just shut our mouths!

    2. Terresa de Villiers

      Fleas are brought in by humans on one’s clothes. I have 9 indoors and it happens like once in 4 years that I will have a flee problem. I just use Johnson and Johnson’s baby power although some people say it is not suitable or I just catch it myself or use vet’s issued flea spray, not from stores as my one cat almost died of dog dip that I thinned and sprayed on the dogs back and the cat who was a kitten then must have walked where they have rolled on the carpet or on them or I did not wash my hands after I sprayed them and then picked her up. I will also no declaw, it is very painfull afterwards. The wounds heal, but it is like when your joints pain in winter.

    3. Claw removal is cruel. It is similar to having your fingers removed up to the knuckles. It is extremely and leaves a cat defenseless and stressed. Get a her a tall cat tree and a cardboard scratcher instead. I would change vets immediately.
      Has your vet checked your cat for tapeworm and hyperthyroidism?

      1. Please don’t declare your kitty. Not only is it comparable to a human enduring the amputation of the first phalange of the hand (aka~ the fingertips!!). Here’s more info about why it’s not good to elect to have Onychectomy (the technical name for the procedure of declawing one’s cat) Here are several potential surgical complications, including:

        1) Anesthetic complications
        2) Bleeding
        3) Infection
        4) Chronic pain
        Nerve damage & paralysis
        Distal limb ischemia (aka compromised blood flow) due to improper bandage application
        Tissue necrosis (death)
        Claw regrowth
        Wound dehiscence. This can really affect a kitty’s mobility and it will grow WORSE with age. Yes, due to phalangial fractures, or bone splintering, it can make just walking across the living room an excruciating ordeal for the cat. Unless it’s ABSOLUTELY necessary, please don’t amputate your kitty’ s claws. On the other hand, it’s perfectly okay to.CLIP the claws. (Kitty usually isn’t fond of this activity. With my cat, he doesn’t like the notion of restraint. A wads). Just make sure to use the clippers that are specially designed to trim your cat’s claws. You can purchase this item at your local pet supply store (I.e. “Pet Smart, Petco etc etc). The product is relatively inexpensive. $5-$10 at most.
        If scratching the furniture is an issue, there are several solutions for that as well. 1st off, scratching is a normal natural activity for ALL cats. To force kitty to STOP scratching will never meet with success. The notion is, to find him/her an acceptable alternative instead of that beautiful leather sofa! Carpeted scratching posts (treat it with catnip for extra laughs) are a good alternative. There are also “scratch covers (this product can be attached to kitty’s favorite sofa. It provides a really slick surface and kitty just can’t quite “dig in.” Again, please don’t declare your precious baby because it could subject him/her to unnecessary pain for the rest of his or her natural life.

        him.oe her an acceptable

  17. Pingback: Is Your Cat Losing Hair? What It Could Mean | Litter-Robot Blog

  18. Several weeks ago I noticed that my female tabby had lost a considerable amount of hair on the underneath side of her tail. Also, her belly had a rash and was also missing hair. We took her to the vet and had a baseline blood test. Dr Sehn determined that due to the results and no signs of fleas that she had developed food allergies. We’ve changed her to a single protein rabbit diet. The hair does NOT seem to be growing back in. How long might this take?

  19. Robert Sanderson

    For the past several weeks my female cat as started loosing hair from the base of her tail going about 3 inches up her back & in the past few days in one straight line about 1/4 of an inch thick & about 6 inches long she as also started loosing hair? And it only seems to be getting worse? She grooms & cleans herself more than before? Her appetite is good if anything better than before the hair lose? Hope you can help many thanks

    1. omg so HAS she started losing her hair? IS she getting worse? DOES she groom more? IS her appetite good or are you asking us all this? if so much is going on i hope you took her to a vet. im always amazed when people post online and wait when they have a possibly sick pet that could be dead in 2 days or is clearly suffering, regardless. if you cant afford a vet (there are low income vets who have very resonable prices and all have payment plans) then you shouldnt own a pet. one typical thing like a bladder infection, thyroid disease, eating a wring thing and throwing up to the point of dehydration or even spraining a paw can cost hundreds if not thousands of $.

        1. How is he supposed to help the cat? He is drawing attention that cats need to go to vets when they are exhibiting obvious problems.
          For Cathy’s cat: probably hyperthyroidism or tapeworm. Cats don’t lose four pounds for no reason. Also, declawing a cat is torture for them. Some never regain the ability to walk properly. Would you cut your own fingers off? She has had this cat for two years, already has no back claws. What good vet. Advocates this??? Find a ve vet who makes house calls.

      1. Perhaps her financial circumstances changed since getting the animal…. also, there might not be low costs facilities in her area… don’t be so mean.

  20. My cat has been rapidly losing hair the last three weeks or so. He’s probably about 30-40% bald right now. He seems like he’s not sleeping well and he surely isn’t the same, behaviorally. He seems “affected” is the best way I know how to describe it. He had a yeasty build up on the paws and face and the vet gave drops and a shampoo for that but the treatment is EXTREMELY stressful for him and us. I’m afraid the treatment will cause more damage than the yeast. His blood work came back normal but he is not normal. Something is very wrong. We moved near wind turbines in the last 15 months and I’m really worried the infrasound is radically affecting his sleep and this is part of the cause of his hair loss. I’m very concerned for his welfare but, other than the yeast, my vet had no idea what could be wrong with him. I’m hoping it’s the yeast, but I’m not confident that it is. I hate bathing his feet every day, for his sake, because it stresses him out so badly. I hope someone here might be able to give other ideas.

    1. Never mind. I see you guys never provide any helpful information. Just, “go to the vet.” Well DUH. I spent $400 at the vet with no good answers, so telling me to go to the vet won’t help. So if that’s all you have to say, don’t bother.

      1. What did you expect Catster to do? If you read the article it suggests at least five causes. Who but a vet can determine the cause? I would have tried another vet before spending $400 without results. By the way, I just discovered a large hairless area on my cat’s hind leg and am taking her to our vet tomorrow.

      2. animals who are sick need doctors, pricey food that has nutrition and a lot of care. if you dont want to be bothered with responsible cat care then dont own a cat. throwing a fit at strangers who gave good advice to you doesnt heal your cat or teach you how to be responsible. taking a sick animal with medical issues or when theyre clearly in pain is “all you have to say”? yes, it is. if you think its better advice to post on a message board and do nothung then find someone to take your cat who will love it. maybe this time it was nothing. instead of bring relived you come back to complain? most would go to another vet for a 2nd opinion if they werent happy with the 1st one. or do thungs to improve the cat’s food, stress level, and theyd be happy it wasnt cancer and youd have a dead cat. really rude to be taking your drama out on nice ppl who gave you perfect advice.

        1. Sean:
          Leaving comments such as yours that vilify pet owners for not having the money to take their pet to a vet are not only not helpful, but can actually cause more harm. Alienating someone asking for help will only make them, and others in their situation, unlikely to ask again. If you have unlimited funds for veterinarian visits, that’s wonderful for you and your pets, but the reality is many people struggle between paying utilities or going to the vet. If someone’s asking for help online, that’s a lot more effort than way too many people put into the healthcare of their pet. Too many will literally just abandon the animal(s) in hopes that someone will find them that does have the funds and THESE are the people that should not own animals.
          To all of you self righteous commenters spitting out inaccurate rhetoric regarding how easy it is to find low-cost vet care: That is just plain wrong. While it’s true that most large cities have lots of resources and programs to help with vet cost, many rural areas have one veterinarian within a 60 mile radius that charges hundreds for an office visit and/or simple blood tests before the real charges even began, because they can do this due to supply and demand. Pet owners in these places often think as you do when they first get a pet, only to find plausible veterinarian care so cost prohibitive that the only thing they can do is look to the internet for answers and try to take out a loan. Many don’t even have the option of driving to the nearest city with the low cost resources because these same resources almost always require you to bring proof of residency in their county. Well meaning citizens in rural areas try to help by starting non-profits that can take donations, only to run into the same problem that allows the vet to set sky high rates: too much demand for too little supply. Rescues become overwhelmed and turn to family members to try and help cover a regular donor’s cat’s cancer care, maybe start a GoFundMe that so many are sick of seeing, they over-fill their properties with animals that would have otherwise been dropped at the nearest barn (or gas station, or dumpster)…
          Eventually the programs close down due to lack of support, funds, resources while cats keep multiplying because their owners tried to make an appointment for spaying, only to find out it’s $200 per cat (INCLUDING a discount voucher from Spay Today). So they wait til they have an extra $200 & their cat mates in the meantime…round and round it goes.
          It is the veterinarians who should not be veterinarians if they’re only in it for their greed and ability to milk every last dollar out of the community’s income.

          If the people asking for help here were able to just “take it to a vet” (or take it AGAIN, in many cases) they would not be here earnestly looking for advice to help their beloved pet.
          Give helpful advice, if you have any. Every sentient human being knows when theirs a health concern with an animal, you should “take it to a vet”! These comment sections are for those looking for something beyond what every human being already knows.

          1. Your comments are valid. However, if a cat has had two paws declawed and the owner is going to declaw the other two… she is probably the one who is causing the problem. This is absolute torture for a cat. He is probably is such pain. Imagine having your fingers cut off to the knuckles and then being forced to walk, use a litter box, defend yourself maybe. Money was paid to a vet for this??? THIS IS NOT BEING A LOVING CAT PARENT. Spend the money on HEALTH care instead.

          2. Thank you. Your words are so accurate as to pet owners possible motives and financial limitations. I have a sweet feral cat who is losing hair k the back of her neck and I can’t afford to take her to a vet I feed her top dry cat food to help her nutrition but it makes me sad to see the bald area increasing daily….l

        2. My cat and dogs are fine. My cat lost a little hair after her kittens found new homes, and I have no complaints except one. You are NOT a nice person. Everything you said could have been said in a way that is not offensive, but obviously that doesn’t concern someone who is so obviously perfect, like you. If you can’t say something without being rude, please don’t say anything! My opinion (and it is only my opinion) is that you are a real jerk!

        3. My cat and dogs are fine. My cat lost a little hair after her kittens found new homes, and I have no complaints except one. You are NOT a nice person. Everything you said could have been said in a way that is not offensive, but obviously that doesn’t concern someone who is so obviously perfect, like you. If you can’t say something without being rude, please don’t say anything! My opinion (and it is only my opinion) is that you are a real jerk!

    2. Hi Jennifer,

      Hmm. We always suggest remaining under vet care because the best way to diagnose and treat an issue is to see your individual cat in person. However, these articles might help provide some insight:
      https://www.catster.com/cat-health-care/cat-skin-problems
      https://www.catster.com/cat-health-care/what-causes-scabs-on-cats

    3. My 15 year old male cat has a similar condition. The vet has not been that helpful. He does have a tumor in his mouth but he is still eating a lot. Hair loss around his nose and legs is very noticeable. He also has a yeasty drool ….. he is an outside-inside cat. Just wondering if u found anything that helps. Thanks

      1. It could be ringworm which is just a fungus. The cats can get it from dirt or a garden in the yard. Or hiding under a porch. It can be treated and an elderly woman told me it’s just like jock itch or or on your feet. A little Lamisil on the spots..can’t hurt. I wouldn’t let them lick it. I had 3 little black kittens who each had a bald spot on the top of their ears. I tried it and it worked. The hair grew back, but you can also buy over the counter for ringworm.

  21. What test do I ask the vet to do? My cat is an indoor cat, no fleas. The vet gave him a couple of steroid shots and they did seem to help, the first stopped the scratching and gnawing longer than the second. But the vet said too many steroid shots are bad for his kidneys. Then the vet gave him some hormone pills and they did nothing. All this with no testing, just guessing by the vet. I’d like to know for sure what is going on so I can treat it. My poor cat looks like he is going bald.

  22. My cat Duvi is now 4months’ old.she is suffering from hair fall.I don’t know whether this is hereditary or not.bcz Luvi(it’s twin cat born with Duvi) is fine and healthy.Duvi was also healthy.But from nearly 2 weeks she is losing hair.Can anyone suggest remedy for this??plz????

  23. My 1 year old cat suffered a fractured pelvis 3 weeks ago. We are not sure how it happened as he is an outside cat. He is now very skiddish and has started losing clumps of hair. Is this a normal reaction due to the trauma?

      1. when ppl post that: their cat has lost 40% of its hair or it fractured its pelvis or is full of yeasty stuff and its sressful to him then what do you suggest ppl do….just wait and hope typing on a webpage will make it all go away? cats are delicate creatures. theyre not dogs. cats can lose 2-3 pounds and this is a LOT. they dont stay sick and slog thru it, they die. they can be in tremendous pain and hide it bevause in the wild an aminal showing weakness gets killed. if your cat is sick to you, they are VERY sick. if you think people who seem to care more about your cat than you do see and kniw all this and tell you to go to a vet (or 2 or 6 until someone helps) then dont have a cat. theyre a responsibly and they feel pain and get sick. stupidity is thinking random people on a random website will cure your cat with website magic so you font have to be bothered with being a responsible pet owner

        1. Sean. Your just a troll. Go find another page to blow your useless air off on.
          Maybe one day you will get sick, won’t be able to afford healthcare, or healthcare professionals cannt give you an answer after spending 100,000$ … an be the person posting on a board that you are needing advice… an I hope, f***ing hope you come across someone like yourself…
          KARMA is a b***h
          A very large percentage know what they are getting into once they have a cat…. but can you tell the future? No you can not. Just like you cannt tell if you will get sick in 2 years. Or may get cancer in 3.
          So get off your all mighty high horse troll.

  24. Pingback: Why Cats Lose Hair – Cat Daily News

  25. I have a 6 year old black female. Over the last month I have noticed on her front right inner paw that the first 2 digits had a little bit of thinning fur but the underlying skin seemed altogether normal besides being a little loose;fast forward to now, the hair loss has progressed half way up her forearm almost to the elbow and her shin is almost completely baggy and free of almost all rigidity all the while not having any lesions or bumpy growths. I am concerned at this point and want a second opinion before I go to the vet(I hate to go to the vet uneducated.) any input helps, thanks!

    1. Hi there,

      Yes, definitely take your kitty to the vet. These articles might provide some insight, too:
      https://www.catster.com/cat-health-care/interesting-facts-cat-paws
      https://www.catster.com/cat-health-care/cat-skin-problems
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-facts-weird-science-cats-paws-feet-toes
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/5-cat-facts-cats-paws

  26. I’ve taken my 13 year old tuxedo cat to the vet after seeing hair loss around her ears. They gave me drops to apply twice a day inside to stimulate moisture. I have seen no change and notice her lower abdomen is pink and not covered in her white fur. I treat her with flea medication every month and she lost her adopted sister 6 months ago. Nothing else has changed. I don’t know what else to do. Please help.

      1. Yeah, just talk to your vet (read sarcasm)….and after several months of “the cause might be this, or might be that…..let’s try this treatment, and if that doesn’t work, let’s try that treatment” and $2000 worth of tests and office visits you MIGHT get a specific diagnosis and a specific course of treatment that will produce wonderful results. But I never have. Hope you have better luck with your vet!

        1. So agree with you. We Love our pets….they’re part of out Familys’. Vets really do rip you off and no one will tell me different. Find a good, reasonable, caring vet. Look around hard. I work with animals so much. Also rescues etc. Nothing irritates me more when I hear a person say…”He or she shouldn’t have a pet if they can’t afford medical care.” As much Love and concern that I see 99.9% of people have for their pets or just animals in general, that could not be farther from the truth. Vets play on that, and its a disgrace what most of them charge.

        2. Have you or someone else had to wait a long time before doctors could finally discover what’s wrong with you? Often it takes years (especially in autoimmune diseases) after tests and scans to discover the problem. Why expect a vet to diagnose a problem immediately?

  27. My female 1 year old cat, is going bald everywhere. She’s gone completely bald around her tail and bum area now it’s spreading to her sides and her back. She isn’t eating a lot either, I’m really worried she normally doesn’t bother with us but she’s being extra clingy

    1. She is telling you she is sick. I know people here are vilifying vets. but you are dealing with a creature who can’t speak to you to tell you what hurts. Your kitty needs a vet. And soon. It is a cat’s instinct to hide any sickness or pain. Yours is absolutely telling you she needs help.

  28. My cat age 18 has arthritis in her hips ( may have progressed to other places) and have been given gabapentine liquid pain killer for her food. She also has glaucoma which require drops in both eyes. She gets a very thick frothy drool after glaucoma drop administration. Within in 3months she has had two strokes (vet said stroke or brain tumour). I feel they are strokes as my cat has gotten better each time but tends to be weaker on left side always. Now I’ve noticed that she has a bald spot on her right paw where the hair is easily coming out. No hair pulls out on left paw. She is not licking her paws at all. She used to be a fastidious cleaner but now she’s like an old person and her hygiene has fallen by the wayside. The skin is nice and smooth beneath. Any thoughts.

    1. Hi Xena,
      We suggest contacting your vet. You might want to read these articles, too:
      https://www.catster.com/cat-health-care/cat-skin-problems
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/what-causes-scabs-on-cats
      https://www.catster.com/cat-health-care/what-is-cat-dermatitis-and-what-can-you-do
      Hope your kitty feels better!

  29. Tako, my four-year-old former feral male orange tabby, received a Frontline gold flea application between his shoulders May 1. Two weeks later there was a dime-size bald spot. He is a groomer but has no other such bald spots and cannot lick that area. Getting him to the vet was impossible after two tries. Any suggestions?

    1. Hey Regie,

      Sorry to hear that you’re going through this. Here’s how to get your cat to the vet even if he really hates it: https://www.catster.com/cat-health-care/how-to-get-your-cat-to-the-vet
      Also, some vets make house calls. We suggest calling your vet or asking around to see what you can do!
      These articles might also provide further insight when you talk to your vet:
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/why-are-there-scabs-on-my-cats-back
      https://www.catster.com/cat-health-care/cat-skin-problems

    2. My male cat had that problem with revolution once though in general,
      I haven’t had that problem with revolution. Anywho, I decided to apply it to several spot close together between my cat’s shoulders and when I did that instead of all in one place he didn’t get the bald patch.

  30. Robert Thomson

    Tazzy, one of my senior,(16) special needs (stageII kidney disease and severe osteoporosis) rescue cats was shedding, a lot. He really didn’t develop any bare patches but I started adding fish oil to his RX wet food and that seemed to alleviate the excessive shedding. Tazzy is a domestic long hair cat.

  31. My cat’s hair just about disappeared on the whole backside of her tail, her back legs, part of her tummy, and her whiskers became short or non-existent. Vet couldn’t find anything really wrong with her. It occurred to me that she could be mineral deficient because I use purified water in their water fountain, though it did not seem to affect her brothers. I tried various brands of vitamins, and found one that was fantastic. In ten days she was showing fuzz, in another week she substantially had her fur and whiskers growing back. She has been great ever since with thick long fur and full whiskers. The brand that worked was Organic Ninth Life Vitamins. You can buy it online. I only give her a tiny pinch of the powder mixed in a little wet food once a day as maintenance. If you give too much (per the package) they won’t eat it. It can also be lightly tossed with their dry food. One package for my baby is lasting well onto a year and we haven’t yet run out.
    I also had a Maine Coon that lost his hair in circle type patches, larger one and smaller ones. Wasn’t fleas. Vet said there was no apparent reason without expensive testing which I could not afford anyway. I thought about it, and sprayed the patches with Sovereign Silver Colloidal Silver (throat spray type because they will lick it). In just a couple of days of a couple of sprays per day, it was healing up and within a week the hair had begun growing back. In a month you would never be able to tell he’d ever had a problem with his thick double-fur coat! Hopefully, you are already feeding your kitty a no or low-carb high quality food and some or all raw and all non-GMO. Vaccines can also cause fur loss.

    1. Great advice! My kitty just got a vaccine recently. That could be the problem of the minor hair loss behind her legs. I am taking her to the Vet soon. Appointment made already.

  32. Robert Schlarmann

    My cat began losing hair that resulted in a bald patch at the base of her tail and very thin hair over the rest of her body. The vet was unable to determine the cause but then I had an insight as to the possible cause. My cat loved to sit on my chest and it occurred to me that maybe the testosterone treatment I was applying to my chest may be seeping through the shirt and my girl was picking some up. I changed to injectable treatments and soon her hair grew back. The shots are painful, but it’s a small price to pay to have a healthy fully furred feline.

  33. My 6yo male Maine Coon mix rescue licked his lower tummy clean. He was really over-cleaning himself a lot.
    After tests to be sure (nothing wrong), the vet & I determined he was depressed because the other person in the house was gone a _lot_ more now.
    He is now wearing a “calming collar,” person pays more attention when here, and I do as well (altho there are only so many hrs in a day!)
    His tummy is almost back to normal!

  34. My cat has hair loss on the back by his tail, on his heels and thinning hair on his ears. My vet took scrapings and sent them to the lab. One culture came back bacterial and there was no fungus. However my vet had me give .5ml orbax to him for about a month and there has been no improvement, and he also had me apply terbinafine twice a day for several weeks, but I stopped it because I thought it was actually makingi
    the hair loss worse. So I have another appointment scheduled for three weeks from the last one and I don’t see any improvement after three months.

      1. My cat’s ears are completely bald, his tail is nearly bald, and he’s been steadily balding around his back legs, flank, and stomach. The vet did a scrape and biopsy a few years ago and couldn’t determine an exact cause. The results came up as skin allergies, but he had no other skin reactions or other symptoms. After we moved the new vet examined him and tried a steroid injection, but it didn’t seem to have any effect–he’s actually lost more hair since then. We’ve been told it’s not behavioral due to the pattern, and he certainly hasn’t stopped zooming around the house living his best life (5 yo currently), but I do still wonder sometimes if there’s something else I should be looking for.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      These pieces might help provide some insight:
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-love-bites-what-do-they-mean
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-aggression-during-petting
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/how-to-treat-cat-bites-puncture-wounds
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/how-to-stop-kitten-biting

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.

Related

Follow Us

Shopping Cart