Is your cat’s fur thinning? Maybe you’ve discovered a new bald patch on your cat that you weren’t aware of before.
Or perhaps your cat’s fur has several bald patches?
Changes in your feline friend’s health or look can be concerning, but fur loss is rather normal and may not be cause for concern.
To keep you calm, here’s everything you need to know about cat bald spots, from what they look like, to what caused them in the first place, and what treatments they might require to get rid of them.
What Do Bald Patches On Cats Look Like?
Bald patches in cats can range from a single bald patch that goes all the way down to the skin to a patchy loss of hair that covers a greater region.
The disease behind your cat’s bald patch will determine how it appears. By examining your cat’s fur and bald spots, veterinarians can typically rule out certain causes.
Depending on the cause, bald patches on their skin can appear anywhere on their body, from their tail to their neck or ears.
The nature of the hair loss, rather than its location, is usually the best indicator of possible reasons, and there are no parts of the body that should call for alarm if you observe a bald patch.
What Does A Cat’s Bald Patch Look Like?
The look of a bald patch on your cat might vary, and your cat may have several areas of fur loss or only one or two.
You may also observe scabbing in locations where your cat used to have fur, depending on the cause.
For example, an external parasite can cause both hair loss and scabbing in cats, as the parasite damages both the hair follicle and the skin in general.
Your cat may be suffering from stress-induced hair loss if you see only fur loss and their skin appears to be in good condition.
Where the bald spots are located is a good indicator of what is causing your cat’s fur loss.
If they’re grooming in the usual places, the bald patches on your cat may result from over-grooming.
It is critical to seek the counsel of a veterinarian if you discover a new bald spot or scabbing on your cat’s skin, regardless of the source.
Although not all causes of bald patches in cats are dangerous, some can have long-term negative consequences for your cat’s health.
What Can Cause Patches Of Hair Loss In Cats?
If you’ve observed less fur on your cat, it could be the normal shedding of their winter coat. However, if they lose a lot of hair, something might be wrong somewhere.
If your cat grooms itself too much, it can lead to infection, skin sores, and hair loss.
You must be wary if your cat would rather lick its fur than do other activities like eating or playing.
The following are reasons your cat could lose fur:
- Genetic Conditions
A genetic disorder causes some cats to lose their hair. There is no therapy for this, however, it is usually intermittent, and the hair grows back in a few weeks.
Cat owners should also be aware that some cats’ hair is naturally thin, especially on the tops of their heads and other areas of their bodies where they brush up against humans and objects.
This is different in different breeds, but it is most noticeable in cats with dark fur and light skin. Unless you’re completely bald, it’s usually not a problem.
Some breeds have no hair or fur at all, and some have natural fur loss. In other words, bald patches on cats aren’t always the result of a dangerous condition.
- Over-grooming Due To Stress Or Anxiety
If you observe your cat brushing themselves more frequently than usual, it’s possible that they’re losing their fur.
Over-grooming can indicate a neurological problem in rare cases, especially in older cats, but it is more usually a stress-related behavior.
Contact with an allergen can cause hair loss and other symptoms such as dry skin and blisters.
The cat’s environment, such as interaction with plants, is the most prevalent cause of allergic reactions.
- Ringworm Infections
Ringworm is a fungal condition, not a parasite, that forms circular sores on the skin where the hair thins or disappears completely, giving your cat the appearance of a bald spot.
Ringworm is a highly contagious fungus that can be spread through direct contact with spores.
Because these parasites can persist for up to two years, your cat can contract them from any area where an infected animal has been.
- External Parasites
The most prevalent cause of bald patches in cats is parasites such as mites or fleas.
The problem is usually caused by your cat’s reaction to the flea’s saliva, which causes a localized reaction, often on the back and towards the tail.
Fortunately, the issue has been resolved.
- Thyroid problems
When a cat generates too much of a hormone, it develops thyroid difficulties (hyperthyroidism).
It’s also important to remember that cats don’t have hypothyroidism unless their hyperthyroidism is over-treated.
The development of bald patches on your cat is one indication. Blood tests can detect hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
In most cases, treating an overactive thyroid in cats is as simple as taking medicine prescribed by a veterinarian, though surgery may be required in rare cases.
How Can I Treat My Cat’s Hair Loss?
In line with the reasons stated above, below are the treatments for these possible causes.
- Treatment For Excessive Grooming
It’s critical to avoid developing a habit of over-grooming. Intervention is one of the most effective approaches to address excessive grooming in cats.
If you detect your cat licking excessively or for an extended amount of time, calmly interrupt. Play a game or give them a reward.
Cats are excellent groomers who take great satisfaction in grooming themselves by licking their fur regularly.
They can, however, over-groom by licking their fur excessively or biting and gnawing it.
This might cause your cat’s fur to thin or perhaps go completely bald, especially on the front paws.
If stress-related over-grooming is suspected, your veterinarian may send you to a veterinary behaviorist who may help you figure out what’s causing the stress and cat hair loss, as well as give you tips on how to stop it.
If your veterinarian discovers your cat is grooming excessively because of joint or bladder pain, they will prescribe medicine to address the underlying issue. When the pain subsides, so will the cat’s hair loss.
- Treatment For Allergies
Your cat may be allergic to some foods, necessitating testing. If your cat’s fur starts to fall out after you change his or her diet, go back to the old one and consult your veterinarian.
Treatment for allergic skin conditions takes a little longer, but once the offending food or chemical is identified, a strategy can be put in place to avoid it with the help of a veterinary dermatologist.
- Treatment For Ringworm
A fungal culture on a sample of hair is commonly used to diagnose ringworm, however, viewing the hair under a microscope or using a UV lamp (wood’s lamp) to examine the entire hair coat can also provide clues.
A swab of the skin can identify ringworm, and the fungus is usually treated with shampoos or other medications to prevent it from spreading.
- Treatment for External Parasites
This problem is best treated with parasite-killing medications such as ‘spot-ons.’ Veterinarian-recommended products are usually the most successful, but other treatments, like steroid therapy, may be required to ease itching.
External parasites, such as fleas, can cause feline-acquired symmetric alopecia, which is characterized by the severe hair loss on both sides of the cat’s body.
- Treatment thyroid issues
Hyperthyroidism can be treated with a variety of methods, including oral medication, surgery, and radioactive iodine therapy.
The treatment for alopecia is determined by the source of your cat’s hair loss.
Once the cause of alopecia in cats is identified, you should be able to enjoy a happy and healthy pet once more!
Do Cat Bald Spots Grow Back?
When effective medication is offered to cure the cause of hair loss in cats, the hair will grow back in most cases.
Depending on the cause, some cats who lose their hair because of sickness may be more prone to future episodes of baldness, while others may not notice any future instances.
Bald spots in a cat’s coat might be an early warning that their cat’s health needs attention, especially if they have a history of thyroid problems or are sensitive to stress.
If you observe any unusual baldness or hair loss on your cat, seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Your veterinarian will examine your cat thoroughly to determine what is causing their baldness.
They may offer flea treatment if they find fleas, which are a common cause of irritation and hair loss.
To test for ringworm and parasites, your veterinarian may collect hair samples or scrape a small sample of skin – don’t worry, this is perfectly painless.
To check for cat skin disorders, your vet may decide to collect a small skin sample from your cat under anesthesia or do an allergic skin test.
Alternatively, they may take a blood sample to check for any underlying illnesses that might be the reason for your pet’s hair loss.
If your veterinarian finds no evident cause for the feline alopecia at the end of their research, they may recommend you to a veterinary dermatologist.
If you or your vet suspects that your cat’s over-grooming is causing them to lose hair due to a behavioral cause, you’ll need to talk to them about their lifestyle to figure out what’s causing them stress.
Knutsford Vet Surgery: Why Does My Cat Have Bald Patches
WebMD: Why Do Cats Lose Hair?
Argos Pet Insurance: Bald patches on cats: symptoms, causes and treatment
Purina: Hair Loss in Cats