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Seven Common Causes of Hair Loss in Cats

Usually, it’s pretty noticeable when a cat starts to lose his hair. If you notice your pet’s beautiful coat of hair falling out, it may be a cause for concern. Here are some of the most common causes of hair loss in cats.

Hair Loss

Dermatitis

Cats can develop various types of dermatitis. Contact dermatitis, one of the common causes of feline hair loss, can be caused by various things in your cat’s environment. Carpet deodorizer, various chemicals, and even wool can all lead to contact dermatitis among other things. Medications that are applied to the skin may be the problem.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a disease that generally leads to hair loss in cats. The thyroid gland is responsible for pumping out different types of hormones for various functions. Problems occur whenever it produces too few or too many, as is the case with hyperthyroidism. Potential treatments include removing part of the thyroid gland, daily medications, or radioactive iodine therapy.

Diet

What you feed your cat can be the reason his hair starts to fall out. Cats can develop sensitivities to certain ingredients over time. To help see exactly what foods may be the problem, the vet may place your cat on a food elimination trial over two or three months.

Ringworm

Ringworm is a highly contagious infection that’s caused by a fungus, not a worm. Hair loss in cats caused by ringworm will have circular, patchy shapes. The affected areas will also turn red and be quite itchy to your cat.

If you have other pets in your home, you will need to keep them away from the one with cat ringworm. You would also need to disinfect all surfaces your cat came into contact with, and ideally toss out all bedding.

Fleas

An infestation of fleas doesn’t just cause your kitty to itch. Feline hair loss can be caused by sensitivity to flea bites. This type of reaction can develop over time. A combination of antihistamines and steroids will alleviate your cat’s itching and the hair will grow back over time. In the meantime, you will need to implement effective flea control methods for your cat’s environment.

Lice

There are many different species of lice. Those that affect cats cause typical symptoms such as itching and a rough coat of hair. As the situation worsens, hair will start to fall out and crusts will develop in the affected areas. Giving your cat a bath with medicated shampoo should be enough to get rid of the problem.

Chemotherapy

Just like with humans, chemotherapy has a number of ill side-effects. One of the most common is hair loss in cats. Although your cat won’t look any better on the outside, hopefully the chemotherapy medications will do the job they were designed to do. After your cat stops taking them, his hair will start to grow back. However, it may not be the same as it was before.

As you have learned, there are many different causes of cat hair loss. If you notice any changes in your pet, it is best to let your vet take a look.

Feline Ringworm

Many people take the name feline ringworm literally and believe that the disease is brought on by a worm. The truth is that it’s caused by a fungus. This fungus mainly infects the hair and skin, but can also make its way to the nails.

Feline Ringworm

Ringworm in cats is very, very contagious. If you have multiple cats, then one can infect the other very easily. Owners also need to be aware that they can become infected with the fungus too. Infected animals easily transmit the disease by coming into direct contact with other animals. The fungus can also reside in food dishes and bedding, and infect your cat when he comes into contact with it.



Just because your cat has been infected with the fungus that causes feline ringworm doesn’t mean that he will show signs though. The spores may simply reside on your cat without causing any symptoms for a long period of time. These spores are capable of surviving in the environment for months and months.

Ringworm in cats can become a problem for any feline regardless of age, sex, or breed. However, certain groups have a higher risk than others. Kittens and older cats alike share an increased risk for infection. Also, cats with long hair or a weakened immune system will have a higher risk too.

When signs of feline ringworm appear, they’re quite easy to notice. Your cat will develop bald patches on various areas of his body. Each patch will be circular in nature, and may also have a flaky appearance, with a red dot appearing in the center.

The areas that are usually affected include the ears, limbs, and head. Milder cases of ringworm in cats only causes bald patches in smaller areas. The disease can progress though and cause problems over the entire body.

Although the signs of feline ringworm are quite noticeable, your vet will have to do more than just take a look at your cat in order to make a diagnosis. The condition can be diagnosed very easily using an ultraviolet light that will make the fungus glow when exposed to it. The vet may also choose to take a skin biopsy or even examine the fungus under a microscope.

Medicated shampoos or ointments are usually effective in getting rid of ringworm in felines. Some cats may be given oral medication to combat the disease though. As mentioned earlier, the fungus is quite hardy. Therefore, this medication may need to be given for a period of months to ensure that your cat doesn’t have a reinfection.

If your cat has ringworm, then you’ll need to be very careful when handling him. Always make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly after you handle him. It’s also important that you use a special disinfectant on the bedding, food dishes, and any other areas that your cat comes into contact with.

Feline ringworm spreads very easily, and your other pets may have been infected too. It’s a good precaution to use the medicated ointment or shampoo on your other pets too. This is especially important if they shed a lot.