Why is my cat losing fur
Read time: 3 min
Cats are a mystery sometimes. Why do they go from 0-100mph without warning? And why do they insist on sitting in the bathtub at midnight? Some things we’ll never know. But other things, like the random appearance of bald spots, can be easy to sort out.
If your cat has got thinning hair or some new bald patches in their coat, read on to learn what might be causing them – and how to help.
Reasons why your cat might be losing its fur
Hair loss can be caused by lot of different things. But it’s not to be mistaken for normal shedding. Seasonal shedding usually happens at the change of seasons. (Although long-haired cats might shed more often.) And, despite finding hair in your mouth every 10 minutes, shouldn’t leave bald spots.
If the hair loss is focused around their eyes or temples, it might not be anything to worry about. It’s called facial alopecia and is very common in adult cats. But, if you spot scabbing, redness, or feel like it’s bothering your cat, take them to the vet.
A common cause of hairloss in cats is some kind of skin condition. This could be an allergy caused by something they touched or ate, or a fungal infection like ringworm. Keep an eye out for redness and scabbing. And as the telltale circular marks that ringworm leaves behind.
If you suspect ringworm, it’s important to get them to the vet ASAP. It’s highly infectious. And can even be transmitted to you and your family.
If your cat’s skin is dry, flaky, and itchy, it could be an allergy. Have they brushed up against something? Or could they have an allergy to something they’ve eaten? Lots of cats can have food intolerances to commercial cat food. (Time to give KatKin a try maybe?)
Fleas and ticks
Some cats can be allergic to parasites like fleas and ticks. Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is the most common cause of itchy skin and hair loss in cats. And luckily is also the easiest to prevent. This is an allergy to flea saliva which causes itching and can leave your cat with bald patches – particularly on their lower back and tail.
The best way to treat and prevent future FAD flare ups is to regularly treat your cat for fleas – either with drop-on treatments or flea collars.
If your cat has thinning fur all over, they could have an allergy or intolerance to their food. Sometimes it can be to a specific ingredient in their food – a preservative or additive – or to a specific type of protein like chicken or beef.
With the guidance of your vet, switch your cat to a high-quality, preservative and additive-free cat food (like KatKin) to help rule out the ingredient or protein that doesn’t agree with them. Check out our guide Which diets can help my cat’s allergies to learn more.
Inhalant allergies (atopy)
Just like their humans, cats can have allergies to environmental triggers like pollen, dust mites, and washing detergents. If trying a new food or treating them for fleas hasn’t helped their bald patches, it might be atopy.
Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult to diagnose exactly what your cat is reacting to. There are skin tests your vet can do. But they’re not always conclusive. Instead, try to narrow down the allergen by limiting your cat’s time outdoors when the pollen count is high or switching detergent to help relieve the symptoms.
Stress and anxiety
Cat’s don’t like being stressed or anxious. Unfortunately for them, they’re easily stressed out. And stress or anxiety can cause them to over-groom themselves as a comforting behaviour. Stressors like moving to a new home, building works, and even boredom can cause your cat to overgroom areas. Try to identify what’s making your cat anxious and remove it. If that’s not possible, you may want to try natural remedies to help them de-stress like diffusers. If you suspect they are bored, it’s time to break out the toys!
Check out our guide How to support your cat’s mental health to keep them feeling good and calm.
Overgrooming from pain
If you find your cat keeps getting the exact same bald spot, they might actually be in pain – and are overgrooming that area to try and relieve the pain. It’s common for cats to over-groom their feet, legs, lower back, or even belly due to hidden pain. They’re VERY good at hiding discomfort. Ao keep an eye on them. And take them to the vet if you’re worried.
Cats on a poor quality diet can show it in their coats. If your cat’s fur is dull or thin, it might be time to change up what you feed them. Switch them to a high-quality 100% meat diet like KatKin’s fresh cat food to help improve their overall health. A better diet will help their coat become shinier and glossier too. Not to mention give them more energy. And leave less mess in the litter tray.
When to contact your vet
If you are concerned for any reason about your cat’s bald patches or thinning fur, take them to a vet. It could be a simple change of food that helps them grow back those patchy spots, but it could also be something more serious.
Cats need a high-protein, 100% meat diet to thrive. Why? Because they’re obligate carnivores. They get all of their energy from meat. To help keep your cat healthy, feed them KatKin’s fresh cat food. For shinier, fuller coats. More energy to play and run. And faster zoomies.