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Why Do Cats Lose Their Hair?

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Why Do Cats Lose Their Hair?

By Kathy Blumenstock, Animal Planet

Not-so-newsflash: Cats shed! Year-round, nonstop, long- and short-haired cats alike lose dead fur in an ongoing process that lets them deposit cat hair on their owners’ clean laundry, furniture and office attire. It’s healthy for the cat and an opportunity for vacuum cleaner companies to market pet hair-friendly models. But while shedding is normal, feline hair loss, or cat alopecia, is not. You’re absolutely right to pay serious attention to a balding cat, because a variety of causes could be thinning his hair.

Causes of Losing Hair
Just as humans do, cats can have allergic reactions to medications, pollen, dust, mold or ingredients in food. Allergies to materials, including rubber, plastic, wool, dyes or chemicals in carpet deodorizers may affect cats. Diabetes and hyperthyroidism — which causes cats to lose weight, stop grooming and become excessively thirsty — are other reasons for feline hair loss. Fleas, ringworm or mange may be other culprits. Have you switched cat foods, swapping the name brand for a less expensive label? Its lower cost may also mean lower nutritional value, and poor feline nutrition results in hair loss. A cat may also react adversely to a topical antibiotic, or the site of an injection, and the itchiness will prompt him to repeatedly lick and bite the area.

If your cat is afflicted with illness or allergy, his coat tells the tale. His own routine grooming will not cause hair to come out in clumps, no matter how often he washes. But small reddish spots usually suggest allergies, and these can spread and become irritated or infected as the cat scratches or chews at them.

Thin patches on the back end of your cat indicate his reaction to mange (caused by mites on his skin) or flea bites. If he’s allergic to flea saliva, the cat’s skin may become red, and you’ll see him scratching and biting furiously, literally tearing his hair out in search of relief.

Ringworm, a fungal infection that humans can also contract, results in hair loss around the cat’s feet, face and ears. (You’ll see red circles with a white center.) If the cat has arthritis, hair loss around his joint areas is common. Much less common are glandular disorders, including Cushing’s disease, that cause cats to lose hair along the sides of their bodies.

Next: What to do if your cat loses hair

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Read more: Cats, Pet Health, Pets, , ,

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11:36AM PDT on Mar 24, 2013


4:42AM PDT on Mar 18, 2013

thanks for the article

2:26PM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

Thank you Megan, for Sharing this!

11:23AM PDT on Nov 3, 2012

My cat was losing his and when the vet came he announced that the cat had skin cancer and needed to be put down. Apparently it is far more common than most of us realize. Sad!

1:18AM PDT on Nov 2, 2012

Thanks for information and help!

2:02PM PDT on Sep 8, 2012

Thanks for the information.

12:26AM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

great specifics thanks so much

12:53PM PDT on Apr 16, 2012

Thank you!

7:08AM PDT on Apr 16, 2012

I had a cat who was losing her fur because she had a flea allergy. I also had 3 of her siblings, but she was the only one who had the allergy!!

6:13AM PDT on Apr 16, 2012

Thanks for the information and adorable picture...

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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