There are certain health problems in animals that will always require a visit to the vet, and hair loss is one of those. Because hair loss in cats can have quite a few different underlining causes, it is important, that if you notice hair loss to any degree, you take your cat to the vet, so they can not only investigate the cause of the problem, but also prescribe appropriate treatment.
One of the most common reasons cats develop hair loss is related to fleas, and either an allergic reaction to a flea bite, or scratching/itching during a flea infestation. Many cats will over-groom because of such problems, or infestations from other parasites such as mites. So in this case, the hair loss is self-inflicted, and unpleasant, as the cat will often vomit up fur balls after swallowing some of the fur it has pulled out. Stressed cats may also pull out their fur, or over-groom certain areas if they have other problems causing them pain. Poor health, certain diseases, and hormonal problems can also cause hair loss, although these are less common. Last but by no means least hair loss can also be caused by skin infections, such as a fungal infection called ringworm.
A vet’s investigations will quite often come up with the cause of your cat’s hair loss. Your vet could find obvious itching and scratching as a result of fleas, and suggest a suitable flea treatment programme, which you should keep up-to-date. If necessary the vet may also take samples of hair or skin for testing, normally for the presence of ringworm or parasites, while blood samples can be used to test for diseases.
Sometimes it may be necessary to get outside help, such as if behavioural problems are suspected, or the overall cause of the hair loss is unclear. In these cases a cat behavioural specialist or veterinary dermatologist will be called in. Every case will be different, so the resulting treatment plan could vary from flea treatments, fungal treatments for ringworm, or pain killing medication if joint or bladder problems are the reason for excessive grooming.
Cat hair loss can be worrying, and nobody likes to see their cat’s appearance during this time either. While some cases can be particularly challenging to treat, especially if your cat has allergies, there is a lot that can be done to try and help build them back to full health.