Reasons For Hair Loss In Cats: Diagnosis, And Treatment


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Hair Loss In Cats

Is your cat losing its hair suddenly? As a pet owner, seeing your cute little kitty losing its fur may be jarring. Whenever you notice a specific change in the appearance of your cat especially in its fur density, it is a worrisome situation. 

Hair Loss in cats is often referred to as ‘Feline Alopecia‘. Alopecia in cats is a common problem and there are a slew of reasons why your feline is losing its hair abruptly. Mostly, there could be more than one potential cause of Alopecia in felines making the problem annoying for the pet owners to trace out and cure.

In some cases, your cat may lose hair due to mild causes such as poor diet, stress, allergies, etc. Such things that cause hair loss in your cat can be resolved on their own and sometimes making a small lifestyle change can completely settle the matter. 

If the concern is complicated and you witness a lot of bald patches on your cat’s head then, make your vet take a closer look at the Cat Hair Loss Issue. If you are a new pet parent, this in-depth article helps you understand what is Alopecia [Hair Loss in Cats], the reasons for hair loss, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

What Is Alopecia Or Hair Loss In Cats?

Alopecia is a common condition that causes cats to lose hair resulting in bald patches in certain areas of the body. In medical terminology, Hair Loss in cats is referred to as Alopecia In Cats. Some cats may experience partial hair loss while others may witness total hair loss. 

To identify the underlying cause of hair loss in your cats, a medical diagnosis is highly essential by an experienced vet. If your cat is scratching excessively in specific areas of its body due to extreme itching, it could be a symptom of Alopecia.

Hair Loss In Cats
Hair Loss In Cats, Source:

The loss of hair in the cats due to alopecia may appear in either symmetrical or asymmetrical patterns in the fur. Apart from the head, you may witness severe hair loss in several parts of the body such as the hind legs of the cat, neck, tail base of the cat, etc. As there are a plethora of factors that can affect feline alopecia, your cat requires diagnosis and proper treatment to cure hair loss.

There are two different types of Feline Alopecia such as congenital alopecia and acquired alopecia. 

Congenital Alopecia: It is one of the most common conditions often seen in newborn kittens and young cats. However, this type of alopecia isn’t life-threatening. Also, Congenital Alopecia doesn’t cause any sort of itchiness in the kittens. This type of Alopecia may occur in your cat depending on its genetics and breed type.

Acquired Alopecia: This type of alopecia can be seen in cats that are suffering from some underlying health issue or a skin disorder. Cats with acquired alopecia will born with normal hair coats but, gradually, they start losing their fur due to some serious illness. There is no age limit for cats to acquire alopecia. Some of the key causes of acquired alopecia include infectious parasites such as mites.

Why Is My Cat Losing Fur?

Your cat is losing its fur because of various factors such as stress, poor diet, skin allergies, fleas and ticks, hypothyroidism, and more. Apart from these common factors, there are some other causes of hair loss in cats. After understanding the main cause of losing fur in your cat, you can take your cat to the vet to get proper treatment for the problem.

Symptoms To Look For

Cats that are experiencing alopecia can witness cat hair loss patches in one or multiple spots of the body. However, the area in which the cats lose their hair depends on the underlying cause of hair loss. 

Alopecia in cats can be either inflammatory or non-inflammatory. It means that the cat’s skin in the affected area can become red and sometimes it may look normal. Shedding of hair or fur is completely different from hair loss in cats. 

Sometimes, newborn kittens or young cats may experience a slight amount of shedding. Alopecia is completely different from shedding. If your cat is shedding, it doesn’t cause bald patches on the body of the cat.

When your cat is having hair loss, it may be suffering from some physical and medical conditions. Otherwise, your cat may be facing behavioral problems such as stress, anxiety, aggression, etc. The key symptoms of Alopecia have been enlisted in this post.

Some of the major symptoms of Hair Loss In Cats include:

  • Itching
  • Grooming excessively
  • Skin turns red
  • Rashes
  • Loss of Hair causing bald patches
  • Scabs
  • Bruises caused easily
  • Blisters or bumps
  • Persistently biting the skin
  • Licking quite often
  • Open sores on the skin and crusts

Apart from the signs that can be seen on the skin of your cat exhibiting Alopecia in the cat, there are some underlying signs of hair loss in felines.

  • Low appetite
  • Vomitings
  • Urinating more frequently than usual
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Bad smell
  • Ear Inflammation
  • Abdomen becomes large
  • Enhanced thirst

Reasons For Cats’ Hair Loss

What Causes Hair Loss In Cats? Well, a variety of conditions can cause Alopecia or hair loss in cats. Alopecia can be caused by various reasons like infections, underlying illnesses, toxins, allergies, environmental and behavioral issues, diseases, etc. 

Sometimes, hormonal changes may cause hair loss in felines. If the cause of hair loss in cats is simple and mild, this issue will be resolved on its own or by making certain lifestyle changes. But, if you notice any odd behavior in your cat then, it’s time to take your cat to the vet.

We’ve compiled a list of the common causes or reasons behind Alopecia or hair loss in cats. Check it out!

Skin Allergies

Skin allergies in your cat are one of the reasons behind hair loss in felines. Some of the skin infections include ringworm, mites or fleas, and other allergies. If your cat is allergic, anything that causes skin reactions in the cat will lead to skin allergies. 

The toughest thing about skin allergies in felines is that it is highly difficult to notice them in the first place. By taking your cat to the vet, they will diagnose the skin allergy and treat it accordingly.

Ringworm [Dermatophytosis]

Ringworm is often referred to as Dermatophytosis in medical terminology. Ringworm is a general skin condition caused in cats as well as people. The major cause of Ringworm is a type of fungus that majorly affects the hair and hair follicles. 

This type of fungus affected by cats will lose their hair and lesions. One of the key symptoms of ringworm is that you may witness bald patches and spots without hair on the body of your cat. However, not all cats exhibit similar symptoms. 

Few of the cats may not experience bald spots on their body. When you take your cat to the vet, the vet will diagnose the problem as Ringworm by taking the fungal culture of its hair from the infected spot. Through proper medication and topical ointments suggested by the vet, the ringworm-causing fungus will reduce the issue and promote the regrowth of hair.


Hyperthyroidism is another cause of hair loss in cats. Hyperthyroidism is a hormonal imbalance that increases the production of thyroid hormones in the body ultimately resulting in Alopecia or hair loss. 

Cats suffering from hyperthyroidism may experience a slow metabolism and sometimes, it may affect mating in a few cats. If this problem is severe in cats, the vet will provide hormone supplements to the cats. 

The diet should contain foods that are low in fat content. Also, a change in diet and lifestyle is necessary to reduce hair fall and hyperthyroidism in cats.

Excessive Grooming

Increased stress levels in cats usually result in excessive grooming. If your cat is grooming extremely, it leads to severe hair loss in cats. Anxiety and stress cause increased grooming in cats. 

By grooming excessively, they make bald patches and sometimes, they swallow the hair while grooming. Try to reduce your cat’s stress by identifying the actual cause and resolving it. By spending enough time with your cat, your cat can reduce its stress levels.

Food Allergies

Irrespective of the age, cats may develop allergies to its food. If the cat eats any allergic food, it may cause a reaction and ultimately cause a rash on the cat’s skin. The skin rash could give an itching sensation and irritation to the feline. You can reduce these symptoms in your cat by changing its diet i.e., by giving non-allergic food to the cat.

Fungus or Parasites

Parasites such as fleas, mites, ticks, etc., may cause itchy sensations, inflammation, and damage to the affected area. This will in turn result in loss of hair in cats. Because of the flea bites, your cat feels itchiness and as a result, your cat starts overgrooming due to the discomfort caused to the skin. Due to Skin irritation and scratching, your cat pulls out the hair quite often. 

To treat fungal and parasitic infections in cats, your vet may provide specific topical ointments. Besides giving medication, you need to avoid your cat from getting outside. If the infection is extended to the next level, your vet may suggest IV fluids and other medications to the cat.

Physical Pain

If your cat is suffering from joint pain or muscle pain under its skin, your cat starts licking that particular area to reduce the pain. If this behavior continues, it leads to loss of hair in cats.

Behavioral Issues [Psychogenic Alopecia]

Psychogenic Alopecia is one of the behavioral issues caused in cats. Due to this problem, cats may experience hair loss. Psychogenic Alopecia leads to excessive grooming, pulling its hair compulsively, and self-trauma. 

Mostly, we can witness psychogenic alopecia in cats that often experience anxiety and stress. To treat this issue, your vet will try to determine the underlying cause of stress and anxiety. The treatment will be given considering the cause and behavior of the cat.

Poor Diet

An unhealthy and unbalanced diet of the cat leads to loss of hair in cats. Just like humans, cats also need adequate minerals and vitamins. Cats can get all the nutrients through their diet. 

By consuming a proper healthy diet, your cat can have long and silky fur. However, if the cause of hair loss in your cat is poor diet then, it is not permanent.

Irritation caused by another disease

If your cat is suffering from any disease such as kidney problems, gastrointestinal issues, bladder inflammation, etc., it causes severe discomfort to your cat. Due to this irritation, your cat starts licking and grooming its skin excessively resulting in loss of hair. 


Another main cause of Alopecia or loss of hair in cats is cancer. Some of the types of cancers include Thymoma, cutaneous lymphoma, bile duct carcinoma, and pancreatic carcinoma.

If your cat has been suffering from cancer for a long time and getting treatment for it, your cat may witness hair loss. Some of the cancer treatments given to cats can lead to loss of hair.

When To Visit Vet?

Wondering when to take your cat to the vet? If you witness severe thinning of your cat’s fur or hair alongside other symptoms like low appetite, rapid itching, rashes, vomiting, and abnormal behavior, you should consult your vet as early as possible.

If your cat’s hair loss problem is severe, it is time to take your cat to the vet to diagnose the cause of alopecia. Your veterinarian will perform necessary medical tests such as blood work, thyroid function tests, urinalysis, and other tests. 

If all the test results are normal, your vet will rule out the medical cause of hair loss in the cat. Your vet will pinpoint the major cause of hair loss in the cat through medical examinations. If the condition is serious, your vet will take your cat’s hair sample or skin sample to test for any skin allergies or skin infections like ringworm, fungus, and parasites.

However, taking a little sample of your cat’s skin doesn’t cause any pain in the feline. If your vet can’t find any reason for the feline alopecia, he/she will further refer your cat to a veterinary dermatologist.

Diagnosis For Hair Loss In Cats

To diagnose the reason behind cat hair loss, your vet will take a sample from the cat’s skin. By performing relevant tests, the vet will try to find whether there are any infections or skin allergies like bacteria, yeast, mites, ringworm, etc. Go through the list of possible medical examinations performed on the cat to diagnose the underlying cause of Cat Hair Loss. 

Physical Examination: To find whether the cat’s skin has rashes, bumps, or reddish marks.

Urinalysis: To evaluate endocrine disorders in the cat.

Skin Sample or Skin Biopsy: If the cat’s skin appearance is abnormal, a skin biopsy is performed to determine the underlying cause.

Analysis of Feces and other fluids: To check if there are any intestinal parasites in the cat.

X-rays/Ultrasound Scanning: To find out if there are any signs of cancer in the cat.

Complete Blood Culture: To assess for any hormonal imbalance like hyperthyroidism and other underlying diseases

Wood’s Lamp: To detect the occurrence of ringworm infection in the cat.

How Alopecia Is Treated In Cats?

Cat Hair Loss Treatment depends on the actual cause of hair loss in cats. After performing the necessary tests, you will be able to get your cat the right treatment. The treatment plan will differ based on the cause of hair loss in cats. The treatment methodologies will depend on the reason behind the loss of hair in felines.

However, there are several options for Treatment For Alopecia In Cats. The treatment of hair loss in cats will be successful only when the vet diagnoses the reason for the alopecia accurately. 

After determining the underlying cause of hair loss in the cat by conducting specific medical examinations, the vet will give treatment to the cat accordingly. The Cat Hair Loss Treatment options include:

Topical Medications: This type of therapy is given to the cat and includes topical ointment, medicated shampoos, mousse, etc.

Allergy Diet: If your cat is experiencing hair loss due to food allergy then, your vet will perform an elimination diet trial for about 8 to 12 weeks. The vet will prescribe the allergy diet and notice any reduction in the hair loss of the cat.

General medications: The vet will prescribe certain medications such as antihistamines, prednisolone, cyclosporine, etc., to diminish itching in the affected area.

  • Pain Medication
  • Systemic Antibiotics
  • Behavioral Medication to Treat Psychogenic Alopecia
  • Antianxiety Medications or Antidepressants
  • Disease-Specific Treatments


Well, this is everything you need to understand about Cat Hair Loss, the causes of cat hair loss, and the precise treatment to be given to reduce alopecia in cats. 

Hope this article has helped you in finding the underlying cause of hair loss in cats and Cat Hair Loss Treatment. If you are worried about your cat’s hair loss problem, consult your vet as early as possible. 

If you still have any queries about this article, let us know in the comments section. Stay in touch with our website ‘’ for more articles related to cats, cat behavior, behavioral issues in cats, food habits, health issues, and more.

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