One among final yr’s litters of foster kittens introduced greater than pleasure and heart-melting cuteness to my home. Sadly, the outside kitties and their mother got here with a pack of fleas, and the pests took up residence within the fur of my resident cat, G.G., who had a maddening itch. The itch quickly become thinning hair on her stomach, on the base of her tail and on her hind legs. So, is your cat shedding hair? What causes cat hair loss? In G.G.’s case the hair loss turned out to be brought on by a flea allergy. Let’s study extra about hair loss in cats, often known as alopecia in cats.
First, let’s outline cat hair loss
A cat shedding hair — additionally referred to as alopecia in cats — will be full or partial and occurs in felines for quite a lot of causes, the most typical of which is pores and skin allergy symptoms, consultants say. Dr. Fiona Bateman, assistant professor of dermatology on the University of Georgia’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, usually sees hair loss in cats at her clinic.
Is alopecia in cats ever ‘regular’?
Some cats have hereditary alopecia. For instance, Sphynx cats are born without hair and by no means develop any.
One other kind of regular hair loss is pinnal alopecia – hair loss on the skin of the ear pinnae — which is frequent in Siamese cats however often resolves by itself. Many grownup cats additionally expertise preauricular alopecia — thinning of fur on the pores and skin strip between the ears and the eyes, which is taken into account regular in cats, Dr. Hayworth says.
What about acquired alopecia in cats?
The remainder of the cat inhabitants, which is born with regular fur, will get acquired alopecia — which is a symptom of a illness or situation, and never a illness itself. The veterinarian will diagnose the underlying situation, Dr. Bateman says.
With a cat shedding hair, will that hair develop again?
The excellent news for cat dad and mom is that this hair loss in cats often doesn’t point out a critical sickness, and the hair can often develop again, Dr. Bateman says. Dr. Hayworth, of VCA Northview Animal Hospital within the Pittsburgh suburbs, explains that how nicely a cat shedding hair will be handled and reversed relies on the underlying trigger.
“Usually, if we will reverse the trigger, then we will get the hair to develop again,” Dr. Hayworth says. “That is very true with over-grooming associated to allergy symptoms. So, in case you discover hair loss in your cat, it’s positively value a visit to the physician.”
These are six of the most typical circumstances behind a cat shedding hair. Notice that this isn’t an exhaustive record, as alopecia in cats is a broad situation with many potential components.
1. Allergy symptoms — Notably to Fleas — and Itching and Over-grooming
Fleas can chew and irritate any cat, however some cats have a hypersensitivity to antigens inside the flea saliva. These allergic cats get miserably itchy in the event that they encounter fleas — and plenty of of them will over-groom as a means of scratching the itch. The hair doesn’t simply fall out; the cats truly lick it a lot that they pull their hair out.
“It’s not that the hair can’t develop,” Dr. Bateman says. “These cats are licking it out sooner than it may be changed.
“About 90 p.c of these cats we see in our clinic are over-grooming,” she says. “It’s a lot much less seemingly that the hair is falling out and never regrowing.”
Typically, a cat might interact in compulsive grooming due to neuropathic ache from nerve harm within the pores and skin. In uncommon circumstances, a cat might groom an excessive amount of and lose hair for psychogenic causes, like anxiety after a worrying occasion; however, it’s extra seemingly that cats licking off their hair are itching from flea allergy, Dr. Bateman says.
Mange, scabies and lice can also make a cat’s pores and skin itch — resulting in the identical over-grooming and a cat shedding hair. Mites, food allergies and environmental allergies can also trigger itching and over-grooming.
Typically, a cat will lick an space of his physique an excessive amount of not as a result of it itches, however as a result of the tissue beneath the pores and skin hurts, Dr. Bateman says. A cat with arthritis, as an example, might lick on the achy joint continually as a result of it’s painful, and licking helps relieve the discomfort. The issue is, the cat licks away the hair, too.
Dr. Bateman as soon as noticed a cat who had a fractured rib. The kitty licked on the painful rub a lot that he had turn out to be bald round that bone.
This isn’t as frequent a explanation for a cat shedding hair as allergy symptoms are, however it does occur. Cats with infectious circumstances like staph infections and fungal infections like ringworm might lose hair within the affected areas, Dr. Hayworth and Dr. Bateman say.
4. Endocrine Problems
A cat shedding hair might have hyperthyroidism — an overactive thyroid, which causes weight reduction and different signs. Exterior of the thyroid, if cats have a hormonal imbalance and an elevated degree of steroids within the physique, the hair follicles might die; and with irregular hormone ranges, new hair might not develop again. As an example, Cushing’s illness, a metabolic dysfunction that produces an excessive amount of cortisol, might trigger alopecia in cats.
5. Medicine Aspect Results
Transdermal prednisone causes alopecia and curling of the ear pinnae. Normally, Dr. Hayworth says, stopping the medicine will reverse this situation.
6. Most cancers
Fortunately, cancer is a hardly ever the explanation for a cat shedding hair; it’s much more seemingly that your kitty’s hair loss is nothing critical. However neoplasia — a time period for irregular growths brought on by uncontrolled division of cells — might trigger hair loss in cats. One other critical situation that happens secondary to most cancers is paraneoplastic alopecia, which is hair loss related to itching and moist pores and skin, Dr. Hayworth says. Nevertheless, these critical causes are uncommon.
The underside line on hair loss in cats and alopecia in cats
Don’t panic over a cat shedding hair — simply take your cat to the veterinarian for an examination. “Likelihood is, it’s not critical,” Dr. Bateman says. “However you don’t know that simply by wanting on the cat, which is why it’s necessary to get it checked out.”
Inform us: Have you ever had your personal expertise with a cat shedding hair? What difficulty was at hand?
Concerned about hair loss yourself? Read this!
Thumbnail: Pictures ©foaloce | Thinkstock.
This piece was initially revealed in 2018.