Posted on: 5 March 2015Share
Whether your cat has long or short hair, the coat should look full, shiny and sleek. The development of bald patches or a thinning coat is a sign of illness or irritation. Here's a look at three of the most common causes of bald patches in cats, and what you can do about them.
Are your cat's bald patches circular and scaly with red spots in the center? If so, he or she probably has a fungal infection known as ringworm. This disease makes the skin very itchy, but luckily, it is pretty easy to treat. Your vet can prescribe a topical or oral fungicide. If you have more than one cat, you will probably need to treat them all, since the fungus can easily spread from cat to cat.
If your cat's hair loss seems to be occurring over the entire body, and he or she is itching a lot, fleas may be to blame. Check for fleas by parting the fur on your cat's stomach with a comb. Do you see any tiny, brownish-black bugs the size of a pinhead? If so, your cat has fleas.
There are many over-the-counter products available for treating fleas, and they can work. Keep in mind, however, that you will have to treat your home and all of your pets to get rid of the infestation. If you don't experience success with over-the-counter treatments, you can see your vet for stronger prescription flea medications.
Healthy cats do groom themselves a lot, but some cats become obsessed with grooming and lick themselves to the point of hair loss. Others pull tufts of fur out while they groom. There are many possible causes for excessive grooming. Older cats may develop this habit as a result of a neurological condition, but in most, excessive grooming is an anxious response to a stressful environment.
If you think your cat's hair loss may be due to excessive grooming, consider whether you've made any recent changes to your cat's environment. Perhaps you recently moved to a new home, and your cat needs more time to adjust. Maybe your cat is feeling depressed because you just started working more and have not been home to give him or her attention. Try making changes to lower your cat's stress levels. If you don't see results, or if your cat starts developing sores from licking, take him or her to the vet.
Hair loss and bald patches in a cat are not normal. If your kitty develops this symptom, don't ignore it. Most causes of bald patches are mild and easy to treat, but you need to act quickly before the skin becomes damaged and infected. For more information, contact a clinic such as Southwest Florida Veterinary Specialists & 24-Hour Emergency Hospital.