Our feline friends have many unique features, but one that we are often most fond of is their beautiful coat. A soft coat encourages stroking, and can help bring an owner and their cat closer together. So, when you notice hair loss in your pet (otherwise known as feline alopecia), you may naturally be concerned. Cats experience constant hair loss (in the form of moulting), but this is a natural occurrence and does not leave any bald or thinning patches. The symptoms of cat hair loss are quite different to alopecia. In this article we’ll go through the signs of alopecia, and ways to relieve it in cats.
My cat is losing its hair, what can I do?
The signs of real hair loss in cats
Hair loss in cats can be partial or total. The skin of the areas affected might have bumps, scabs or redness, and even skin damage (from extreme scratching) can occur. Alopecia sometimes appears in a symmetrical pattern, or seemingly at random. If you cat is affected, there are two major reasons why, namely itchiness, or underlying conditions.
Itchy conditions that lead to hair loss can often be the most prevalent cause. Allergiesor parasites that cause discomfort will cause a reaction of scratching. If this action persists, the skin underneath is often damaged, and hairs can be broken. If your cat is experiencing abundant hair loss, and you notice similar symptoms described, then ensure you take him or her to your vet as soon as possible.
Other symptoms relating to hair loss from itchiness can be seen by flea activity, or a presence of “flea dirt” (black specks found in the fur.
Hair loss caused by underlying condition such as hormones (including Cushings disease, hyperthyroidism or feline endocrine alopecia) are not itchy, but rather lead to abundant moulting. The skin is often undamaged underneath (although can change colour) and hairs are unbroken. Underlying conditions that can lead to hair loss are rare in cats, and also cause other symptoms too. If you notice anything such as a change in appetite, or lethargy alongside hair loss, then take your cat to your vet as soon as possible.
If your cat’s hair loss is abundantthen take him or her to the vet immediately. From there, your vet will be able to ascertain the cause. Your vet could then recommend a course of treatment depending on the diagnosis. However, there are a few things you can consider at home that may help your cat:
- • Improved diet - Poor diet may be a cause of poor coat condition. Feeding your cat a healthy range of foods including PURINA® can help reverse the condition. High protein is recommended, so foods including high levels of animal or fish protein are good choices.
- • Flea control – Controlling parasites such as fleas is vital to preventing common causes of hair loss.