A cat visiting a veterinary practice for check up after hair loss

Is your cat losing hair? Reasons for bald patches on cats

It can be distressing to notice that your cat is losing its hair, but bald patches on cats are fairly common, and can be down to a number of things.

We take a look at the causes of hair loss in male and female cats, and ways to treat this condition. As always, if you have any concerns about the health of your cat, contact your local vet for advice.

Why does my cat have bald patches?

The most common causes of bald spots on cats are: 

  • Stress
  • Ringworm
  • Thyroid problems
  • Allergies
  • Parasites
  • Genetic conditions

Stress

Ever used the expression ‘tearing my hair out’ when you feel stressed? Well, some stressed cats do just that – literally. Cats love to keep themselves groomed, and a healthy cat will lick its own fur regularly. But stressed cats often lick excessively, and even bite or chew their own fur, which can result in thinning fur or bald patches. 

Ringworm 

Ringworm is a highly contagious fungal infection that produces circular lesions on the cat’s skin, and eventually causes the hair to thin or disappear completely.

Thyroid problems

Much like humans, cats can suffer from two types of thyroid problems: hyperthyroidism – where the cat produces too much – and hypothyroidism, where the cat doesn’t produce enough (although this condition is incredibly rare in cats).

Bald patches can be a symptom of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, which can be diagnosed by your vet using blood tests.

Allergies

Allergies are a common cause of hair loss in cats, as well as other symptoms. Your cat may be allergic to something in their diet, or something they’ve come across in their day-to-day environment – such as contact with plants, or house dust allergens.

Parasites

Fleas, mites and other parasites are another common cause of bald spots in cats, when the cat reacts to the flea or mite’s saliva. This type of hair loss is relatively easy to treat with medicated lotions or professional flea treatment products, and you’ll usually notice your cat’s hair growing back fairly quickly.

Genetic conditions

Cats may develop bald patches or thinning hair as a result of a hereditary condition. While there may be no cure for this type of baldness in cats, the hair is likely to grow back quickly. 

There is no treatment for this but, usually the problem is sporadic and the hair will grow back within a few weeks. 

Always visit your vet to establish the reason for the baldness or hair loss before making any assumptions about the likely cause.

“Ever used the expression ‘tearing my hair out’ when you feel stressed? Some stressed cats do just that.”

Treating hair loss in cats

If you’ve noticed hair loss or baldness in your cat, it’s really important to get them checked out by your local vet to establish the cause. Once your vet has carried out a thorough inspection of your pet – and any necessary tests – he or she will advise you on the best possible treatment to get your cat back to full health.

Did you know?

Hair loss and balding in cats is also known as alopecia – just as it is with humans.

Does your cat have bald patches?

Contact your vet for advice on hair loss in cats. For expert advice on baldness in cats, just contact your local vet. To find your nearest recommended vet or pet clinic, use our Find a Vet page.

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