Why is My Cat Losing Hair? – 7 Reasons You Should Know About

Cat and dog snuggled

It doesn’t matter if you are a cat lover or a dog lover; or indeed, if you fit into both camps. The fact is that the majority of pet owners love their pets and would do anything for them. Some choose to dress them in fancy costumes; others train them, groom them and show them to the world.

But all owners have one thing in common – the desire to care for them and look after them for the duration of their life.

Domestic cats are generally expected to reach fifteen or sixteen years old.  However, there are some that live as long as twenty one. The increase in medical options has helped to lengthy the life of cats as well as humans!


Cat with bald spots

It does not take long for you to become accustomed to the small details which make your cat unique. It is often these small details which infuriate and endear the animal to you.

You may also be surprised to realize that these are the first things you will miss when your pet eventually leaves you for the ‘pet retirement farm’; this is the same place all childhood pets got to!

It is these small details which will change when your cat becomes ill. Whilst some symptoms are obvious, others are shown just in the way the cat behaves. An observant owner will spot the issue before anyone else.

Hair loss is one of those triggers. Of course, most cats lose hair at the beginning of the summer and the winter; this is to allow their coats to be replenished and keep them warmer or cooler depending upon the season.

But shedding is not the same as hair loss. When your cat starts to lose excessive amounts of hair you will suspect that they are ill.

There are a variety of reasons why your cat may lose hair; although serious cases must be seen by a vet it is useful to know what you may be dealing with.

Other illnesses which can cause hair loss include cancer, thyroid issues and diabetes. Your vet can test for these.

Alopecia – The Scientific Term For Hair Loss

This is the name for unexplained hair loss; specifically when you lose large amounts of hair in different parts of your body. The exposed skin will often be red and raw; there may even be visible skin loss.

A clear indicator that your cat is experiencing excessive hair loss is that you’ll notice your cat appears to be constantly grooming. Although this is a natural process, constant grooming will pull the hair from the cat’s body and leave their skin irritated.


Just as you will react to an allergy, so can your cat. This reaction is often hair loss. In fact, an allergic reaction will make your cat itchy; the same symptoms which are usually visible in people.

Your cat will lick their fur to relieve the irritation and, in the process of excessively grooming, will pull the hair out.

The vet can prescribe medicine for allergies which will prevent the hair loss in the future. However, it is likely that you will end up using the medicine for the rest of your pet’s life.

The only other option is to locate the allergen and make sure the cat cannot go near it again. This will not be easy if your cat is allowed to roam freely outside!


cat scratching with fleas

Fleas and ticks are some of the most common parasitic pests that your pet will come across. This can also lead to hair loss although the reasons will be similar to when the cat has an allergic reaction.

Cats lick and scratch in an attempt to get rid of parasites; the result is bald spots and open sores.

The quicker you can give them treatment to neutralise the parasites, the less fur they will lose.



Although it may seem that most cats have an idyllic life; they too can suffer from anxiety and this leads to hair loss. Some cats have anxious natures whilst others develop anxiety in response to specific stimuli.

Rough treatment or a particularly disturbing and scary incident can leave your cat anxious whenever they encounter the same or even a similar incident.

very anxious cat

As you are not with them all the time it can be difficult to know what triggers anxiety.

The consequence is usually compulsive licking and pulling on the side, legs and particularly the belly hair.

The result, your cat will be experiencing more hair loss. It is possible the vet can provide a pill to help calm your cat.

However, this is a short term solution.  It is better to prevent the hair loss by changing their habits; and yours.

If it will help your vet may also prescribe anti-depressants.


This fungal infection has a misleading name; there are no worms involved in this infection but bald patches are a clear indicator that this infection is present.

A simple course of antifungal cream will destroy the infection and prevent future hair loss.

Immune System

Cats which have immune system problems will also experience hair loss. Unfortunately, hair loss is a symptom of many diseases; seeing it in your cat is not enough to assume they have an immune system problem.

Specific Breeds

gorgeous Bengal cat

It is worth noting that there are a few breeds of cat which are almost pre-programmed to experience hair loss.

Himalayans and Bengals are two obvious examples of cats which experience high levels of hair loss.

There are other cats which are born completely hairless. The Sphynx is an excellent example of this type of cat and will never give you the worry of hair loss.

However, as hair loss is generally a symptom of an illness, sudden or excessive hair loss can be an excellent early warning system.

Hair Loss Reaction

If your cat does experience hair loss then you should be able to pinpoint the cause from this guide. But, you should also visit your vet to ensure your self-diagnosis is correct and your cat gets the medication and care it needs. This will ensure it makes a full recovery and lives a long, healthy life!

NOTE If your cat is unfortunately suffering from hair loss you may need a special vacuum to help you clean up the mess they’ve left behind. Check out our article on the best vacuum for pet hair to help you make your choice.


  1. StephanieRMontgomery August 2, 2017
    • Julie October 1, 2017

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