Cat Hair Loss
Causes Of Hair Loss In Cats
Hair loss in cats seems about as unusual as a Saturday following a Friday. If you own a cat there will be hair, more often than not in the carpet, on the furniture, on your wool skirt or shirt, or any item of clothing that attracts static. If you go on vacation, somewhere in the luggage you'll probably find a few cat hairs, as if your pet sent along a reminder that it loves you and misses you.
Car hair not only find its way into carpets, furniture, and clothing, but as any pet owner knows, into hair balls as well. All of this is for the most part due to natural shedding and grooming, which most cats do, and your cat probably does in spades. That is normal hair loss. What's under discussion here is something which can be more serious, and that is abnormal hair loss in cats.
The most frequent causes of abnormal hair loss in cats have to do with diet, illness, or the environment. Since some cats are more sensitive to things that may cause hair loss than are other cats, what affects one cat may not affect others, even those in the same household.
Diet - Diet is one of the more common causes, and it is often a change in diet that is the culprit. When we feed our pets we usually try to find a pet food they enjoy, not just to make them happy but to ensure they're getting the nutrition they need. Even a change in brand name can at times set off a reaction, most often an allergic reaction, which can cause hair loss. A high protein food, usually salmon or turkey is best. Sometimes a vitamin supplement may be in order, usually a good idea if the cat's diet leans heavily towards seafood. The vitamin supplements can help prevent hyperthyroidism, a common cause of hair loss in cats, and a condition often related to a seafood rich diet. If hyperthyroidism is the cause there will usually be other symptoms as well, especially weight loss and excessive thirst.
Allergies - Allergies are another common cause of hair loss in cats and can sometime be difficult to track down. We've already mentioned that changes in a cat's food can sometime cause an allergic reaction, but substances in the environment, such as chemicals, dust or smoke can also trigger a reaction. Itching is often a good sign that an allergic reaction is taking place, and it may be necessary to have the cat undergo testing to determine the cause of the problem.
Fleas, Mange, And Ringworm - Fleas can of course cause hair loss, especially when the flea bite causes an allergic reaction or the cat in scratching itself irritates the skin or causes wounds in the skin allowing an infection to set in. The presence of mange mites or a ringworm fungal infection are other leading causes of hair loss in cats.
When In Doubt, See The Vet - Many times hair loss can be treated by applying a topical medication, the medication of course being tailored to the cause of the problem. in some cases, such as ringworm or mange, it is often best to shave the fur off the cat completely and apply the treatment, after which the fur will grow back normally, and all the cat has to be concerned about is temporary embarrassment and a lack of anything to groom. The point is, at the first sign of abnormal hair loss, it's always best to consult with the veterinarian, since the fur protects the skin, and if the skin becomes diseased or infected, the problem can become much more serious.