Is your cat missing some hair? While hair loss may not seem so serious at first, it is not a symptom you should ignore since it is often a sign of something more serious. Here's a look at three common causes of hair loss in cats and what you can do to treat them.
Is your cat missing round circles of hair? Is the skin within those bare circles red, irritated, or scaly? Chances are, your cat is suffering from ringworm, which is actually a fungal infection rather than a parasitic infection with worms. Ringworm is completely treatable, but you will want to see your vet for treatment as they can provide you with effective topical and oral fungicides. If your cat has long hair, some of it may need to be shaved in order to ensure the topical fungicide comes into enough contact with the skin.
In the meantime, try not to handle your cat – and wash any bedding your cat sleeps on in hot water. Wash your hands after touching anything the cat has touched. Ringworm is transmissible to humans, and these steps will help keep you from contracting it. If you do notice signs of ringworm, which include red and itchy patches on your skin, see your physician,
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Some cats are really allergic to the saliva of fleas, and this causes them to react and lose their hair if they become infested with them. To determine if your cat has fleas, use a comb and part your cat's hair at the base of the neck, base of the tail, and belly. You may spot some of these tiny, black, jumping insects. If your cat leaves behind little red or black specs where he or she has been sleeping, these are also signs of fleas.
If you think your cat has fleas and the problem is causing flea contact dermatitis, you should seek treatment from your vet. This can become serious if not treated, since the exposed, itchy skin can become infected. Your vet will need to carefully treat the cat for fleas without irritating the skin any further. This is not always possible with over-the-counter flea products.
This is a condition in which cats pull their own hair out in reaction to stress. It is also sometimes called "overgrooming." If you see your cat pulling his hair out, then you need to take some steps to lower his stress levels. Make sure your cat has access to some high places where he feels safe. Make sure the food dish is in a secluded area where the cat feels comfortable eating. If you have other pets, you may need to keep their foot and toys in separate areas so your cat can have his own place where he feels comfortable. There are also relaxing, herbal sprays made for cats that you can spray around the home to reduce stress levels. If your cat is still pulling his hair out a few weeks later, ask a vet like Stroudsburg Animal Hospital about anti-anxiety medications that might help.