Why is My Cat Losing Hair? Symptoms & Causes

A little hair shedding is quite common in all the furballs. Our furry mates generally lose some hair while playing and walking around. But if your kitty is losing hair to the extent of exposing bald spots, then it’s a matter of concern.

Moreover, hair loss is accompanied by symptoms like itching, sores, scratches, and redness to mention a few. Whereas, in some cases, your feline might simply face a hair loss problem.

There are two main reasons why a cat might lose hair: 1) Over-Grooming  2) Suffering from a health dilemma. So what exactly can be a reason for your cat suffering from a hair loss issue?

bald spot on cats head

Reasons Why Your Cat is Losing Hair?

There can be various reasons why your cat is suffering from hair loss. Skin allergies, ringworms, fungal infections, mange, and alopecia are few of the medical conditions that cause hair loss in cats. Another issue could be overgrooming where a cat starts licking off her own furs because of stress.

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It is essential for you to find out a correct cause to why your cat is losing her hair. A vet will examine your cat thoroughly to determine the problem and provide you an appropriate hair loss treatment. Let us see what could be the possible reason and the symptoms associated with a cat losing hairs.

Mange mites

A cat infected by mange mites may become extremely restless and sick. These mites mostly affect the face and the area around ears. In general, cats start losing the hairs from the affected part due to excessive scratching. Common symptoms in a cat infected by Mange are

  1. Itching and intense scratching
  2. Varying hair loss with bald patches
  3. Rotten looking skin
  4. Red bumps like that of mosquito bites
  5. Uneasiness and agitation

Early medical attention is a must to treat this condition. The vet will need to examine the cat under a microscope to determine the type of mange. The disease is severe in cats that have a feeble immune system.


Ringworm is a type of fungal infection that affects skin, hairs or nails. The infection looks like a red bumpy ring, that causes inflammation and itching. However, the infected areas are not always in a round shape.

In fact, ringworms are not caused by worms but by a kind of fungi known as dermatophytes. In cats, it can be very complex to diagnose a ringworm problem. This fungi typically feed on the cat’s keratin found in her furs, skin or nails. Symptoms of Ringworm in cats include

  1. Mild lesions on cat’s skin
  2. An ash-like scaling in the depth of coat
  3. It is infectious and spreads by touching the fungus
  4. Pustules in the affected area
  5. Flaky bald spots
  6. Itching and inflammation
  7. Hair shedding
  8. Scaly and greasy skin in severe cases


Cats are usually very sensitive and they have allergies to a variety of things like food, pollen, dust, smoke, weed, perfumes or even plastic. Cats also get allergic to flea or mosquito bites. Following are general symptoms of Allergies in cats

  1. Sneezing or wheezing
  2. Itching and scratching
  3. Coughing in cats with asthma
  4. Itchy ears or eyes
  5. Diarrhea or vomiting
  6. Swelling in paws

A veterinarian will suggest you eliminating certain foods in your cat’s diet. The vet will give alternate food options and required medicines to treat the condition.

Painful disease

If your cat has a painful disease like arthritis then she will lick frequently onto the joints. This condition is more often noticed in older cats. Symptoms of Pain in cats mostly include

  1. Lethargy
  2. Hiding and sitting still
  3. Agitation or boredom
  4. Over-grooming certain spots
  5. Purring
  6. Immoderate meowing
  7. Not using the litterbox due to pain

Problems like arthritis do not have a permanent solution, though, a veterinarian can provide you with pain relievers to soothe the cat.

Psychogenic Alopecia

Psychogenic Alopecia is a psychological problem where cats over lick themselves due to stress. It happens when a cat cannot overcome trauma leading to compulsive over-grooming. Symptoms of Psychogenic Alopecia are

  1. Licking off fur by continuous over-grooming
  2. Bald patches mostly on the abdomen
  3. Redness, rashes or sores on the bald spots
  4. Scratching the affected areas

Your vet will prescribe stress relieving medicines and anti-licking collar for your cat. As the condition is related to anxiety, you need to give her more affection and care.

scabs on bald spots in cats

Other but Rare Causes

Few rare causes for cat losing hair are thyroid, diabetes, cancer or autoimmune diseases. In a few cases, cats lose hair due to inherited illnesses.  Take an appointment with the vet and get a proper examination done. Follow the instructions thoroughly to help your cat get well.

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