Shedding in Cats: Is It a Symptom of some Disease?


Hair loss of the cat should alert the owner as it may be not normal molting, but a consequence of a disease. Increased shedding in cats and skin inflammation mean that there is something wrong – in this case you need to take your pet to the vet.

Physiological Causes

The natural causes of loss of hair include the following:

  1. shedding in kittyThe cat just sheds. The condition is not accompanied by deterioration of health, for example, dryness of nose, skin irritation, decreased activity. The only symptom of shedding is seasonal hair loss.
  2. Poor nutrition. Lack of nutrients in the diet can cause thinning hair along the spine (back, withers, tail). In other parts of the body it becomes dull. In places of loss, there may be itching and irritation. It can also be caused by excessive consumption of fat, sausages, milk, salt and spices.
  3. Psychogenic hair loss. An animal under stress can lose hair on the belly, legs, withers.
  4. Facial alopecia (loss of hair on the muzzle). The cat may have bald spots between the ears and eyes, which is not pathology.
  5. The reaction to subcutaneous administration of medications (injections, vaccination). At the puncture point, the skin becomes rough, a cat loses hair, there can appear inflammation.
  6. Old age. After 10 years, the hairs start to thin, the immune system of the cat declines, and hair coat thins.
  7. Pregnancy. Hormonal surges during this period lead to hair loss on the belly.

Pathological Causes

Shedding in cats may occur due to various diseases.

  • Ticks, fleas and lice. Shedding in cats (too much) in the area of ears, muzzle and paws may appear on account of ticks. There occur inflamed wounds, which the animal actively scratches. If the cat has lice, the hair coat becomes rough, and the skin is covered with crusts and starts to itch. In case of a skin mite, the baldness can spread to the body if the immune system is weakened, or affect separate areas. Most often a cat loses the hair on the back.
  • Erythema multiforme. Immunodeficiency disease, manifested by pink spots and blisters on the skin.
  • Hypotrichs. Pathology of genetic nature, it is not amenable to treatment.
  • Fungal skin diseases (ringworm, mycosis). On the body of the cat there appear small bald patches, merging over time into larger. The skin is covered with flaky scales and itches.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis. It may be congenital or caused by parasitic and other diseases. The body has moist inflammation with putrid odor, covered with oily secretions. The disease can affect any area of the body. There appear bald spots and strong itching in ears or in another part of cat’s body.
  • Adenitis of the sebaceous glands. There appear scales and crusts, rounded areas of inflammation. The disease affects mainly the neck and head.
  • cats are sheddingAllergic reactions. Food allergy in cats is manifested by skin redness and the appearance of itchy sores. Allergic reactions may also develop in the cat after contact with chemicals, pollen, insects, causing contact dermatitis. In place of the bald spots there are blisters, sometimes fever takes place, the cat avoids owners, becomes restless.
  • Symmetrical alopecia. It affects the groin, stomach, underarm area and the back of the thigh.
  • Alopecia areata is often autoimmune in nature, it is not accompanied by itching of skin and appear in a limited area of the body.
  • Inflammation of hair follicles (folliculitis). It affects mainly the upper body and head. There appear itchy papules, hair thins.
  • Solar dermatosis. The cat loses hair, the skin on the nose and ears reddens, the body is covered with sores. Such a reaction to ultraviolet rays is more common in animals with white ears.
  • Disturbance of metabolism.


Before choosing a method of treatment, the veterinarian must conduct a scraping of the skin and the analysis of blood sheding in catand urine. In some cases, they resort to biopsy. If hair loss is caused by molt, it is enough to balance the animal’s diet, increase consumption of vitamins, proteins, micro and macroelements. If the problem is caused by improper feeding, it is necessary to enrich the diet of a cat with fibre, meat and dairy food, organ meats, lean fish. Forget about fried, salty and spicy food, foods with chemical additives. If a cat is allergic, you must determine the kind of product which is causing a problem and completely eliminate it. For a fast recovery, the vet will prescribe antihistamines and vitamin supplements. To identify the type of pathogen, the veterinarian will conduct laboratory tests and then prescribe treatment. In case of demodicosis the affected area is treated with chlorhexidine, amitraz, sulfuric ointment, hydrogen peroxide. With extensive lesions a vet prescribes Dectomax, Cydectin, immunomodulating medications and vitamin complexes.

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