As they grow older, cats will commonly experience thinning of their fur, and even develop patches of hair loss. Like in humans, a cat’s hair can turn white with age – but, their whiskers may turn black.
Nervous disorders (e.g., over-grooming) can also cause hair loss in cats. Hormonal imbalances, specifically too much thyroid or increased levels of steroids in the body, may lead to cat hair loss. Another less common factor is heredity. Cat alopecia is common in older cats that are diagnosed with some types of cancer.
The Most Common Reasons Allergies: They’re the top cause of hair loss. Like people, your cat can be allergic to food, insect bites, medicines, dust, or pollen. To ease the itch, they’ll lick their fur until there are bald spots. It’s simple to treat, but you might have to give them medicine for the rest of their life.
Signs Your Cat Could Be Dying
“Generally, if we can reverse the cause, then we can get the hair to grow back,” Dr. Hayworth says. “This is especially true with over-grooming related to allergies. So, if you notice hair loss in your cat, it is definitely worth a trip to the doctor.”
If your cat has been clipped and the hair is failing to grow back, it may be due to a hormonal deficiency or imbalance. If your cat is losing hair in spots then it may have a bacterial infection or ringworm or demodicosis. Your veterinarian may need to do skin scrapings or pluck hairs for cultures.
A very common reason for cats to pull out their hair, especially around the base of the tail, is allergy to fleabites. Ringworm is a fungus that is also a frequent culprit in cases of hair loss, especially around the face, ears, and feet. Hair disappears in small patches, and the skin turns dry, gray, and flaky.
Dying cats will become withdrawn and irritable, unprovoked aggression may become more common, the cat’s appetite will change, and it’ll spend more time hiding or become clingy as it feels afraid. Heavy breathing, seizures, lower body temperatures, and an unkempt appearance are other signs.
Because cats rely primarily on body language to communicate to one another, they must be attuned to biological and behavioral changes in the other animals around them. This includes detecting weakness or changes in body temperature and odor. They are also intuitive in that they often know when they are about to die.
Signs that your cat is in pain and may no longer have a good quality of life can include:
Common signs of mange include:
The signs and symptoms of sarcoptic mange include skin rashes, patchy hair loss, and crusty skin sores accompanied by intense itching, biting, and scratching. Oval-shaped, light-colored mites cause sarcoptic mange or scabies. This type of mange is highly contagious and can spread between dogs and cats.
Treatment of Hair Loss in Cats