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Help! My Cat is Going Bald! Diseases that can Cause Feline Hair Loss!

Updated on March 31, 2010

First of all, if you have a Sphinx…then you do not need to worry. The Sphinx is supposed to be bald! If however, you have another breed type (or a regular old Tomcat), then you need to figure out what is causing the hair loss (as hair loss is not normal and a sign that something is wrong!). There are many reasons as to why a cat might begin to lose its hair. From simple allergies to more serious diseases such as hypothyroidism and demodectic mange, it is important that you take your feline to the vet so that the problem can be properly diagnosed and treated!

So what diseases can cause hair loss? I'm glad you asked! As you know (if you have read any of my other cat related HUB Pages…then you know that I am a firm believer in being pro-active when it comes to caring for your kitten or cat and taking charge of their health care).

Diseases that can Cause Hair Loss - A Brief Over-View

  • Ringworm – Ahhh…the lovely ringworm! Ringworm is a fungal infection that can cause the loss of hair. Once the hair is gone, the skin that is exposed will appear scaly, crusty and red. You will also see a red ring that is approximately 12 to 50 mm in size. Ringworm is highly contagious (humans can catch it too!), however, it can be treated.
  • Cortisone Excess - Cortisone excess can cause symmetrical hair loss over the trunk and body of the animal. The exposed skin may appear dark in color. This condition develops when there is an over production of cortisone by the adrenal glands. Cortisone excess is associated with Cushing's disease (which is much more common in dogs).
  • Psychogenic Alopecia – This condition is caused by a cat that, well, grooms too much. Compulsive grooming is a psychological problem (so be prepared to find a good cat psychologist!). In all seriousness, the signs of psychogenic alopecia include the loss or thinning of the hair in a stripe formation down the back of the cat or on the abdomen. If you believe your cat is "overly grooming" it is important that you talk to your veterinarian.
  • Hypothyroidism – Another thyroid problem that can lead to hair loss. Hypothyroidism occurs when there is a lack of thyroid hormone (this hormone is necessary in order for new hair to grow). Though rare in cats, hypothyroidism can cause your cat's hair to become brittle and dull. There is also a possibility of dry skin and an over-all thinning of the coat. Other signs of this condition include constipation, weight gain and mental dullness. Unfortunately, hypothyroidism is usually permanent, however, it can be treated with daily hormone replacement therapy.
  • Allergies – There are MANY different types of allergies that can cause hair loss. From flea bites to food…it is important that you take your cat to the vet so that they can figure out exactly what your cat is allergic too! If you notice that your cat's hair is beginning to thin or has completely fallen out in patches…allergies will be the first thing the vet considers. Of course, other tests will be conducted so that other conditions and diseases can be ruled out. 

Obviously, some diseases and conditions that can cause feline hair loss are more serious than others. If your cat's hair begins to fall out or if your cat suddenly begins to itch and scratch excessively, it is important that you take your pet to the vet sooner rather than later. Do not play doctor and try to diagnose the condition yourself. By doing so…you will waste valuable time that could be spent treating your four-legged friend! Even though bald is beautiful…the conditions that can cause feline hair loss are not! Good luck and here's to your cat's hair (unless, of course, you own a Sphinx!). Meow!



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    • Bob Go profile image

      Harry Baldwin 3 years ago from New England (various locations)

      My cat balding slightly as she aged. She was a Russian Blue and the thinning was around her ears. Feline Pattern Baldness? :) Vet said it was normal - she lived to around 20 years old!

    • Cygstarz profile image

      Cygstarz 5 years ago from Maryland

      Hi Debk! Thank you for your comment. Good luck and I hope the vet can figure out exactly why your kitty is losing his hair. As you is probably because of over-grooming (maybe due to allergies or stress). Hope all goes well! Take care.

    • profile image

      Debk 5 years ago

      My cat is losing hair right abovevher tail, witch seems now to be caused by over grooming as you mentioned. I voted useful and interesting, thank you!

      P.s i will be getting it confirmd by her regular vet this visit!

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 6 years ago from Atlanta

      Cats, well animals in general have similar diseases has humans do. Your article was short and to the point. Voted interesting.