Many pet owners would agree that cats are very particular when it comes to looking good. They spend many hours a day grooming themselves making sure every strand of hair is in place.
In fact, cats can spend up to 5 hours a day grooming themselves.
But what if you noticed that your cat has started to suffer from hair loss at the base of its tail?
Hair loss in cats is a common occurrence. It can be due to a number of factors like stress, diet, fungal infection or even a parasite infestation. Most of the time, the cat’s hair loss can be reversed once the problem is addressed.
In this article, we will take an in-depth look at what could be causing hair loss in your cat and what can be done about it.
Let’s get started.
How To Recognize Hair Loss In Cats?
Cats lose a ton of fur daily and are known to be shedding machines. There are some cat breeds that shed more than others due to having a thicker undercoat.
The problem arises when your cat’s fur isn’t growing back thus resulting in visible hair loss.
There are different degrees of hair loss when it comes to cats. It could just be a single bald patch down to the cat’s skin at the base of the tail.
Or it could be diffused hair loss over a larger area on the cat’s body.
The type of ailment that your cat is suffering from will determine the nature of its bald patches.
One more thing to note is whether your cat is losing hair in clumps of fur over a gradual process.
Reasons For Your Cat’s Hair Loss
In this section, let us take a look at what could be causing your cat’s hair loss. The faster we are able to ascertain the cause, the faster we are able to reverse your cat’s hair loss.
Hair loss in cats is usually not a disease but mostly due to external factors.
It might come as a surprise to many cat parents that cats can have allergic reactions too like humans.
Your cat’s allergic reaction could be caused by a change in its usual diet, a certain fabric, pollen, dust, etc.
Cats that spend time outdoors are more likely to suffer from seasonal allergies as compared to cats who are only indoors.
If your cat is having an allergic reaction, here are some common symptoms:
- Runny eyes
- Ear Infections
- Excessive grooming
It could be that your cat’s allergy is causing a lot of discomfort and itching at the base of its tail. This will cause your cat to overly groom and bite that area resulting in hair loss.
2. Flea Infestation
External parasites like fleas can cause your cat to lose hair at the base of its tail. Flea infestations are a common occurrence in cats. Especially if you allow your cat access outdoors.
Cats can get fleas when they come into contact with another cat or animal that already has fleas.
Fleas like to hide out in thick foliage and can jump onto your cat’s body when it walks through tall grass or plants.
If you find your cat biting and grooming the base of its tail frequently, make it a point to inspect your cat for fleas in that area.
Fleas like to set up camp at the base of a cat’s tail as it is a hard to reach area for the cat.
Part your cat’s fur and look for tiny moving specs or brown crusts. These are signs of a flea infestation.
Remove the fleas from your cat by using a flea comb and dawn dishwashing soap. Bathing your cat with anti-flea shampoo or applying anti-flea medication like Revolution can also help get rid of those pesky parasites.
Make sure to clean and wash your cat a few times a week as it takes some effort to completely get rid of fleas.
3. Feline Tail Gland Hyperplasia
Feline tail gland hyperplasia or also known as stud tail is a condition that commonly affects unneutered male cats.
This condition is caused by an overly active sebaceous gland at the base of the male cat’s tail. The sebaceous gland secretes sebum which helps to keep the cat’s fur in good condition and it has an oily texture to it.
Kind of how our scalp secretes sebum to protect and moisturize our hair.
However, in unneutered males, their male hormones can cause the gland to secrete more sebum than usual.
Here are some common symptoms of stud tail:
- Oily and matted fur at base of the tail
- Bald spots at base of the tail
- Skin infection at base of the tail
- Bad odor
Although this condition is more common in unfixed male cats, female and male cats who are sterilized can also get it.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to get your cat sterilized as soon as possible.
Fixing cats help lower the risk of many diseases and also controls the population of cats.
4. Stress And Anxiety
Cats are known to be sensitive creatures and can get stressed out by many things. Cats are creatures of habit and are not fans of change.
If there have been some major changes in your household, it might be causing excess stress to your cat which can lead to hair loss.
Situations like moving house, a new pet or family member or even new furniture can throw your cat off balance.
Some cats tend to engage in excessive grooming when stressed out. They will lick and bite the same spot over and over again causing skin disorders and hair loss.
Some cats can even start to lose hair from the corner of their eyes due to having too much stress.
Any signs of stress would be noticing your cat hiding more often and being less active.
You can try to spend more quality time with your cat to try and calm it down. Usually, most cats will adjust to the changes and be back to their normal selves in no time.
5. Feeling Pain
A cat losing hair at the base of its tail could be due to pain in that area. If you have an older cat, it could be a sign of arthritis in its tail.
Cats with this ailment tend to lick the areas that hurt as it helps to calm them down.
It could also be due to an injury to your cat’s tail from an accident that is causing it pain.
Try gently pressing around your cat’s tail area to see how it reacts. If it shows any signs of discomfort it would be best to take your cat to the vet for an x-ray.
6. Poor Diet
You are what you eat and it applies to both humans and cats.
As pet owners, it is our duty and responsibility to give our pets the best diet possible. If you have been feeding your cat dry food and unhealthy human food as treats, stop.
Such foods are bad for cats and can cause more harm than good in the long run. A poor diet can cause excessive hair loss in cats.
Start feeding your cat good quality canned food or try the raw meat diet which is the most natural diet for cats.
You will definitely notice a change in your cat’s fur quality over time. Cats on a good diet will also shed less hair.
7. Ringworm And Fungal Infections
Despite its name, a ringworm infection isn’t caused by a certain type of parasite like a tapeworm.
A ringworm infection is caused by coming into contact with fungal spores. It can cause fur loss around the infected area.
It is called a ringworm infection as the bald patches are round in shape.
You will need to have your cat examined by the vet to determine if it is a ringworm infection. It can be cured with antibiotics and topical cream.
Be careful to not touch the infected area on your cat as ringworm can be transmitted to humans from cats.
Home Treatment For Cat Hair Loss
If your cat’s hair loss is due to factors like a bad diet, flea infestation or stress, treating your cat at home is something that can be done.
But if your cat is losing hair due to an underlying medical condition like studs tail or ringworm, it would be best to seek medical attention.
The vet will need to carry out additional tests in the lab, do an x-ray or perform surgery if required.
Will My Cat’s Hair Grow Back?
In most cases, if the underlying cause is treated early, your cat will have a good chance of growing back the lost hair.
If you do notice any abnormal hair loss in your cat, it is always best to seek early medical treatment.
It is hard to tell how serious your cat’s condition is without a thorough checkup. The longer you delay treatment for your cat, it can lead to other symptoms and health issues.