Common Cat Fur Problems

Many cats suffer health problems related to cat fur during the course of their lives. Cat fur problems can be isolated, or they can indicate a more serious underlying condition. These problems range in scope depending upon the condition, and will be mild or serious in nature. In each case, diagnosis and treatment vary depending on the cause of the fur problem. Here are some of the most common feline health problems related to fur and coat.

Causes of Cat Hair Loss

Hair loss is one of the most common cat fur problems. Cats have dense hair growth, and a certain amount of shedding is expected and normal. However, excessive hair loss can indicate an underlying health concern.

Skin infections and topical dermatitis may lead to hair loss. In these conditions, a bacterial or fungal infection or contact with a parasite or chemical will cause your cat to lose hair in a localized area. In particularly bad cases, hair loss can spread to other parts of your cat’s body as well.

Allergies can cause hair loss. If your pet suffers a food or atopic allergy, one of the most common symptoms of a negative reaction is loss of hair.

Hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism can contribute to hair loss as well.

Conditions Related to Change in Coat Color

Vitiligo is a condition that affects the pigmentation of your pet’s skin and hair. In cases of vitiligo, a previously dark-colored cat will develop patchy splotches of light hair or skin. These sections can remain isolated in particular areas of the body, or they can spread and ultimately overwhelm the original color. Vitiligo is not a painful or otherwise harmful condition.

Leukotrichia is another condition that affects the coloration of cat hair. In these cases, patches of light fur develop in certain parts of the body, most commonly around the eyes and face.

Cats receiving an improper diet or with certain serious health conditions can experience a general loss of coat sheen over time. If your pet’s fur seems to have lost its typical luster, take him to a veterinarian for further examination.

Conditions Related to Change in Coat

Your cat’s coat may become tougher and thicker, or develop mats and other tangles. One of the most common causes of these conditions is lack of proper hygiene. Although cats are hygienic animals, domesticated cats require a certain amount of brushing and bathing in order to maintain healthy skin and fur. Brush your cat’s fur using a stiff brush every day or two, and bathe your cat every few weeks as necessary, or if he gets unusually dirty. By taking a minimal amount of time to care for your pet’s skin and coat, you will help to ensure a soft, lustrous body of fur.

If your cat experiences an unusual change in coat condition, whether it involves hair loss, change of color or consistency, be aware that he may be suffering from a potentially serious underlying condition. It is best to consult with a veterinarian if the cat fur problem persists in spite of your attempts to maintain his coat and skin.