Treatment Options for Hair Loss in Cats

Hair loss in cats may be caused by diverse factors ranging from food allergies to diseases. Treatment options are available depending on the cause of hair loss. Seasonal shedding is natural. However, if the hair loss occurs outside the shedding season, this is not normal.

Causes of Hair Loss in Cats

Hair loss in cats is common and may be a symptom of a disease, a sign of anxiety and stress or a result of food allergies.

  • Cats with parasites or fungi may display bald patches and excessive hair loss.
  • Stressed cats chew and bite their fur, and this leads to hair loss or even bald patches.
  • Diseases such as cancer, Cushing's disease or hyperthyroidism can cause hair loss.
  • Different types of allergies may cause hair loss.

Hypoallergenic Diet

If you have established that your cat is allergic to certain foods that cause hair loss, you will need to feed him a hypoallergenic diet.

Avoid the foods that cause allergies and hair loss. Your vet may prescribe a hypoallergenic formula.

A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial to an allergic cat. Fatty acids strengthen your pet's immune system, reduce allergies to foods, pollens, mold or chemicals, and will also thicken your cat's coat, making it shinier.

Vitamin E supplements are beneficial for a healthy coat and skin.

Antihistamines may be prescribed for cats with allergies.

Anti-Inflammatory Medication

Anti-inflammatory medication can be used to reduce your cat's allergies. Used as topical ointments, anti-inflammatories will reduce swelling and itchiness that may cause hair loss, and excessive scratching that leads to bald patches.

Anti-Parasite Shampoo

If the hair loss is caused by parasites, these need to be eliminated. Anti-parasite shampoos are efficient in removing fleas and ear mites that cause hair loss.

Anti-Anxiety Medication

A cat may be losing hair because of stress and anxiety. It is important to identify the main cause for stress. Frequent causes include:

  • Changes in the cat's daily routine
  • Separation from owner
  • Changes in the routine of the owner
  • Loneliness
  • Disease
  • A new cat or a new baby

If the stress can't be relieved by reassuring your cat, you will need anti-anxiety medication such as valium or diazepam. Valium and other anti-anxiety medication may change your cat's behavior and have side effects such as inactivity, sleepiness or vomiting.

Therapy with a specialist may also be needed. Alternative medicine offers aromatherapy for stressed cats.

Hair loss may indicate a serious illness. If you notice any unusual bald patches or more hair loss than usual, visit the vet.

Cats have two shedding seasons: at the end of the summer and at the end of winter. During these periods, cats will lose more hair than usual. However, if the excessive hair loss is experienced outside these seasons, you should determine the cause.