Hair Loss in Cats

Hair Loss in Cats

Most people researching hair loss in cat are looking for answers.  They are searching the Internet for reasons why their cat is losing hair.  There are various ways (e.g. thinning, general or symmetrical patches) that a cat can lose hair and this symptom helps with diagnosis but the truth of the matter is that there are very many reasons why a cat loses hair and, therefore, it is all but impossible to diagnose the reason using an Internet search.

An example of hair loss in cats. This was my response but it is guesswork.
See the comment accompanying the picture.

You really have to take your cat to the vet and even (s)he may have difficulty, sometimes, in making an accurate diagnosis.  This will be very negative and upsetting information for many visitors and I can understand that completely. But it is true.

Even websites written by veterinarians can only present the visitor with information about the possible causes of hair loss.  All that these sites can do is present information and therefore they rely on the reader to digest the information and diagnose the potential health problem from which their cat might be suffering.  The onus is on the cat owner to do the diagnosis which is a very dangerous thing to do.

It basically becomes guesswork; guesswork which delays the best diagnosis that a cat owner can get which is from a good veterinary surgeon.  Yes, vets come in all shapes and sizes.  Some veterinarians are very good and some are rather poor.  A general guideline might be to ensure that your veterinarian has at least been practising for about 10 years because it takes about 10 years to gain enough experience to be able to diagnose at a highly proficient level on the basis that the veterinarian, is intelligent and good in any case.

Hair loss in cats is one of the most obvious symptoms of a cat health problem.  It stares you in the face and it is distressing for a cat owner to see it because the major attraction for a cat owner is the cat's coat.

Although I have painted a rather bleak picture about researching the underlying causes of cat hair loss, it is helpful if a cat owner if (s)he has some knowledge about cat health in order to instruct their veterinarian more proficiently.  Some knowledge of cat health problems also allows a dialogue with the veterinarian which can not only assist the veterinarian in diagnosis but it can also assist the cat's owner in assessing the overall situation and whether the veterinarian knows what he is doing.

Sometimes an underlying health problem causes hair loss in cats but sometimes it can simply be a matter of stress which results in obsessive-compulsive disorder which in turn leads to grooming to excess.  Cats like to groom because it is reassuring for them; it feels good.  If the cat is over-grooming he or she will do it in places which are easily accessible such as the lower abdomen or the hind legs.

There are, however, certain illnesses which can also lead to hair loss and this link takes you to a page which lists them.

I would certainly recommend that a visitor to this page clicks on the link at the top of the page which takes you to a full list of possible causes and possibly more importantly there are a very large number of comments on that page with attached photographs which might provide a visitor with more information about the possible causes of hair loss in their cat.

However, unless the causes are obvious such as stress - which can be dealt with by the cat owner in making the environment more pleasant for their cat - I believe that it can be unwise to try and self-diagnose the causes of feline hair loss.

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