Hair loss: the cat licks its fur away – why?

Have you noticed hair loss in your cat, maybe even bald spots in the fur? The most likely cause is Feline Self-Induced Alopecia (FSA). Sound complicated? But it’s basically easy to explain: Your cat licks its fur off. This is by far the most common reason for hair loss in cats.

By increased cleaning behavior the cat takes care of the leak alopecia itself their hair loss and bald spots in the cat’s fur.

Many cat owners don’t even notice this behavior – who keeps a record of how often the cat grooms itself…

Only when the hair loss is noticed does a person know that something is wrong. Clear signs of feline self-induced alopecia are:

The cat often vomits hairballs There are hairs in the faeces There are affected areas in the fur that the cat with of the tongue: The abdomen is particularly often affected, but also the inner thighs. Itching is the most common reason for FSA Itching is the cause of a cat going bald in about three quarters of the cases bodies licks.

She tries to counteract the itching by licking and nibbling on her body. As a result, a lot of hair is inevitably torn out, resulting in bald spots in the fur.

There are several possible causes for itching:

Parasites such as mites or fleas An allergy Other skin disease, such as a skin fungus The cat licks its fur off – parasites are also among the possible causes Ectoparasites, i.e. Parasites such as mites or fleas living on the cat’s body are among the most common causes of alopecia. They cause severe itching, which cats react to by cleaning themselves.

In addition to the bald patches in the cat’s fur, scales, reddening of the skin or even inflammation are other symptoms of a parasite infestation in cats. Fleas can also be identified by combing out the fur with a flea comb: flea droppings on the comb are a sure sign.

Mites and fleas must be treated with a suitable spot-on preparation. In addition, with fleas, the entire apartment must also be “escaped”, because a renewed infestation by cats or humans is otherwise inevitable.

Cat with a bald spot on the hind leg – Image: Nils Jacobi / Allergies may also be the cause of bald spots in cat fur In addition to parasites, allergies in cats can also be the cause of itching and thus increased licking and even bald spots.

In most cases, allergies in cats are triggered by environmental influences or their food. For example, cats can also have an allergic reaction to various types of pollen. When it comes to feed, artificial additives used to preserve or improve the appearance and taste of the feed are suspected of triggering allergies.

In addition to itching and the associated compulsion to clean, symptoms such as flatulence can also occur , diarrhea, vomiting and reddening of the skin indicate an allergy in cats.

It is not easy to determine what a cat could be allergic to, for this its environment must be analyzed in detail. When it comes to food, you should rely on natural wet food without grain or additives.

Pain can also be a trigger for pathological cleaning But not only itching can be behind the alopecia in cats: Pain can also be the cause. For example, hairlessness on the abdomen can indicate a painful bladder infection.

The Cat licked the hair on his stomach – Picture: Firn / Overactive thyroid Overactive thyroid occurs in around every tenth cat an age of eight years. With this hormonal disease, cleaning can be particularly frequent. Other symptoms are lethargy, frequent drinking, vomiting and loss of appetite.

Depending on the severity, hyperthyroidism can be treated with medication or surgery.

The cat licks its fur because of stress If the cat licks its fur, it can also be a stress reaction . This is referred to as psychogenic leak alopecia. Excessive personal hygiene serves the velvet paw here as a valve against stress.

However, this is really a rarity with velvet paws, according to studies, only one of 31 Cats with bald patches in their coat Stress is the trigger.

Above all, changes are often associated with a lot of stress for cats. Possible causes and reasons for stress can be, for example:

A move A new pet A beloved animal or human dies Apparently small changes like new furniture Some velvet paws are very sensitive here. To avoid stress, changes should be made cautiously if possible. In addition, pheromones or a feed supplement with L-theanine can be used.

When should the cat go to the vet? If the cat has licked bald patches on its fur, a vet visit is generally a good idea. On the one hand, the veterinarian can clarify an infestation of parasites and rule out a painful illness as the cause of your four-legged friend.

A veterinarian can also examine loose hair from the affected area of ​​the coat: Using the He can determine the roots of the hair and the texture of the hair with such certainty that the cat has licked the fur itself out. It is then safe to say that either FSA or Psychogenic Leak Alopecia is present.

A veterinarian will also identify skin problems and provide tips and assistance in diagnosing an allergy. So if your cat licks its fur and has bald spots, then your house cat should definitely go to the vet!

Featured image (top): Bogdan Sonyachnyj /


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