General Question

rawrgrr's avatar

My cat is losing more hair than normal. What should I do?

Asked by rawrgrr (1559points) January 30th, 2011 from iPhone

My cat is 8 years old and recently she started losing lots of hair. I know all animals shed but she is becoming almost hairless on some parts of her body and its getting worse. We recently changed her food but I think it started before that.

It started at her legs first, then arms, and now stomach. What’s the cause of this? I will be changing her food soon if that’s the problem. What can I do to help her? I can’t take her to the vet yet unfortunately. Any help is appreciated, thanks!

Here are some pictures I took.
http://grab.by/8FMn She’s kind of fat
http://grab.by/8FMp

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8 Answers

syz's avatar

The pattern you describe is classic for a cat over-grooming, usually because of allergies of some sort. Just as in people, animals that have never had an allergy can develop them at any time in their life.

In pets, allergies express as itchiness rather than sneezing and runny eyes. The problem can be cause by environmental factors (molds, pollen, chemicals) or by ingested proteins (food). Food allergies are not nearly as common as folks would have you believe, but since you mention a recent diet change, it wouldn’t hurt to switch her back.

Antihistamines don’t tend to work well in cats; in severe cases (where the cat is actually damaging the skin), steroids will often be prescribed to reduce itching. The most common treatment is a long acting steroid injection that lasts nearly 3 months. Use caution when using steroids! An occasional injection once a year or so is usually fine, but long term use has serious side effects.

The less common reason for over grooming is psychogenic alopecia, which is usually a high-strung, stressed animal exhibiting neurotic behavior. This condition is more difficult to deal with and usually requires work with a behaviorist.

Seelix's avatar

Could she be overgrooming? Some cats clean themselves obsessively, to the point where they get bald spots. Either way, you should go to the vet as soon as you can.

syz's avatar

p.s. Make sure to keep her on flea control (Frontline or Advantage) year round, regardless of whether or not you see fleas. An animal allergic to the proteins in the saliva of a flea will itch for weeks from the bite of a single flea. (Never use TopSpot or any other Hartz product!)

lemming's avatar

She could have picked up mange

Mikewlf337's avatar

SIMPLE.Take her to the vet

syz's avatar

@lemming Mange is much more commonly seen in dogs, and typically only occurs in immune suppressed or otherwise unhealthy animals.

Plucky's avatar

I completely agree with @syz.

Check this link out ..hope it helps :)

Jeruba's avatar

That happened to my cat when she had a flea allergy. I took her to the vet, and he prescribed special baths in slimy green goop. It was an ordeal for both of us, but it helped.

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