Causes of alopecia
There are two main ways alopecia can develop, either your cat’s fur falls out - due to illness, injury or disease, or your cat over-grooms and pulls their fur out - usually due to itchy skin, pain or stress.
Common causes of alopecia in cats are listed below:
Fleas cause cats to bite and scratch themselves a lot and often develop bald patches around their lower back, inside of the hind legs and around the neck and ears. Symptoms tend to be much worse if they are allergic to fleas.
Allergic skin disease (atopy) causes very itchy skin. Alopecia develops because cats with atopy tend to excessively scratch, bite and groom themselves.
Ringworm is a very contagious fungus (not a worm!), it lives on the skin and hairs. It causes fur to fall out by damaging hair follicles. Ringworm causes circular patches of flaky, red, itchy skin.
Bacterial skin infections
Bacterial skin infections cause itchy skin and bald patches. This is due to hair follicle damage and also excessive licking and scratching.
Feline eosinophilic granuloma complex
Feline eosinophilic granuloma complex is a condition affecting the immune system – it causes bald, red, angry skin.
Alopecia can be an inherited condition, meaning it’s passed down from a cat’s mother or father. The Sphynx cat has been bred to have no fur. Having no fur can cause problems such as injuries and sunburn.
Alopecia around wounds
Cuts, grazes, abscesses and burns can cause areas of permanent fur loss if the damage is deep and has scarred the skin.
It’s normal for a cat to spend a lot of time grooming. It becomes abnormal if they start to develop bald patches, areas with very little fur or they damage their own skin. Over grooming tends to be due to stress, pain or itchy skin.
Hormones disease such as hyperthyroidism can cause hair to fall out without causing itchiness.