September 26, 2023


The Pet Expert

Why Do Cats Pull Their Hair Out?

8 min read
why do cats pull out their hair

Cats pull their hair out in clumps or on their tails extra incessantly than most individuals realise. Generally this conduct is accompanied by seen weight reduction, however typically it’s the one signal that one thing is fallacious. More often than not it’s a results of ache, allergy symptoms or a pores and skin drawback. However sometimes this may be purely a behavioral problem.


Allergy symptoms Can Make Cats Pull Their Fur

Our cats’ pores and skin is one nice huge sensory organ and when it will get itchy it encourages them to both chunk, chew, scratch it, or pull out the hair. The most typical reason behind cats which might be pulling their hair out is the itch that happens in people who have an allergy to flea saliva. That is referred to as flea allergic dermatitis.

When a flea bites their pores and skin, it irritates them and causes intense itching. This in flip encourages the cat to groom in response, and this then creates an itch/scratch cycle.

Most of the ‘off the shelf’ flea therapies aren’t as efficient as these prescribed by veterinarians. And even the most effective therapies gained’t hold these pesky critters at bay in the event that they’re not utilized persistently.

Cats which have by no means put a paw exterior must also be usually handled for fleas. While they won’t decide them up straight, anybody coming into the home is able to bringing fleas in with them on their sneakers.

On the identical time, it’s important to deal with the home with an efficient family flea product, ensuring you spray proper as much as the sides of carpets. It’s additionally a good suggestion to usually verify for indicators of flea excreta on the cats themselves and on their bedding.

Cats with Itchy Pores and skin

Cats may also develop sensitivities to sure meals, pollens, bushes and vegetation and even home mud mites – all of which may trigger cats to drag out their hair as a approach of coping with their itchy pores and skin. Allergy symptoms similar to these are extra probably in middle-age to youthful cats.

Much less widespread causes for cats having itchy pores and skin are bacterial infections as effectively infections similar to ringworm. Ringworm is brought on by a fungus that may develop on the cat’s pores and skin and which makes use of the pores and skin hair and nails as a supply of diet.

Regardless of its identify, it has nothing to do with worms!

Some pores and skin cancers may also trigger irritation that drives cats to groom and chew excessively, typically making issues a lot worse. Itchy pores and skin can be a side-effect related to some drugs.

why do cats pull out their hair

Cats in Ache Pull Their Hair

The opposite foremost motive why cats pull their hair out is ache. Ache similar to that created by an damage (outdated or new) can inspire cats to drag out their hair on or across the space which is inflicting the ache.

Ache can also be related to widespread cat illnesses similar to osteoarthritis. That is normally prevalent in senior cats who usually tend to endure from painful joints.

Illnesses of the bladder can be very painful and is one other widespread motive why you would possibly see cats pulling their hair out. In these situations, they may excessively groom the areas round their stomach. There are a selection of bladder illnesses that may impacts cats on this approach:

Feline Urethral Obstruction

That is the place one thing blocks the urethra of male cats (ie the tube which runs from the bladder to the penis) and prevents them from urinating. This generally is a life-threatening illness if not noticed and handled early.


Also called Feline Decrease Urinary Tract Illness. This can be a painful situation that current analysis has proven, has a direct affiliation with stress.

Feline Hyperaesthesia Syndrome

Also called ‘Rippling Pores and skin Syndrome’ it is a just lately recognized however poorly understood situation. One the place cats exhibit exaggerated responses to the touch and have sudden bouts of intense grooming, self-mutilation or tail chasing.

Cats Experiencing Stress

There are some illnesses which have a direct relationship with stress. That is the place issues can get a bit complicated. As a result of a number of the bodily circumstances described above will be exacerbated and even triggered by extended durations of stress. Particularly in already anxious cats that aren’t superb at coping with life’s on a regular basis challenges.

When cats are chronically careworn they’re continuously releasing stress hormones and this could have an effect on their immune response inflicting their pores and skin to turn out to be notably delicate.

So, not solely does the pores and skin turn out to be itchier, making cats extra prone to pull out their hair, however the stress can also be prone to make any underlying bodily situation or illness a lot worse.

Sure Breeds Are Susceptible To Hair Pulling

Sure breeds of cat look like extra prone to pull their hair out than others.

These embrace pure-breed oriental cats, particularly Burmese and Siamese, together with more moderen breeds similar to Bengal cats.

It’s thought that these breeds could also be genetically predisposed to the conduct.

Nevertheless, these additionally occur to be extremely energetic, clever and delicate breeds that will pull their hair out because of being stored in environments that don’t essentially supply them the extent of stimulation they require.

Environmental Components

Cats are the last word management freaks – they thrive on consistency and predictability. So, any deviations from their regular routine would possibly set off episodes of stress.

Upheavals such because the prolonged absence of their proprietor, constructing work inside or exterior the house, the arrival of a brand new child, and battle with different cats are all extremely vital and upsetting occasions for our cats.

Even the loss of life of a feline housemate with whom they shared an in depth bond can set off a traumatic interval of mourning.

So, after they occur, cats would possibly flip to a predictable and satisfying exercise that they’ll management, similar to pulling their hair out.

Usually cats experiencing stress will present extra signs. Habits similar to hypervigilance, hiding, feigning sleep, avoiding contact with individuals and different cats. There may additionally be a discount or enhance in consuming.

What to Do If Your Cat Is Pulling His Hair Out?

Regardless of the trigger, in all circumstances the place cats are pulling their fur out, and in lots of circumstances swallowing it, it’s crucial that they’re examined by a veterinarian.

The place is the Cat Pulling its Hair Out?

The place on their our bodies cats select to drag their hair out is normally very vital. Most hair pulling in response to itchy pores and skin creates a symmetrical sample of baldness or broken hair on these areas that cats can comfortably attain on each side.

For instance, you would possibly see cats pulling hair out of each their again legs or pulling hair out on each side.

Different indicators that cats are itchy embrace the pores and skin showing to ‘tick’ and the fur to ripple. You would possibly see a rise in rubbing, rolling, scratching and licking actions. Or you might also discover their hair feels sharp the place it has been damaged off.

Hair pulling in response to ache, whether or not as a consequence of damage or illness, is normally unilateral. This implies focussed on one web site the place the ache is felt.

Discovering Clues within the Location

Ache from any of the bladder illnesses talked about earlier might trigger cats to drag their hair out round their decrease stomach or on the within or underside of their thighs. The place male cats compulsively lick ‘down there’ as a brand new behavior, it’s necessary to take a more in-depth look.

Male cats hardly ever present their personal elements. If their penis is protruding, then this may very well be an indicator of Feline Urethral Obstruction.

This can be accompanied by different signs similar to lethargy, crying out when picked up, blood within the urine, being unable to urinate and vomiting.

When you discover any of those signs, contact your veterinarian instantly.

Is There a Sample to the Habits?

The sample of the conduct may also give some necessary clues as to what may very well be inflicting it. If the conduct is normally worse within the spring and summer season and resolves within the winter months this might point out an allergy to reap mites, pollens, bushes or vegetation.

Conversely if the conduct solely seems throughout the colder months, it may very well be a symptom of boredom or frustration.

My Siamese cat Billy sucks the tip of his tail all through winter. A behavior he’s bought right into a results of not eager to benefit from the good outside and all of the stimulation it has to supply, albeit chilly and moist. So, for a minimum of three months of the yr I usually should put up with being smeared by a moist and gooey tail!

What Occurs Subsequent?

Offering your veterinarian with as a lot detailed info as potential out of your observations of the conduct. In addition to any related background info ought to assist pace up the method of discovering a analysis.

Having taken a historical past, your vet will give your cat a common bodily examination to find any areas of ache. In addition to a dermatological examination, to determine any areas of lesions or hair loss and the way they’re distributed.

Additional investigations could also be crucial together with blood checks, pores and skin biopsies, allergy screening and analysing the cat’s urine.

Referral to a specialist veterinary dermatologist could also be required.

Within the absence of any medical trigger the vet would possibly then refer you to a cat conduct specialist.

Therapy Choices

The best therapy is normally based mostly on a mixture of veterinary and behavioral intervention.

Veterinarians will deal with any underlying illness that’s inflicting dermatological or ache associated hair pulling.

On the identical time, a behaviorist will put in place a programme targeted on making modifications to the cat’s setting and social interactions. Aiming to take away any stress that may very well be contributing to the conduct.

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