Cats are widely known for being a fastidious creature when it comes to grooming. But sometimes they might be going way too far while trying to pull their hair out as a part of grooming. Excessive hair loss can result in ragged appearance and bald patches. Cats have a habit of keeping themselves clean by licking the body or pulling out hair. According to studies, cats spend almost 50% of their time cleaning their body. The problem arises when the cat starts to take out hair tufts or scratches themselves up to the point of getting bald spots.
Some cats are known as closet groomers because they groom themselves in closed rooms or spaces where nobody is watching them. If your domestic cat is a closet groomer, then you may find hair tufts lying on the carpet or floor. It is hard to understand the reasons behind this mysterious feline behaviour. The majority of the cats who keep pulling their hair out are more prone to suffer from some underlying medical condition. According to doctors, the ‘pulling hair out’ act is not one of the behaviour problems but a medical problem in the cat.
So which medical problem is causing the cat to pull her hair? Research tells us that the reason behind the overgrooming behaviour of the cat is itchiness. Some cats respond to itchiness by scratching their body, while others might start pulling hair out and licking their own body. It is a difficult task for a doctor to determine and pinpoint the exact reason behind the cause of itchiness in the cat’s body. If you observe that your cat is excessively scratching and licking her body, then you should take her to a vet to get properly examined. The vet will begin to check your cat by a physical examination. This will include a thorough search for external parasites such as lice and mites on the cat’s body. A special test called skin scraping can be suggested by the vet to look for parasites. Even exposure to the saliva of one flea bite can cause immense pain for cats who are allergic to fleas. It will be a difficult period for the cat if she has this allergy.
Your cat might undergo excruciating itchiness due to the allergy. The problem arises because cats are fastidious groomers. Henceforth, there is a high possibility that the cat might have ingested the fleas which were present on its skin or fur. That is why sometimes the vet may not be able to spot any fleas on the outer skin of the cat. In such a condition, the vet would recommend performing a trial with one of the most special parasite control products. In case the signs vanish completely after the trial, then it is because of the ingested parasites inside the cat. This is a big misconception that only the feral cats are prone to get flea bites. The domestic cats which live indoors can also get flea bites.
Cat Pulling Hair Out – What Happens Next?
If the cat is excessively pulling her hair out and you can see the bald patches along with red skin, then you must quickly take the cat to a vet. It is good if the vet can determine the cat’s condition just by simple observation. The owner must give the full information regarding the changes he has observed in the cat’s behaviour or body over time. Along with this, the owner must provide complete background information about the cat. This will help in speeding up the diagnosis process.
After the vet takes into account the complete history of the cat, he will perform a physical examination. This examination could help in locating the affected spots on the cat’s body. After this, a dermatological examination is performed for determining lesion areas, loss of hair and distribution of lesions. After getting results of the above two tests, the vet may recommend a blood test, skin scraping, a skin biopsy and analysis of cat’s urine. If the situation is severe, the vet would refer the case to a specialist dermatologist. If the vet is not able to detect any medical condition behind the current state of the cat, he might suggest taking the cat to a behavioural specialist.
Treatment Options For Cats Pulling Hair Out
If you notice that the cat is undergoing thinning of hair along with certain bald patches on her skin, then you must get her properly examined by a vet. Even if there are red-coloured patches, you need to get her treated. Loss of hair in cats is called an alopecia disorder. The major reason causing hair loss in cats is external parasites, fungal infection, anxiety, and allergy. If the cat is suffering from a fungal or bacterial infection, there are high chances that the infection can get transmitted to human beings and other animals coming in contact with the infected cat.
The treatment of the cat is conducted by a dermatologist specialist or a behavioural expert. The vet may recommend some specific shampoos which will help in eliminating the fleas on the cat’s body. The itchiness of the cat can also be treated with corticosteroids or antihistamines. The treatment of the cat is done by the following methods.
- A major reason behind the itchy feeling on the cat’s skin could be bacterial and fungal infections. For determining these infections, the vet would do skin cytology. This is a method to observe the skin cells of the cat with the help of a microscope.
- Your cat is highly prone to being allergic to some elements like pollen, specific food items, mould, etc. If you take the cat to a vet, he could try to identify the major elements which are causing the itchiness.
- The vet might recommend performing allergy tests on your cat. He might suggest a food trial consisting of a limited protein meal or a special hydrolyzed protein meal for the cat. This special meal is prepared by breaking protein to tiny bits so that it is difficult for the immune system to identify it. This helps in eliminating triggering any kind of immune reaction in the cat’s body.
How do I stop my cat from pulling her hair out?
Most cats like to keep themselves clean and tidy at all times. But it is a huge matter of concern when a cat starts to scratch her body excessively and eventually causes bald patches along with hair loss. If she continues to do this, she might end up in a poor condition. For stopping a cat from pulling her hair, you need to first understand the cause behind this behaviour. Firstly, assess the environmental elements which might be causing allergic reactions. Observe the cat’s behaviour when you take
her out to the lawn, especially near mud and pollen. If the cat is responding by pulling hair or scratching the body, then it’s a high possibility that the cat is allergic to these elements. The vet may recommend drug therapy in case the cat is allergic to pollen.
Secondly, try to minimise the cat’s exposure towards elements which you suspect can act as allergens. Skip spraying aerosols if the cat is present in the room. Scented candles are very harmful to your cat. The odour from a scented candle can stick to the cat’s fur. This will lead to triggering the excessive grooming behaviour in a cat. You should not spray air fresheners near the cat. The best way to save the cats from mites and lice is to keep the house clean by doing the vacuum every day. Thirdly, the cat could be feeling itchy if she is allergic to a specific food item. According to doctors, most cats develop an itchy problem after eating a certain protein in their meal. Henceforth, make sure that you are providing your cat with a nutritious diet.
Fourthly, there is a release of endorphins when the cat is grooming her body. The endorphins are one of the most natural kinds of morphine. It’s possible that the cat is feeling good due to the endorphins and continues to groom herself to release more of them. Most cats display this kind of behaviour when they are feeling stressed and anxious. Make sure that you’re spending quality time with the cat by playing with her so that she does not end up feeling alone and depressed. Lastly, look for some bald spots or reddening areas on the skin of the cat. The cat could have been bitten by a flea or lice. You can use an environmental spray to get rid of fleas in the house. The cat needs your proper care and attention to remain protected from infections and behavioural disorders. If the owner provides nutritious food and spends quality time with the cat, there are fewer chances of the cat to fall sick. Moreover, keeping the home clean of fleas and mites is very important for your pets.