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Why Is My Cat Going Bald?

 by danielle on 16 Aug 2014 |
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Cats, like middle-aged men, can suffer from baldness. Thankfully, the condition is normally treatable depending on the source of the problem.
Motivated by stress or other psychological issues, some cats can ‘re-style’ their own hair by obsessive over-grooming. Known as ‘psychogenic alopecia’, hair loss in these cases usually starts on the abdomen, progresses to the backs of the thighs and then reaches the back – essentially all the places best accessible to a cat’s overenthusiastic tongue and teeth. Some cats have been known to completely divest themselves of their coat in their anxious drive to groom. 
Happily, the cat’s lack of fur is usually only a cosmetic issue in these cases, not causing harm to cats in other ways – though, naturally, due to the nature of the negative factors driving psychogenic alopecia, it must be addressed as a matter of priority.
Potential stress triggers are numerous: a cat may be bullied by the other pets you keep in your house, or troubled by the view of a neighbour’s cat out the window which makes it feel its territory is under threat. Boredom is another cause of stress. It may seem like an animal as sleep-loving as a cat would find it difficult to be bored, yet it must be remembered in the wild, felines spend much of their waking time hunting for dinner. Modern day cats, who find their food magically appears in their bowl, miss out on the mental and physical stimulation the act of hunting brings. Like any creature driven, and prevented, from carrying out a task they have evolved to complete, this may cause frustration and malaise.
Enriching the environment with toys and climbing furniture as well as increasing play time is a great way to relieve stress and boredom in affected cats - and makes them spend more time frolicking and less time ripping their hair out! In severe cases, calming medication prescribed by a veterinarian may be required to reduce psychological pressures perceived by a cat – but this is usually only as a last resort.
Psychogenic alopecia is not the only cause of baldness in cats. Flea infestation can cause itchy kitties to madly groom themselves to attempt to relieve their irritation, leading to hair loss. Simple de-flea treatments and over the counter prevention products are the easy solution in cases such as these.
Bladder conditions can also drive a cat to lick their belly, likewise resulting in baldness. If this cause is suspected, tailored veterinary treatment is essential. 



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