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Why is My Cat Over-Grooming and Losing Hair on Hind Legs and Lower Belly?


Dear VetBabble,

I’ve noticed my cat has been over-grooming for around a month and has some bald spots around his hind legs and lower belly. The skin is healthy and normal. What could be the cause of this hair loss and what should I do?

Understanding Hair Loss in Pets

Hair loss, also known as alopecia, can have various causes in both cats and dogs. It is essential to consult a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and treat your pet accordingly. In some cases, hair loss might be due to skin problems, hormonal imbalances, allergies, or parasites like fleas and mites. In this article about hair loss in cats, and this article discussing hair loss in dogs, you may find more information about potential causes and treatments.

Identifying and Treating Skin Problems

As mentioned in this article about skin problems in cats, issues with your pet’s skin can sometimes lead to hair loss. This can be due to allergies, parasites, or infections, among other things. Fleas, food allergies, and exposure to chemical irritants can be potential triggers for skin issues in pets of all ages. It is crucial to identify the cause of the problem and eliminate it to prevent further discomfort to your pet.

For instance, using a flea comb to check for fleas and applying a suitable monthly flea treatment can be a great way to manage flea-related hair loss. If you suspect food allergies, you might consider changing your pet’s diet to a hypoallergenic, limited-protein option recommended by your veterinarian or suggested in this article about cat allergies.

Addressing Behavioral and Environmental Factors

Hair loss can sometimes be a result of behavioral issues, such as over-grooming or anxiety-induced hair-pulling. In these cases, modifying your pet’s behavior through training or creating a less stressful environment may help alleviate the problem. Additionally, certain items in your pet’s environment, like plastic bowls, can potentially contribute to hair loss. For example, if your pet’s chin comes into contact with the plastic while eating, it might result in irritation and hair loss. Switching to glass, metal, or ceramic bowls can often alleviate this issue.

If you have tried everything and your pet is still experiencing hair loss or skin issues, it could be beneficial to consult a veterinary dermatologist for further evaluation and testing. Allergy testing might help identify specific triggers and enable you to implement targeted treatments for your furry friend.

In summary, hair loss in pets can have many potential causes, ranging from skin problems and allergies to behavioral factors and environmental irritants. Determining the underlying issue and addressing it through appropriate treatments or modifications can help your pet regain their healthy fur and enjoy a happier life.

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