Dear VetBabble: My Cat Scratches and Loses Fur – What’s Going On?
Adoring pet owners like us often express concerns when behavioural changes or unusual symptoms appear in our cats. A commonly asked question is in the line of “My cat scratches a lot, loses fur, has red bumps on their skin, and throws up hairballs quite often. What could be the issue? “
We understand your worry and you’re not alone. These are common issues, often connected, that many cats experience. Let’s explore this in more depth now.
Unusual Hair Loss in Cats
Most cats groom themselves impeccably, and as a result, it’s not unusual to find your cat shedding fur or coughing small hairballs. However, excessive hair loss can be a representation of a deeper problem, such as allergies, nutritional deficiencies or the presence of fleas.
If your cat is scratching or biting itself excessively and shedding more hair than normal, it might be dealing with an unseen pest problem. Fleas can invade a cat’s comfortable life, causing them to scratch or even gnaw at their skin, leading to significant hair loss. We recommend a thorough examination for potential infestations, and providing flea prevention measures if the cat is not currently on any. It’s truly amazing how a single flea can drive a pet into a fit of distress that results in the loss of fur. You can learn more about Hair Loss in Cats here for additional information.
The Cat’s Hairball Situation
Frequent hairball issues in cats are often correlated with excessive grooming or fur loss. When a cat grooms extensively due to fleas or other skin irritants, it can swallow significant amounts of fur – more than they would from typical grooming. This excessive swallowed fur can lead to hairballs which are then often regurgitated.
However, If your cat is frequently throwing up hairballs, it’s a cause for concern. It’s worth noting that hairballs, while common in cats, should not be a frequent occurrence. Regular hairball issues can indicate a variety of problems, such as gastrointestinal issues, particularly in older cats. You may find it useful to read our guide on Hairballs and Cats: What Should I Know? to understand more.
Underlying Allergies and Skin Problems
Just as people can have allergies, cats may also suffer from allergies. These allergies can cause numerous skin problems, including an itchy rash or bumps like you described. If skin issues accompany excessive scratching and fur loss, there could be an underlying allergy, which might be from food, household products, or even the very fleas causing distress.
It’s advisable to visit your vet to determine if your cat has an allergy. If confirmed, steps can be taken to identify the source and provide appropriate treatments. You can learn more from our article, Cat Allergies.
Additionally, skin problems in cats can be due to more than just allergies. A range of causes can lead to skin issues, from bacterial infections to dermatitis, and even certain forms of cancer. For a thorough understanding of skin problems in cats, be sure to check out our comprehensive article on Skin Problems in Cats. Common Causes and Treatment.
In conclusion, regular check-ups and early preventive steps can go a long way in ensuring a happy, healthy life for your pet. Always consult your vet when you notice your cat displaying unusual behaviour or signs of distress.