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Dr. Scarlett
Dr. Scarlett, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4110
Experience:  I am a practicing small animal veterinarian with 18 years experience.
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My cats hair is coming out in clumps and the hair on her rump

Customer Question

My cats hair is coming out in clumps and the hair on her hind-quarters is no longer silky like her head and body. She does not display signs of arthritis, she regularly cleans herself and she is not overweight. She is 13.5 yrs old; is this a sign of aging?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Doctor Jeff replied 6 years ago.

This can be a sign of a number of things including, an inability to groom. This can arise due to obesity, arthritis,etc. Certainly a bad coat in this area can arise from issue like fleas or metabolic disturbances (ie hyperthyroidism). Your vet may have a good moisturuzing spray that can help along with frequent brushing. However, it may be worth a basic blood test to make sure there is no underlying issue that could be slowing the desire to groom (ie kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, etc). I hope this helps and gives you direction.


Dr. Jeff

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Inaccurate answer.
Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 6 years ago.
Can I get a little more information? What does the skin look like where the hair is coming out? Is it smooth, red, scabby, scaly, etc? Is there any dandruff? Do you see her grooming a lot/does she seem itchy? Where on her body is she losing the fur?

Does she go outside? Are there any other changes in her condition--change in appetite, change in drinking, more vomiting? Have you changed her diet?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you so much for your reply and your questions. The area under her fur appears to be normal (not red, scaly or itchy) and I have not seen her react differently (more grooming, itching). As I brush her, there does seem to be more dandruff. Most of the fur is coming out on her hind-quarters/back of her hind legs.


She has limited outdoor visitation and she is always monitored when she is out (she has no claws). She does seem to drink more frequently from her bowl/my glass/the sink and spends more time at her chosen watering hole.


I hope this helps... Thank you!

Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 6 years ago.
A typical cause of hairloss on the back end is a flea allergy. Usually cats with a flea allergy will have scabs on the skin, too, so this may be less likely in your cat's case. But since she goes outside, I would definitely treat her with a good flea preventative, such as Frontline or Advantage, to make sure a flea allergy isn't the problem. (One flea bite is enough to cause problems in an allergic cat, so you don't always see a live flea or flea dirt on the cat).

I would also be concerned about an endocrine disease causing the hairloss. The main ones in cats are diabetes and hyperthyroidism, although Cushing's disease is also possible. All 3 of these diseases can cause excessive drinking and urinating. Generally cats with these 3 diseases will also have very good appetites and, in the case of diabetes and hyperthyroidism, lose weight. I would expect the underlying skin to be normal, so these fit a bit better with your cat's problem. Bloodwork would be the first step in the diagnosis of these diseases; Cushing's disease can be suggestive in regular bloodwork but would require further testing to diagnose. All 3 diseases can be treated (although Cushing's disease is more difficult to treat in cats).

Other allergies can cause hairloss with normal skin underneath. Pollens, molds, house dust, etc can be culprits, as could an ingredient in the diet. If your regular vet thinks it could be an allergy, a steroid injection would be given. Because a steroid injection can increase the chance of developing diabetes, I would do bloodwork first!

Finally, some cats will pull out their fur due to a behavior problem--boredom, stress, etc. This hairloss tends to be symmetrical and the underlying skin is normal. This is hard to diagnose and other problems are ruled out first.

So I recommend taking your cat to your regular vet very soon for some bloodwork and an exam. If there is an underlying problem, the sooner you get it diagnosed and treated, the better off your cat will be!

Hope that helps-
Dr. Scarlett, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4110
Experience: I am a practicing small animal veterinarian with 18 years experience.
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