Reasons why a cat plucks or sheds

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Cats can lose their hair for many reasons, they can also pull it out themselves, after which they will end up banged up or injured. This behavior may be due to stress or illness, but why does a cat pull out its hair? We will try to answer this question in this article.
Cat that loses its hair

Why does a cat pull out hair?

Biologically speaking, there are 4 main reasons for a cat to pull out its hair:

  • Allergic ;
  • Endocrine ;
  • Parasitic;
  • Diseases.

If your cat is bitten by fleas, it will cause an allergic reaction, without necessarily finding traces of fleas. As for parasites, scabies, ringworm and fleas are the first things to look for, and to remedy them, it is imperative to consult a veterinarian. It should be noted that ringworm does not make your cat want to scratch to remove hair, but it is the cause of hair loss. As for the endocrine system, diabetes or hypothyroidism are pathologies that can cause hair loss, so have your cat’s blood tested when you take him to the vet.

What behavior causes your cat to pull out its hair?

So, as we said before, the first reasons we look for are biological, then the behavioral side is studied. We start with the clinical and complementary examinations, these are always the ones that give us the real reason with certainty, however, when it comes to behavior, your veterinarian will base himself on hypotheses by applying long therapeutic methods, it will be likely to be wrong if one of the possible biological causes has been forgotten to be verified. If your cat’s scratching causing hair to be pulled out is not the cause of a pathology, you will have to find the psychosomatic reasons. A cat is a delicate and very sensitive feline, like every small mammal, it is genetically programmed to remain vigilant and apprehensive of danger. This creates anxiety and fear in your pet and it can easily become stressed. Cats are well known for grooming themselves with their tongues, a habit that has been ingrained in them from an early age. If he feels stress, the grooming time can last longer and this will make him pull out hair in certain areas, we call it: licking alopecia. So if your cat is pulling out hair for a behavioral reason, it’s because he’s going through a stressful time and wants to express that through his behavior.

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What are the probable reasons that make a cat stressed?

If your cat feels stressed, his behavior will make him pull out hair, now we will try to understand what causes this stress. This is the most difficult part since the vet has to figure it out on his own, because an animal can’t express himself (it would have made a lot of things easier). Note that this is not an exact science and that each cat reacts and stresses in its own way, but there are recurring reasons that often come up:

  • Your cat’s living space has changed after a move for example;
  • The arrival of a new being (animal or human) in the place where your cat lives;
  • The living space: if your cat lives in a restricted area;
  • His food: indeed, a bad food distribution could make your cat stressed, by fear of missing food;
  • If someone who has bonded with your cat leaves your home, it may affect him or her;
  • The area where your cat relieves itself lacks a litter box or the litter box is dirty.

These are not necessarily the only causes that can stress your cat, we have just listed the most common ones. It is still difficult to determine the cause of the stress, it would be best to seek the help of a specialist in feline behavior, specifically cats for a proper diagnosis.

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