Shedding season is here!
Cats tend to shed naturally and though it is normal for cats to shed, excessive shedding should be a cause for concern. Shedding relies on many factors, for instance the environment of the cat and whether it spends more time outdoors or indoors. While outdoor cats shed more in the spring months, indoor cats shed all through the year.
Shedding is done by cats to remove the dead hair. This dead hair triggers skin irritation and it should be removed. The dead hair keeps falling even if you do not remove it yourself.This is a big problem for indoor cat owners.
There may be a serious problem as the underlying cause for the shedding which needs to be treated by your vet immediately.
Cat hair loss may be due to the diet of the cat. A diet that lacks in the essential nutrients will reflect in the skin and hair too.
Stressed cats tend to shed more. Stress may be brought on by illness, changes in the environment of the cat, loss or even jealousy. These cats are very irritable and eat less food.
Allergies can also produce excessive cat shedding. Allergies of many types including inhalant allergy, allergy to the sun, certain types of food, medicines like penicillin and sulfonamide and even insect bites or parasites can also cause the cat to shed excessively.
Certain diseases too cause excessive shedding. Hyperthyroidism in cats can also trigger the shedding. This is a condition where there is malfunction of the thyroid gland.
Another disease where this shedding occurs is the feline Cushing syndrome. This is characterized by the presence of acne, seborrhea, excessive thirst and frequent urination in addition to the excessive shedding.
Presence of granulomas can also lead to excessive shedding. You need to find out whether the granuloma is a benign or a malignant one and for this you have to do a biopsy. Granulomas are nodules formed as a result of infection.
Sometimes, the shedding may be due to pregnancy and lactation when a lot of hormonal changes are occurring. Once the lactating duration is over, the shedding will return to its normal amount.
Infections caused by bacteria, fungi and yeast also cause excessive hair loss in cats.
Alopecia is another condition where you can find frequent episodes of cat hair shedding. There is no skin irritation or itching but bald patches appear on the cat.
Cats that are under chemotherapy may also experience excessive hair loss. This condition will resolve once the chemotherapy is over.
Treatment for cat hair loss depends on the cause. Antibiotics can be given for infection, allergy can be treated with antihistamines and a change in diet also helps. You have to brush the cat’s hair at least 2-3 times a week. This will remove all the dead hairs and the grooming will take care of the dirt or feces sticking to the fur of the cat. Once the fur is kept clean the shedding will reduce gradually.