A full coat of fur on a cat is typically a sign that the animal is in good health, but all too often, cat owners find that their beloved pets are undergoing problems with their hair. These problems often stem from a reaction to a grooming product, stressful living conditions, infection or contact with a parasite.
A type of fungal infection, ringworm can potentially spread to other members of a household, including humans, so owners should try to deal with it as soon as possible by taking their pet to see a vet. The most common symptoms include a loss of fur, inflammation of the skin and lesions, which can appear on the ears or paws.
Any cat runs the risk of having its fur become matted. Matted fur is a problem for cats because as patches of clumped fur develop, the skin underneath is adversely affected, potentially leading to balding. Though matted fur is especially a problem for long-haired felines, all cats need their hair brushed on a regular basis and from a young age to prevent the formation of matted fur. Once matted fur develops, hair brushing becomes more stressful for the cat.
Parasites that live on the fur of a cat, fleas are detectable by watching for certain symptoms. These symptoms include thin patches of hair, particularly around the tail area, and red lesions dotted around the skin. Cats with fleas tend to scratch a lot, too. Cats need to be given regular flea treatments to remove these pests. These can be recommended by a vet, though some cats develop allergic reactions to certain treatments, leading to irritations, according to the Medicine Net website.
Cats lick all of the time, but sometimes their reaction to a painful or infected area is to lick at it repeatedly. Over time, this can lead to fur loss, as the cat returns to lick the area again and again. One cause for this can be an allergic reaction to a certain food, while in other situations, the cat may simply be stressed. Stress in cats can be caused by a disruption to the usual routine; for example, its owner may have moved home and the cat may have trouble getting used to her new surroundings. Over-licking due to stress can develop into a long-term habit, and thus vets and owners should try to identify the root cause of the problem and try to rectify it.