Cat losing fur...any cat people out there?


Well-Known Member
About month ago, we noticed our outside cat was losing fur. Background: She is a cat that showed up at our house several years ago nearly dead. It was so sad. We brought her to the vet and nourished her back to health. Her legs had atrophied and she can not climb the fence to leave the yard. We think this is sad, but actually more a good thing, since she can't get hit by a car this way. We bring her in now and then...if it is very hot, very cold or for bad rain storms. She seems happy outside though. We feed her daily on the patio. She comes for dinner at night and a snack in the morning.

A month ago, she was losing fur around her tail. We brought her to the vet, which we do infrequently. And I only gave her flea medication May-August, so I had not started it yet. They gave her a cortisone injection, and antibiotic injection and flea medication and told me I needed to give her the flea stuff year round and I agreed. They didn't send me home with any medications.

At first she seemed to be doing a little better, but a week ago I realized it wasn't better and this morning II noticed a little loss of fur on her side. I gave her the flea medication today.

Can cats get any topical tx? Is there anything I can get at the pet store for this? What types of things cause this? Thank you.

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
Nomad, it could be low thyroid function, mange, fights with possums, or even the flea medication. How does her skin appear to you?

I used biopsot on our now deceased outdoor cat, and it caused all her hair to fall out at the site where I placed the biospot. I switched her over to frontline, and she was fine.
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member since 1999
Nomad - One of our cats had this issue several years ago. Poor baby - started losing fur at base of tail and it spread to the back half of her entire body and about halfway up her tail. She was pathetic looking!! Our vet said it was a flea allergy. She looked so pitiful.

We treated house for fleas, treated her for fleas, treated our other 2 cats for fleas as well, and she eventually grew back her fur. I'm thinking vet gave her steroids as well. Took about 6 months for her to look like her old self.

She was the only cat that had this reaction, and it's only happened once. We don't seem to have much of a flea problem around here, but that one year it was bad. We try to keep all our cats inside, but of course she's the one cat who has mastered the art of bolting out the door the second it opens.

I would think topical tx would be tough with a cat, unless you keep her in a cone the whole time. Well, topical in terms of on the actual bare spots. The Frontline flea tx goes in between the shoulder blades and they can't get at it.

Actually, now that I think about it, every couple of years she does get bumps/sores on her skin - doesn't lose fur like that one time, but definitely is more sensitive to fleas than any of our other cats.

Hopefully vet checked your girl for diabetes. We had another cat who had a chronic ear problem and got intermittent steroids for it. Poor baby then developed a whopping case of diabetes, not directly caused by the steroids but definitely made worse by them - a year of insulin shots for him (he was such a sweetie, took it like a champ).


Crazy Cat Lady
I'm thinking flea allergy as well. Once they've got that, ONE flea bite makes all the old flea bites flare up.

Frontline and Advantage both make monthly topicals for cats. I think Revolution does as well, but am not familiar with that one.

I'd take her in to the vet to be sure, as as SLSH said, it could be thyroid, could be adrenal, could be skin infection, or mites,or any number of other things its best to rule out before treating with strong chemicals.


Crazy Cat Lady
Check with Frontline. A couple of years ago, Frontline became ineffective against fleas in the southeast. At that time, they said they were reformulating it, but I don't know if it's been done yet.

I do know that during that time, people were getting better results with (VERIFY NAME) Advantage Plus, which kills fleas and ticks. Be sure to get the feline product.

BioSpot is cheaper, available at regular retail stores, but has a LONG history of adverse reactions and even death, mostly in cats.


Crazy Cat Lady
I have heard repeated reports that Frontline is not very effective anymore. Not familiar with Comfortis. I do know that ten years ago when this started with Frontline in the southeast, they were recommending Advantage.

What I used to do was flea comb immediately after critters came in from outdoors. Admittedly, I didn't live in an area where fleas were a major problem, but serious flea combing seemed to do the trick.


Crazy Cat Lady
Oh, if your critters have fleas? Keep an eye out for tapeworms. You do that by checking for what look like grains of rice around the anus. If fresh, said items might be moving.

Cats and dogs become infected with a specific kind of tapeworm by accidentally ingesting a flea while chewing at themselves.

The wormer, which is specific for tapeworms, is now available without prescription.

I can't remember the name of the OTC wormer, but most online pet pharmacies carry it.

It's a one time dose tablet or liquid.


Please be very careful about using over the counter medications on kitty .. .. .. sometimes they don't interact well with medications that have been administered previously. If you have any questions, perhaps calling the manufacturer of what you'd like to try will yield helpful info

(I am a cat Mom of many years)


pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
Thankfully, no tapeworms yet, although Rozzy would probably benefit from one. She is a plump kitty. Plus she supplements her diet with fresh mole meat which is probably another good source of worms.


Crazy Cat Lady
CTMom, this medication is identical to Droncit which is the RX version of the medication. It became available without prescription about 8 years ago.

I found out about it because my VET at the time recommended that I go to Foster and Smith's outlet store (I used to live in Rhinelander, WI) and pick up the OTC version as it was much cheaper than the Droncit she would use.

That said, I haven't had an issue with fleas/ticks/tapeworms since I had indoor cats.

That's once I got the rescues sorted out. Thomas had every worm and parasite known to veterinary science when I got him, as did Jakey (RIP) who was a rescued feral.

Jakey went out because he refused to use a litter pan. He also hunted and ate his kills, so would get more than one variety of tapeworm.


Well-Known Member
It does sound like it could be fleas, especially if she's an outdoor cat. I use Fiproline, is that available in the US? Mange mite appears as fur loss around the face usually so it's probably not that.


Shooting from the Hip
Back in the days of Weasel and Possum (yes, cats, and yes, nicknames)... Possum got a bad flea infestation, and he ended up with sores all over his lower half and a nearly bald tail with sores. Even after all the fleas were gone... The allergy persisted. He had so many open wounds, and we couldn't make him better (though we tried and tried)... That was what eventually led us to putting him to sleep. He was miserable and we just couldn't make it better. Even the vets (3 of them) were at a loss... He was also old (16), and not doing too well otherwise. I still feel guilty, like maybe I could have done more. Now we have Icicle and Lala... and Icicle, even when she did have fleas, was fine. Lala, though, is licking fur off. No scabs, though, and she is on monthly flea treatment. I wonder if hers might be itchy skin due to dog slobber (since Fido likes to mouth her and lick her).


Crazy Cat Lady
Annie, Lala's problem is most likely "barbering".

This is an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)-like condition in cats, usually caused by stress/anxiety, where the cat licks/pulls hair from areas of perfectly healthy skin.

The most common sites are the belly, the inside/backs of the thighs, the upper forelimbs, and the area around the base of the tail.

If the skin underneath is perfectly normal and healthy looking, barbering is most likely what you are dealing with.

The treatments? Either a tricyclic antidepressant called Clomicalm, or good ol' Prozac. The Prozac can be gotten in generic form from the pharmacy for dirt cheap.

ONLY GET THE TABLETS/CAPSULES. Liquid medications for humans are sweetened with xylitol, which is deadly poisonous to cats and dogs. If you need the liquid prozac, you will have to have it compounded by a veterinary compounding pharmacy.


Crazy Cat Lady
Some cats are just incredibly sensitive to the "vibe" around them.

First of all, Fido is growing up and his behavior (not to mention his size), and smell are changing.

Second of all, there's the situation with Pat, which has to be generating a massive amount of tension in the house.

Another thing I can suggest is to try one of those pheremone diffusers that you plug into the outlets. The one I'm thinking of is made by Feliway.

I've used them for many years when I've got stressed out cats and they do seem to help.

Once the stressor(s) are removed, and possibly with medication, the hair should grow back in normally.

Squeaky was completely bald underneath and down the backs of her thighs when I adopted her. Very stressed out after spending 7 mos in the shelter.

After about 4 mos of sweet talking her, Jakey adopting her, and a course of Prozac(generic 10 mg tablets from Walmart.4 dollars for 30 tabs) her hair grew back in.

When I was staying with friends in Milwaukee and the cats were confined to a small room for 6 weeks, Squeaky again barbered the hair off her belly.

Got to the apartment and this time she quit on her own without requiring medication. Hair's grown back fine and we haven't had a problem since.

I think Squeaky is bit like Lala: very intelligent, easily bored, emotionally sensitive/empathic. These characteristics may be great when it comes to the human who shares his/her life with that cat, but it also makes them vulnerable to neuroses of various kinds.


Shooting from the Hip
LOL - yes, Fido is pretty huge!

I wonder about the thing with Pat, because I do see her snuggled up with him... Icicle won't go NEAR him.