Cat Hair loss due to licking

by Marty
(Laurie Mo . 65037 USA)

My male orange tabby has been licking a couple of spots on his lower back hip area so much that there are two bald spots about the size of the first thumb joint on my hand. He is an indoor only cat and has a female companion. Both are neutered and get along very well. Is this something to be concerned about? Can I treat these bald areas myself and how? Do I need to take him to the veterinarian? I prefer to treat him myself if I can get a product that would cure the problem.


Hi, Marty,

I would love to help you, but without seeing the areas myself and running a flea comb over him and perhaps a ringworm test, I could not know for sure what is going on. The most common cause of hair loss of any kind in cats is allergy and by far the most common allergy is to fleas. You can purchase a cheap flea comb at a pet store and comb repeatedly all over both cats and see if you come up with any live fleas or any flea "dirt" (black specks). Even though your cats are indoors, it is always possible an indoor cat could have acquired fleas.

A fungal infection called ringworm can also be responsive for hair loss when it is just a couple of patches such as you describe. Your veterinarian would need to diagnose that.

It is also possible for a cat to have a sort of obsessive/compulsive psychological licking behavior and create bald patches.

If the skin is not red and irritated, you could probably take the time to purchase a flea comb and if you see any signs of fleas, use Frontline or Advantage on BOTH cats once monthly. Even if you don't find fleas, since flea allergy is the most likely cause of any hair loss in cats, you could try the Frontline or Advantage anyway for a month or two.

For a definite answer, however, I would have to recommend a veterinarian.

Thanks for writing and best wishes,
Dr. Neely

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