Cat Pulling Hair Out

icon May 24, 2024

Cats are often seen as the epitome of grace and self-sufficiency, but even the most fastidious feline can encounter health issues that perplex their owners. One particularly concerning behavior is a cat pulling her hair out. This act, known as feline alopecia, can be distressing for both the cat and the owner. Understanding the reasons behind this behavior and exploring effective home remedies can help in addressing the issue and restoring your cat’s well-being.

Why Is My Cat Pulling Her Hair Out?

Feline alopecia, or the loss of hair in cats, can stem from a variety of causes. Here are the primary reasons why your cat might be engaging in this behavior:

1. Medical Causes

a. Parasites

Fleas, mites, and lice are common culprits. Flea allergy dermatitis is a particularly common issue where a cat is allergic to flea saliva, causing intense itching and hair loss.

b. Allergies

Cats can suffer from food allergies, environmental allergies (such as pollen, dust mites, or mold), and contact allergies (to certain fabrics or cleaning products). These allergies often manifest as itchy skin, leading to excessive grooming and hair loss.

c. Infections

Fungal infections like ringworm, bacterial infections, and yeast infections can cause skin irritation, prompting a cat to pull out her hair.

d. Pain or Discomfort

Underlying pain, particularly in the joints or muscles, can lead a cat to over-groom the affected area as a form of self-soothing. Conditions such as arthritis or even hidden injuries might be the cause.

2. Behavioral Causes

a. Stress and Anxiety

Cats are sensitive creatures, and changes in their environment can trigger stress. Moving to a new home, introducing a new pet or family member, or even changing the furniture layout can cause anxiety. Stress often manifests through over-grooming as a coping mechanism.

b. Boredom

A lack of stimulation can lead to boredom, and cats may resort to grooming themselves excessively as a way to pass the time. This is often seen in indoor cats that do not have enough physical or mental activities.

3. Hormonal Imbalances

Conditions such as hyperthyroidism or hormonal imbalances caused by spaying or neutering can lead to skin issues and hair loss.

4. Genetic Predisposition

Some breeds are more prone to skin conditions and over-grooming. For example, Siamese cats and other Oriental breeds have a higher tendency to develop psychogenic alopecia, a condition where hair loss occurs due to psychological factors.

Diagnosing the Cause

Before implementing any home remedies, it’s crucial to identify the underlying cause of the hair pulling. Here’s a step-by-step approach to diagnosing the issue:

1. Consult a Veterinarian

A vet visit is the first step. The veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination, review the cat’s medical history, and may perform diagnostic tests such as skin scrapings, blood tests, or allergy tests.

2. Observe Behavioral Patterns

Keep a detailed log of when the hair pulling occurs. Note any changes in the cat’s environment or routine that might have coincided with the onset of the behavior.

3. Assess Diet and Lifestyle

Evaluate your cat’s diet for potential allergens and ensure she has a balanced, nutritious diet. Also, consider her daily routine and whether she has enough stimulation and opportunities for physical activity.

Home Remedies for Cat Pulling Hair Out

Once the underlying cause has been identified and medical conditions have been ruled out or treated, several home remedies can help manage and alleviate the issue.

1. Addressing Parasites

a. Regular Flea Control

Implement a regular flea control regimen using products recommended by your vet. Flea collars, topical treatments, and oral medications can be effective.

b. Environmental Control

Clean and vacuum your home regularly to remove flea eggs and larvae. Wash your cat’s bedding and other fabrics she frequently contacts.

2. Managing Allergies

a. Dietary Changes

If a food allergy is suspected, try a hypoallergenic diet or an elimination diet under the guidance of your vet. Gradually introduce different proteins and grains to identify the allergen.

b. Environmental Allergies

Use air purifiers to reduce airborne allergens. Regularly clean your home to minimize dust and mold. Consider using unscented and hypoallergenic cleaning products.

c. Topical Treatments

Oatmeal baths and hypoallergenic shampoos can soothe itchy skin. Aloe vera gel or coconut oil can also be applied to affected areas to provide relief.

3. Stress Reduction

a. Create a Safe Space

Provide a quiet, comfortable space for your cat to retreat to. Use cat trees, beds, and hiding spots to create a sense of security.

b. Use Calming Aids

Pheromone diffusers, such as Feliway, can help reduce anxiety. Herbal remedies like valerian root or chamomile can also have a calming effect.

c. Interactive Play

Engage your cat in regular play sessions using toys that mimic prey. This not only provides physical exercise but also mental stimulation.

4. Increasing Stimulation

a. Environmental Enrichment

Introduce scratching posts, climbing structures, and puzzle feeders to keep your cat entertained. Rotate toys to maintain interest.

b. Outdoor Time

If safe, consider supervised outdoor time in a secure area or on a leash. Alternatively, set up a window perch to give your cat a view of the outdoors.

5. Behavioral Training

a. Positive Reinforcement

Use treats and praise to encourage desirable behaviors. Reward your cat for playing with toys instead of grooming excessively.

b. Distraction Techniques

If you notice your cat starting to over-groom, distract her with a toy or a treat. Gradually, this can help reduce the habit.

6. Topical and Dietary Supplements

a. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Supplements like fish oil can improve skin health and reduce inflammation. Consult your vet for appropriate dosages.

b. Probiotics

A healthy gut can positively impact overall health, including skin conditions. Probiotic supplements can aid in maintaining a balanced digestive system.

7. Regular Grooming

a. Brushing

Regular brushing can help reduce hairballs and distribute natural oils, keeping the skin and coat healthy. Use a brush suited to your cat’s coat type.

b. Bathing

Occasional baths with a gentle, cat-specific shampoo can help remove allergens and soothe the skin.

Monitoring and Follow-Up

It’s important to monitor your cat’s progress and make adjustments to the home remedies as needed. Keep a close eye on any changes in her behavior or skin condition. Regular follow-up visits to the veterinarian can ensure that the treatment plan remains effective and any new issues are promptly addressed.

1. Tracking Improvements

Maintain a journal documenting your cat’s behavior, any treatments applied, and noticeable improvements. This can help identify what works best for your cat.

2. Adapting to Changes

Cats can develop new sensitivities or stressors over time. Be prepared to adapt your approach and try different remedies if necessary.

3. Preventive Care

Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and a stimulating environment are key to preventing future occurrences of hair pulling.


Feline alopecia can be a multifaceted issue with medical, behavioral, and environmental components. By understanding the root causes and implementing targeted home remedies, you can help your cat regain her healthy coat and overall well-being. Remember, patience and persistence are essential, as finding the right solution may take time. Your feline friend depends on you for care and comfort, and with the right approach, you can ensure she leads a happy, healthy life free from the discomfort of hair-pulling.

Leave A Comment
All comments are moderated before being published.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Join The Puainta

Become one of pet parents and get professional tips, immediate product info, updated promotions and discounts, and more surprises from us!