Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at [email protected]

    Includes Expert Content
    Cat pulling out her hair
    jhrdlicka posted:
    My two year old, long haired grey cat (approximately 7 pounds) has been pulling out her hair for about three months. This all occurred after getting her three year rabies shot. It was determined that the shot was probably not the cause but it was probably what triggered the pulling. Her skin in fine, not inflamed or red. The vet has ruled out almost everything. We have another cat and he is just fine. It is probably psychogenic alopecia but we have not ruled out hormonal disorders etc. We felt that it was a lot of money to spend when she has every symptoms of psychogenic alopecia.

    We tried a cone for two two week periods, and that did not work. We have been doing environmental enrichment, to no avail. There are absolutely no stressors that we can find or think of causing this. She is perfectly healthy outside of the hair pulling. She is active, happy and acting completely normal. We also have a basset hound, but all three animals love each other and sleep together- I highly doubt that as a stressor.

    We are looking for advice on what to do. We live in the midwest so maybe it is the dry air? We are hoping to hear from someone who has dealt with this before for any suggestions. We understand it could be hormonal or something bigger but without testing we don't know, but as I said before she is acting perfectly fine besides the pulling. The other cat (her brother) is completely healthy as well, ruling out any disorders or diseases that would affect all cats in the household.

    Any help is appreciated!!
    rohvannyn responded:
    Any changes in her food, to speak of?
    jselleck replied to rohvannyn's response:
    I lived in central Indiana for 4 years before moving to Texas. My tuxedo male short hair Bubby used to do the same thing. Except in his case it was licking. He would lick his belly practically nude. I talked to my vet, and he said it was just a result of him living in the local animal shelter for the first 6 months of his live. He never got "hair" balls, it never affected his health in anyway (other than hating every human but me and trying to bite both the vet and a maintenance worker who came to do some work in our apartment.) I would just keep an eye on your poor kitty and if she shows signs of really getting sick or something, then take her to the vet. Bubby acted this way from age 1 to the day he died at 9.
    Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
    There are many, many causes of hair loss in a cat. Pulling her hair out (instead of falling out) is usually associated with itching from diseases such as allergies, parasites, autoimmune diseases, etc. It takes quite a lot of testing (intradermal skin testing, biopsies, etc.) to rule these out so it this hasn't been done, they're still on the list of possibilities. Other diseases, such as fungal infections and hormonal diseases aren't usually itchy. Psychogenic alopecia (pulling hair out for psychologic reasons) does occur, but rarely responds to treatment. These can be tricky cases. If your cat is not improving by now, ask your veterinarian to refer you to a board certified dermatologist or feline specialist for a second opinion.

    Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
    The Cat Doctor
    Board Certified in Feline Practice
    agroth replied to Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP's response:
    My cat, who is 16 years old is loosing the fur on her ears. Its like she is going bald. It does not seem to bother her. Is this a normal sign of aging? Other wise things are good.

    Helpful Tips

    Helping Hospice Patients Keep Their PetsExpert
    Pets are an extremely important part of our lives. And this is especially true when we are at the end of our days. What could be more ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    36 of 48 found this helpful

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    Learn more about the AVMA

    WebMD Special Sections