Cats can look very strange without their signature fur. If your cat has lost their fur, you may be anxious for it to grow back. No matter the reason for your cat losing its hair, it should grow back in time. 

How long does cat hair take to grow back?

How long it takes your cat’s hair to grow back will depend on many factors. These include why they lost their hair, the length of the hair, and their overall health. 

When to Cut Your Cat’s Hair

There are some situations where cutting your cat’s hair is necessary.

Surgery

If they are going to undergo surgery, your vet will shave the hair around the surgical site before the procedure. 

Matting

Matted fur can also be a problem. This is particularly common with long-haired cats. Similar to human hair, it can get very tangled. Dirt or food can get caught in the fur, making it nearly impossible to remove the knots. In this case, it’s often easier, and potentially more humane, to shave the hair. 

Normally, a cat’s fur will not get this way if they are properly cared for. However, accidents do happen. If your cat gets into glue, for example, there’s no way to remove it without removing the hair. Fly strips are another hazard. Once they are stuck to the hair, they are hard to remove. 

Feral or abandoned cats are more likely to have matted fur. They have no one to help them with grooming. While they are capable of grooming themselves, a feral cat may not have the energy or desire to do so. They may be focused on surviving. 

Grooming

Some cats benefit from having their hair cut as a part of regular grooming. This can prevent long hair from becoming problematic. Cats love to be clean. If you notice that your cat needs to work harder than normal on grooming, stepping in can be a good idea. 

Allergies

Some cats with allergies benefit from a hair cut. If they are allergic to environmental allergens, like dust, short hair prevents it from getting caught in their fur. 

Function of Your Cat’s Coat 

Your cat’s coat does more than make them adorable. It actually has several important functions. You probably know that their fur provides them with insulation in the winter. It helps keep them warm, just as a coat does for you. 

However, it’s also beneficial in the summertime. In addition to trapping heat in the winter, it also helps keep your cat cool in the summer. It insulates your feline from the heat and damaging rays of the sun. 

Your cat’s fur also protects its delicate skin from wind and rain. Surpisingly, it even has a nutritional benefit, helping your kitty to manufacture vitamin D. 

Even hairless cats, like the Sphinx, are not completely hairless. Instead, they have very fine hairs. 

When Will My Cat’s Hair Grow Back?

If your cat has short hair, their coat should grow back within 3 months. If their hair is longer, it can take 4-6 months for it to grow back to its former state. 

How long it takes for it to grow back also depends on how short it was. If the hair is completely shaved, it will take longer to grow back. If it’s shortened to a few inches, it will grow back significantly faster. 

Factors that affect growth 

There are several factors that will affect how quickly your cat’s hair grows back. Age is one important factor. Just like humans, your cat’s hair growth will slow with age. 

Diet and health are essential for hair growth. A poor diet can prevent hair from growing back, and affect the health of the coat. If they have health conditions, their body may not have the resources to devote to hair growth. 

Breed also plays a role. Each breed has its own normal growth rate. If you are unsure if your cat’s hair is growing at a healthy rate, speak to your vet. They can let you know how fast your cat’s fur should grow based on their breed. 

What to Expect as My Cat’s Hair Grows Back

It’s possible that your cat’s hair will look exactly the same once it grows back, but this isn’t always the case. Some cats fur will change as it grows back. This may include a change in the texture of the hair, or slight differences in color. 

How can I make my cat’s hair grow back faster?

If you want your cat’s mane to be restored to it’s former glory, there are some steps you can take. These supportive actions can help your cat’s hair grow back faster. It’s important to note that it still takes time. These are not miracle cures. Instead, they support your cat’s natural growth. 

E-collar or Surgical Suit

If your cat’s hair loss is due to scratching or biting, an e-collar can help. An e-collar prevents your cat from biting themselves, which can cause hair loss. Of course, most cats hate e-collars, and owners tend to see them as a last resort. 

A surgical suit can be a more humane option. The suit protects your cat’s fur from scratching and biting, without restricting sight and movement as an e-collar does. They are designed to be lightweight and breathable, and most cats don’t mind wearing them. 

Diet and Supplements 

Cats are obligatory carnivores. This means that they must have nutrients from meat to survive. If their diet is low in protein, their hair will grow much slower, because protein is required for hair growth. 

Quality is as important as quantity. Cats need high quality protein from animal sources. It should provide lysine and taurine, which your cat’s body can’t produce on its own. 

Vitamins and minerals are also important. Zinc is necessary for hair growth, and low zinc levels can lead to hair loss. Vitamin deficiencies can cause poor coat quality, slow growth, and hair loss. 

Omega 3s are one of the best supplements for your cat’s coat. It is a fatty acid derived from fish. It can improve heart and cardiovascular health, and reduce arthritis and inflammation. 

Of course, it also improves the health of your cat’s coat. The fatty acid helps condition the hair, and it keeps the skin healthy as well. Omega 3’s even improve the health of the hair follicles themselves, which reduces shedding. 

Oils and Creams

There’s a wide range of oils and creams that can help your cat’s hair grow back. Some focus on conditioning your cat’s hair and coat, while others treat allergies or parasitic conditions. Some essential oils, like lavender, can also improve coat quality. 

Check for Allergies

It’s a good idea to check for allergies if your cat’s hair isn’t growing back properly. Allergies can cause your cat to scratch and bite, which results in hair loss. The inflammation caused by allergies also affects hair growth. If allergies are identified, treating them will aid hair growth. 

Why Isn’t My Cat’s Hair Growing Back?

If your cat’s hair isn’t growing back, there are a few potential causes. You’ll need to work with your vet to determine the cause and the treatment plan. However, knowing the causes can help you know what to expect. 

Allergies

Allergies are one of the most common causes of hair loss in cats. This includes food sensitivities, environmental allergies, and flea allergies. Flea infestation can cause hair loss itself. However, when a cat is allergic to fleas, the irritation and itching are magnified. 

Over Grooming

Vets say that overgrooming is the most common hair loss issue in cats. In this case, the problem isn’t lack of hair growth. Instead, the cat grooms so often that the hair is removed before it grows fully. 

Overgrooming can be caused by physical issues, like allergies, or a psychological condition known as ocd. 

Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal imbalances can also cause hair loss. Hyperthyroidism is a common culprit. Hyperthyroidism causes your cat’s metabolism to be too high. Weight loss and appetite changes are common symptoms. Other imbalances can cause an increase in the body’s steroid levels, which can damage the hair follicles. 

Poor Diet or Deficiencies

A poor diet or nutritional deficiencies can also prevent your cat’s hair from growing back. Proper nutrition is essential for hair growth. Deficiencies in protein or fat are the most common causes. 

Low quality proteins or a low fat diet can cause your cat’s hair to stop growing. The body prioritizes its functions. Hair growth is low on the list of functions, so it’s often the first area to show signs of nutritional deficiencies.  

Bacterial or Fungal Infection

Bacterial or fungal infections can cause hair loss. They also prevent the hair from growing back. Ringworm and staph infections are common culprits. Other signs include skin lesions, itching, and frequent licking. 

Pain

Pain can also prevent your cat’s hair from growing. The pain itself isn’t related to hair growth. However, cats will lick the area when in pain.

Have you ever cut or smashed your finger, and put it into your mouth without thinking? It’s an instinctual reaction. Your cat has a similar reaction, licking the area to provide temporary relief. 

When the area is licked frequently, your cat’s tongue actually removes the new hair growth. This makes it seem like the hair isn’t growing. 

Stress or Anxiety

Stress or anxiety is another reason for hair loss or your cat’s hair not growing back. Just like pain, stress or anxiety can cause your cat to lick obsessively. Your cat may choose one or two areas to lick. These areas will lose their hair over time. If your cat keeps licking the area, the hair isn’t allowed to grow back. 

Stress and anxiety can also lower immune function and slow hair growth, because it affects your kitty’s overall health. 

Scars

Scar tissue is not able to grow hair. You may have noticed this with your own body, if you have scars. Scar tissue doesn’t have any hair follicles. The hair follicles are what is responsible for hair growth. It also anchors the hair to the skin. For the hair to grow, there must be a healthy hair follicle. 

Does cat hair grow back after shaving?

Yes, your cat’s hair will grow back after shaving, as long as they are healthy. If they have any of the conditions listed above, the hair will not grow back until the issue is addressed. 

It’s rare for a cat to be unable to grow their hair back once the underlying cause is treated, so you can expect your cat’s coat to make a full recovery. 

Does cat hair grow back the same after fleas?

Generally, yes. Your cat’s hair should grow back after fleas, just as it would after shaving. It can take longer for their hair to grow back, because the skin is often damaged. 

Flea Hair Loss

Fleas cause your cat to itch. This leads to scratching and biting. Over time, this can cause sores on your cat’s skin and hair loss. Once the fleas are removed, the skin can begin to heal. Their fur will eventually grow back. 

Flea hair loss will usually be limited to certain areas where the fleas are most concentrated. This is commonly the back of their body and the tail.  

Flea Medication Hair Loss

Flea medication can also cause hair loss. This typically only occurs at the application site. This is a rare side effect, so it’s more likely the fleas themselves are the culprit. 

Author

I created and currently run Kitty Cat Tips, the website that you can go to when you have questions about your cat's behavior. It's my hope that you find Kitty Cat Tips to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your cat. You can read more about me and my website here.