Cats, like humans, can lose hair and become bald in places on their bodies. Cats, like humans, may be unable to regrow their hair due to underlying causes. When a cat loses its hair, the medical term is called alopecia. Alopecia can happen for many reasons.
As a cat parent, you must work with your vet to find out why your cat is losing hair and what possible treatments are available. Your cat’s problem could be simple or more complex.
It takes your vet’s expertise to determine if your cat has any underlying health concerns.
How Long Does It Take For A Cat’s Hair To Grow Back?
All cats differ in how long it takes for the hair to regrow. This also depends on if your cat has a health diagnosis causing it to lose hair.
Typically speaking, if your cat has long hair, it takes four to six months to grow a full length of hair back. If your cat has short hair, it takes a few weeks to at least three months to regrow its hair.
Consider that your cat sheds hair twice a year as the seasons change from cold to hot weather. Some cats shed hair year around.
Why Is My Cat’s Hair Not Growing Back?
After the vet discovers the root cause of why your cat is losing its hair and initiates appropriate treatment, it puts your cat on a fast track to regrowing its hair.
Some illnesses or conditions in cats determine hair growth. However, once a specific treatment is started, it is only a matter of time before you see new hair growth on your cat.
Some cats lose their hair automatically. Other cats may lick their fur constantly, causing the hair to be thin and bald spots to develop.
However, until the underlying cause is treated, the cat cannot regrow its hair. If your cat is treated and you still do not see the regrowth of its hair, you need to speak with your vet as the treatment may need changing.
The following are a few reasons your cat could lose its hair and why its hair is not growing back.
- Shedding Fur
Some cats shed fur twice a year, and other cats seem to shed fur all year round. Both processes are normal and natural. Your cat’s hair may not regrow due to the temperature outside.
Normal hair regrowth after shedding takes two to three weeks if it is not excessively hot.
If your cat lost its hair due to shedding, grooming, or an illness, its hair should grow back.
However, if your cat does not seem to regrow its hair, this could point to a disease that requires treatment. Sometimes the treatment is ineffective, and the vet may have to change treatments.
If you are new cat parents, know that there are some breeds of cats that do not grow hair. These hairless cats are purr-fectly normal.
Your cat may be unable to regrow its hair for the following reasons.
- Hormone Imbalance/Hormone Deficiency
If your cat is not growing hair back after a few months, the problem could be a hormonal deficiency or hormone imbalance.
You need to address this with your vet, who may opt to do blood samples that measure the hormone levels in your cat.
- Ringworm and Parasites
Ringworm is the number one reason your cat may be unable to regrow its hair. You will notice its hair falling out in patches. Ringworm causes your cat to constantly itch.
You will notice more major hair loss on its legs, ears, and face. Because ringworm is a fungal infection, the hair has difficulty regrowing.
- Fleas and Ticks
These parasites cause the cat to lick and scratch excessively. Some cats have an allergy to fleas, making the itching worse and the hair loss more apparent.
Cats, like humans, can be allergic to things in their environment or food brands, dyes, preservatives, additives, grains, and more.
It is challenging to discover what your cat is allergic to, and most times, the vet will treat the symptoms without knowing the cause, the same in humans.
Scabies are caused by mites, which are relatively common in the cat populace. Scabies cause hair loss through shedding; until this is treated, the hair will not grow back.
- Poor Diets
If your cat remains on a poor diet, it will not regrow its hair. If you do not eat a well-balanced diet daily, your hair will become dull and listless. You may start to lose hair. The same is true for a cat.
You need to follow your vet’s recommendations about diet and decide if this is the problem. Work with your vet for the best possible outcome for your kitty.
- Autoimmune Diseases
Cats can contract an autoimmune disease like FIV or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Cats can also develop feline AIDS. Both of these have vaccinations that prevent your cat from contracting these diseases.
If the cat gets these diseases, they weaken the cat’s body. The cat can no longer care for its fur, and its hair becomes patchy.
I have experienced over 35 years of feline rescue, and care and I cannot remember any of our cats losing their hair through a medical condition or excessive licking, except for one cat, Sophia.
As we did, you will need to find out what is causing your cat to lose its hair. In Sophia’s case, we found out it was stress. Depending on the problem, it takes a few weeks to a few years for a cat to regrow its hair.
Sophie’s Hairless Back
We adopted the Twisted Sisters, Isabella, and Sophia, in 2015 from a friend’s daughter. This woman was going to take these adorable cats to the vet to be euthanized because they simply did not want them anymore.
These people had two highly active and costly dogs. Sophia’s problem was stress over the lack of love and attention and the dogs. She lived in the people’s basement (no windows) since she was adopted as a kitten to avoid the dogs. Sophie was in hiding all the time.
Isabella, her sister, would visit Sophie in the basement and look out for her. The dogs did not seem to bother Isabella. We discovered that when no one was looking, Isabella ate the dog’s food.
Cats know how to pay back!
I believe Sophia suffered from a form of PTSD from her previous owners. This adjustment took Sophia a lot of time to overcome due to trust issues.
I was so angry with those people for their attitude, which upset me greatly. The parents were well off and lived in a luxurious home. So, money was not a factor in this decision; they were tired of the sisters being around.
We did not have to think about adopting these cuties. It was a done deal. We knew that Sophia had a habit of licking her hair off from her mid-back to the base of her tail, causing sores.
The vet occasionally gave Sophia solumedrol shots to help the healing process, but she could not have this medication often.
We did not want to give the medications the vet offered her, such as a relaxer, an antidepressant, or a sedative. We substituted lots of love and attention.
We worked hard for Sophia to trust us, and eventually, she started to heal. In Sophia’s case, it took six years for her to regrow the hair on her back! Today she is doing great; her fur looks healthy, clean, and shiny.
Stressful situations that are ongoing for extended periods do bad things to cats and humans.