My neighbor has a long haired cat whose fur peels away, like a pelt. What causes this? It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen….Elsie
Answer: this sounds horrendous and would indicate a serious condition and health problem. However you write about it as if it is not or that it is more a curiosity than an urgent problem. That is not to criticise you by the way but a way of trying to decide what is going on.
It would seem that this cat does not show signs of serious illness otherwise I would have thought you would have referred to other symptoms etc.
This can’t be a case of ordinary hair loss through seasonal shedding so I have to conclude that it is a disease with hair loss.
Some diseases cause hair thinning. This is not hair thinning. I’ll refer to a disease that might cause the kind of hair loss described but a visit to the vet is surely desirable, isn’t it?
Hyperthyroidism, which is excess production on the hormone, thyroid, can lead to the situation in which the hair pulls out easily. This can occur in about one third of cats with this condition. This would seem to be the problem. Read more about hyperthyroidism.
Another condition that causes “symmetrical hair loss over trunk and body” is Cushing’s disease. The hair can also become thin. The underlying skin becomes darkened. The latter symptom might differentiate it from hyperthyroidism.
Please consult a vet asap.
Resources: Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, Fully Revised and Updated – page 131.