Categories: hair loss

Cat Losing Hair Around The Eyes

People want to understand why their cat is losing hair around the eyes. Web surfers also want to know why their cat is losing hair above their cat’s eyes, which is significant in my opinion.

There is a patch of fur above the eyes of a domestic cat which is always a bit thin. You can see the skin below quite easily very often. This is exacerbated by the fact that the hair in that area stands on end exposing the skin which is more visible. This adds to the impression that there’s been hair loss and that the hair is thinner

This area appears to become even thinner with age or may become thinner with age. It appears to be an example of the what people go through in older age: hair thinning.

There is nothing in the cat health books which specifically refer to hair loss around the eyes so my initial thought is that there are possibly no health issues associated with this condition. However, I explore some other avenues..

The following possibilities are much less likely than the explanation above

If it is not an age related issue it may be due to over-grooming. It makes cats feel better to groom. If they are stressed for whatever reason they may groom more than usual and groom the area above the eyes with the foreleg. If this excessive it may lead to thinning of the hair.

Other conditions which might lead to over-grooming on the face are allergic reactions (itchiness) to a whole range of possible allergens: airborne, food related, environmental (something in the home) etc.

Another possibility is ringworm. Ringworm is not uncommon and highly contagious. Sometimes there will be scaly patches and irregular hair loss on the face.

Feline scabies causes hair loss on the ears, face, eyelids and neck. This is due to the Notoedres cati mite. There will be itching and scratching. I don’t think this cause of hair loss is one that is connected to the question concerned but it does cause facial hair loss (my thanks to Dee). See feline mange.

My gut feeling is that if the hair loss around the eyes is not age related it will be due to over-grooming for which there are a number of possible causes, the most obvious of which is stress.

For those who want more…there is a good page (link) on hair loss in cats on this website but I can reassure you that even though there are 176 comments none ask questions about hair loss around the eyes.

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • I am not sure of this article is still active or not but I am seeking a second opinion on if I should take my Lucky to the vet. He is losing hair around his eyes. See photo. A couple weeks ago it wasn’t this bad. The hair loss was more above the eyelid on the left eye and has grown back some, but now the inner corner of the eye has lost more hair. Ideas of what is causing this?? I am worried.

    • Hi Randi, I have lightened the image a bit and circled the area of hair loss. I can see why you are a bit worried. My gut feeling is that it is not something serious. If he was my cat, I'd watch and wait a bit longer to see what develops. It may resolve itself and in which case a vet visit would be avoided. But if it gets worse I'd take him to the vet promptly.

      I would watch him too as he may be washing that area too much because it is itchy. The best of luck.

      • Hello! We have the same problem. It started a bit bumpy and we thought it might be conjuctivitis, but now the inflamation is gone yet the baldy patch still there. Could it be ringworm as we can’t get rid of it on her tail? Thank you!

        • If you are referring to the area in the corner of her eye I was going to say it is normal but it looks like it might need to be checked out. Is it the same for the other eye? I don't think it is ringworm. I may be overgrooming. 90% of cases of feline hair loss is due to overgrooming. Is there a reason why your cat might be stressed? I'd watch the area daily and see what happens. If it gets worse go to a vet.

      • Thank you. We did move into a new house and neighborhood in April. I know that it has been stressful on him as the home is new and the street we are on now is much noisier. I was thinking that the the stress may have something to do with it, so I haven't taken him to the vet yet. We are about 3 months of living at the new space. What is the average adjustment period for cats?

        • Good to know. Stress can lead to overgrooming because grooming is pleasant for a cat. Six months should be enough to get used it but it can be up to a year in my opinion. Plenty of play and gentle interaction will help.

  • Hi, this all helps but I want to know if this happens to a Maine Coon kitty what should we do. My son has had him for about four months . We just noticed the bald spots between his ears and eyes. He has had shot for worms because when my son got him he had a bad case of diarrhea and was really thin. So after the deworming shot, about two moths ago he took him again because my son noticed tapeworms so gave him another shot, the vet said that he would be ok. But after the last shot we noticed the bald spots . Should we take him back to the vet?

    • I don't think you need to take him to the vet for the thin hair above the eyes. It depends what the cause is. If it is naturally thinner fur that's okay. It is likely to be that. If you cat looks healthy now and is not over-grooming above the eyes I'd just observe and make a decision later. What do you mean by "bald spots"? Is it completely bald of just thinner hair? If it is the former see a vet if not don't unless there are other indications that there is a health issue. Good luck.

  • Hello. I have2 beautiful domestic short breed jet black 9 month old kittens whom both seen to have hair loss around the eyes one more then the other. They are both very health, and have had their shots and were spayed and neutered. I got midnite & Jasmine from the shelter when they were 6 months. Lately I have been noticing the hair loss more and more. Should I be worried.

    • Hello YVONNE LEE, thank you for visiting and asking. I have improved the image quality of your photograph so that I can see what you're talking about a bit more clearly.

      Based on the fact that your cats are very healthy and from what I see in the photograph, I would say that there is nothing wrong at all. The hair is thinner in that area but in my experience this is normal and in any case the hair stands on end there so the skin is more visible. Also, it should be said that with a black cat there is a higher contrast between the skin and dark fur. This exaggerates the impression that there is hair loss.

      As I stated in the article, the hair above the eyes or between the eyes and the ear is thinner which is what I see here. My conclusion is that there is nothing wrong but please remember that I am not a veterinarian.

  • Pudding is a 2 year old neutered female indoor exotic shorthair. She has hair loss between her eyes and ears. I have two cats and Both exhibit the same symptoms. My other cat is a male 3 year old neutered British shorthair indoor cat. He has been tested for mites and infections etc. All allergy tests have come back negative. He has had a CT scan to assess his ears as well which was normal. Could there be a common cause as both cats are displaying the same hair loss pattern?

    • Update: I have just seen the picture (I do comments off the page and in admin so don't see the large picture). My guess is that this is nothing to worry about. Just thin hair in that place which is not uncommon.

      Perhaps the key to the answer to your question is to ask if there is any sign of illness in your cats. They appear to be healthy. If they are healthy there is nothing to be be immediately concerned about. I have researched this before as you can see and there is no clean answer. The answer may be in your last sentence. Were the cats from the same breeder? I wonder if it is an inherited defect of some sort. It could be due to inbreeding although that is a provocative statement. Sometimes these mysterious illness can be inherited conditions linked to the immune system (as one example). I presume they are not overgrooming their faces. 90% of hair loss in cats is due to overgrooming due itchiness. I'd watch and see but that can be hard to do. It may just be hair loss like going bald. No health issues. Alopecia. Just guessing. Thanks for visiting and asking.

      • Thank you so very much for taking the time to reply. Both cats are from a different breeder. I did notice that it seemed to worsen in both of them during autumn and winter and has improved quite abit, perhaps it's seasonal. They both appear healthy and happy, probably just me being paranoid.

        • It is nice that you are concerned. The picture to me indicates all is well and this 'hair loss' is more to do with a natural thinning. If your cats are well and you'll know whether they are well, then there should be nothing to worry about.

  • I have a stray that had hair around his eyes last fall,but this spring he showed up with hair missing around both both eyes. looks like eyeliner only its white because of the skin?What could this idea how old he is and vet at shelter said nothing about it when he was neutered.

    • Hi Melissa, if this cat was otherwise healthy then I will make a wild guess and say that it could be because the cat is grooming his eyes with his paws too much and rubbing away some of the fur. If that is anywhere near correct then this cat may have a problem with his eyes.

  • Mitzy has a little of that, but the skin itself isn't showing anything unusual that I can see. I will look closer with my magnifying glasses, which I've used to look in her ears.

    They are made for looking at watches and jewelry close up, but I find them very useful for all kinds of other things that I want to see close up.

  • I agree that hair loss, especially above the eyes, is possibly ringworm which is easily treated.
    Facial hair loss with a "dusty" appearance is usually scabies in my experience and easily treated also with Ivermectin.

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