Cat’s Fur Peeling Away

by Elsie

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

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats
– page 131.

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5 thoughts on “Cat’s Fur Peeling Away”

  1. It seems the last posting on this was about three years ago but I would warn against jumping to any conclusions.. what appears to be an orange and a tabby Maine coon showed up years ago at the house and every year the Tabby colored one peels off it looks horrible the first year we were going to have and take him to be put down … Last Resort but it really look that bad… but it grows back he’s beautiful and then the next spring into summer it happens again

    1. It is your language which paints what must be an incorrect picture. To ‘peel off’ indicates the skin peeling off as hair cannot peel off. So I have no idea what you are describing. It would be great if you could provide some photos. If you mean that chunks of hair are lost through disease, that is another matter. Is the hair falling out or is it being groomed out? OR does your cat suffer from a genetic mutation causing a coat which is abnormal.

      Thanks for sharing Holly in any case.

      1. I’ve also had a stray maine coon that seems to have this issue come around, the skin itself doesn’t seem irritated in the slightest, however ‘peeling’ is just the first word that comes to mind because it’s almost like shorn sheep wool in that it rolls back into the fur further down and knots up

  2. we have a kitten that was abandoned and has been staying on our porch and it has skin and fur looking like it is being eaten this contagious and what is it.???

    1. Hello Robert, I’m afraid I don’t know what condition this kitten is suffering from. I wonder whether you are able to trap the kitten and take her to a veterinarian. I would very much doubt that the condition is contagious and in any case you could wear gloves and other protective clothes. There’s no chance of you catching anything through airborne transmission. It is more likely that the kitten has been attacked and what you’re seeing is a wound but I may be totally incorrect there because I’m guessing. I do hope that you can help the kitten and many thanks for commenting.

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