My Cat Has Hair Loss at End of Back and Beginning of Tail

by Pat Fretschel
(Reedsburg, WI USA)

I have a 3 yr. old Maine Coon female cat. I have noticed that she has lost the hair at the middle of her back down onto the beginning of her tail. She has been eating dry Meow Mix with hairball control since I got her at 6 months old.

She is strictly an indoor cat but every once in awhile my daughter will bring her dog over. Could it be fleas? Also could it be stress? Could it be her food? She does constantly groom herself. She does not seem to be in any distress and there is very fine baby hair where she has lost the hair. Her skin is not flaky so, I don’t think it is dry skin. Could you possibly help me?

Thank you – Pat

My Cat Has Hair Loss at End of Back and Beginning of Tail to Cat Health Problems

Note from Michael (Admin): please read the comments for a response to the author’s post. They might prove useful. Thanks.

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My Cat Has Hair Loss at End of Back and Beginning of Tail

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Oct 27, 2010 btw
by: Rachel

Your situation is also like mine I feed my cats meowmix too and I had thought it was fleas but I took mine to the vets and said it was stress. Maybe everyones comments would apply if your cat had fleas but sometimes peoples pets even maybe yours don’t have them. You can look it up on the internet “why’s my cat pulling her hair out?” and see what pops up. :]

Oct 27, 2010 Hair loss
by: Rachel :]

If your cat is pulling out his own hair which= the baldess then it’s stress. My cat is 3 years old and is attached to me and my brother but once he moved out then the biting started to happen and honestly it looked freaky and if I wanted a hairless cat Id have gotten a minx LOL they hair pulling will go away and come back whenever they feel stressed out. It’s just a behavioral problem sorta like OCD but for cats. I hope this helped or you found out what was the cause.

Dec 14, 2009 Not sure
by: Michael

Although I don’t think it applies here, sometimes ringworm can cause over grooming in specific areas because it itches at the spots where it is present.

Charlie my three legged cat had ringworm at the base of the tail and base of the spine due to this.

I applied a human remedy (thrush cream – thrush is also caused by a fungus as is cat ringworm, which is the same as human ringworm) at it cleared up pretty quickly – in about three weeks.

Oct 26, 2009 Itchy Bigfoot
by: Dorothy

My new big boy, Bigfoot came to me with ‘issues’. I think he is Maine Coon mix. One recently started and annoying problem is constant scratching, causing scabs similar to what you are talking about. His tail too seems thin at the top of the tail. It could be his coloring, but I’m watching him closely. He’s now an inside cat, and could be feeling some stress as he hasn’t really accepted Daisy the 85 lb. mix dog as part of his family. Just me. So he is somewhat limited as to how far he can travel in the house. He seems to know when Daisy is on a walk, as he comes out and explores. He actually appears to be very happy.

After thinking about it for a while, I realized that the scratching started about a week after I changed his dry food at the vet’s recommendation. I looked carefully at the label and saw the second highest quantity ingredient is Corn Gluten Meal. I read up all I could about cat allergies, including this wonderful website, and decided to find something that didn’t have wheat or corn in it. I found one, and he’s been on it now for one week, and I swear his skin is getting better. I’ll wait another week or two to form an opinion about it, as I’m so hoping it will work. I hope I’ve cured him. I’ll post the results here.

Good luck with finding your cure.


Oct 26, 2009 hair loss
by: Ruth aka Kattaddorra

Good advice from Micheal. There is another complaint which causes hair loss there, it can happen that the cat’s anal glands get blocked,these are little scent glands just inside the cats bottom.If this happens, the glands irritate and because cats can’t reach them, they lick and nibble at the lower back, top of the tail, causing hair loss and sometimes soreness. If it is this the vet simply empties the glands and gives the cat an antibiotic to clear any infection.That usually puts it right.

Oct 26, 2009 Post Script
by: Michael (PoC Admin)

A bit more:

As I said most other hair loss causes result in skin symptoms which is not the case here it seems. I favour over grooming due to stress. This may be exacerbated being a full-time indoor cat. I am not advocating letting your cat out but some form of supervised or protected outdoor activity might assist (on a leash or an enclosure).

One last possibility is allergic dermatitis. The most common cause is the flea bite.

Oct 26, 2009 Hi Pat – Hair Loss
by: Michael (PoC Admin)

I’ll start ball rolling. I’ll base my comments on my own experience and knowledge plus the reference material on this page:

Medical References and Methods

My initial thought without reference to anything is fleas. Why? Because fleas cause irritation and that leads to grooming. Over-grooming is the most common cause of hair loss and importantly the areas you mention, particularly the base of the tail are were fleas like to reside (and around the neck).

Fleas can be checked easily by combing with a flea comb. The fleas get scooped up with the flea feces and flea eggs. If it is fleas I would use combs and drops (Frontline) to control them but not sprays etc.

Secondly here are some pages of cat hair loss:

Cat Hair Loss

Feline Allergies (new window)

Feline Alopecia

As your cat grooms a lot it may be due to itchy skin but the skin is not flaky – looks normal). Itchy skin in this instance can be caused by fleas as mentioned. The other causes don’t seem to fit these symptoms (book 1 of Medical References and Methods

Book 1 says that food allergies results is severe itching over the head, neck and back. It can be accompanied by hair loss and there may be sores from scratching. You don’t mention itching on the head etc. A change of food would probably be a check on this.

Other hair loss caused also show other symptoms to hair loss and you say there are none that are apparent.

Another possibility is Psychogenic Alopecia. This is the thinning of hair in a band down the back caused by compulsive self grooming, a behavior disorder. This is one that to me seems the more likely cause.

Restrictions on a cat’s natural drives such as hunting etc. can cause stresses causing energy displacement activities such as self grooming. If a cat is highly strung it is more likely to show. Nearly all cases are with Abyssinians, Siamese, Burmese & Himalayans but it could happen to a Maine Coon. A major sign of compulsive self grooming is a thinning of hair in a stripe down the back.

The cure is to modify the cat’s routine including introducing a more active lifestyle and reducing stress factors if they are apparent.

Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

16 thoughts on “My Cat Has Hair Loss at End of Back and Beginning of Tail”

  1. My cat Ethel had this happen. I took her to her vet and they gave her medication but couldn’t tell me what was wrong.So I took her to the vet we use for our dogs and he told me she had a parasite gave her some medication that he put on her back like flea medication changed her flea medication because advantage and others don’t work as well. She is growing hair back and putting on weight. I am one happy cat mom!!!!

  2. I Have a Maine coon cat that is a little over a year old. She is losing hair from her rear, all the way to the middle of her tail. She has several scabs on her body from itching. I’ve tried several different medications, which none have worked. She does not have fleas. Does anyone know how to help??

    • I will have to presume that the hair loss is not due to overgrooming of the tail. But please confirm that. As a very wild guess, this could be some sort of chemical on her rear tail which has caused hair loss or a dermatitis of some sort. If it is just localised to the tail I’m going to suggest that something has adhered to the tail. I would look around for substances which the tail might have dipped into or brushed or more likely sat on. Is there something on the ground or the floor which might do this? Please check.

      Check your home and the area around your home for example in garages or sheds et cetera to see whether there is anything nasty by way of chemicals which might cause this hair loss. Have you treated the carpet with some sort of chemical? Have you cleaned the floor with some sort of cleaner which has a strong chemical in it? She may be sitting on something which is causing this dermatitic reaction.

      Good luck. I would definitely see a veterinarian if my very wild guess does not bring a result.


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