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.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

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

  1. This “rash” started under her chin. She scratched so badly that 1 night she actually screamed when she scratched. I took her to the vet. Corticoid steroids x 30 days seemed to help but she was given another eo days because she was not healed. Then her back side next to the tail starting losing hair. Took her back after the the 4 wks of steroids. He said it must be fleas. I said, “no fleas. I checked her” he put flea control on her anyway over my objection. Now, her legs, front and back are losing hair. She has bald spots on her legs. Her abdomen is completely bare from licking. No hair. Peach fuzz started to regrow but then she licks some more. Bare again. I placed aloe on her. She licks. I leave her alone, she licks. She is a rescue of 14 years and I thought she adjusted to my home and Jake the cat of 7 yrs. They became friends fast. Never had a “confrontation” since they are both seniors. Jake has no skin problems. I changed her food 3 times. I thought it was the food. I am now feeding her Merrick, no grain..chicken. she does NOT eat wet food. JAKE only eats wet.
    I have been reading on this and a cause could be hypothyroidism. Yet the vet 4 visits declined blood work. I asked. So to hear that psych could be the problem…what to do? I really thought she was happy here. I just rescued her 6 months ago. This is new x 2 months now. I went away x 30 days for x-mas. My girlfriend here said she was fine. Any more info, please ask. I am desparate. P.S. I am a nurse x 35 yrs. I know medical.

  2. My cat has been on antibiotic injection (1st visit to vet), then coryocoid steroids x 30 days X 2. Then the itching and the licking started to the 10th power. She is abdomenal hair. Completely bald spots on her legs, front and back. I have changed her FOOD other cat can’t eat gluten, so she has not eaten gluten. He has no skin or fur problems, but she is getting worse by the day. I was putting aloe on her, but it causes her to lick…I stopped the aloe x 2 weeks, the skin is worse. She started to regrow peach fyzz on her tummy, but the licking has reversed her progress. I am at wit’s end. HELP. Anybody.

    • I am not a vet. Hair loss is due 90% of the time due to overgrooming and often the reason behind overgrooming is stress of some sort. Are you saying that after the antibiotic injection and after the steroids the hair loss became worse because she licked a lot more? That is how I read your comment. If I read your comment correctly then it would seem that the medication has made things worse by which I mean that her skin has become itchy which has compounded the problem. I may have completely missed read this, in which case I apologise. The question is whether the drugs have made things worse and whether she was licking the hair off her skin because of over grooming before she was given this medication.

      • I forgot to add that Sweetie’s litter is not clay. I have been using cedar bedding instead of granules or clay. I tried all natural litter. I am now using Feline Pine..I thought, could be the cedar? Let me know. Aaagh!

  3. Two of my ragdolls have both lost their fur around the base of the tails and backend i treat with strongold flea treatment cannot see any fleas but one started with it first now another is going the same i have 5 altogether

    • Most hair loss is due to overgrooming. Are they overgrooming this area? Is the flea treatment too strong? Is it causing skin irritation?

  4. I also have a Maine coon and he is 15 years old. For the past 2 years now I’ve been fighting with his obsession of licking and pulling out his hair. One shoulder is completely bald and he scratched himself so much it caused two open wounds. I took him to the vet as I thought he might have had “dog mange”. (I thought maybe mange because he also has upper respitory issues). The vet did a skin test and there are no signs of fleas or any mange or any other paracites. Needless to say, its been extremely frustrating. I did find I could use olive oil on the irritated areas to stop his itching so the wounds could heal. The olive oil worked immediately for the itching and the wounds have healed perfectly. However his over grooming has not stopped and he’s loosing hair from his shoulder and his entire underside. So the vet was no help to us. Anyone else have any other suggestions? Thanks all and good luck to everyone else out there going through the same or similar issues

  5. Just repeating this Tammy incase you didn’t see it above ……
    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.

  6. i have a cat for seven year. ihave noticed she is getting bald on her end of her back and front begging of her tail . wondering what cause of her losing hair .. she is indoor cat she never been outside..

    • The first thing I would check is overgrooming. The places you say are easy to reach and convenient places to lick. If she is licking herself there too much she will remove the fur eventually. Just check that she is not grooming herself too much. Are there any signs of illness? If so the cause of hair loss is probably not overgrooming. Is she stressed for whatever reason at all? Stress causes overgooming even small amounts of anxiety. Finally it is always best to see a vet. Thanks for visiting and asking.


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