It is natural for many cats to have a thinner patch of hair between their eyes and the base of their ears. Just as hair growth changes for humans with age, a cat’s coat also thins when they mature. While it’s normal for most felines to shed, the area above the eyes appears to lose hair more frequently than in other places. Aging is a factor, but there are also crucial medical reasons why your cat gets bald spots above their eyes. Some of them are isolated, while others result from systemic issues. Read more to find out about the symptoms of these problems and what to do in case they occur.
Are Bald Spots Natural?
The amount of hair on a cat’s head varies, as do many other physical qualities and attributes. This will depend on various characteristics, including breed, age, health status, etc. Not all of the causes for their appearance can be classified, as some cats simply have a certain appearance which does not necessarily indicate a problem.
Seasonal changes also affect the coat in many animals. All cats go through a shedding season in the spring when their thick winter coat begins to melt. As a result, the patch of fur above their eyes may be considerably thinner. When the winter coat grows back in, it will be less obvious.
Aside from seasonal changes, this abnormal alopecia in cats occurs due to several reasons, such as:
- Contact or atopic dermatitis
- Ringworm (Dermatophytosis)
- Solar dermatitis
One reason a cat develops bald spots above its eyes is external parasites. When an external parasite such as a flea or mite embeds on the skin of a cat, they start to bite and cause itchiness. They will then repeatedly scratch this area and could cause the hair to fall out in patches.
Larger parasites, such as lice and ticks, may be seen by the naked eye, while others are small and microscopic. The only way parasites are discovered is when your cat starts to scratch itself raw in the area the parasites are located or if we see the cat’s hair start to fall out. It is important to visit the veterinarian to confirm if your cat has parasites and determine their type.
The treatment consists of using antiparasitic products such as pipettes or sprays. These will be used to deworm the cat and help prevent further infestations. The area where your cat stays, including their bed and toys, will need to be cleaned to ensure there are no remaining parasites in their environment. Regular deworming can prevent a future parasite infestation. If you have other cats in the house, have them checked for parasites as well to ensure all your pets stay healthy.
Ringworm, also known as dermatophytosis, is one of the most common causes of bald patches above a cat’s eyes. It might sound like another type of parasite, but is actually a fungal infection. The dermatophyte Microsporum canis is the most common fungus that causes infection in cats.
Infections like this are more frequent in kittens and long-haired cats. These fungi cause lesions on the skin, causing the hair around them to fall out. This can result in bald spots above their eyes that have a circular shape and scaly texture. Ringworm most commonly affects the upper eyelids, ears, face, and legs. Symptoms of a Ringworm infection include skin inflammation, peeling, and scabs, but itching is not always present.
Since this is a contagious and infectious condition, treatment should involve considerable home cleanliness as well as oral antifungal treatment, such as itraconazole for cats. Your veterinarian will also prescribe topical treatments, such as shampoos and ointments. Fungal infections have a nasty habit of recurring so keep an eye out for the symptoms even after treatment.
Cats have slightly finer hair in the upper area of their eyes than the rest of their fur. This fineness appears between the ages of 14 and 20 months in cats who are susceptible to it. It is especially noticeable in elderly age, when they appear to have bald areas over the eyes. These bald spots are more visible in dark-colored and black cats due to the contrast with their skin.
If your senior cat has bald patches above their eyes and has no visible symptoms of any of the above conditions, it is most likely related to normal aging in cats. In this case, the only thing you can do is provide your cat with the best possible quality of life while keeping an eye out for any signs of disease.
Stress-related bald spots in cats are more common than you think. Cats are very sensitive to stress from a variety of sources. These include moving, new family members, changes in routine, loud noises, travel, carrier illness, and so on. All of these changes may cause your cat to become more frightened than usual. Just like dogs, cats also groom as a way to self-soothe and may do it excessively to themselves or other cats when under stress. This is called Psychogenic Alopecia and hair loss is noticeable in the affected areas.
Stress-related scratching is also common so visit your veterinarian to be sure it’s not due to a medical concern. Since the head is easily accessible, bald spots frequently appear above the eyes and between the ears due to scratching.
To treat stress in cats, you will first have to determine the reason for it. It is unlikely that the reason will always be obvious, so observe your cat carefully to determine what triggers excessive grooming/scratching. Your veterinarian can recommend an animal behaviorist to treat these issues.
The sun’s UV radiation can potentially harm our kitties. This light radiation can cause burns and scabs in the affected area, as well as hair loss. Since the area above a cat’s head may already have less hair, it is more prone to sun damage. Redness and swelling are two other signs. Cats with thinner coats are particularly vulnerable.
The easiest strategy to prevent solar dermatitis in cats is to keep them out of the sun. The increased UV radiation, particularly during the summer months, present a major health risk. Sunscreen is suggested for cats, especially those that have access to the outdoors. If your cat has already been burned, you should treat the wound with hydrating and calming products.
Will Hair Grow Back?
Hair will come back in most cases of feline hair loss if the underlying cause is treated effectively. Some cats who lose their hair as a result of sickness may be more prone to future bouts of baldness depending on the cause.
Bald patches can be an early indication for many cat owners that their cat’s health requires attention, especially if they have thyroid issues or are sensitive to stress. If you see unusual baldness or hair loss on your cat, you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Cats get bald patches above the eyes for a variety of reasons, but it isn’t always a worrying sign. If your cat develops bald spots, look out for other symptoms and confirm with your veterinarian. Unusual changes often indicate an underlying health issue, so seek help as soon as possible.