Unlike humans, elderly cats don't usually go bald -- lucky for them! However, a variety of health conditions -- including those that are especially prevalent in senior felines -- can sometimes trigger bald spots, so always keep a watchful eye on your little one's coat.
According to the ASPCA, senior cats, just like people, are highly susceptible to the emergence of cognitive difficulties. When cats age, vision and memory problems are very commonplace. Because of the stress of the unpleasant developments, your pet may turn to a nervous behavior such as over-grooming. If your sweet kitty starts obsessively grooming his coat to deal with his overwhelming stress and anxiety, it could lead to some negative consequences -- think conspicuous bald patches, skin lesions and lackluster coat quality in general. Take note of your cat's grooming patterns, especially if he's already experiencing any type of cognitive problem. These factors combined could be contributing to your pet's new bald spots.
The ASPCA states that hyperthyroidism is especially frequent in geriatric kitties. The disorder, which involves too-high levels of thyroid hormones, typically appears in felines past 10 years old. One of the most prominent symptoms of the condition involves frequent shedding. Because older cats are simply more prone to hyperthyroidism, they also are more vulnerable to the shedding problems that cats with the disease tend to experience.
The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine indicates that when cats enter their older years, concern with grooming sometimes loses its status as a major priority. The slapdash -- or sometimes non-existent -- grooming efforts may result in icky fur matting. Look closely at your kitty's coat. He may not be experiencing actual bald spots, but rather light spots due to the emergence of concentrated, tangled patches -- yikes.
Just because a cat is on the older side doesn't necessarily mean that his baldness is in any way related to his age. Felines can experience bald spots and excessive shedding due to a wide variety of reasons, ranging from external parasites and food allergies to dietary allergies and bad reactions to grooming sprays -- phew! Your fluff ball's age may be pure coincidence. To be sure, take your cat to the veterinarian to figure out what the root cause behind his balding issue is, the sooner the better.
- Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Hyperthyroidism in the Cat
- ASPCA: Shedding
- The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: The Special Needs of the Senior Cat
- ASPCA: Hyperthyroidism
- ASPCA: Compulsive Behavior in Cats
- ASPCA: Behavior Problems in Older Cats
- ASPCA: Skin Problems