The correct name for hair loss in alopecia. Is your cat missing hair on the top of his tail? This could be caused by many things, many people suspect fleas, mites, or even ringworm, but the most common cause of hair loss on top of a cats tail is a condition often referred to as “Stud tail”. There are other conditions that could cause this problem too, but let us look at Stud Tail first.
Stud Tail can occur in any mature cat, but is most often seen in tom cats (intact male cats). If the cat is not missing hair from other parts of the body, stud tail should be suspected. Stud tail is correctly called tail gland hyperplasia. In stud tail the cat's hormones cause it to produce more oils through their sebaceous glands. These glands are found on many places of the cat's body, one being the base of the tail. The cat's hair becomes oily, it may even get black heads. Very often the hair at the base of the tail will be greasy and the top of the tail starts to lose hair. The skin may become infected with bacteria, which can look like tiny red dots.
The best way to cure the problem is to neuter the cat, however it can occur in cats that are fixed, or in female cats. Regular bathing can help relieve the symptoms. The cat may require medication to improve any bacterial infections.
Other Causes of Hair loss on a Cat's Tail
Cats with anal gland problems may bite at their tail and pull out their hair. Other symptoms of anal gland problems in cats also include a cat that does not always uses its litter box for feces.
Sometimes worms might cause a cat to itch its tail, this may cause hair loss right at the base of the tail.
A cat with food allergies (usually to corn) may bite at its tail and pull its hair out. This happens more often on the body of the cat than on the tail alone. Cats with food allergies also often vomit up their food.
Fleas can cause hair loss on the tail but they are more often found on the body, and particularly around the head and neck. Fleas can be seen.
Lice can cause hair loss, they can also be seen and will be on the surface of the skin, again the tail is an unusual place for lice to appear.
Mites cause mange, although in cats it is usually ear mites that are a problem, while it is dogs that often experience mite problems elsewhere – a vet can do a skin test to determine if the cat has mites.
Ringworm is another condition that can appear in only one localized area (usually between the toes) and is not a worm, it is a fungus. If your cat is missing hair on the tail and the shape of the hair loss looks round in shape and does not appear to be the result of rubbing, or itching, you might want to have a veterinarian test for ringworm.
One final thing it could be is if you have a cat door for your cat and the cat's tail frequently rubs on the top of the door, this could result in hair removal over time. Domestic cats often walk with their tails erect so when they do not put their tail down it will rub on things. Just observe where your cat goes and what it does to determine if this might be the problem.