If your cat has a bald ring under the collar, it can be a pretty alarming sight. Fortunately, this is often not a worrying condition and, in most cases, with proper treatment, hair will grow back. We contacted two vets to find out more about why cats lose hair under their collars and what to do about it.
Why is my cat’s collar leaving a bald spot?
“The collar may be too tight,” Maureen Kanana Murithi, DVM, a veterinary spokeswoman for Hepper, told POPSUGAR. “Every time the cat turns, the collar rubs against the skin, causing friction and stretching it.”
All of that rubbing can break your cat’s hair at the skin level. “In more severe or long-term cases, it can affect the hair follicles’ ability to grow hair,” said Jennifer Coates, DVM, a Colorado-based veterinary writer, editor and consultant.
Much less often, cats can lose hair under a collar due to an allergic or inflammatory reaction, said Dr. Coates. In these cases, the skin often looks irritated or has visible lesions. “Hair loss that starts under the collar but then spreads should always be checked by a veterinarian, as the collar itself may not be to blame,” she told POPSUGAR.
Is hair loss under the collar harmful to my cat?
“As long as the skin looks normal, the bald patches aren’t spreading, and the cat isn’t itching or in pain, hair loss under a collar is only a cosmetic problem,” said Dr. Coates. However, in rare cases, prolonged skin trauma can lead to follicular cysts that may need to be surgically removed, she added.
How can I fix or prevent a bald spot under my cat’s collar?
Going bald under the collar can be prevented by making sure the collar fits snugly, said Dr. Murithi. “The space between the collar and the cat’s neck should let at least one finger through,” she explained.
If you want to prevent your cat from losing hair under the collar and growing it back, Dr. Coates suggested loosening the collar or switching to a different type. She also noted that removing the collar completely until hair grows back can be an option for cats that only live indoors. In most cases, your cat will be back to normal in no time.