If your cat has a bald ring underneath their collar, it can be quite an alarming sight. Fortunately, it's often not a worrisome condition, and in most cases, the hair will grow back with proper treatment. We reached out to two veterinarians to learn more about why cats lose hair under their collars and what to do about it.
Why Does My Cat's Collar Leave a Bald Spot?
"The collar could be too tight," Maureen Kanana Murithi, DVM, a veterinary spokesperson for Hepper, told POPSUGAR. "Every time the cat turns, the collar rubs against the skin, causing friction and stretching it out."
All that rubbing can break off your cat's hairs at the skin level. "In more severe or longstanding cases, it can damage the ability of hair follicles to grow hair," said Jennifer Coates, DVM, a Colorado-based veterinary writer, editor, and consultant.
Much less frequently, cats may lose hair under a collar due to an allergic or inflammatory response, Dr. Coates said. 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 evaluated by a veterinarian since 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 areas aren't spreading, and the cat isn't itchy or in pain, hair loss under a collar is only a cosmetic issue," Dr. Coates said. In rare cases, however, prolonged skin trauma can lead to follicular cysts, which may need to be surgically removed, she added.
How Can I Fix or Prevent a Bald Spot Under My Cat's Collar?
Balding under the collar can be prevented by making sure the collar is well-fitted, Dr. Murithi said. "The space between the collar and the cat's neck should allow at least one's finger to pass through," she explained.
If you want to stop your cat from losing hair under their collar and allow it to grow back in, Dr. Coates suggested loosening the collar or switching to a different type. She also noted that removing the collar entirely until the hair grows back in may be an option for indoor-only cats. In most cases, your cat will be back to normal in no time.