Over the last few weeks I've noticed a bald patch on my cat's front leg. I wasn't sure what it was. I thought maybe she had been scratched there and the hair fell out while it was healing. The bald patch seems to be growing though and a few days ago I noticed that she's getting a second bald patch in the same place on the other leg. I also noticed that the hair on her belly is quite short and fine compared to the other 2 kitties.
Late Tuesday night I had a thought that shot me straight up out of bed: mange. Remember this tragic pup? He had been abused and neglected by his owners and had very itchy skin with patches of missing fur. I covered the back seat of my car with a blanket when I took him out for a ride. That blanket has been sitting on a rocking chair by the laundry room, waiting for me to get around to washing it. I'm pretty sure the cat was sleeping on it in the afternoons. What if the dog's missing fur wasn't caused by pressure sores and malnutrition? What if it was caused by mange? I immediately threw that blanket in the wash with hot water and lots of bleach. The next morning I called the vet and made an appointment for Monday (the first available).
Yesterday I did a little online research. After reading up on the condition I'm feeling a little better. Typically the mites are so itchy that cats will get secondary infections from constant scratching. I haven't noticed her doing any scratching. The areas are clean and dry with no obvious irritation or infection. I also read that mange usually starts around the ears and head. Her head looks fine and furry; the bald spots are only on her legs and belly. I'm still planning to take her to the vet on Monday but I don't think he'll find any mites.
If it isn't mange then what is causing her to go bald? My mind is running through a list of problems from cancer to mental illness. Maybe she isn't happy as a Bengal. Maybe in her mind she has always felt that she should have been born a Sphynx. If so, who am I to judge her? Maybe I should get out the clippers and help her transformation along. Ha! Hopefully the vet will have an answer for me. She isn't my favorite cat but I'm still attached to her and I don't want to see her suffering.