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Is Cat Dandruff A Serious Problem?

Cat dandruff can be a bothersome disorder, though not often a serious one. It does require medical attention.

May 24, 2018 3 min read
Is Cat Dandruff A Serious Problem?

Cat dandruff is a skin condition characterized by dry, itchy, flaky skin. Common to many cats, dandruff appears like white specks on the skin causing it to be dry and itchy. A lack of omega 3 fatty acids in a feline's diet can lead to this poor state of the skin. Dandruff in cats may also be caused by extreme loss of skin moisture and natural oils.

Cat dandruff is a lot like human dandruff; it is the skin scaling off because it is dry. Though not often a serious disorder, it could also indicate that there is something else wrong with the cat. The thing that cat owners should watch for is their cat scratching too much, because that could further damage the skin and cause open sores which could become infected. This is especially true with outdoor cats, where the environment is far less clean.

Major Causes of Cat Dandruff

  1. Cats may be infected with parasites leading to the flakiness of the skin.
  2. During a hot summer, overexposure to heat may result in the cat’s skin becoming extremely dry.
  3. Obesity is also another factor causing dandruff in cats. The dry, flaky skin is evident in the base of the tail or in the lower back because overweight cats find it hard to reach these areas when they clean their fur.
  4. Another contributing factor to this health condition is the use of cat dandruff shampoo. Cats produce natural oils in their skin which, when bathed too often, is removed, causing the dryness of their skin. If the cat’s fur and skin is not rinsed well, the small amount of shampoo that is left on their skin forms into white specks of dandruff.

How to Get Rid of Cat Dandruff

While most treatments and medications will address the cause of your cat's dandruff, the itching and discomfort will not go away until the dandruff is completely eliminated, which could take some time. In addition to remedies like cat dandruff shampoos, sprays, and creams, there are a few other things you can do to help your kitty find relief: 

  1. Increase the humidity in the house. Dry air will aggravate feline dandruff, and it is also a cause for brittle and dry hair on your cat. While your cat has dandruff, do not use a blow dryer when grooming because the added heat will irritate the skin more.
  2. Do not let your cat out in the heat, for the same reasons stated above. Wait until the late afternoon to let him out, when the sun’s heat has already dissipated.
  3. Keep your cat comfortable with topical applications that will get rid of the itchiness. It will relieve his discomfort and lessen the chance that he will scratch.

These are just a few things to keep in mind while taking care of your cat's dandruff. If the veterinarian has prescribed dandruff medication, make sure that you follow their instructions exactly in order to give your cat the best chance for a speedy recovery. You may also want to ask your veterinarian for something that will help make the cat more comfortable.

Cat dandruff may not be a serious disorder, but that doesn’t mean that it should not be addressed. Every responsible pet owner knows that anything that could cause their pet harm and discomfort has a way of getting worse if not addressed properly.

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