How to Recognize And Treat Cat Dandruff

Oct 11, 2021 | Pet Health, Pets

Happy Monday everyone!  How to Recognize and Treat Cat Dandruff.  Years ago, my parents started feeding a stray cat that made her home under their shrubs where she had her kittens.  We named her Boo Boo Kitty and she is one of the most amazing cats.  She is still around and well taken care of but her  long fur tends to get tangled quite a bit.  This got me thinking about her skin.  All animals shed dead skin cells but when does it become a problem?  How do we distinguish cat dandruff from pet dander?  With a little help from Martha, here is what to look for and how to help your pet.  See the last paragraph for more resources and blog posts related to cats.

“Dandruff is a visible flaking of skin which often results from irritated or very dry skin,” explains Carl Winch, DVM at Banfield Pet Hospital. “It is relatively common and is often in response to the skin glands overproducing their oils. Generally, small amounts of dandruff aren’t worrisome, but it can become a very irritating problem for a cat if left untreated.”

“Dander occurs from the normal, healthy dead skin that your cat sheds and should not cause your cat to be itchy or uncomfortable,” explains Dr. Chad Dodd, veterinarian for YuMOVE. “Conversely, dandruff is an abnormal shedding of dead skin cells which, unlike dander, is accompanied by signs of extremely dry, irritated skin or, at times, very oily and itchy skin which could be an indicator of an underlying health problem.”
Know the Signs of Cat Dandruff 

Most cats experience a dandruff problem at some point in their life.
Cat dandruff is fairly common and can often go unnoticed in light-colored cats.
If you observe that your cat is shedding more than usual, and you notice white flakes on your cat or on their bedding materials, it could be a sign of dandruff.

Determine the Cause 

There are several potential causes of dandruff in cats, including obesity, food allergies or nutritional deficiencies, climate or environmental changes, metabolic issues, or even an underlying skin condition, like seborrhea or ringworm.
Overweight cats are more susceptible to dandruff due to decreased mobility, so it’s important to help your cat maintain a healthy weight by feeding your pet a balanced diet, with constant access to fresh water.
It’s also important to partner with your veterinarian who can diagnose and create a treatment plan appropriate for your pet.
Binky bathing a cat |
Don’t Bathe Your Cat Unless Otherwise Instructed 

While the promises of dandruff-fighting pet shampoos might be enticing, don’t forget that cats rarely enjoy being in water.  See my post on How To Bathe A Cat
Cats self groom themselves. This grooming keeps their skin and coat healthy by stimulating healthy coat oil development from the skin and subsequently distributing these oils throughout the coat.”

Brush Your Cat Regularly 
For cats that are a bit older, that may be arthritic and have difficulty grooming or those with long coats that need a bit of help, regular brushing by an owner can help mimic the same behaviors a cat does while grooming,
Glove type ‘brushes’ can help distribute some of the oils as well as remove loose hair.

Avoid Messy Topical Treatments Unless Prescribed 

Spreading coconut oil or lotions in your cat’s coat is not recommended.
Most of these products will just get trapped in the coat, causing a greasy mess and not do much for the skin. Your cat is likely to ingest most topical products through grooming which could make them sick.

I love hearing from all of you and do my best to respond to each and every one of you.  I always enjoy your comments, feedback, and suggestions so keep them coming!  If I’ve posted a recipe (for our human and our furry friends) and you try it, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @twoadorablelabs and use #twoadorablelabs​.

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  1. Carla D Evans

    Good info but I just have to say that those are some of the most beautiful precious cats I have ever seen ????❤

    • Bobbi

      Thank you! Yes they are 🙂


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