Cat Dandruff

Find out what causes dry, flaky skin in cats and what to do if your cat has dandruff.

If you find flakes, find out why. Via vladimir_n/Thinkstock

Q:

My indoor cat has a very shiny coat. She is groomed on a regular basis, but I notice that my cat has dandruff on her back toward her tail. Her coat is thick and has no area of dry skin. It clear’s for a while and then returns, becoming very heavy. I feed her a well-balanced cat food.

A:

The lower back and the base of the tail are common areas for dry, flaky skin to develop in some cats. Here are some basic sources of cat dandruff:

  • Overweight cats will often develop greasy, flaky skin in that area simply because they are too overweight and inflexible to groom themselves properly.
  • Occasionally, cats on a restricted fat diet will develop dry, flaky skin.
  • Some parasitic skin disorders, such as Cheyletiella (known as “walking dandruff”), can cause the coat to appear flaky and dry.
  • Cat dandruff can increase during the winter months when the air becomes drier than normal.

If obesity is the problem, put your cat on an appropriate weight-loss program. Have your veterinarian evaluate the skin and coat and make sure there isn’t a parasitic problem.

I’ve had great success treating these cats with a fatty acid supplement rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It may take four to six weeks to see any change, but usually after that the coat looks wonderful and there are minimal flakes.

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Article Categories:
Cats · Health and Care