My Cat Has Dandruff: What Should I Do?

Cats can suffer from all sorts of minor illness, ailments, and conditions. While some of these care cause for concern and require treatment, there are others that are purely a minor problem that you shouldn’t worry about too much. One problem that many cats will encounter during their lives is cat dandruff. If you have noticed that your cat has dandruff, you have probably wondered what is causing it, whether it needs treatment or not, and if you should be concerned. Here is the low-down on cat dandruff.

What is Cat Dandruff?

The official name for cat dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis. It is simply dead skin cells that gather on the skin of the cat and then become loose in its coat. It is particularly noticeable on cats with darker colored coats as the cat dandruff is usually white or very pale in color.

Is it Common?

Cat dandruff is extremely common and most cats are likely to have it at some point in their lives. It is most common on the back of a cat, especially close to the tail. Cats who have dandruff often also have a greasy coat.

What Causes Cat Dandruff?

In most cases, dandruff is not a sign of a disease. However, there are some examples of health conditions that can cause cat dandruff. One problem that can lead to cat dandruff is a parasitic infection. A particularly common one of these is called Demodex. Another common cause of dandruff is a fungal infection, such as ringworm. Dandruff is also a common symptom of some glandular disorders, such as hyperthyroidism. A further potential cause of dandruff is an allergy. This might be to fleas or something that the cat has eaten. Similarly, a cat may get dandruff in the short-term if their skin is exposed to an irritant. The most serious potential cause is lymphoma, although this is rare.

How Can You Treat Cat Dandruff?

In the majority of cases, cat dandruff is not a cause for concern. However, it is better to be safe than sorry, so it is always wise to consult your vet if you are at all concerned about the dandruff. They will examine the cat’s coat and skin and may also need to conduct further tests to rule out any serious causes of concern. If the vet cannot find an underlying cause for dandruff and no health conditions are identified, then it would seem that your cat simply has a case of feline dandruff.

Cat dandruff is often difficult to treat, although there are a few different treatment options available. The first is a special shampoo that is specifically designed to reduce dandruff in cats. The main problem in using this type of treatment is that cats are not fond of water and do not like being bathed. It can be tricky to use the shampoo effectively and may result in you getting some nasty cat bites and scratches.

An alternative to this is a spot-on treatment for dandruff that is similar to the spot-on treatments you can buy for cats and dogs to prevent them from catching fleas. This is easier to use than the shampoo as it simply requires you to squeeze a small dose of the treatment at the back of the cat’s neck. However, not everyone cat owner has found this treatment effective.

A further option that is recommended by some vets is to give your cat omega-3 fatty acids. This involves giving your cat dietary supplements in addition to their regular diet. There are some cat owners who have found this dietary change successful, while others have not noticed any change to the cat dandruff.

Is It Always a Problem?

Cat dandruff is often referred to as a problem. However, is it actually a problem? If the vet has ruled out a medical condition that is causing the dandruff and your cat is not suffering from any itching or pain, then it seems a little unfair to describe cat dandruff as a problem. When it is not causing an issue for your cat, then it isn’t something that you need to spend time or money trying to resolve. Your cats can continue with their lives quite happily even if they do have dandruff.


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