Just like humans, cats can sometimes suffer from dandruff. This surprises many people because they do not think about a cat’s skin because most breeds are covered in hair. If this is something that you have noticed on your cat, then you have probably wondered what is causing it, whether it is a matter for concern or not, and if there is anything that you should do about the issue. The following information provides all the answers to these questions.
What is Cat Dandruff?
According to Catster, the official name of severe dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis. Just like human dandruff, cat dandruff is predominantly made up of dead skin cells. However, cat dandruff differs from human dandruff because it also contains a protein. This can often irritate human skin, and this is one reason why cat owners may want to get rid of their cat’s dandruff.
What Are the Causes of Cat Dandruff?
Cat dandruff is extremely common. Although it can occur anywhere on a cat’s body, it is most common on their back, and it is usually found near their tail. Often, the dandruff is accompanied by greasy hair. In most cases, dandruff is not associated with a disease. It is generally just dry skin that is flaking off, and some cats are more prone to this than others. Some cats can suffer from dandruff all their lives, while others never or rarely get dandruff. However, dandruff is sometimes a symptom of a medical condition. One cause is skin parasites, especially a type of parasite called Demodex. Fungal infections are another possible cause of cat dandruff, with ringworm being one of the most common. Another potential cause is a glandular disorder, such as hyperthyroidism.
Dandruff is also a common symptom of an allergy. The two main causes of allergies in cats include fleas and food. You can check your cat’s fur for fleas or flea dirt to see if they have a flea infestation that is causing the problem. A further cause of allergies is exposure to chemical irritants that can cause skin problems including dandruff. Purina says that cat dandruff is sometimes caused by serious skin conditions. One example of these is a condition called walking dandruff. This is actually not dandruff at all, but it will appear as though your cat has dandruff. This condition is a form of mange that is caused by a mite called Cheyletiella. This is accompanied by skin redness and hair loss. Very rarely, dandruff is a sign of a significant condition such as lymphoma. However, is it unlikely that this is the cause of dandruff in most cases.
Is Cat Dandruff a Cause for Concern?
Usually, dandruff is not a cause for concern, and it is simply the dead skin cells falling away from your cat’s body. Therefore, no action is required in most circumstances. However, there are some occasions when you should take your cat to the vet. If your cat regularly gets dandruff but it suddenly becomes much worse, then it is worth getting your cat checked out. Likewise, if your cat has never had dandruff before and they get a severe case, then you should book an appointment with the vet. You should also get your cat checked out if the cat dandruff is accompanied by other symptoms. For example, if your cat has red, swollen, or itchy skin, then you need to have your cat examined by a vet.
What Can You Do to Treat Cat Dandruff?
Although treating cat dandruff is not necessary in many cases, there are some strategies you can try. According to Pet Care Rx, changing your cat’s diet can eliminate dandruff if a food allergy is the cause. You should also groom your pet regularly to help it shed excess skin. Another tip is to moisturize your cat to reduce dry skin using a specialist cat moisturizer. Finally, you can try giving your cat a bath using cat shampoo and this should help with any dryness. For severe dandruff, it is possible that your vet may recommend some dietary changes, such as giving your cat supplements. Alternatively, they may prescribe medicated shampoos, creams, or powders that can treat dry skin and dandruff. Often, cat dandruff is difficult to treat. One reason for this is that there are many potential causes. Without knowing the cause, finding the solution is tricky. It can take time to try different solutions before you finally find one that works for your cat.
Can You Prevent Cat Dandruff?
Although you can’t completely eliminate the risk of your cat getting dandruff, it is possible to reduce the likelihood of your cat developing dandruff by taking some preventative measures. The most important thing is to take good care of your cat’s coat. A further preventative measure that you can take is to treat your cat with a flea treatment that prevents them from catching fleas. This is especially important if you know that your cat is allergic to flea bites and that it irritates their skin and causes dandruff. There is a range of different preventative flea treatments available in various forms, including shampoos, spot-on liquids, tablets, and sprays. A more surprising step that you can take that can benefit both you and your cat is to get a dehumidifier. Improving the air quality in the home can reduce skin problems in cats. It can also benefit the health of the whole family.
Cat Dandruff – The Bottom Line
In most cases, cat dandruff is not a cause for concern, it is simply dead skin cells coming away from the skin. Although this does not require treatment, there are some solutions if the dandruff is problematic for you. In some cases, dandruff is a symptom of something more serious, so you should watch out for other symptoms accompanying dandruff. If you are concerned, you should consult your veterinarian who can examine your cat and offer advice.