How To Deal With Cat Dandruff


The condition of a cat’s coat is a good gauge of its overall health. Cat dandruff, characterized by a dry or oily coat with visible flakes, can be caused by anything from dry air to parasites, obesity, and serious diseases like skin cancer. Therefore, if you see these symptoms of dandruff on your cat, a trip to the vet’s office may be in order.”Many diseases show up first in the skin,” says Dr. Jean Hofve, a holistic veterinarian and author of “The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care.” “It’s impossible to diagnose skin disease just by looking at it.”

A veterinarian can analyze a cat’s skin cells under a microscope and perform blood tests or biopsies to narrow down the cause of the dandruff.”What we generally think of as dandruff is usually nutrition related. It is most common in overweight cats, and in cats eating mostly or only dry food,” says Hofve. Therefore, says Dr. Hofve, dry kibble should be reduced or eliminated. Kibble is low in moisture and will dehydrate cats and, in turn, their skin.

“Canned, raw, and homemade foods are more likely to contain higher-quality ingredients, and therefore better quality and fresher fats,” said Hofve, who also recommends looking for cat food labeled “all life stages” for higher protein and less carbohydrates.Adding certain supplements to your cat’s food can also help prevent dandruff. “The second thing I recommend is to add a good source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids to the cat’s diet,” said Hofve. “Omega-3s are essential for the proper function of every cell membrane in the body, but in particular, the skin, and the immune and nervous systems rely on them.”

Hofve recommends “oils made from smaller, non-predatory fish such as sardines, anchovies, and herring, or cod liver oil. It is also important to choose an oil that is fresh, pure, and free of contaminants.”If your cat’s dandruff is simply a case of dry skin, bathing the cat and adding a humidifier to your home could help. Dr. Donna J. Spector, a board-certified veterinary internist, recommends using only detergent-free shampoo. “Halo Herbal Shampoo contains natural botanical oils and extracts that nourish the skin and coat instead of stripping the skin of its essential oils,” said Spector.

Keep in mind that cats love to keep clean. If dandruff is concentrated in one area on the back — namely, near the tail — this might be due to an inability to reach the area during grooming. This can be caused by developing arthritis as well as obesity.
Your cat’s grooming skills may also be lacking due to mouth pain caused by poor oral health. Keep track of all of these factors so that you can discuss them with your veterinarian.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Veta
    Mar 07, 2010 @ 05:03:14

    Wow, I know a lot of vets that would honestly cringe at most of this article. Some holistic stuff is ok like hydrotherapy and accupuncture. All I’m saying is if your pet has minor stuff and you believe holistic is the way, feel free to try whatever the holistic vet recommends whether it’s heat rocks or the power of healing thru holding hands lol. I wish I was kidding about the holding hands thing lol. What a scam, why didn’t I think of this first!? Anyways, when your pet has a real medical issue or tea tree oil is just making a mess all over your house, whatever the case may be, please make sure you get real medical attention! Your pet is depending on you guys!


  2. samira
    Mar 07, 2010 @ 05:03:55

    I have a stray cat that stays outside that I feed and it has a place to sleep on a covered walkway. Every winter when she needs her fur, she looses it from her backside to almost the middle of her body. In the summer it comes back in. This has been happening for about 3 years straight. Any ideas anyone?


  3. lisa
    Mar 07, 2010 @ 05:04:11

    change the food to a better quality…..and give some canned, too.i had two cats that did that years ago when they were young….as they got older and I changed foods they never had it again it again…it was both cats so I figured it was an allergy or something…royal canin has a food for the skin…maybe you can try it.


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