Reasons for Cat Dandruff and How to prevent it?

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Cats spend a lot of time grooming them. Even though they might be afraid of water, they can clean themselves thoroughly. Although, you might have noticed that your cat skin has itchy, dry, flaking dandruff all over the skin. It is commonly unnoticed until they grow as a visible patch or a layer in your cats’ skin.


Usually, dandruff in cats is common. Considering the amount of hair in their body, they are prone to dandruff. But what you need to be worried is that when they become infectious to cat. Even though cat dandruff is as same as when it affects humans, the treatment methods will be different. You cannot get rid of them with the shampoo of just one wash, or the creams suggested for humans. In this article, we will discuss in detail the causes, treatments, and ways to prevent the cats’ dandruff.


What is dandruff?

Just like humans, even the cat’s body is processed to the shedding off dead cells and replacing them with the new healthy cells. Especially with their grooming techniques, cats can develop new cells every day in the appropriate amount. But when there is a lack of grooming, there are chances that the dead cells do not get replaced that easily.


Eventually, these dead cells form patches, and they create like a tiny layer of spooky white elements on the skin coat resulting in dandruff. Thus, in cats, the dandruff is not just a hair problem, but it is a combination of both skin and hair. If you haven’t noticed this earlier, then they grow wide along, and it can cause some severe damage to the cat’s skin. It makes cat uncomfortable with the itchy skin.


Why dandruff in cats is a serious problem?

Cats don’t mind dandruff. They hardly notice them until it gives them a hard time. Gradually the cat tends to feel itchy, and the flaky patches can be seen on the cat’s skin. It can become uncontrollably itchy and dry, causing real damage to the body. You can see that the cats become restless after a period, and their behavior changes. The felines become adamant and can go up to the extent of biting as you touch these layers. Thus, the owners need to keep a constant eye on the cats’ skin, or it can become fatal.





Vets also suggest that as and when you find some extensive patches of dandruff, you must take medical care. Because sometimes dandruff is not a real problem, but they are symptoms of some serious health issues. The lack of protein to produce new cells or to get rid of the old cells may also be an important reason why dandruff in cats is not to be taken lightly. Home remedies may not work in this case. It will become persistent and extensive, especially when you don’t pay attention.


What is confusing with dandruff in cats?

Most people assume that dander and dandruff are the same. However, it is not true. Either they are not able to spot the difference between the two, or they take the wrong treatments in hand. Dander and dandruff represent two different things.






Dander is normal when the cats generally shed off the dead cells. These often appear in cats and will be gone in one or two days. It does not make your cats uncomfortable and feel itchy. But dandruff is considered as abnormal shedding of the dead cells. With extreme dryness, they leave patches. Your cats cannot remove them without any medical assistance.


Secondly, when your cat is affected by Seborrhea, it is considered dandruff, but it is entirely different. However, it could also be one of the causes of dandruff. Seborrhea is common in both dogs and cats because of the excessive sebum produced in the skin. Sebum is natural oil produced in the skin, and a bad odor will accompany it. It worsens and changes to bacterial or yeast formation on the surface. These are some of the clinical signs of the severe dandruff problem in cats.


Thus, you don’t have to confuse between the dander and Seborrhea with dandruff. You have to be extra attentive when you choose any treatment as the process of getting rid of dander and dandruff is entirely different from one other.


Reasons for Cat’s Dandruff

Five important classifications cause the cat’s dandruff. When you address them carefully, there are chances that you not only treat but prevent them from dandruff.


1. Food habits

We all know how vital the diet is, not only for the problem of dandruff but to improve their overall health. It is the first and foremost thing that you need to keep in mind for the health and wellbeing of your cat. As you know, skin conditions are the ultimate reflection of your diet. Once there is a lack of nutrients in the food, there are chances that the cats develop all sorts of allergies, skin, and hair problems quickly. For instance, Omega-3 is the most important nutrient for the cat’s skin and hair. It can help in preventing dandruff and, at the same time, improve the health conditions overall.


2. Dehydration



Dandruff in cats also represents dehydration. It is a simple formula to detect. When you don’t have sufficient water in the body, there is excessive dryness in the skin. You can always differentiate this type of dryness because they are scratchy and affect the skin in deep. That is why cats get periodic dandruff. Especially in winter, their skin becomes naturally dry, and the skin coat becomes the home of dandruff. Vets have proven records that the cats in geographical places that are extremely dry and cold have more patchy and dry skin usually. Hair dandruff is common, but as and when addressed immediately, it does not become fatal. Thus, you need to help your cat stay hydrated all the time despite the location. Also, over time, you can see that the dandruff is being rectified.


3. Food allergy

There is a probability that your cats are developing dandruff because they are allergic to particular food or ingredients. When you feel that your cats suddenly have dandruff, then you can first check for the food that they had in a week. Also, when you offer the same food continuously, then they become allergic to this food, and it is responsive through this dandruff only. Switching up to the proper diet may help to get rid of this type of dandruff.


4. Environmental causes

As you know, the world is equally polluted for animals like humans. When you live in a busy area or the main city, there are chances that your house is accumulated with unnoticeable pollutants and allergens. These get acquired or settle in the cat’s coat, which may also be the reason for their dandruff. It is also said that the cats are allergic to certain plant and bush varieties. Therefore, they tend to form dry skin quickly. Similarly, some odors, fertilizers, detergents, soap, or shampoo ingredients could be an additional reason for the cats to get these patches over the skin. It can be the home for dandruff in an unexpected amount.

5. Age

When cats get old, they will not have the capacity to groom themselves. Gradually their grooming ability will decrease, which will be one of the critical reasons for the formation of dandruff in the body. Also, naturally, the skin becomes tight and dry. If there is no frequent movement, they lose elasticity and flexibility. Hence the blood flow decreases and will result in greater susceptibility for dryness and flakiness. Thus, dandruff in old cats is comparatively higher than usual.





The reasons mentioned above are the most important causes for the occurrence of dandruff. The following table will help you understand when there is any medical concern that is accompanied by the symptoms of dandruff.




Parasites When lice, mites, and fleas are already in the hair, there are equal chances of dandruff formation immediately. The damage is severe in these cases.
Fungal infection Ringworms and Malassezia dermatitis are common with cats leading to severe dandruff and also hair loss.
Diabetes and Hyperthyroidism When cats are affected by diabetes and Hyperthyroidism, their metabolism will be collapsed. They will not be able to groom themselves actively. Hence, diabetes is one of the symptoms, and in some instances, side effects of these metabolic diseases.
Lymphoma Lymphoma is one of the cancer types that affect only the cat’s immune system. Once their system weakens, they are most likely to develop skin and hair problems, while dandruff is one of them.
Sunburn When cats are prone to sunburns in sensitive areas, it becomes scorched. Especially in parts like the mouth, nose, eyelids, the damage will be severe. Hence the cause of dandruff is common.
Anxiety When cats have anxiety about environmental changes, they gradually develop skin problems. It is one of the lifestyle changes for them because they are too sensitive.



How to get rid of dandruff in cats?



Know the reason

It is vital to know the reason for the formation of dandruff before you want to treat them. That is why we have elaborated them in detail above. Check if dandruff is caused by pollutants, food allergy, or any parasites as the only way to treat the dandruff is to find the root cause. Importantly, never use any random shampoo when you find dandruff. There is medicated shampoo available with the vets. You can also purchase them online if you had already figured out the reason for the cause.


Regular brushing

One of the best ways to make your pet cat dandruff-free is by having regular grooming and brushing. Even though cats can self-groom, it is the responsibility of the owners to schedule them externally. The primary reason behind it is that there is a sensitive region that cats cannot reach. Especially when they become adults, they have restricted flexibility over the body. When you regularly groom and brush, there is an equal chance to eradicate dandruff and also prevent for the future. There are dedicated grooming and wellness shops. If you think that it is the best option, then take them for one at least once a month.


Induce hydration

It is the most effective way to control dandruff in cats. When you find them early, supply them with fresh, clean water. It will possibly help in managing them in the initial stages. Keep the water indoors for drinking. There is no need to keep them under the sun or in the lawn area. Adding wet foods are also one of the best ways to make the cat hydrated longer than usual.


Omega Fatty cats



When a cat’s diet lack omega fats, they form dandruff and many other complications in the body. Providing them well-balanced diets that have essential nutrients with fatty acids can improve their overall health. By running some tests, the vets can preferably say if your pet lacks omega fats. In such cases, you can offer them supplements that are already available in the market. Check Vetoquinol’s Omega tablets for pets that have a sufficient supply of nutrients. These are not like the medication but are effective up to the extent to provide them with regular nutrition. You can also check for foods that are multi-grain and dedicated to improving their immune against dry skin and other parasites.


Oil treatment

Adding olive or coconut oil to the food can preferably help the cats to get rid of dandruff. The oil glands are stimulated, and it is adding support for them to avoid such dryness issues. We are sure you cannot apply oil to their entire body or skin coat. It becomes difficult to shampoo and cleans them later. Instead, you can add oil to the food and can preventively help them.



There are plenty of other ways that you can use to help your cat prevent dandruff completely. For example, many people buy humidifiers if they are living in a dry region. It can help to keep the water content balanced in the body. Additionally, stressors can help in a relaxed mind and hopefully helps in avoiding any complications. Some feel moisturizers are useful in the initial stages. However, the bottom line is simple. It is still in the hands of the cat owners in preventing and helping the cat to get rid of dandruff. It is an absolute panic if you haven’t paid attention to these small details of the cats. While playing or spending time with them, always keep an eye on their external changes, and that’s the only way out to get rid of dandruff immediately.

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