Cat dandruff is a skin condition resulting in flaky, dry dead skin. It should not be confused with dander which is regular shedding from healthy skin. Dander is comprised of both cats’ saliva and dead skin cells whereas dandruff is allergic dermatitis that causes cat’s skin to itch and appear scaly. Though dander may trigger nuisance to people that are allergic to cats, it is unlike cat dandruff which is an allergic reaction from cats.
There are generally several culprits that cause dandruff in cats. Though some of them may require medical attention from a veterinarian, most of the conditions may resolve with home remedies:
Nutrition - many cats get dandruff simply because of poor nutrition. Food that lacks sufficient amount of O-mega 3 oil can cause the skin to dry and flake. A cat’s hair and skin condition can be a good indicator of a cat’s diet.
Moisture - though cats do not drink a lot of water, they need moisture to keep their body healthy and on track. A domestic cat usually gets water from a water fountain, food, or the environment (such as from a humidifier).
Health conditios – cat dandruff can also be a sign from a variety of medical conditions:
- Parasites – fleas, lice, mites
- infection – bacterial
- feline diabetes – mostly due to improper diet
- obesity – excessive amount of grease on the skin
- allergies – allergies to food or other environmental triggers
- sunburn – outdoor cats that are exposed to the sun for an extensive period of time can get sun burnt
How to Treat Cat Dandruff:
Add a Humidifier - By adding a humidifier in your home, it supplies moisture for your cats’ skin. Often we get shocks in winter when petting our cats. Improving the moisture level in the house can reduce that static electricity and lower the chance of getting zapped. Finally, a humidifier can help prevent colds in cats by clearing out their nose with moisture.
Drinking Water – Make sure fresh drinking water is always available for your cats. This will help keep their skin moist.
Diet Supplement - Omega 3 fatty acids or fish oil is an important part of a cat’s nutritional diet. It maintains healthy skin and hair. Certain dry food does not contain adequate amount of Omega 3 fatty acids, so by adding some fish oil in their daily diet, it can improve the cat’s skin condition and reduce the amount of dandruff.
New Cat food – If dandruff is caused by nutritional deficiency, it would be the best to switch to a vet recommended cat food especially one that offers Omega 3 fatty acids. You can also slowly introduce wet canned food into their diet. A good quality wet food contains mostly protein, good fat, little or no carbohydrates and many other vital vitamins that a cat needs.
Regular Grooming – You can start grooming your cat regularly with a brush or comb. Grooming stimulates the cats’ skin and hair to grow healthily. When you are brushing your cat, the bristles are massaging the skin, triggering blood circulating underneath. This in return revitalizes the health of the skin and hair.
Flea, lice, mite treatment - If your cat is infested with fleas, lice or mites, it is important to treat your cat right away. Though you could try to bathe the cat, fleas are very persistent and over the counter shampoo does not usually fix it. Also, it can be spread to other cats in the same household. If one cat is infested with fleas, it is highly recommended to have the rest of the cats treated as well. A veterinarian can offer proper medication for flea/lice/mite/tick treatment.