Does your cat look flaky lately? Like they rolled in a bucket of ash or was trapped in a snow globe and when you brush them it doesn’t go away. Our cats can be prone to similar physical issues that humans suffer from, and dandruff is certainly one of them. Here’s why cat dandruff happens and what to do about it.
What is cat dandruff?
Dandruff is dandruff in all species – dead skin cells that have flaked off. It gets everywhere, and especially likes to cling to black or dark-colored fabric. The difference between cat dandruff and people dandruff is that the white specs that flake off your cat contain a protein that can send a person’s allergies into a major flare-up.
What causes cat dandruff?
Cat dandruff can happen when the sebaceous glands in the skin overproduce oil. This then causes irritation, which leads to the first layer of skin to dying off. When that layer of skin dies, it flakes off to make room for new skin. But, other clinical diseases can lead to dandruff, too.
Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin (not an actual worm) that is easily spread from cat to cat by contact. One of the first symptoms of ringworm is actually dandruff. Scabs and raised lesions may form in the shape of a ring and your cat might feel super itchy.
If your cat all of a sudden has dandruff and you notice scabs as well, be sure to call your veterinarian. Ringworm is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be passed from animals to people. So veterinary care is essential for your kitty and your family. A culture will be taken during the veterinary visit that takes 10 days for results. But in the meantime, your veterinarian can use a blacklight to detect ringworm and start anti fungal medication as well as a topical treatment. Follow up is necessary to ensure it has been cleared.
Poor nutrition can lead to cat dandruff too. What brand of cat food does your kitty eat? If it is a brand that is lacking in essential fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6, it could be causing the flakiness on your cat’s fur. Talk with your veterinarian about better nutritional brands or perhaps a supplement to replace what your kitty is lacking in their diet.
Does a dry climate make your skin itchy and flaky? The humidity in the air can impact your kitty too. If you have recently moved to a drier climate and start to notice your cat having dandruff, look into getting a humidifier, your cat’s skin, and your skin will thank you for it.
A healthy weight for your cat is important on so many levels, from joint health to skin health. An obese cat is unable to properly groom themselves which leads to poor coat health, painful mats, and dandruff. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about what your cat’s ideal weight is.
When you start seeing flakes on your kitty, their body is telling you something just isn’t quite right. Speak with your veterinarian to find an explanation and treatment to get your cat’s coat back to sleek and shiny and free of itchy flakes once again.