Did you know that like humans , cats can have dandruff too? In fact, cat dandruff is normal, it only becomes a thing of worry when it becomes excessive, then you would need to take them to a vet. Why do cats have dandruff and how can it be treated? This article contains everything you need to know about cat dandruff and if you keep on reading, you’ll find all the answers you need.
WHAT IS CAT DANDRUFF?
Cat dandruff, is also known as feline dandruff, is a condition that causes the skin of your cat to flake, which is usually due to the overproduction of oil by the sebaceous glands of your cat. The oil produced is meant to nourish and protect the skin of the cat, but when it becomes excess, they begin to irritate the skin of your cat, leading to flakiness and a more shedding of dead skin cells.
Whenever you scratch your cat and notice specks or flakes in their fur, which may also shed onto your clothes or their bedding it may be an indication that your cat has dandruff.
According to Vet Med, cat dandruff is a minor condition and is often described as a cosmetic inconvenience. However, it may also be a sign of a more serious health condition as dandruff can be a symptom of several. This is why it is important to take your cat to a vet the moment you notice flaking of your cat’s skin. A vet can tell a lot about a cat’s health by the condition of their skin and hair.
CAUSES OF CAT DANDRUFF
Cat dandruff can be caused by several different reasons, that could be either simple or serious such as:
- Obesity: If your cat has excess fat it can find it difficult to groom itself as obesity prevents cats from being flexible and reaching different body parts and regular grooming is needed to keep their coat clean.
- Lack Of Fatty Acids In Their Diet: Your cats’ diet could also cause dandruff if what they are eating is lacking an essential nutrient. Just like humans, cats need a balanced diet to remain healthy and nutrients such as those found in Omega fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6) are particularly helpful for maintaining healthy skin. Cats cat synthesize these essential fatty acids, so they must be a regular part of their diet, else it may lead to the flaking of their skin.
- Dehydration: Cat dandruff could also be a sign of dehydration, this can either be because your cat isn’t receiving the needed amount of water or because of low humidity in the air, which may cause your cat’s skin to dry out and flake.
- Allergies: A cat’s allergy could lead to dandruff could either be a food or a skin allergy. If your cat gets in contact with things they are allergic to, such as certain grooming products, it may result in a skin reaction that would involve flaking of their skin. Whereas a food allergy occurs when a cat is allergic to certain foods, in addition to dandruff, a cat with food allergies will also have itchy and dry skin, and can also show signs of stomach upset by vomiting or gassing.
- Old Age: The skin naturally becomes drier with age, making dandruff more common in elderly cats. Dry skin together with decreased blood flow and occasional chaffing in old age can result in flaking and dandruff. Plus, elderly cats are less likely to groom regularly.
- External Parasites: External parasites such as fleas, ticks, lice, mites, or ringworms, can cause flaky patches of the skin as well as hair loss. Another type of parasite called Cheyletiella mites can cause a highly contagious form of dandruff called “walking dandruff”.
- Underlying Health Condition: An underlying health condition that could make grooming difficult, such as kidney disease, arthritis, pancreatitis, or diabetes can affect the condition of your cats’ skin and fur.
CAT DANDRUFF SYMPTOMS
Along with flaky dandruff found in the fur of cats, mostly on their backs or at the base of their tails, other symptoms of cat dandruff can include:
- Greasy fur
- Red, inflamed skin
- Poor overall coat condition
- Hair loss
CAT DANDRUFF TREATMENT
Once you’ve ruled out any underlying health condition as a possible cause of cat dandruff, to help reduce symptoms and discomfort, there are certain things you can do to help treat your cats’ dandruff.
Here are some helpful tips:
1. Brush Your Cat Regularly
Cat dandruff is dead skin cells shedding off, so brushing your cat regularly will help to remove them and also help distribute natural oils produced by the cats’ sebaceous gland, along the length of their hair and keeps it free from dirt, loose hairs, parasite, and dead skin cells.
2. Moiturize Their Skin
There are skin supplements, creams, and lotions for cats that can help treat dry and flaky skin, and the best way to manage cat dandruff, especially if dehydration due to low humidity in the air is the cause of it, is by adding extra moisture. You could get these supplements, creams, or lotions in a pet store.
3. Omega Supplements
Since cats can’t synthesize essential fatty acids and the lack of them in their meals can cause dandruff, it will be a good idea to get high-quality omega supplements. Generally, feeding your cat a nutritionally balanced meal is one of the best ways you can improve their skin health and prevent dandruff from occurring.
4. Help Your Cat Maimtain A Healthy Weight
Self-grooming is easier if your cat has a healthy weight and cats that maintain a healthy weight can groom more effectively.
5. Change Diet
If your cat is allergic to certain foods, try switching up its diet as it could be the reason for dandruff. The vet may also recommend antihistamines or steroids for irritation.
6. Try A Special Shampoo
Cat dandruff shampoos are particularly made in such a way to keep cats’ hair and skin healthy. Bathing your cat with a soothing, moisturizing shampoo can help in relieving itching, remove dandruff, and prevent a recurrence.
CAT DANDRUFF SHAMPOO
Cat dandruff shampoo are special shampoo formulated to help treat certain skin conditions your cat might have. High-quality cat dandruff shampoo is an important part of a cat grooming kit as it moisturizes dry skin, conditions their coat to keep their hair healthy, and their follicles to prevent flacking and itching, thereby preventing dandruff.
Here is a list of some cat dandruff shampoo that your vet might recommend:
- Hyponic Hypoallergenic Shampoo For Cats: It is recommended by dermatologists, made with all-natural ingredients and it is fragrance-free. it is effective in treating cats with dry skin, dandruff, allergies, and overall skin problems.
- Pet MD Benzoyl Peroxide Medicated Shampoo For Ccats: It is a comprehensive formula that is effective in treating dermatitis, dandruff, folliculitis, and several other skin problems at the same time. It is one of the best-medicated cat shampoos.
- Eartbath Oatmeal And Aloe Pet Shampoo: This shampoo is considered to be the best overall cat dandruff shampoo. It is not only effective in treating cat dandruff, but also has a broad range of uses and comes at a fair price also.
- Kenic Kalaya Moisturizing And Restorative Emu OiI Pet Shampoo: This shampoo has proven to be effective for managing skin irritation and combatting dry flaky and itchy skin. It is free from harsh soaps and chemicals.
- Tropiclean Dander Reducing Waterless Shampoo For Cats: Just as the name, it is a waterless cat shampoo formulated to be effective on symptoms of cat dandruff and can be used on the go.
- Breezytail Peto’cera Cat Shampoo: This shampoo has moisturizing features that soothe and nourish the skin of your cat using allantoin and ceramide.
CAT DANDRUFF OR FLEA EGG
Not all white specks you notice on your cats’ fur are caused by dandruff, it could be a clear sign of flea eggs, so before you begin treatment, it is best to be able to identify the difference. Also, this is why it is important to take your pet to the vet the moment you notice those white specks on their fur, as the vet will be able to identify if the problem is cat dandruff or flea eggs.
However, you may be able to identify the difference between the two by taking a closer look at the white specks. Flea eggs are uniform in appearance, oblong with rounded ends, resembling tiny grains of rice and they are sticky. While cat dandruff has no unique shape, is not sticky and they are usually thin.
Cat dandruff is not a dangerous condition if the flakes are in lesser amounts, but when you notice an increased rate of shedding, it is best to take your cat to the vet as dandruff could be a sign of an underlying health condition such as obesity or kidney disease. Other reasons such as poor grooming and malnutrition could also cause cat dandruff. Identifying the cause will help in treating the condition.