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Dandruff in cats: causes, symptoms and remedies
Dandruff in cats: causes, symptoms and remedies

Dandruff is not just a blemish: in cats it can reflect a more serious health problem, and their constant scratching can cause skin lesions. A healthy cat will always have soft skin with no flakes of dandruff or visible irritation. We will tell you here what are the causes, symptoms and remedies for dandruff in cats.

cat is brushed
cat is brushed

Common causes

The causes attributable to dandruff in cats can be traced back to several factors: nutrition, hydration, parasites, health problems, stress and allergies.

  • Nutrition: a improper diet it can cause nutritional deficiencies which will lead to skin problems. If your cat doesn't get enough Omega-3s, for example, they can develop dry, crusty skin and a dull coat. A balanced diet with enough Omega-3s is the right way to make sure your cat maintains healthy, clean skin. If your cat is obese, then it is possible that he will not get to clean himself everywhere, exposing some areas of his body to the risk of dandruff.
  • Hydration: the insufficient hydration is a known cause of dandruff in cats. If he drinks too little, this will be reflected in the condition of his skin and coat. However, dehydration can also depend on the surrounding environment: too dry air, as well as prolonged exposure to the sun, can have effects on the skin especially on outdoor cats, and in particular those with lighter and thinner hair.
  • Parasites: fleas, worms or mites they are the cause of various dermatological problems in cats, including dandruff. The bite of some of them can cause allergic reactions that affect the health of his skin and lead to irritation, dandruff and itching, which the cat often does not resist scratching insistently. A particular coat mite, called Cheyletiella, is called "walking dandruff" because it has a similar appearance: however, it is a parasite that feeds on the skin cells of the cat. Left untreated, parasite infestations can escalate into even more serious health problems.
  • Health problems: In some cases, dandruff can accompany the symptoms of feline diabetes. You should contact your vet immediately if you notice that your cat has dandruff in conjunction with other diabetes symptoms. Then there are some skin diseases which, at the initial stage, have symptoms similar to dandruff and cause itching and irritation: some of these are dermatitis and ringworm.
  • Stress: as we have highlighted several times, cats are very susceptible to even small changes, such as the introduction of a new food in their diet. Every little one change in his daily routine it can cause an imbalance in your immune system, causing various problems including dandruff.
  • Allergies: dandruff can also be the result of an allergic reaction; food and the surrounding environment can also damage the cat's skin and coat in this way. Your vet will be able to help you determine with certainty the cause of an allergic reaction.
cat with dandruff
cat with dandruff


The white flakes dandruff in cats are visible to the naked eye and should not be confused with the smaller ones that are part of the natural renewal of the skin. The latter also appears more encrusted and dry than normal. In cats with thicker hair it may be necessary to make space with the fingers to observe the skin well; you can also use a cat brush or comb for this purpose.

And if you notice that your cat spends a lot of time licking or scratching, this is another suspicious symptom. If the cat cleans itself more than it should because of the itch caused by dandruff, you may notice some red patches on his skin.

cat hair with dandruff
cat hair with dandruff

Effective remedies and treatments

Here are the possible ones remedies to the problem of dandruff, once found in your cat:

  • The only solution to a possible parasite infestation is a specific pesticide treatment, on the advice of the doctor. Even in the case of skin diseases, the doctor will suggest the most suitable drug therapy.
  • Problems dehydration? In this case, you might consider using a cat fountain, which keeps the water fresh and making it flow continuously makes it more inviting to the animal's sight. Go to wet food is another method to increase your cat's fluid intake, and using a humidifier at home if the air is too dry will help improve the condition of his coat.
  • To make sure there are no nutritional deficits, carefully read the values shown on the label of the food for pets you give your cat, and make sure they are balanced. Otherwise, the use of supplements. In case of evident overweight it is good to proceed with a gradual one change of diet.
  • In the event that you find, together with the veterinarian, a food or environmental allergy, it may be necessary to find a viable alternative to the guilty food and / or administer antihistamines to the animal.
  • If you think your cat is stressed out for some change in his life, try to calm him down to gradually resolve the problem. If this persists, your vet will help you find more effective remedies.
  • Another solution consists in the brush regularly the cat: in addition to improving its circulation it also helps to spread its natural oils throughout the body. Be sure to use a soft-bristled brush to avoid scratching the skin or further damaging any existing injuries.

What have you done to combat dandruff in your cat?