Why does my cat have dandruff?

Cat dandruff is a common skin condition that any feline can suffer from. 

It appears as small white flakes on the skin and coat, similar to how it looks on humans. You may also spot it on the furniture or their bedding. 

While the appearance of cat dandruff is generally nothing to be concerned about, it can sometimes be symptomatic of a wider problem, such as an underlying health disorder. 

Dry, flaky skin is undoubtedly a primary contributing factor when it comes to dandruff, which can be brought on when a cat’s skin glands begin overproducing oil.

Normally, these oils nourish and protect a feline’s skin. However, when excessive amounts are produced it can quickly lead to irritation, flakiness, and dandruff.

Dandruff on its own may be harmless and treatable in most cases, but if your cat is suffering from it then there’s a good chance they’re in discomfort.

Dandruff is relatively easy to manage, but if the problem does persist or you notice other symptoms alongside it such as hair loss, redness and dizziness, you should contact your vet immediately

5 reasons your cat may have dandruff (and what to do about it)

  • Diet. Cats need a well-balanced diet to remain fit and strong. The right meal prep can also ensure their skin stays soft, healthy and less prone to flakiness, a direct contributor to dandruff. Nutritional deficiency, specifically a lack of protein and omega fatty acids, is actually one of the main causes of dry skin in cats, which is why it’s imperative pet parents search for recipes containing high-quality animal protein, along with omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Artificial flavourings and additives can also trigger irritable skin reactions in felines.
  • Grooming Regime. The majority of cats are meticulous groomers. Using their tongue and paws to spread natural oils around their body is how they keep their skin clean, dandruff-free and in pristine condition. Old age or obesity can sometimes make the act of self-grooming extremely difficult though, with hard-to-reach areas becoming impossible-to-reach areas. This may result in patches of dry skin, most likely on their back, which left untreated could become a breeding ground for dandruff.
  • Dehydration. It cannot be emphasised enough how important water is to a cat’s overall health and well-being. Keeping moisture levels topped up should ensure a cat’s skin remains soft and supple. If your feline isn’t drinking enough or they’re struggling with excessive loss of fluid, they could develop dry, flaky skin. Other symptoms may include loss of energy, panting and loss of appetite. Dehydration can also be exacerbated by too much time spent in the sun or warm, dry indoor environments.
  • Stress and anxiety. Anxious cats can be more susceptible to bouts of dandruff. This is mainly because stressful situations – moving house, changing routine, other pets in the home – can trigger dry skin, potentially resulting in flakiness. On top of this, stressed cats are also more likely to excessively overgroom. Licking themselves repeatedly will often result in patches of dry, flaky skin that increases the chances of cat dandruff. If your feline is already struggling with dandruff, stress could easily aggravate the condition.
  • Health issues. Cat dandruff can be an indicator of a wider health issue. Maybe your feline is struggling with pest infestation for instance. Even just a few small flea bites can contribute to flaky skin, with a full blown infestation likely to bring about excessive scratching. Infection, diabetes, kidney disease; all these could negatively affect a cat’s skin and coat leaving them with a flaky dandruff. Always be on the lookout for other symptoms. If you suspect there may be a bigger health issue at play, check with your vet

How to rid your cat of dandruff

Finding dandruff on your cat is a perfectly normal occurrence.

A small number of flakes can typically be remedied at home, while a larger or more persistent amount may require medical attention. 

The following dandruff-defeating tips are a good place to start if your cat has recently started suffering with the condition. 

  • Food. The correct diet can make a huge difference when it comes to a cat’s skin. Recipes like Encore’s 100% natural Tuna Fillet With Whitebait In Broth Pouch is packed full of high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which means their skin is getting the best possible protection. 
  • More moisture. Always ensure water bowls are filled up and left out for your cat. A good way to increase their fluid intake is through wet foods. Encore’s wet foods are not just mouthwateringly tasty; they also come in a variety of hydrating forms including broths and gravies. 
  • Reduce stress.The easiest way to reduce a cat’s anxiety is to identify and then eliminate the aggravating stressor. Once you have done this, monitor your cat’s skin carefully and regularly. You should notice the amount of dandruff slowly begin to reduce over time.
  • Grooming brush. If your cat’s dandruff problem has coincided with them struggling to groom certain parts of their body, give them a helping hand. Gently brush their coat three or four times a week. This will help remove any dead skin or fur, and should help keep their coat and skin in pristine condition. 
  • Special shampoo. There are a number of shampoos on the market specially formulated to help treat cat dandruff. However, be careful not to make a habit out of bathing your feline. Too much water can actually dry out a cat’s skin, and could result in worsening the dandruff problem.
Why does my cat have dandruff
Share this article