Cat Dandruff

Find out what causes dry, flaky skin in cats and what to do if your cat has dandruff.

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Bengal Cat Being Brushed

Cat flaky skin often appears near the lower back and base of tail.

Q: My indoor cat has a very shiny coat. She is groomed on a regular basis, but I notice that my cat has dandruff on her back toward her tail. Her coat is thick and has no area of dry skin. It clear's for a while and then returns, becoming very heavy. I feed her a well-balanced cat food.

A: The lower back and the base of the tail are common areas for dry, flaky skin to develop in some cats. Here are some basic sources of cat dandruff:

  • Overweight cats will often develop greasy, flaky skin in that area simply because they are too overweight and inflexible to groom themselves properly.
  • Occasionally, cats on a restricted fat diet will develop dry, flaky skin.
  • Some parasitic skin disorders, such as Cheyletiella (known as "walking dandruff”), can cause the coat to appear flaky and dry. 
  • Cat dandruff can increase during the winter months when the air becomes drier than normal.
If obesity is the problem, put your cat on an appropriate weight-loss program. Have your veterinarian evaluate the skin and coat and make sure there isn’t a parasitic problem.

I’ve had great success treating these cats with a fatty acid supplement rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It may take four to six weeks to see any change, but usually after that the coat looks wonderful and there are minimal flakes.

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Cat Dandruff

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Reader Comments

Stacey    International

5/6/2014 11:26:57 PM

My overweight cat had a serious problem with itchy flakey skin at the base of her tail. I used Triamcinolone Acetonide Ointment USP 0.5% for dermatitis on the area and it worked.

Stephanie    International

3/6/2014 5:38:24 AM

Are these omega 3 fatty supplements prescription only or can I simply find them in a pet store?

shelbi    Fairborn, OH

1/21/2014 6:53:58 PM

What if my cat hates the fish oil I put on her food she won't touch it. Are there other options? Thanks!

janet    bethlehem, PA

11/21/2013 3:38:26 AM


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