Cat Dandruff

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

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Updated: April 29, 2015, 3 p.m. EST

Printer Friendly
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.

Printer Friendly

 Give us your opinion on
Cat Dandruff

Submit a Comment   Join Club
Earn 1,000 points! What's this?
Reader Comments

Bonnie    Stoughton, WI

9/1/2015 6:31:30 AM

My son moved in and brought his two cats. One had a terrible problem of flaky skin on back base of tail. After watching him in litter box found that he kicked up a lot of dust. I washed the area and dried it then finally found a litter that was dust free Dr. Elsey Precious Cat Ultra Litter.Then brushed him at least 4x's a day. It was 4 months of cleaning and brushing until I got all the crusted litter off his skin. Now he brushed 1-2 x's a day and he plops down waiting to be brushed. So cute fur/skin is fabulous now. Hope this helps everyone. It may be your litter just think what its doing to their lungs eeek

Babs    Newburgh, IN

5/21/2015 9:17:21 AM

Would a Flax Seed Oil capsule ... sprinkled on her food help and be safe?

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?

View Current Comments

Top Products