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Cat Dandruff - Your Guide To Symptoms And Treatments

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Cat Dandruff - Your Guide To Symptoms And Treatments

Dandruff is a relatively common issue, for both humans and their pets. If nothing else, you can simply take a look at the vast array of dandruff shampoo options available for both.

Just like people, cats can get dandruff. While it can be easy to grab a cat dandruff shampoo to treat it, it may be worth considering the cause of dandruff. There are many that may be occurring, and treating the cause can cure dandruff in a more natural way.

Furthermore, it's worthwhile to know whether or not it's just a case of dry skin or

something representative of a darker issue. When you know the cause, you'll have an easier time addressing the issue.

Cat Drandruff Causes

What Is Cat Dandruff?

We all lose skin cells all the time. It's a perfectly natural process that allows our skin to stay fresh and healthy.

Dandruff becomes noticeable in your cat because it involves larger amounts of dead skin cells coming off invisible flakes.

Typically, these flakes are in combination with irritation including redness or itchiness. For humans, this can become not only uncomfortable but embarrassing as well. While cats aren't likely to be embarrassed by it, dandruff can be something they don't enjoy experiencing.

Cat Dandruff - Your Guide To Symptoms And Treatments | Innovet Pet

There can be varying amounts of dandruff. In some cases, it's just a little bit of dry skin.

Meanwhile, in others it may represent a deeper issue going on, particularly if it's difficult to get rid of or there are excessive amounts.

What About Cat Dander?

Before getting too far into the signs and treatments to use when your cat has dandruff, it's worth knowing that cat dandruff and cat dander aren't the same things.

Cat dander is typically what people think of when they're referring to having an allergy to cats. Keep in mind that dander is healthy and normal, and not something to worry

about in your cat. However, dandruff is when skin shedding becomes excessive because the skin is irritated.

Cat Dandruff - Your Guide To Symptoms And Treatments | Innovet Pet

Seborrheic Dermatitis In Cats

Similar to cat dander, seborrheic dermatitis is also different from cat dandruff. Saying “My cat has dandruff” and “my cat has seborrheic dermatitis” are similar, but not exactly the same.

Essentially, this kind of dermatitis doesn't refer to dandruff itself, but to the cause of it. This is a skin disorder that can show up in a variety of pets. Essentially, the sebaceous glands in your pet's skin begin to create too much sebum, resulting in the flakes you can see.

In some cases, there can also be an odor that comes with visual signs. There can

also be secondary infections that occur, such as a yeast infection or bacterial infection.

Why Does My Cat Have Dandruff?

There are a variety cat dandruff causes and it's worth knowing what they are. When the cause can be addressed, then it will cure corresponding dandruff. It can also help to give you some ideas about what you might change to solve the problem.


A common cause for dandruff and dry skin is dehydration. This can especially be an issue if you live in a drier, hotter climate.

The good news is that in most cases, providing more water to your cat can resolve the issue. However, in some cases cats might just not be willing to drink a lot of water, in which case the advice of a vet can be useful.

Allergies To The Environment

There are a variety of things that can cause skin allergies and dandruff in cats. Things like laundry detergents can cause dandruff, as well as fertilizers if your cat goes outside.

If dandruff has come on suddenly, then consider whether you might have changed detergents or any other products that your cat's skin might come into contact with. In many of these cases, a simple change to a gentler product can clear up the issue relatively quickly, which is a relief for many cat owners.

Fungal Infections

Another problem that can result in dandruff on your cat is a fungal infection. These kinds of infections can include things like Ringworm and Malassezia. Check to see if your cat is experiencing any noticeable hair loss, as this might point to Ringworm as the culprit for dandruff.

Feline Lymphoma

In rarer cases, dandruff can be a sign of something more serious going on with your cat, such as feline lymphoma. Due to the weakening of your cat's immune system, the skin can start to develop issues like dry skin, dandruff and other conditions. If nothing seems to help dandruff, it may be worth having a vet check for.

Cat Dandruff - Your Guide To Symptoms And Treatments | Innovet Pet


When it comes to dandruff, it can often be a good idea to consider any other changes in behavior or symptoms that you may be seeing in your cat. Depending on your cat's demeanor, something as small as moving around your furniture may trigger your cat's anxiety and dandruff.

One way to determine if this is the cause is to think about their behavior. Has a typically well-behaved cat begun to claw things up or have accidents? These can be clear signs that something is making your cat uncomfortable, on top of creating dandruff.


Over time, the elasticity in your cat's skin can wear down. This can also cause their skin to become drier than it used to be, and result in dandruff as well. If you have an older cat, it's important to consider a little extra care to ensure their comfort.


When a cat has gained too much weight, it can make it difficult for them to clean themselves completely. This can result in problems with their skin. Furthermore, cats with too much extra weight sustain health problems as they age, which can include diabetes and diabetes-related dandruff problems.


Even though they do have fur, cats can also experience problems with sunburn. This is particularly true in the areas around their eyelids, ears, noses and mouths. Just like the peeling of skin that can occur in people, cat skin can begin to flake due to sunburn and the dryness that comes with it.


In addition to feline lymphoma, dandruff can also be a sign of other illnesses like hyperthyroidism and diabetes. Generally, this is more likely to be the case with cats who are older, have extra weight or other conditions that may already effect their health adversely.


Parasites can also be a relatively common source of dandruff on cats. Creatures like lice, fleas and mites that have infested a cat will leave a lot of bites on the skin. As a result, cats can have allergic reactions which can include dry skin and dandruff. Cheyletiella mites can be especially troublesome.

Allergy To Food

If you've noticed dandruff on your cat after a recent food change, then it may be the result of an allergy. Think about when the dandruff started, and if a new food might have been the cause. If you notice that the two line up, you may consider switching back or trying another food option.


A healthy diet for your cat is key for keeping their skin healthy, as well as everything

else! Dandruff can be a sign that something is lacking in your pet's diet. It's especially important to make sure that your cat is getting plenty of omega 3s in their diet.

CBD Oil For Cats

Symptoms Of Cat Dandruff

There are a few things to look out for if you notice a few flakes in your cat's fur. Sometimes, the dandruff symptoms and other symptoms are combined, which can give you a better idea of what might be going on to cause the problem.

Cat Dandruff - Your Guide To Symptoms And Treatments | Innovet Pet

Patches Of Irritated, Red Skin

With typical dandruff, there may not be a lot of redness. However, sometimes you can see signs of dandruff that are more severe, like patches that are red and irritated. If you notice this kind of issue then it's going to be more important to find the cause, as scratching can lead to bleeding and infections.

Flaking Skin

This is the symptom that we all notice when it comes to dandruff. The presence of larger flakes in the fur can represent a number of different issues.

Scaly, Thick Skin

In some cases, you may find that in addition to dandruff, there are areas of skin that are thicker or even scaly. These are worth noting while you're looking for the cause of the problem.

Hair Loss

When dandruff gets too severe, then hair loss can accompany it. Look for patches of

thinning or bald skin on your cat. This can be very helpful in determining what might be troubling your cat.

Severe Cat Dandruff

When dandruff your cat is experiencing is severe, then it may be a symptom of mites rather than dry skin. Cheyletiella mites, or “walking dandruff” can create dandruff and mange in cats that is quite serious. If you think these mites might be causing the problem, it's best to get to a vet.

Treating Cat Dandruff

To get rid of cat dandruff most efficiently, it's best to have a good idea of what the cause may be. Naturally, a new shampoo won't be very helpful if it's being caused by a more serious issue or food-related allergy.

There are also other options that a vet may offer, depending on the cause. These might include topical or oral steroids, medicated shampoos, antihistamines, diet

changes or flea preventatives. Based on what's causing the problem, the vet will be able to determine the best solution for it.

Cat Dandruff - Your Guide To Symptoms And Treatments | Innovet Pet

Prevention Of Cat Dandruff

Once you've managed to clear away dandruff with a given treatment, then you'll want to prevent it from happening again in the future. Luckily, there are a variety of things you can do to avoid this issue reoccurring.


Cats may generally hate baths, but there can be some instances in which bathing on a regular basis can prove to be very helpful. The good news is that the bathing and grooming doesn't have to be a frequent thing, and usually shouldn't be as frequent baths can cause other skin problems. Using a natural shampoo designed to fight dandruff is a great choice.


In some cases, the environment may simply be too dry. Typically, you can notice this in the effects on your own skin too. A humidifier can be a great way to provide a little more humidity for both you and your feline friend.

General Health

Keep an eye on your cat's health overall. Making sure they are healthy, at a normal weight and getting plenty of exercises can be key to avoiding issues like dandruff, as well as worse problems.


There are plenty of lotions and oils that are created specifically for cats that can assist with keeping their skin from getting too dry.


Try to keep stress to a minimum for your cat. If you know that a stressor is coming up, like moving, guests or other things they may not enjoy, then try to slowly acclimate them to that before the actual event.


Make sure to provide plenty of clean water for your cat. Furthermore, try to keep them inside or at least in a cool place during the hotter months. This can go a long way towards keeping their skin healthy.


Brushing your cat regularly can be very helpful in keeping their fur and skin healthy. In some cases, a lime sulfur dip at a groomer can also be a useful option.

Natural Cat Dandruff Options

In addition to prevention, there are some natural ways to help both get rid of cat dandruff and prevent it. These are generally very safe and don't require a vet prescription.

Olive Oil/Coconut Oil

Cats and dogs alike need plenty of healthy fats in their diet. Consequently, adding olive oil or coconut oil into your cat's food can help to provide them enough fat and keep their skin and body healthy. Just make sure to talk to your vet about the correct dosages for each. For cat dandruff, olive oil and coconut oil can be very helpful!


A hearty diet with all the nutrients your cat needs will help to keep them healthy and their skin in good shape. It's a hugely important aspect for your pet overall.

Omega 3s

If you feel that your cat's food is lacking, you can choose to add an omega 3 supplement in order to give it a boost. This can often be one of the first things to try to help your cat with dandruff.

Cat Dandruff - Your Guide To Symptoms And Treatments | Innovet Pet

Comparing Cat And Dog Dandruff

Many pet owners can find that getting rid of dog dandruff can be much easier than cat dandruff, simply because most dogs don't hate baths. However, if you have both pets, or multiple cats then it's important to note whether it's only one animal experiencing dandruff, or all of them.


If your dog has dandruff, then it can also be worth looking into how to get rid of dog dandruff. Their causes and treatments might be a little different.

Finding The Best Supplement For Cats

For the most part, supplements that are key for cats are fatty acids. However, your vet can help to determine if they need any others, or a diet change altogether. There are

many options out there, so when your cat has dandruff, you're likely to have a way to get rid of it.

Cat Dandruff - Your Guide To Symptoms And Treatments | Innovet Pet

CBD For Cat Dandruff


CBD can be a great way to help your cat with dandruff as well as a variety of other issues. It's natural, safe and capable of improving their health in a lot of ways.

Cat Dandruff: The Bottom Line

Cats do get dandruff, just like people do! It's normal to want to provide the very best for your pet and keep them from feeling uncomfortable in any way. What's important to know is that in the vast majority of cases, cat dandruff isn't typically a sign of a large issue, though it can be in some cases.

Luckily, for most causes there are plenty of safe, helpful cat dandruff treatments that can leave them feeling much less dry and itchy. If you're unsure of how to treat cat dandruff, make sure to check with your vet! 


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