Cat Dandruff: Causes & Treatment

Cat Dandruff: Causes & Treatment

Author WCF Staff


Cats are amazing, and one of our favorite things about them is their grooming. Cats love to groom themselves, and they are one of the cleanest pets you can have. However, some cats can have skin issues, which might cause cat dandruff. If you noticed your cat has dandruff and you’re worried about their skin and overall health, here are a few things you should know about cat dandruff, its causes, and how to handle it.

What is cat dandruff?

The easiest way to describe cat dandruff is - flakes on the skin. However, if you want to know why your cat has dandruff, the whole story becomes a lot more complicated. The first thing cat owners need to know is that dandruff and dander are not the same thing. Dander is natural and healthy. It is the normal shedding of the skin cells. Skin cells are constantly renewing, and once they die to make room for new ones, they should fall off. However, dandruff is not the same thing. These skin flakes can appear for various reasons. You and your vet should understand the underlying reason that causes it.

What causes cat dandruff?

Dandruff can appear for various reasons. The more common type of cat dandruff happens because the cat has dry skin. Here are some of the most common reasons your cat might get dandruff;

Low-quality food

One of the most common reasons that affect the cat’s skin health is a low-quality diet. Good cat foods should contain plenty of vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, and fats. All of these things are crucial for a cat’s health, which includes the cat’s skin.

cat licking paw


Cats can be allergic to specific things in their diet or environment. Some animal proteins, pollen, cleaning products, or air fresheners might cause your cat’s allergies, resulting in cat dandruff. Make sure your cat isn’t allergic to something in your home.

Grooming problems

Cats groom themselves - a lot. However, if they cannot reach a part of their body, like the base of their tails, or their lower back, cat dandruff might appear. This is a common issue with overweight cats.


Cats need a lot of water, and if they don’t get it, they might get dehydrated. If the cat gets dehydrated, its skin will become dry and flaky. That means the cat will get dandruff. The owner needs to make sure the cat is properly hydrated. Another common issue that causes this problem is an overheated home during winters.

Underlying health issue

Another possible reason cats can get dandruff is an underlying health issue. In fact, dry and flaky skin is a symptom of many different health issues. If you notice your cat has dandruff, it would be best to talk to your vet.

cat yawning

FUN FACT: Many believe that people who are allergic to cats are actually allergic to cat dandruff or dander. However, that is a misconception. The most potent allergen is the cat’s saliva. It gets transferred to the cat’s coat when the cat grooms itself.

How can I get rid of cat dandruff?

The best way to get rid of cat dandruff is to learn the exact reason the cat got it. If the reason is a health problem, the best way to get rid of cat dandruff is by resolving the condition causing it. However, only a vet can determine that and tell you the best treatment for your cat’s case.

If the vet ruled out health conditions as a possible cause, there are different things cat owners can do to treat dandruff. Here are some of the things that might work;

Diet change

One of the things cat owners can do is adapt the cat’s diet. You might have to pick a high-quality cat food that will provide better ingredients to your cat. Those ingredients will make sure the cat’s skin and coat are healthy.


Some cats need a bit of help to groom themselves. You can get rid of cat dandruff by grooming the cat. Make sure the brush goes in the same direction as the hair. Gently de-matt the cat’s coat and remove any tangles you might notice. That might get rid of dandruff.

Weight control

Some cats might have weight issues. Obesity is not healthy, and while the cat might look adorable with a few extra pounds, that is one of the worst things for their health. Dandruff might go away if the owner helps the cat lose a few pounds.


We mentioned earlier that dehydrated cats might develop dry skin. Cat owners need to make sure their cats are properly hydrated. If you have floor heating, maybe turn it down a bit. Try including a cat fountain or wet cat food. Wet foods contain moisture that will hydrate the cat.

Special shampoo

There are specialized cat shampoos that will keep the cat’s skin healthy and soothe any irritations or itching. Never use human shampoos on cats. They might make the problem worse.


Another way you can make sure your cat’s skin and coat are healthy is by making sure the air in your home is humid enough. Different humidifiers, like the MistAire, might keep the conditions perfect for your cat’s skin health.

World Cat Finder Team

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