It’s easy to think of dandruff — or flaky and itchy skin — as a uniquely human problem. Unfortunately, that’s far from the truth.
Our pets can also experience dandruff, and cats seem to be especially prone. Dandruff is unsightly, and more severe cases can also cause significant discomfort.
If you notice that your cat has itchy and flaky skin, here’s some practical advice for making the problem go away.
Dandruff? Why See a Vet for That?
While dandruff isn’t all that serious, some more significant conditions can look like dandruff.
Cheyletiellosis, for example, is a form of mange caused by the Cheyletiella mite. Just like dandruff, this condition causes flaky skin.
However, unlike dandruff, treatment for Cheyletiellosis will require a course of anti-parasitic medication. Other factors may also be at play, including hormonal imbalance or allergies.
So, first thing’s first! If you notice that your cat buddy has flaky or uncomfortably itchy skin, play it safe and set up an appointment with your vet to rule out those trickier to treat problems.
3 Simple Ways to Tackle Feline Dandruff
Let’s assume you’ve seen your vet, and you know your cat’s problem is a regular case of dandruff. What can you do to help?
1. Make sure your cat is eating right
Much like humans, if a cat’s diet isn’t what it should be, the condition of its skin will suffer.
Lean fats and a well-balanced intake of vitamins and minerals are all vital ingredients for a cat’s glossy coat and supple skin.
Easing back on the human treats (remember, give treats in moderation!), and augmenting your cat’s diet with a skin focused supplement is a great first steps in getting rid of those pesky skin flakes.
2. A bit of pampering may be in order
Step two is to set up a spa day for your feline friend.
Yep, it’s time for a gentle bath and brushing. Now, we fully acknowledge this is going to be a tricky one for some cats and pure delight for others. It’s just a weird quirk of cat-kind that some of them love this kind of attention, while others will run and hide the moment they see a grooming brush.
Take it slow.
A clean cat (much like Rome) may not happen in a single day!
PetMD is an excellent resource you can use to learn the right way to groom a cat. Also, do yourself and your furry companion a favor by investing in a quality grooming brush.
And remember, for more severe cases, you can always talk to your vet about adding some medicated dandruff shampoo to the mix.
3. Pay attention to climate
If your cat spends time outdoors, prolonged exposure to dry climates can also be a factor here.
Of course, hot and dry conditions play havoc with any creature’s skin, but don’t lose sight of the impact of a particularly harsh Winter.
Just as many humans need to double down on the moisturizer to combat dry skin in the colder months, many cats experience dry skin at these times too.
Avoiding temperature extremes with a few indoor days may bring your cat some much-needed skin relief.
Put an End to Itchy, Flaky Skin!
For cats and humans alike, dandruff is one of life’s enduring annoyances.
But there’s no reason we, or our bewhiskered traveling companions, should put up with it.
The right diet, a bit of skincare, and some environmental tweaks can make a world of difference.
Mark is an avid animal lover, with a long history of caring for critters of a cattish persuasion, particular those facing a few extra life challenges. Right now, he's busy taking care of three over-energetic bengals (Sock monkey, Twister and Slinky) along with a scrappy orange ex-stray named Nerf.
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