Why Does My Cat Have Dandruff?

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Just like humans, cats have sebaceous glands in their skin. These glands produce oils that help in the protection and nourishment of the skin. If these glands start overproduction of oil, dandruff is produced. 

Dandruff is a common skin problem in cats. It is easier to notice if your cat has a darker coloring. It can lead to problems such as flakiness and over shedding. 

cat being brushed

You can check the presence of dandruff by noticing white specks in the fur. These specks are easily seen on your cat’s bedding and your clothes when playing with your cat. Skin looks drier than normal and you may notice inflammation at some sites. 

Cats groom themselves regularly but if you notice that your cat is grooming herself more frequently than normal, this can be due to dandruff. General hair loss and some bald patches are also signs of dandruff in cats. 

In this article, we are going to talk about different signs, causes of dandruff, and its treatment in cats. 

Signs of Dandruff in Cats 

cat grooming with dandruff

Following are some common signs of dandruff in cats 

  • More frequent grooming than normal 
  • Hair loss in patches or general hair loss 
  • Redness of skin 
  • Itching 

Causes of Dandruff in Cats

There are multiple reasons for why your cat might have developed dandruff. Below you’ll find the most common. 

Ringworm infection 

Dandruff can be a sign of ringworm infection in your cat. Ringworm is a fungal infection that can result from fungal spores. These spores enter the cat’s body through a bite or a scratch. Other signs of ringworm infection in cats include weak and brittle hair, hairless patches that may be reddish in color on the cat’s skin. 

If you notice these signs in your cat, you should consult your veterinarian. Ringworm and fungal infection is treatable with a fungal spray and you should contact your veterinarian in the earliest so that it does not spread to other cats. 


cat eating

Cats need protein to renew their skin cells. Almost 30% of all dietary protein is spent on nourishing the skin. So, cats need high-quality easily digestible proteins in their feed to maintain healthy skin. 

Apart from the protein, the diet should include fatty acids. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids play an important role in maintaining the normal functioning of the body. These are essential acids i.e. they are not synthesized by the body and need to be taken through the feed. 

Similarly, some vitamins play an important role in maintaining skin health and regulating cell growth. If your cat has a dandruff problem, you should discuss its diet with your veterinarian. It can result from certain deficiencies in the diet.

» Try a raw cat food diet to improve your cat’s skin health. 


The environment can be a contributing factor if your cat is suffering from dandruff, especially if your cat has allergies. A study has shown that cats living in drier environments are more likely to develop dandruff. 

This is due to the body’s skin health regulating mechanism. Cats produce more oils in a dry environment which can result in dandruff. 


cat being washed

Cats grooming and bathing routine can be a factor to consider if your cat is suffering from dandruff. Excessive grooming is a common problem in indoor cats. Care should be taken in the selection of products for your cat especially the ones used in bathing. 

Cats have sensitive skin and the use of a shampoo that’s not recommended by the vet can cause irritation. Always use products that are recommended by your veterinarian. 

Some other causes of dandruff in cats are listed below.

  • Persistent dehydration 
  • Diabetes 
  • Hyperthyroidism 
  • Allergy 

Treatment of dandruff in cats 

cat at vet

If you notice signs of dandruff in your cat, you should consult your veterinarian for treatment. 

The first step in the treatment of dandruff is diagnosing the cause. If it is due to ringworm infection, the infected hair should be clipped and any spores, if present, should be removed. You should disinfect your cat’s environment and eliminate all the spores. 

Feeding a well-balanced diet is vital for the normal skin of your cat. As mentioned earlier, deficiency of proteins, lipids, and vitamins can lead to rough skin and dandruff. This can be avoided if the cat is fed high-protein, easily digestible food. 

Below are some tips to maintain a good coat of your cat and prevent dandruff. 

cat being brushed
  • Brush your cat daily. This will help in maintaining a good coat. 
  • Fresh clean drinking water should be available at all times. 
  • You can set up a humidifier in your cat’s room to add moisture to the air. 
  • Use an anti-dandruff shampoo for your cat and make sure it is washed out entirely after the bath. 


Dandruff can result from various reasons in a cat. It is quite irritating for the cat and can be a sign of some serious underlying condition. Maintain a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of water for your cat. If you notice that your cat has dandruff, you should consult your veterinarian. 

Dandruff can be treated easily if the treatment is started timely. Delay in treatment can lead to the spread of dandruff in other pets as well.

cat being brushed

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