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Cat Dandruff

Why Dandruff Occurs In Cats

Dandruff is the excessive shedding of the top layer of skin (dander), a natural process that can be exacerbated under the right conditions. Rather than a condition unto itself, dandruff tends to be a symptom of underlying causes, ranging from nutrient deficiency to contact with harmful substances.
Some of the most common causes for dandruff in cats include:

  • allergies
  • diabetes
  • seborrhea
  • hyperthyroidism
  • insufficient fatty acid intake
  • vitamin deficiency
  • hormone imbalance
  • soap residue
  • dry climate
  • contact with chemicals or direct heat sources


Walking Mite Under Microscope

Some mites may appear as dandruff at first glance, particularly the Cheyletiellosis mite, also known as the “walking mite”. These are large light-coloured parasites that tend to live on the back in a cat’s coat. According to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, instances of finding these mites may be on the rise as they are not affected by regular flea & parasite treatments.

Where To Start

Many people can have severe allergic reactions to cat dander so maintaining healthy skin and coat is beneficial for both pet and owner.

There are other reasons why a cat might develop a dandruff problem as well and knowing which underlying cause or causes is at play can be difficult to ascertain. Your veterinarian can help to diagnose what cause(s) is the culprit and which course of treatment is best suited to your pet, beit nutritional supplements, improved diet, shampoos or parasite treatments. A visit to the veterinarian will get both you and your pet on the right track.