How to help cat dandruff?
September 2, 2008 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Cat dandruff: miracle solution?

Our short-haired cat has dandruff all of a sudden.

Googling says that it may be caused by fleas, but we don't see any on our dog or either of our 2 cats. (We did an extra dose of flea meds just in case though).

It may also be caused by stress, which is entirely possible as we just returned from an extended (6 months just me and 3 months both of us) stay abroad and we had a housesitter who brought another dog into the house and kitty was not happy about this. Housesitter says "I never saw her." But since we've been back, she's been out and about sitting with us at all time. She was peeing on the rug too, which has stopped since we returned. We have 2 Feliaway diffusers running though. And I've added olive oil to her wet food (another Google suggestion).

I've brushed her out 3 times with the Furminator and the hair just keeps on coming. I haven't given her a bath because, well, I never have had to do so before and I think that she would hate it. Also Google says that dandruff can come from too many baths.

Any other ideas?
posted by k8t to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sorry to ask gross cat questions - is it white? What does it look like? When you comb her is there anything else on the comb? When she sleeps is there anything else left behind on the patch?

The weeing on the rug may just be the fact she's mad at you for leaving her. Cats do impressively sulk. I am no vet though... to be clear.
posted by Augenblick at 9:20 AM on September 2, 2008

Sounds like an allergy to something. Have you put flea powder or collar on her recently? Are you feeding her commercial food - kibble and can supermarket grade?
posted by watercarrier at 9:21 AM on September 2, 2008

Have you seen her grooming at all? Check out her teeth. My cat had terrible dandruff. The vet found she had some dental problems. It prevented her from grooming properly, and thus dandruff was born. After some of her teeth were removed, her coat has been beautiful.
posted by hooray at 9:31 AM on September 2, 2008

Response by poster: The dandruff is white. I can't see any in the comb (she is grey and white colored). Usually after a brush she is fine until a few hours later when there is more dandruff. The dandruff is located on her back mainly. It looks like human dandruff. I don't see anything left behind after she sleeps.

No new food, new meds, etc. The cats get Iams 'normal' orange dry food. This cat gets a spoonful of Trader Joe's wet food daily as well that I mush some L-Lysine into due to some problems with UTIs in the past. This has been her diet for years.

I will check her teeth - great idea!

She is 8 years old, by the way.
posted by k8t at 9:45 AM on September 2, 2008

Maybe she has dry skin? My cat was shedding skin flakes, but giving him an EFA fish oil supplement seemed to help.
posted by ottereroticist at 10:05 AM on September 2, 2008

Best answer: It sounds as if she gave up on her personal grooming schedule, due to the dog that the pet sitter brought in and also your absence. Similarly, the peeing is probably due to stress, not sulking. I don't think you need to bath her and it doesn't sound like an allergy. Keep up with the Feliway, it's good stuff but may not have been enough to reassure her against an invading dog.

I'd just use a reasonably soft bristle brush on her and groom her every day, just for ten to fifteen minutes. Leave the furminator alone for a while, they can pull out more undercoat than is necessary and can be very rough on the skin making dandruff appear worse. Furminators can't be used on the lower legs either or the head. The daily, softer grooming will help to reassure her and re-establish her bond with you which will reduce her levels of stress and get her back to looking after herself.

You mention the dandruff is mainly on her back. If she's a fat cat, she may have trouble reaching all the way to her back to groom. Checking out her teeth is a good idea too.

Forget Olive oil. Give her some oily (unsmoked) fish (tinned mackeral/sardines etc) two to three times a week to eat. If she doesn't like it, try giving her an omega oil supplement with her usual wet food. Introduce it to her food slowly, gradulaly building up to the recommended daily dose. Buy it from the vet, not the pet store as many supplements sold in pet stores are often questionable as to active ingredients and quality. You should see a big improvement within one month.

Good luck!
posted by Arqa at 11:53 AM on September 2, 2008

Maybe try a supplement like Dermcaps instead of the olive oil. If it's caused by stress, of course, you might find it clears up anyhow now that you're back and there's a normal schedule again in the house.
posted by aught at 1:31 PM on September 2, 2008

my mom started giving her cat a teaspoonful of plain organic yogurt and that cleared up the dandruff. I think her cat was reacting to the dry air or something. Anyway, dandruff never came back and it made her coat smooth and silky. Plus, she really liked the yogurt.
posted by wannaknow at 1:34 PM on September 2, 2008

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