Why Does My Cat Have Dandruff?

How did you first realize that your cat has dandruff? As you try and remember, the first time I discovered my cat has dandruff problem was after I came back from home. I was tired and threw my dead bit body on the couch. My cat came and sat on my lap and we cuddled. I absentmindedly started scratching her head only to notice moments later that my fingers were covered with white flakes. I was in shock and the first question that popped into my head was; why does my cat have dandruff?

The next thing I remember is me going into a full-blown panic mode. But before you do, realize that it is normal. Just like some humans have dandruff, cats also have dandruff. Read this piece to the end and find out the answer to why does my cat have dandruff, the underlying causes and learn how to get rid of your cat’s dandruff before the situation gets out of hand.

Why Does My Cat Have Flaky Skin?

So why does my cat have dandruff and flaky skin? To some cat parents, this may be weird or even funny. But yes, just like humans, cats also get dandruff. An itchy and dry scalp and skin can easily lead to your cat littering flakes all over the house, on our bed, floor, tables and furniture. Truth be told, this is unsightly and out rightly embarrassing especially when you have friends over. But do not worry, the condition is treatable. After all, it is far much common that you would think.

Now most cat parents mistake dandruff for dander. Do not be one of those who make the same mistake. Yes there are some blogs that make them seem as though they are one and the same, but they are not.  Just like human dandruff, cat dandruff resembles small flakes from the scalp and not her body.

This tends to happen because cat’s skin renew all so often. The renewal happens by shedding off the dry top layers which pave way for the moisturized new skin. As a cat parent, you already are aware of the fact that cats go through a period of shedding fur. Well, dandruff shedding happens around the same time.

Having a few bits of dandruff once in a while is normal for a cat. Just like it is normal to have your cat shed some fur. But when the shedding passes a certain threshold, you should take this as a hint to a deeper much serious problem.

If your cat has bright fur, you might not easily observe dandruff like you would if your cat had dark fur. The colour contrast plays a big role in dandruff visibility. However, the million dollar question is what causes the dandruff.

What is the Cause of Cat Dandruff?


At the very top of the list of factors that cause dandruff are environmental factors. More and more cats today are being kept as pets. As a matter of fact, if you are like me, you consider your cat as a member of the family. As such, very few cats are allowed to roam free outdoors like cats used to in the 20th century.


Most modern cats spend most of their time is plush cages with personalized pet collars and soft cat mats. Some even have hammocksd houses like the Furry Cat House and the Luxury Cat Hammock. Do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong in treating your cat better than others do and not having them chase mice all day. However, your cat needs to remain active for health purposes.

Think about it; being inactive causes lot of health issues. In cats, inactiveness could lead to development of dandruff.

Inactivity could also cause your cat to become fat and overweight. It can no longer reach parts of its body and give itself a good grooming.  The extra weight may also be as a result of too many servings of high calorie cat foods without exercising.

Being Lazy

While allowing your cat to run around the house, go outside, play with toys, and generally get all dirty will not do anything to raise its self-esteem, it will help with the weight issue.  As the excess fat melts, your cat will find it easier to lick itself and do some thorough grooming. This will not only help with the dandruff but some major health problems that come with being overweight.

Lack of Grooming

The number one cause of dandruff is a lack of proper grooming. However, when the condition persists, then it is time to take your cat to a vet for a series of tests. What may seem like a simple dandruff problem may actually be a sign that you are dealing with more serious problems including:


Yes, cats tend to develop diabetes too. The good thing is that there are foods for cats with diabetes. Diabetes may be triggered by feeding your cat on the wrong diet or by age. Inactivity can also cause diabetes in cats.


This is a condition where the metabolism of a cat is hyperactive. It tends to occur when your cat’s thyroid gland begins to secrete hormones in excess.


This is a skin condition that is usually characterized by the body’s production of oil in excess.


This is really just a skin problem that is caused by parasites.

Contact Cermatitis

There are times cats tend to be allergic to some soap, perfume and cream that you may be rubbing on its fur and skin. So before you try anything else, consider changing the cream and perfume that you use on your cat

Other causes of dandruff include dry weather, reduced humidity, sun burn or sun damage.

How Do I Get Rid of Dandruff on a Cat?

The reason you ask why does my cat have dandruff is so that you can know how to best deal with it right? Well, in this section we shall go through some of the best dandruff cures there is.

First and foremost, note that dandruff commonly affects the cats head, back and tail base. These parts of the body tend to have bits of flaky and dry skin which cause itchiness and discomfort to your cat. Other symptoms of cat dandruff include scaly patches, greasy skin and fur that looks really bad.

To get rid of the dandruff on your cat, you should be prepared to do a lot more than just use cat dandruff shampoo or apply creams to help the situation. Taking your cat to a vet, a series of tests might be run. Your vet will ask questions like how long the dandruff situation has been going on, what you feed your cat and if your cat is getting enough exercise. Now, if you are like me, you might think some of these questions will make you look like a bad cat parent. Nonetheless, you should ensure you answer truthfully; your cat’s health depends on it.

Depending on the results of the tests run, your cat may be put on a specific diet or you may be asked to purchase humidifiers to keep your cat’s skin from drying. All this is in addition to getting dandruff creams and shampoos.

Other solutions are natural remedies (though these are for mild dandruff conditions) which include grooming your cat with a cat comb on a daily basis to rid the skin of the dandruff and replacing dry food with wet cat food.

Bottom Line

With all that said, remember that cat dandruff can escalate into a serious disorder. It does not start out as such but you should treat it as such if you need to get it under control. Be sure to follow the instructions and you will be great to go.

Rebecca Welters

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington.

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