Can Cats Get Dandruff? Is It Okay To Just Brush It Off?

Updated on:
Some articles include affiliate links, and we may receive compensation when you make a purchase through these links.
Can Cats Get Dandruff

Can cats get dandruff? Find out below as we discuss the topic in full detail.

Getting dry, flaky skin is pretty common in humans, and the same goes for cats (and even your dog).

And just like in humans, cat dandruff is often just a minor condition with an easy fix (a fix that won’t usually require the intervention of your vet).

While there’s no need to hit the panic button, your cat’s flaky skin is still worth looking at. Cat dandruff can, at times, be caused by a severe underlying condition.

It can also make your cat feel itchy, uncomfortable, and even unwell. And, who wants that? 

So, don’t brush off your cat’s dandruff aside yet. Just sit tight and relax because Feline Living is here to give you all the nitty-gritty details about cats and dandruff – its causes, symptoms, treatment, and more.

Can Cats Get Dandruff? How To Know If Your Cat Has It

You know that you have dandruff when you notice white flakes on your scalp and shoulders. It’s almost the same for cats. 

Once you see flakes on your cat’s skin and coat, as well as your cat’s beddings, then you know for sure that your cat has dandruff. And when it comes to feline dandruff, it can either be dry flakes or oily flakes.

Cat Dander Vs. Dandruff

As mentioned, dandruff is a build-up of skin cells that clumps together and is visibly seen in your cat’s skin and fur.

Cat dander, on the other hand, are still skin cells, but these naturally fall off as your cat grows. One more significant difference is that dander is microscopic and is invisible to the naked eye. 

Pro Tip: Cat dander (plus your cat’s saliva and urine) is often the culprit behind cat allergies.  

Other Feline Dandruff Symptoms

Apart from the usual itchy and flaky cat’s skin, here are other dandruff symptoms you’d want to keep an eye on:

  • Frequent scratching
  • Incessant grooming
  • Inflamed skin
  • Hair loss 
  • Irregular bald, scaly patches
Can Cats Get Dandruff? Is It Okay To Just Brush It Off? 1

Common Causes Of Dandruff In Cats

Now that you know the difference between cat dander and dandruff, you’re probably wondering why your cat has dandruff.

And, as mentioned, the reasons behind your pet cat’s flaky skin can be as straightforward as lacking a few grooming sessions or as severe as having a life-threatening ailment like cancer. 

Of course, no one wants the latter. But, since knowledge is power and awareness is healing’s first step, here’s a rundown of all the possible causes of cat dandruff. 


Dry skin can also be caused by dehydration. Like many living organisms, cats need water to survive and keep their body – their skin and coat included – nourished.

Arid Condition

When the heater is amped up during winter, the dry air and lack of moisture can make your cat’s skin dry and flaky.

Poor Diet

If your cat’s diet lacks vitamins and minerals, expect your pet’s body (their skin and fur included) to respond negatively. 

To maintain healthy skin, cats need to eat food packed with quality, digestible protein as well as Vitamin A, Omega 3 fatty acids, and Omega 6 fatty acids. 

Grooming Problems

Your cat may also get dandruff because of its inability to groom properly. If your cat is obese or has arthritis, flakes can accumulate on hard-to-reach areas like your cat’s lower back or the base of its tail. 


Parasites, like mites, lice, and fleas, can be the reason behind your cat’s itching. Mold-like parasites like ringworm can also induce skin irritation, crusty skin, and dandruff.

Underlying Health Problems

Cat dandruff may also be a result of a mild or serious health condition. This includes food and environmental allergies, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and lymphoma. 

Can Cats Get Dandruff? Is It Okay To Just Brush It Off? 2

How To Treat Cat Dandruff

Yes, you could get rid of dandruff in cats (and your dog) without the help of a veterinarian. Still, it’s a good idea to let your vet know about your cat’s condition, especially if your cat’s dandruff happens frequently.

After all, dry skin can be caused by serious health problems or parasites. Treatment for both requires the medical expertise of your local veterinarian.

Ringworm-related dandruff, in particular, will require you to disinfect your pet’s surroundings since this is considered infectious. Your vet will also treat the hair of your pet dog or cat using topical therapy and oral treatment.

If your veterinarian rules out health issues as the cause of your pet cat’s dandruff or if your pet’s skin condition is just a one-time thing, then you could try out these simple treatments.

Of course, we still encourage you to talk to your vet and seek their expert advice.

Groom Your Cat Regularly

Yes, giving your cat a bath and brushing their fur or coat regularly helps. Apart from removing dandruff, brushing also helps distribute its natural oils evenly throughout its coat or fur and skin. 

Bathing, on the one hand, will help remove dandruff and relieve itching. Just make sure to use a specifically formulated pet shampoo since regular shampoo will only make the condition of your cat (or dog) worse.

Use A Humidifier

Since dry air can dry out the skin of your cat, make sure to keep the air in your pet’s space moist by using a humidifier. 

Keep Them Hydrated

A sure-fire way to treat dandruff is by keeping your cat hydrated. The amount of water they need depends on how much they weigh. So, if your cat is chubby, you’d have to give them more water.

Now, we know that cats are very picky when it comes to their water bowl. Often, they prefer running water. So, prepare to splurge a bit and consider buying a cat water fountain. Adding wet food to their meal is another way to quench their thirst.

Give High-quality, Healthy Food

Since your cat may get dandruff because of their food, replace it with something high in essential fatty acids and vitamins that will boost your feline friend’s skin health.

Make sure to choose a cat food brand made with natural, wholesome ingredients. You can also give your cat supplements like fish oil.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

A healthy diet and a healthy weight somehow go hand in hand. Since dandruff in cats is partly caused by obesity, if your cat is obese, consider withholding the treats and give them cat food that is specifically made to help manage their weight.

Can Cats Get Dandruff? Is It Okay To Just Brush It Off? 3

Final Thoughts

Cat dandruff exists. While it’s true that brushing it off (literally) can help remove the flakes and even moisten their skin by spreading their natural oils evenly, getting the professional advice of your vet is recommended. 

So, if you notice clumps of crusty skin in your cat’s fur, consider talking to your trusty veterinarian. After all, your vet is still the best person to speak to when it comes to your pet and their health.

Frequently Asked Questions

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

1123 E 47th St
Chicago, IL 60653

Phone: +1 (312) 555-3890 Protection Status

Follow us:

Disclaimer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.