My cat has dandruff and black specks in his fur

Updated February 21, 2017

Cats, like other pets, may develop skin conditions that cause flakes or black specks. Cats often develop dry, flaky skin which can appear as dandruff in their fur. This may occur seasonally as the air becomes drier during the winter months. Cats may also have black specks in their fur, which are usually a sign of fleas. Both of these conditions may be easily treated at home.

Causes of Dry Skin

Dry skin on cats often occurs on their lower back or near the base of their tale, notes the website Cat Channel. Dry air and a poor diet are both causes of dry skin in cats. In addition, cats that are overweight are sometimes unable to groom themselves properly, resulting in dry skin. A cat with dry skin may have a skin condition known as Cheyletiella. If your cat's dry skin and flakes persist, take it to the veterinarian.

Treating Dry Skin

Many pet shampoos are designed to treat dry skin and require that your cat soaks in the shampoo for several minutes to work. Brushing your cat often will remove itchy dead skin and help stimulate the natural oils in your cat's skin. Use a humidifier in your home to add moisture to dry air. Many cat foods contain omega-3 fatty acids that will eliminate dry skin; in addition omega-3 supplements are available from pet stores or your veterinarian.

Black Specks

Cats groom themselves so frequently that you may not notice fleas on their fur or skin. Instead, you might notice small black specks that appear like dirt. These black specks are actually flea faeces, notes the website Cat Channel. To test, gather a few of the specks in a tissue and add a drop of water; if the specks turn red like blood, they are flea droppings. These droppings are probably also present in your cat's bedding. Other signs of fleas include excessive scratching and grooming.

Removing Fleas

Fleas are bothersome for both pets and their owners, but are also relatively simple to remove. Many effective flea medications can be placed between your cat's shoulder blades once a month to kill and prevent fleas. These medications are available from your veterinarian or pet stores. You might also choose an alternative over-the-counter medication or flea shampoo.

You will also have to remove fleas from your cat's environment. Vacuum all carpeted flooring and upholstered furniture in your home. Empty the contents of your vacuum into a plastic bag and seal it tightly, then immediately place it outside. Wash in hot water all clothing and bedding your cat has come into contact with.

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About the Author

Based in the southeastern United States, Annabelle Brown began writing in 2000. She specializes in health, nutrition, education and pets. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Virginia Tech and is pursuing a Master of Science in English from Radford University and a Master of Education at Wright State University.