Cat dandruff is a condition that affects the skin of a feline. Dandruff appears as white, flaky matter on its fur. Often the flaky subtance will come off when the cat shakes or scratches itself. Dandruff is dead, damaged skin that flakes and falls off. The condition of cat dandruff is almost identical to that in humans. It can be caused by mange, fleas, allergies, poor living conditions or general dry skin. Treating dandruff is easy once you know what causes it.
Fleas or Mange
If your cat has dandruff because of fleas or mange, it will also have signs of those conditions. You will be able to see the fleas on its skin, and it will itch more with fleas than with regular dandruff. Mange is easy to spot because it includes sections of red, scaly skin, hair falling out, and massive fur and skin abrasions. If your cat's dandruff is accompanied by these conditions, you first must use medication to treat for fleas or mange. Once those conditions are solved, clean your cat's skin and fur with a gentle but complete bath. Comb its fur as it dries. Continue to apply skin and fur moisteners and to brush your cat daily until all signs of the dandruff have disappeared.
If your cat's dandruff is caused by allergies, you will notice a difference in its dandruff from season to season. In the spring and fall, it might be worse. The dandruff will be accompanied by itching and other signs, like sneezing or runny eyes, just like in humans. Your vet should prescribe a suitable antihistimine for your cat. Give your cat the medicine as prescribed, and you should see a marked change in the dandruff.
Some cats have psoriasis, which is a dry skin condition found in many mammals, including humans. Psoriasis causes dead, dying skin to flake off of your cat's body and get caught in its hair. Your vet can prescribe medication for psoriasis, but the best way for you to help your cat is to provide it with a good diet and a healthy living situation. Psoriasis, like allergies, often responds to a vet-recommended food change, so ask your vet about healthy foods for your cat.
Dandruff might also be caused by poor living conditions. Street and feral cats often end up with skin conditions because they aren't eating the correct diet, drinking clean water or habitating a clean place in which to take care of themselves. Moving a cat to a healthy environment, providing it with the right food and clean water, and grooming it daily will generally clear up any dandruff, as long as there is no underlying condition that needs to be treated.