Does your cat’s fur flakes any time you pet them? Is it constantly scratching away at an itch? If so, you're probably wondering what you can do to stop it. There's a good chance your cat has dry skin, especially if your cat has no fleas. So, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Felines with dry skin are more common in the winter months, but if that’s not your case, you might be even more confused. Let's take a look at what causes this problem along with some home remedies for dry skin on cats.
Does Your Cat Have Dry Skin?
Before finding out if your cat has dry skin, it’s best to understand what it is first. Dry skin, or cat dandruff, is a condition that affects the dermal health. Cats with dry skin are characterized by flaky, dryness, and itchiness. For reasons not yet known, dandruff in cats is relatively common.
Dandruff on cats will look a lot like human dandruff. It’s mostly dead or damaged skin scaling off, usually due to dryness. Although it’s a nuisance for cats, this disorder isn’t usually a serious issue.
However, it should not go ignored by cat owners. If a cat is scratching excessively, it can harm their skin and lead to further damage like open sores and skin infections.
Causes of Dry Skin on Cats
If your cat is continuously itchy, especially if they target the same area, it could be due to dry skin. When you go to pet your cat and notice a ton of dandruff, that’s another sign of dryness. Once you know what is causing your cat's skin to be dry you can make a plan of action to alleviate it. So, let’s go over some of the common causes of dry skin on cats.
One of the leading causes of dry skin on cats lies around their diet. According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, cats require food that is nutritionally balanced and has plenty of fatty acids. Quality cat food has fatty acids like omega 3, which help maintain healthy skin and coats.
Low-quality cat food or an overall poor diet can lead to itchiness and dandruff. If you’re unsure of what to look for in your cat’s food, discuss this with your veterinarian. They can direct you towards the optimal complete food choice.
It’s essential to keep in mind that any time you change your cat’s food, it can take up to a month to see any results. It’s also best to eliminate giving them any treats so you can better understand how they react to their new food.
Another cause of dryness might be because of an extreme loss of natural oils in the skin and overall loss of skin moisture.
Lack of hydration can cause a cat’s skin to reflect dryness immediately. Other things like dry air and sunburn can also cause cats to lose moisture in their skin quickly.
For some cats, their dry skin problems might be due to feline diabetes. Overweight cats have more trouble grooming certain areas of their body, which can cause dry spots on their skin.
Most people believe that cats are independent and carefree. For the most part, this is true but cats are prone to stress just like we are. Cats get anxiety and they can stress for a number of reasons and any form of stress can have negative effects on the body, skin, and coat. A cat suffering from stress may start to experience irritation, itchiness, inflammation, or dryness of the skin. Some of the most common causes of stress in cats are:
- A triggering of past traumatic experiences
- Aging of the brain/memory problems (dementia)
- A lack of socialization
- Chronic pain/arthritis
- Change in environment
- Separation anxiety
Environmental and food allergies in cats might be causing their dandruff. Whether it’s something new in their routine or newly introduced food, your cat’s immune system might not be reacting to it properly.
Feline dandruff might also occur because of certain parasites cats can get. Parasites include fleas, mites, intestinal worms, or ringworms. When fleas or mites bite your cat, it can trigger an allergic reaction on their skin. This can lead to excessive scratching and dandruff. Luckily there are several home remedies to get rid of fleas and other parasites if your cat has this problem.
Symptoms of Dry Skin on Cats
One of the more apparent signs your cat might have dry skin is continually itching and in the same area. If a cat scratches restlessly and targets the same area, it could indicate they have a dry patch of skin there. Sometimes the scratching can become so obsessive that it causes hair to become brittle or fall out.
Another symptom of cats with dry skin is dandruff or flakes on their fur. Some cats will over-groom themselves in efforts to alleviate their dry skin. Dandruff should not be mistaken for dander. Dander on cats is much smaller and happens as a natural skin shedding process. Dandruff is larger and is dry-looking, scaly skin.
White flakes of dandruff are usually noticeable on a cat’s coat. If you have a cat with longer fur, you might need to use a cat comb or brush to see any signs of dandruff. If you see any signs of irritation such as redness or inflammation of the skin, it may signify dryness as well.
Home Remedies for Dry Skin on Cats
Dry skin on cats is nothing to purr about. Luckily for cats, there are a variety of things you can do to get rid of this problem, such as:
Give Your Cat High-Quality Food
As we learned earlier, your cat needs a proper diet full of nutrition, vitamins, fatty acids, and adequate protein to sustain good health.
Use a Natural Moisturizer
Another cat dry skin remedy is to make use of a natural moisturizer. Naturally moisturizing agents, like coconut oil or CBD oil, may have the potential to soothe your cat’s dry spots. Look for moisturizing shampoos or topical applications to use on your precious feline. Natural shampoos with oatmeal or aloe vera can help soothe dryness and irritation.
Use an Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplement
Omega 3 supplements can also provide the natural moisture your cat needs. Omega 3s can help give your feline a thick and shiny coat.
Use Humidifiers to Protect Dry Skin on Cats
If you notice your cat constantly has itchy skin in drier weather, use humidifiers in your home to keep their skin from getting dry.
Promote a Stress-Free Environment
If you suspect your cat is under stress it may be the cause of its dryness. There are several things you can do to help relieve your felines tension. You may just need to spend some more quality time with your pet or incorporate more physical and mental stimulation by implementing some entertaining cat activities. There are also many types of calming CBD treats for cats, these treats are specifically created to promote relaxation.
Consult With Your Vet
This might not be a “home remedy” exactly, but it can help you determine how to best proceed and what solutions to use. If you suspect that your cat has an allergy, ask your vet for a test. They should be able to pinpoint the source of their allergies, so you can get started on a plan that works best for your cat’s dry skin. When in doubt, visit your veterinarian for the best advice.
Dry skin is a common concern for cat owners and their cats but most of the time it can be treated easily. So, if you love your cat, you should not let their dry skin go untreated. Home remedies for dry skin may help cats get relief, but what about preventing it from happening in the first place?
Preventing Dry Skin on Cats
Now that you better understand the causes and symptoms of your cat’s dry skin, it makes the whole problem easier to get rid of. The most common causes of dry skin include allergies, poor diet, dry weather, and parasites. The obvious thing here would be preventing all those from happening.
Being a proactive cat owner is probably the best method to eliminate all these, while also ensuring your cat is healthy all around. Monitoring your cat’s behavior and taking action can reduce a lot of their discomfort and further health issues.
Can CBD Oil Help Dry Skin on Cats?
You’ve probably heard of all the ways people are using CBD for themselves and their pets. Cannabinoids, like CBD, can interact with the endogenous endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short. Surprisingly, every mammal has an ECS, this includes us and our cats.
Since CBD is non-toxic and nonpsychoactive it’s no surprise several companies have begun creating pet-specific CBD products. As it’s risen in popularity, CBD has helped countless people and pets calm nervousness, tension, discomfort, and it may even help with certain skin problems.
Dry skin usually symbolizes that something is out of balance. CBD may promote homeostasis and possibly restore overall balance through interaction with the ECS. If you want to use CBD oil for cats for a CBD topical make sure you do not apply it to any open wounds.
One of the best ways to calm a cat's skin with CBD is to add some to your cat’s daily diet. Ingesting CBD will allow the cannabinoids to interact with the ECS. Research suggests that the ECS plays a major role in skin health. If your cat is prone to dryness, adding CBD to the diet may help to keep the skin supple.
As we discussed earlier, a natural home remedy for feline dandruff includes using a natural moisturizing agent. Since CBD oil acts as a natural moisturizer, it can help soothe your cat’s dry skin and reduce the chances of dandruff and long-term itchiness.
There are many cat dry skin remedies you can try at home. Simple things like improving their diet, making sure they are hydrated, and keeping their skin moisturized with CBD or other natural topicals can make all the difference for itchy cats. Although cat dandruff isn’t a concerning disorder, it shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re confused about the cause of your cat’s dry skin, consult with a holistic veterinarian for the best ways to eliminate their itchiness and flaky skin. We hope some of these home remedies help your cat if they have dry skin. You can find more home remedies for cats here.