Dry skin may be viewed as a trivial health issue that requires little attention. However, the state of a cat’s skin can tell you a lot about its overall well-being.
As the largest organ in the body, the skin is the easiest to observe; what appears there is usually a precursor to medical conditions.
Flaky skin could be an indication of health problems, but they’re often related to nutritional deficiencies or over-bathing.
Read on to find out the cause of your cat’s dry skin and learn how to treat it from certified veterinarians.
Cat Breeds That Are Prone to Having Dry Skin
In general, purebred cat breeds are more susceptible to skin conditions.
Examples of such breeds include
- Somali and more.
For more information, check out The International Cat Association’s official list of purebred cat breeds.
How to Prevent Dry Skin in Cats?
Cats require a well-balanced diet that contains protein and moderate amounts of fat to thrive.
Aside from keeping your cat well-nourished, you should also be ensuring that he’s drinking enough water. Dehydration can cause your cat to suffer from dry, flaky skin.
Furthermore, you can consider giving your cat dietary supplements that contain essential fatty acids like omega 3, 6, or 9.
These fatty acids help to moisturise your cat’s skin from inside out, reducing the likelihood of having dry skin.
Cats are excellent self-groomers. As such, avoid bathing your feline friend unless it’s truly necessary.
Excessive bathing can dry out your cat’s skin. If it’s really necessary, use a cat shampoo that’s gentle and moisturising instead.
While bathing your cat repetitively can be detrimental, regular brushing is beneficial.
“Brushing helps to boost circulation within the skin and distribute your cat’s natural oils. Because cats are prone to matting, this is particularly important to prevent their skin from becoming dry and flaky. It’s also a good way for you to check on the health of your pet’s fur coat and skin.”
– Dr. Megan Teiber, Veterinarian at Tuft + Paw
Staying away from hot, dry weather
Prolonged exposure to hot, dry weather can damage the skin of your cat resulting in dried-out skin and sunburn.
Keep your furry friend indoors when the sun is scorching hot.
Managing your cat’s lifestyle
Obese cats may find themselves struggling to reach certain parts of their bodies. They may face difficulties while grooming, resulting in the development of dry spots. To avoid this, keep your cat active to maintain its weight within a healthy range.
Also, paying regular visits to the vet is important. It allows health issues to be identified early when they’re easiest to treat.
This is especially important for older cats who are prone to potentially serious diseases that can lead to dry skin.
Symptoms of Dry Cat Skin
The appearance of dandruff-like flakes is a tell-tale sign of dry skin.
“The nose, back, ears, and base of the tail are some of the more common areas where a cat can develop dry skin.”
– Dr. Adam Christman, DVM and Co-Chief of Staff at Brick Town Veterinary Hospital
You might also want to look out for other symptoms such as
- Excessive grooming
- Incessant scratching
- Fur loss or bald patches
- Ulcers on the skin
- Crusty skin or scabs
- Bald spots
If your feline friend is displaying multiple symptoms, you may be dealing with something more severe than just dry skin.
In such situations, you should contact your vet as soon as possible.
Causes: Why Does My Cat Have Dry Skin?
Dry skin problems are commonly caused by malnutrition and an unbalanced diet. When felines don’t consume nutrients in the right proportions, their skin dry out as a result.
Shampooing is necessary for certain situations and brings about numerous benefits. However, it can also remove natural oils from your feline friend’s fur coat.
Aside from that, the skin doesn’t have time to recover its ideal balance when baths are scheduled too frequently; this results in flaking and eventual fur loss.
Certain diseases can throw your cat’s system out of balance, affecting its health and skin.
Heart disease, for instance, leads to poor blood circulation. Because, the amount of oxygen delivered to your cat’s skin is limited, the skin will begin to flake.
According to Hill’s, cats may develop adverse reactions to a range of allergens such as environmental pollutants or inhalants. The results of these allergies are usually revealed in your cat’s skin.
What to Do When My Cat Has Dry Skin?
Best Home Remedies for Cat Dry Skin
Wrap your cat in a hot towel
The warmth from the hot towel can help soothe your cat’s dried-out skin, leaving it feeling refreshed.
Simply approach your cat when it’s in a calm, approachable mood and drape the hot towel over the dried-out areas. Keep the towel in place and let it sit for around five minutes before removing it.
Cats are not particularly fond of water; thus, it is important to wring the towel until it isn’t dripping wet before placing it on your pet.
Coconut oil or pure aloe vera
As advised by Pet Lovers Centre’s Pet Care Consultant, applying coconut oil or pure aloe vera sparingly on your cat will do the trick.
Brush your cat gently
Brushing your pet occasionally with a cat brush can help to remove dead skin flakes and spread its natural skin oils.
Be sure to be gentle and avoid applying too much pressure. You should also take extra care to stroke in the direction of its fur.
Stop immediately if you notice your cat begin to show signs of pain or irritated skin.
Best Products for Cat Dry Skin
Fatty acids such as Omega-3 are part of the cellular building blocks that make up your feline friend’s fur.
According to Fish4Dogs, EPA found in fish oil is one of the most useful types of Omega-3 fatty acids. It helps to ease inflammation that may occur as a result of allergies. Furthermore, it aids in reducing itchy skin and the presence of dandruff.
The addition of healthy oil supplements to your cat’s diet may just help to eliminate skin problems and improve its coat.
Chemical ingredients found in grooming products and shampoos can strip natural oils away from your cat’s fur coat and dry its skin. To address this issue, opt for hypoallergenic shampoos formulated for cats instead.
Ensure that you give your cat a thorough rinse as excess shampoo may further aggravate the problem.
Frequently asked questions
How to tell if my cat has fleas or dry skin?
The symptoms of flea infestations and skin conditions can often be interrelated and are commonly mistaken for each other.
According to Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM and Veterinary Consultant for doglab:
“If your cat has, fleas, you can usually see them crawling around on the skin. Part the fur around the lower back or face and you’ll see them moving around.
If you see white flakes, this is dandruff and it means that your cat has dry skin.”
PLC’s Pet Care Consultant says, “Fleas are parasite that’s very visible to the naked eye, you may also find flea dirt, which is dried blood that you may find on the skin of your cat.”
Other symptoms can include behavioural changes like maniac chewing or excessive grooming.
If your cat is not responding to flea treatment, an examination by a veterinarian is necessary to ascertain the reasons for the persistent itching.
What other diseases may lead to dry skin?
Skin infections (bacterial or fungal) can also cause flaking, as can parasites like fleas, ticks, lice, and mites.
“There’s even a specific type of mite (Cheyletiella) that causes a condition in cats that goes by the name “walking dandruff”. Speak to your veterinarian if your cat has persistent dry skin, particularly if it’s accompanied by any other symptoms.”
– Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM and Advisory Board Member of Cat Life Today