Since I was a kid, my friends have called me a predictor because I can predict the change in seasons.
I am not a predictor or a magician; it’s just that as the change in a season approaches, before the temperature even changes or the effects of a new season can be felt, my skin starts to change.
For example, when winter approaches, my skin turns dry, no chapstick is enough for my lips, and I’m constantly scratching my head due to dandruff. Even cats have fur, so does that make them vulnerable to dandruff in winter?
Yes, cats can also get dandruff in colder moths and they have similar symptoms to that of humans. Itching and scratching are also common behavior when cats have dandruff.
So does that mean it is harmless, or is it a sign of bigger underlying issues? Let us go over this in-depth to find out.
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Does Cat’s Skin Get Dry In Winter?
Yes, cats’ skin can get dry in winter. They also face issues like dandruff due to dry skin accompanied by mild itching.
The cold weather is accompanied by dry winds, and these winds are known to suck the moisture of the air right out and even evaporate the moisture from our bodies; the same happens with cats and other small animals.
This dry skin causes redness, itching, and dandruff in cats. But usually, cats take care of their grooming activities by themselves.
They are also very active in doing so when they are not able to do so, they face issues associated with dry skin.
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Do Cats Get Dandruff In The Winter?
Yes, cats get dandruff in winter due to the dry weather and low humidity, which leave their skin dry and cause dandruff.
Another reason that they may get affected by this skin condition is the lack of proper grooming.
There are a few physical conditions, like obesity, that holds them back from grooming themselves properly.
Grooming for cats does not only include them licking their skin, this action ensures good circulation throughout and helps keep their skin healthy. If they cannot do that, they are more prone to such skin problems.
“Cats are amongst the best groomers in the animal species. So the fact, that they can get dandruff is a little stifling. This happens when they are not able to groom themselves.”
Lori Teller, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, shares with pet owners the diverse causes of this condition and how to treat dandruff in a feline friend.
“The causes of dandruff in cats can range from relatively simple, such as obesity that limits a cat’s ability to groom, allergies, or the build-up of the undercoat, to more serious issues such as fleas or a skin infection, to very serious issues such as cancers like cutaneous lymphoma,” Teller said.
“There is also a condition called ‘walking dandruff’ that is caused by the Cheyletiella mite. This mite is usually prevented by flea control products.”Lori Teller, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Interesting Read: Can Cats Get Fleas In The Winter?
Allergies are also considered to leave your cat itchy. Intense itching could make the layer of dead skin fall off.
This would give you the guise of dandruff. It does not help that when cats have dandruff, it is also accompanied by itchiness.
Walking mite is also a disease that looks similar to dandruff and could be fatal if not ruled out. They are like fleas that need to be treated differently than dandruff.
Before trying to find a remedy for the issue, try to find the underlying reason for the issue and try to identify the issues correctly by consulting your vet instead of trying to be a doctor yourself.
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How To Get Rid Of Dandruff On Cats During Winter?
The first step if you notice your pet cat has acquired dandruff is to get it checked at the vet to rule out any underlying issues. Dandruff-like symptoms often point out bigger problems in the cat’s body.
“If an owner notices dandruff, it is certainly worth having the cat checked to rule out an underlying problem, especially if the cat has other concurrent problems,” said Lori Teller, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
“If the cat is itchy; losing hair; vomiting; has a change in appetite, water consumption, or litter box use; or if the owner notices skin lesions or parasites, it is worth a visit to the veterinarian.”
Once that is done, Teller, advises that ” If no underlying problems are determined, an owner might be advised to brush their cat daily to distribute their pet’s natural skin oils throughout the coat and remove existing dandruff. If a cat has long hair or a thick coat, the cat may need to be brushed several times a day.”
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Apart from the cats being unable to groom themselves due to their physical situation, another reason for dandruff in the cat’s fur is the low humidity of the air.
You can use a Humidifier around the house to maintain healthy humidity levels inside the house. This can help with dry skin and would help with other issues that the cat experiences.
You can also enhance the cat’s diet by adding fatty acid supplements. These supplements would add natural oils to their system and keep them moisturized. This would also cover any deficiencies if the cat experiences any.
Important Read: Can I Use Human Shampoo On Cats?
Precautions To Be Taken To Avoid Cat Dandruff During Winter?
If you want to prevent your cat from getting dandruff, taking a few precautionary steps and slightly modifying a few habits could help with that:
If your cat is obese, has arthritis, or has any other physical condition that does not allow them to groom themselves, make sure you do it for them. Brush their fur several times a day to ensure blood circulation and for the maintenance of healthy fur.
At the University of Wisconsin, Madison veterinary care recommends that if you notice that your cat has gotten dandruff, do not brush it off before checking in with the vet. This could remove essential clues about any illness that the cat must have.
Keep them away from things they are allergic to avoid any false alarms. Also, do not give them any medication before consulting with your vet and wait for the results to come back.
Try feeding your cat wet food. The nature of the food could also affect the moisture levels in their body and skin.
Install humidifiers around the house to maintain healthy levels of humidity around the house to avoid dry skin and dandruff.
If by any means your cat catches dandruff make sure you make thorough observations and consult a vet. They could also have ringworms or tapeworms affecting their skin, as the symptoms of dandruff and ringworms are quite similar.
Interesting Read: Can I Bathe My Cat In Winter?
Frequently asked questions
Would brushing the cat’s fur be enough to remove dandruff?
Brushing once would not be enough. You would have to brush their fur thoroughly a few times a day for a few weeks to see any conclusive results.
How to identify dandruff on cats?
Dandruff on cats is similar to that of humans. On their fur, you would also observe white or grayish flaky substance on their skin and fur. Along with this, your cat’s skin could be dry, and also it would also cause itchiness.
Do feeding habits affect dry skin and dandruff in cats?
Yes, the kind of food your cat eats is also a determining factor for the condition of their skin. Adding fatty acid supplements to your cat’s food can replenish oils and moisture in its skin. Feeding them wet food would also help with dry skin and dandruff.
Winters, along with cold winds and warm food, bring dry air and decrease the humidity around you. These also cause the skin of cats to dry out, which could cause them discomfort due to itchiness and also induce dandruff.
Though cats are great at grooming themselves if they are obese or have arthritis or any other physical prohibition which does not allow them to groom themselves thoroughly these issues are pretty common for them. If the cat is capable enough to groom itself it would rarely face issues like these.
Cats, like humans, could not use shampoo to get rid of dandruff. If your cat has dandruff, you need to first get it checked to make sure it is harmless and is not due to any other issues.
Once it is done, you should follow the instructions given to you by the vet. You can also modify your cat’s diet a little to avoid dry skin. Would you change the diet or use other methods to cure dandruff in your cat?
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