Long-Haired Cat Dandruff: 6 Causes Of Long-Haired Cat Dandruff

If you own a cat, there is a high chance that you will run into an issue where you notice your cat’s coat is full of loose, dead fur. Most commonly, this issue is referred to as “cat dandruff.” 

The reasons behind cat dandruff can be caused by lots of things, but the most common reasons are linked to the cat’s diet, dehydration, poor grooming, or specific diseases.

Dandruff is a common problem in humans, but Cat dandruff is more uncommon.

Long-haired cats are more likely to develop Dandruff than short-hair or curly-haired cats because they have an increased risk of skin problems from the accumulation of oils and dead skin cells. 

Long-haired cat dander can be shed when your pet sheds its fur, leaving behind a fine layer of dry flakes that can cause dandruff. 

It is important to point out that cat Dandruff is not a disease, rather, a symptom of an underlying health issue such as overly dry, irritated skin.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the symptoms of dandruff in long-haired cats, the possible causes, and why it can be problematic. 

In the end, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of what long-haired cat dandruff is, how it affects cats, and how to treat the symptoms.

Cute Reptiles as Pets x
Cute Reptiles as Pets

Cat Dandruff: 5 Symptoms That You Should Know

Cat Dandruff: 5 Symptoms That You Should Know

Before we talk about the symptoms of cat dandruff, I believe you would like to know what cat dandruff is? Cat dandruff is the appearance of white flakes in your cat’s fur. 

Dandruff is something that can’t be hidden whether in humans or animals. Starting from an irresistible itchy sensation to flaky skins and sometimes inflamed skins.

You can tell it’s dandruff when these signs cause so much discomfort to your cat than any other skin-related issue. 

Symptoms of mild dandruff include white flakes in their coats, itching, and excessive shedding that spreads everywhere in the house.

Severe cases of cat dandruff occur when your cat constantly scratches or leaks itself more often than usual. 

Some of the symptoms of cat dandruff include:

Thick Scaly Patches Or Flaky Skin

One of the symptoms of dandruff in cats is the presence of thickened, hard, scaly patches of dead skin on the cat’s skin followed by some flaky skin.

Red Irritated Patches

In severe cases where dandruff has made your cat scratch and lick itself uncontrollably, it can cause skin damage. When this happens you’ll notice some red, inflamed patches on the skin.

Hair Loss

Excessive hair loss over a short period is also a symptom of severe dandruff that needs medical attention. This symptom if left untreated can expose the skin to infections.

Frequent Grooming

Frequent Grooming

A cat with dandruff is likely to groom and scratch itself more frequently than normal. Also, the more the cat scratches and grooms itself to keep comfortable, the more the dead flaky skin sheds.

When this is left untreated, it can cause inflamed skin and hair loss.

Greasy Coat

Although you’re less likely to experience greasy coats in your cat’s fur, this condition mostly happens in obese cats.

If your cat is too big and it’s not groomed and cleaned regularly, some dead scales or bacteria can cause dandruff in some parts of the cat.

6 Causes Of Long-Haired Cat Dandruff

6 Causes Of Long-Haired Cat Dandruff

Cat dandruff is caused by a couple of factors such as poor dieting, environmental issues (very hot environment), heredity, obesity, and improper grooming techniques, to mention a few. 

First, Dandruff should not be confused with other types of skin problems such as fungus or acne which are also common amongst cats but have very different symptoms. 

It should also not be confused with alopecia which usually affects older cats and results in hair loss rather than dry flaky skin like dandruff does. 

Cat dandruff is caused by an abnormal production of natural skin oils, known as the sebaceous glands, which begin to overproduce which creates an environment conducive to germs and bacteria to thrive. 

The essence of these oils is to nourish and protect your cat’s skin, but when produced in excess, they might irritate your cat’s skin, causing flakiness and more shedding than usual.

Like cat dander that causes allergies in some people, cat dandruff is one of the most common skin problems amongst cats and it can easily be mistaken to be dander. 

While dander (also referred to as shed skin cells) is the microscopic cat hair that is found in a cat’s saliva, cat dandruff is the appearance of white flakes in your cat’s coat. 

Cat dandruff may affect any breed of cat, although long-haired breeds tend to suffer from it more commonly due to their coats being thicker and harder for them to keep clean all year round without help from their owners. 

Although dandruff in cats isn’t a health issue on its own, it is a sign that something is wrong with either your cat’s diet, environment, or an underlying disease. 

You will need to see your vet if you notice your cat’s skin looks dry and inflamed with some irregular bald patches or excessive hair loss. These are also symptoms of severe dandruff.

Imbalance In The Diet: Lack Of Fatty Acids

For a healthy cat, you need to provide your pet with a diet full of animal-based protein and omega-3 oil, less fat and carbohydrates, and also some vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. 

While there is no one diet that is ideal enough to provide all the nutrients your cat needs, most of these foods such as fish meal, meat, and cereal grains can be fed in combination with other foods. 

The absence or insufficient amount of omega-3 oil in your cat’s diet is what leads to dandruff.


Lack of adequate water intake has proven itself to be one of the causes of dry flaky skin in cats known as dandruff. 

Besides dehydration being a result of not giving enough water to your cat, the weather condition of your home can cause dandruff in your cats. 

If you’re living in a dry arid environment such as Arizona or California, you’ll need to regularly provide clean drinking water to your cat to keep it hydrated. 

Nonetheless, if you feed your cat the right food (that is foods that are rich in moisture such as meat), your pet can still get the required amount of fluid from the food even without regular water intake.

Grooming Issues

Cats naturally clean themselves from time to time even without the help of a human. This is why you will notice your cat vomiting some hairballs a few days after grooming itself. 

Even with this, you should not leave the grooming of your cat to the cat. It is normal for skin cells to die and shed off.

However, when the dead skin cells build up because of a lack of regular grooming, it’ll result in dandruff.

Health Issues

Dandruff in cats isn’t a health problem in itself but a sign that something may be wrong with the cat’s health.

These underlying health issues can either be parasites, fungal or bacterial infections.

•    Parasites: Parasites that affect cats are of two types. The external parasites and the internal parasites.

External parasites such as ticks, mites, lice, and fleas live and feed on the cat’s skin, causing serious discomfort or an allergic reaction such as scratching.

 The result of this condition is dandruff. With regular grooming, external parasites are easy to keep in check. 

However, the more serious form of parasitic attack is the internal parasites that can’t be seen physically except when diagnosed by a vet. 

The Cheyletiella mites (a type of internal parasite) are known to cause severe damage to cats when left undiagnosed and untreated. 

•    Infections: Like in parasites, your cat may be suffering from one or more types of infection. It can be a fungal, bacterial, or even yeast infection. 

In this regard, Malassezia dermatitis and ringworm are fungal infections that cause dandruff in cats. Also, these infections are contagious. 

Therefore, if your cat is diagnosed with any of these fungal infections, the best way to deal it is to isolate the affected animal from other house pets.


Obesity in cats isn’t a sign of healthy living. Overweight cats struggle a great deal to keep healthy.

Starting from grooming to maintaining the proper moisture level. When one or all of these are compromised, the cat is likely to have dandruff.

Old Age 

Cats also get dandruff as a result of old age. The reason behind this is that as the cat ages, its skin begins to lose its elasticity and becomes dry. 

When dry skin is accompanied by reduced blood flow and the wear and tear of some body parts, the outcome is a high risk of flaky skin or dandruff.

Get Rid Of Long-Haired Cat Dandruff

The best way to get rid of dandruff in your cat is to eliminate the cause of dandruff.

Before you even begin treatment at home you should understand what the causes of the dandruff are so you could eliminate it from the root. 

If after you’ve reviewed its diet and other husbandry-related factors and still experience dandruff, you will have to take your pet to a vet for proper diagnosis of parasitic, bacterial, or fungal infections. 

In this section, we’ll look at the various ways you can treat and prevent dandruff in pet cats before taking your cat to see a vet.

Directly Treating Dandruff With Healthy Products

Severe dandruff cases cannot be treated with diet change and regular bathes alone.

As you do these things, you’ll need to use healthy anti-dandruff products for cats. This will fasten the treatment. Healthy products you can use include:

•    Thrive, Silver Shield 

•    Baie Run Coconut Oil

•    Adored Beast Apothecary Love Bugs

•    Skout’s Honor Probiotic Itch Relief Spray

Brush And Bathe Your Long-Haired Cat

Brush And Bathe Your Long-Haired Cat

Besides using anti-dandruff sprays to get rid of cat dandruff, regular bathe and grooming will not only treat a cat with dandruff but will also prevent your cat from getting it. 

Remember that dandruff occurs when flaky dead skin cells accumulate and thicken up causing skin irritation.

Hence, regular bathing and brushing your cat, and also ensuring that its fur is free from grease will help get rid of dandruff.

Rehydrate And Invest In A Humidifier For Your Home

After evaluating your husbandry, if you suspect that your cat is dehydrated, you’ll need to increase its daily water intake. 

Besides, if your home is located in a dry arid environment where the air is dry, you’ll need a humidifier such as Everlasting Comfort Cool Mist Humidifier to keep your cat’s skin protected.

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Change Diets Or Add Supplements

A change in diet or supplementing its diet is one of the first things you should do when your cat gets dandruff. 

Keep in mind that dandruff occurs because your cat lacks the omega-3 oil in its diet.

Hence, getting rid of dandruff means feeding your cat foods that are rich in animal protein and omega-3 oil.

Talk To A Vet About Your Long-Haired Cat Dandruff

You shouldn’t keep your cat with dandruff for more than two weeks before taking it to see a vet. 

If you have tried the aforementioned home remedies and within two weeks you’re still experiencing dandruff, excessive itching, and some flaky skins around the house, you’ll need to see a vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Prevent Dandruff In Long-Haired Cats

Prevent Dandruff In Long-Haired Cats

When it comes to the health of living organisms, prevention is by far better and cheaper than cure. At this point, we believe you know what the possible causes of cat dandruff are.

That said, the best ways to prevent cat dandruff include providing a balanced diet, regular grooming, and ensuring that your cat has plenty of water to drink every day.

Feed Your Long-Haired Cat A Nutritious And Balanced Diet

In simple terms, cats are meat-eaters. They need animal protein to stay healthy, maintain healthy eyesight, heart, and reproductive systems. 

To ensure your cat has a balanced diet you should give it a combination of dry and wet food in appropriate quantities.

Cooked beef, chicken, turkey, and a little amount of deli meats make excellent sources of animal protein for your feline friend. 

Note that the cooked meat to your cat should NOT have any sauce or seasoning and you shouldn’t feed raw meat to your pet.

Raw meat can cause health issues. Read more on what to feed pet cats and how to prepare them.

Keep Your Long-Haired Cat Hydrated/Moisture

Another thing you should put on your watch list is proper hydration. Keep your cat hydrated by offering it drinking water regularly. 

Most times, your cat may appear fuzzy and wouldn’t want to drink, you have to find a way of encouraging it to drink more water.

You can add some milk to the water to encourage it to drink. Water helps to reduce dead cells thereby reducing the risk of dandruff.

In addition, depending on where you live, you may need a humidifier in your home to raise your cat’s moisture level. You can discuss with your vet if you need a humidifier in your home.

Help Cats Solve Grooming Problems

As noted earlier, cats can groom themselves without assistance. At least this is how they survive in the wild. However, long-haired cats still need assistance from their owners. 

Most long-haired cats in particular often don’t like to be brushed. If this is the case with your pet, there are a couple of ways you can help groom your cat to keep its fur and skin in good health. 

These include: using a grooming mitt, using a grooming spray, using shed control cloths, and/or using a rubber cat-grooming brush.

Keep Your Long-Haired Cat Clean And Healthy

Part of keeping your pet cat healthy is by maintaining a clean environment. An environment devoid of fleas and other disease-causing parasites. 

To achieve this you need to regularly clean your pet’s house, wash and disinfect its cage accessories. 

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Cat Dandruff FAQs

Should I be concerned about cat dandruff?

Yes, you should. Although cat dandruff isn’t a health challenge as such, it is a sign that something isn’t right either with its diet, its environment, or its health.

Therefore, the earlier you’re able to identify the cause(s) and treat it on time, the better.

What Can I Give My Cat For Dandruff?

The best thing to do before getting anti-dandruff sprays or soaps is to change your cat’s food to a high-quality pet food or boost its diet with oil-based dog or cat supplements.

Oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, are beneficial to your cat’s skin health. Coconut oil is also beneficial to cats.

Is it cat dander or dandruff?

Although they look the same or have the same sign, cat dander is NOT the same as cat dandruff.

Cat dander is the microscopic cat hair that is found in cat saliva while cat dandruff is visible white flakes of dead skin that you see in your cat’s coat.

The Last Sentences

Cat dandruff is something that can happen to any cat irrespective of how well groomed it is.

Many factors cause dandruff in cats. From simple dry skin to something more serious such as parasites or fungal infections. 

The best way to get rid of dandruff is to prevent it, and the best way to prevent cat dandruff is to have your cat brushed often, at least once a week, and offer it a balanced diet. 

If your cat already has dandruff, there are several things to do to help alleviate the symptoms. 

Two of the best options are to bathe your affected cat with anti-dandruff shampoo/soap and to change your pet’s diet or improve its diet.

If the condition persists, ensure you take the cat to see your vet.