Cat dry skin can cause your cat to be itchy and have dandruff. In many cats this is caused by an allergic reaction, usually to an ingredient in their food.
First, eliminate the possibility of a flea allergy that is causing allergic dermatitis. Check for fleas in your cat’s “hot spots” – around the neck, on their underside in the hip areas, and at the base of their tail. If you see fleas or flea droppings, the fleas may be causing the dry, itchy skin and dandruff. See allergic dermatitis for more information on flea allergies in cats.
If no fleas are found, a food change will most likely benefit your cat. Many cats develop a reaction to beef, beef by-products or liver. If your current food has “meat by-products” in the top five ingredients, your cat is most likely eating beef (and not necessarily the good parts of beef unfortunately…). Corn gluten, and sometimes wheat gluten, are also possible allergy triggers.
Fish can also cause cat dandruff. Most cats love to eat fish, but a diet too high in tuna or other fish can cause low vitamin E levels in your cat, and this can cause dry, itchy skin.
As humans, we rid ourselves of a lot of waste products through our sweat. Because cats have few sweat glands (they only have them in their toe pads), waste comes out through their skin, and we see dandruff.
...start by eliminating all beef and beef by-products from your cat’s food. A quality food that is made from chicken, turkey or lamb will help your cat’s skin recover. Most cats will probably be fine or a poultry-only diet, but some very sensitive cats may only be able to eat lamb.
Make sure to eliminate beef and by-products from both dry kibble and any moist or semi-moist food that you feed your cats. Also, corn should never be in the top 3 ingredients of the food. It is there as “filler” and has very little nutritional value. It is usually a sign of a lesser quality food.
Make sure to do the 7-day changeover to the new food so that their system will adjust to the new food without upset.
Some cats may need a bit of help with their cat dry skin. I have had good luck with mixing a bit of vitamin E into our cats’ food once every week or so. I pierce a vitamin E liquid capsule (400 IU of alpha tocopherol, not the mixed tocopherols) and squirt it into their moist food and mix it in.
Some cats are very picky about anything in their
food, so you may want to start with a few drops and work up. I find
that this helps them out during the dry winter months when the furnace
is on and the house is dry. Always consult your vet before using
supplements, especially if your cat is on any medication.
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