You may notice that your cat is scratching or see white flakes in their fur. This may be more noticeable in winter when the air is dry in our homes and the heat is on.
My cats like to lay against the heat registers during the winter and I’ve noticed a few flakes. Frequent brushing helps. It distributes their natural oil through the fur.
Cats may develop an allergy to mold, mildew, dust, cleaners, fabric and perfumes.
My cat Joey started scratching when he slept on a blanket that was washed in scented soap. I switched to a hypoallergenic soap and he was fine.
During the summer you may notice your cat scratching more if they are outdoors. They could be allergic to trees, grass and pollen. Fleas can be a problem too.
An allergy test can be done to find the cause. This involves a skin or blood test.
A poor diet can lead to dry skin if they don’t have enough Omega 3 fatty acids. The vet may change their food or prescribe supplements. Cats can also develop food allergies.
Infections such as ringworm can be treated with medication.
Diseases that Can Dry Skin
Kidney disease, common in older cats, may cause skin problems. When your cat’s kidney function decreases, waste that is normally excreted through the urine builds up in the blood. The liver filters what it can, but some of the waste is secreted through the skin and appears as dandruff.
Heart disease can lead to poor circulation to your cat’s skin. When the skin does not receive the necessary amount of oxygen, skin cells will die. You will see this as dry, flaky skin.
Hypothyroidism (low thyroid) is rare in cats, but it can cause skin problems in your cat. The thyroid produces too little of the hormones that control his metabolism, so hair-producing cells slow down, leading to less hair growth. Likewise, skin cell growth also slows, and your cat develops dry, itchy skin and dandruff.
If you don’t know what is causing your cat to scratch, then it’s best to see the vet. It may be a simple thing that can be treated with medication or change of diet. If your cat has a disease, you may be able to catch it in the early stages.