Cat Flaky Skin

cat with flaky skin overweight cat

Cat With Flaky Skin

A cat with flaky skin, usually experiences extra dandruff around the base of the tail.

There are several causes for this, sometimes the most obvious reason is that the cat is gaining weight and can’t reach around that area any more to groom it properly.

Their fur might get a greasy look and bits of dandruff are more prevalent. What’s recommended if this is occurring is to have the cat get a bit more exercise, reduce their calorie intake gradually or get your cat on a weight management food. Never put your cat on a “crash diet” as their liver might go into shock.  If your cat is having trouble cleaning himself, a nice grooming comb or brush, might just help while your cat is awaiting his new, slimmer physique.  This will help get the natural oils distributed and will help take away the dirt and dander that is building up.

A little extra dander might also be a sign of parasites – as in fleas, or a worse case Cheylatiella, a nasty mange (mite)  that is also known as “Walking Dandruff”.

If fleas are present, extra dandruff occurs because the flea bites are irritating the cat’s skin and it is reacting. Other evidence will be bits of black “flea dirt” and white round particles mixed into the fur. The dirt is actually flea excrement and it’s dark because it’s blood based. If you wet the dark stuff and it turns red – that’s flea dirt. The white round things are flea eggs. Take a look at the cat’s bedding and see if you can spot a small 1/8″ or slightly longer “worm” that is mostly white and or translucent with a dark streak or section. That little guy is a flea larvae.

The bedding will need to be washed, and your carpets will need to be vacuumed and most likely need to be treated. Your cat will need to have a commercial flea eliminator applied, like Front Line or Advantage, or consider a powder or a flea shampoo. The main thing is you don’t want the situation to get out of control.

Cats can also get tapeworm from fleas. When they lick and bite at the fleas, they will ingest a few. Hiding in the flea body are tapeworm eggs, and once they are in the cat’s gut, they will start to thrive and compete with the cat for important nutrients. If you see little sesame sized “seeds” in the cat’s bedding with one end black or very dark brown, your cat most certainly has tapeworm. If that is the case, it’s time to see the vet.

Cheyletiella is a tiny mite that is a type of mange. Mange affects animals by burrowing into the root and base of the hair follicle and feeding off of it. Mange can cause an animal to loose their fur (sometimes permanently), get red or brown irritated patches and can cause bleeding and secondary bacterial infections. Mange is most often treated with a lime-sulfur based dip. If you suspect Cheyletiella or “Walking Dandruff”: take a magnifying lens or get a good close look at the root of the fur where the dandruff is most severe. Cheylatialla looks bigger and flakier, and more numerous than a regular dandruff problem and in the close inspection, you’ll actually see the dandruff moving; that is the activity of the mites. It is a serious problem and the cat must be seen by a Vet right away. Treatments take a month, so the sooner it’s dealt with the better.

Most mange species are highly contagious and make pets miserable and will lead to a host of other skin related disorders that can critically compromise their health. Mites tend to take over when an animal’s immune system is compromised.

Of course bedding, and everything the cat sleeps on will need to be washed or replaced to prevent re-infection or spreading to other pets. Thankfully Cheyletiella mites don’t survive on humans, but there is controversial documentation that another mite called Sarcoptic Mange can be transferred from cats (and dogs) to humans as Scabies. Most clinical sources state that this is not true, but we recommend being very careful about the handling of your pets if you suspect any type of mange and get it treated immediately.


Simpler Causes for Flaky Skin on Your Cat 


Hopefully the flaky skin on your cat is a much more straight forward problem: such as dry weather or diet.

Dry Weather. Yes, just like us, your cat will get dry skin from cold, dry weather.  Or your cat may be mainly an indoor cat, and that will also cause the skin to become dry. Your cat may be on a diet ( lower fat content in the food) and that will also cause their skin to become dry as well.

Luckily there are two pretty easy fixes for this problem.

1. Brushing.  A nice soft bristle brush designed for cats, will help to activate the oil glands and help distribute the oils through out the cat’s coat. Some will love this extra attention, and some will think you are messing with them. We found that our cats did a complete gender split on their reaction to grooming, the male decided he didn’t like being fussed with and the female thought it was heaven. We started giving the male a little reward for putting up with a three minute grooming session. We have been partially successful on this tactic.

2. Adding an Omega 3 from fish oil into their daily diet. Omega 3 derived from fish oil is a great solution for cats that are usually inside, and or on a weight reduction type of cat food. It’s very important to consider that fish oil is going to be used by your cat, which is an obligate carnivore rather than an omega 3 derived from a plant source. Most likely, there will be no benefit if a cat is given a flax, olive, coconut, borage seed based oil.

For some cats, getting Omega 3 is really easy. They love fish oil and will take the liquid spread over their food from a pump dispenser.

Some owners prefer fish oil softgels over liquid fish oil, because the fish oil does not oxidize when it is sealed in a capsule as it does in a pump dispenser stored in the fridge. Softgels also add the extra benefit of a pre-measured dosage. The softgel can still be punctured and spread over food or the cat can simply lap it up off a plate.

On the other hand, you might have our kind of cat;  who hates fish oil, but must take a dosage daily, and will only ingest it as a fish oil softgel and, unfortunately, manually applied as in – put into the back of his throat. (for tips on pilling – click here )*

If you have the same problem as we do and are looking for a small softgel fish oil pill, you’ve probably also discovered that there are no small, easy to swallow fish oil softgels on the market for pets. All Pet Omega 3 capsules are 1000 or 1200 mg sized pills and these are actually designed for a man of about 5’10″ and around 180 lbs.

Fortunately, we do have a solution: the Packenzie Petite Pet Omega 3 Softgel™  – 100% Pure Salmon Oil in a 500 mg  softgel  (half the size of other Pet Omega 3 Pills) It’s human grade, and certified pure.

We are able to pill our cat every day with this softgel. His skin and fur look great. (click here to read more tips on pilling )*

To find out more information on an Easy to Swallow Fish Oil Pill for cats, puppies and small dogs, please click on the link for the Packenzie Petite Pet Omega 3™.  You’ll be taken to the store website for a fast ordering and check out.


Our regular bottle is $14.99 ea  ($4.89) flat rate shipping


And our 2 Pack Discount is $25.98 with free shipping. (that’s $12.99 ea)


Please use our discount code:  2CATS

and save $2.00 at checkout. 

** The code must be entered all CAPS.

All orders ship immediately or by the next business day and usually takes 3-4 days to get across the US.

We developed the Packenzie Petite Pet Omega 3™ when the Derm Caps 10′s Petite for Cats and Miniature Breeds went off the market.  Our product is the smallest fish oil pill for pets. 


skin and coat supplement for cats and small dogs


* Our cat, Mac (17 lbs) has been taking the Packenzie Petite Pet Omega 3™ for two years and it is an important issue for us, because he suffers from an inner ear and upper sinus problem and needs fish oil to help regulate excess keratin production.

Tip: We have been successful with putting the fish oil pill into a Greenies Pill Pocket, and he’s eaten the whole thing on his own with no interference from us at all.  That enchantment seems to last for a month or two and then he figures out there is a fish oil pill in there. We go back to manually pilling for a while and then resume our trick again for a few more months. We have even crushed a Temptations treat, and rolled the pill pocket in that with the Packenzie fish oil pill inside of it: That method worked for a long time. We have also discovered that the dog’s version of the pill pocket seems to be a big hit – it has more oils and seems more flavor potent. We just pinch off the portion we don’t need and save it.

At other times, when we need to manually pill our cat, we have used a little gravy from canned cat food as a lubricant. That works great once it’s in the back of his throat, but just be warned:  it’s slippery to hold while getting it into position.

Most cat owners are lucky, in that their cat likes the taste of fish oil (Ours does not!) so for most cats, it’s only a matter of cutting and spreading on their food or even just squeezing the contents by itself onto a small plate.

If you have any tips or tricks – we would love to hear them and we’ll share them with other cat owners.

See our other articles about fish oil dosages:

What is the right dosage of Omega 3 for cats and small dogs?

How much fish oil for puppies?

Cat better with fish oil

This entry was posted in Cat Dandruff, Cat Health, Cats, fish oil dosage, fish oil for cats, Pet Health, pet information, Pet Supplements. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Cat Flaky Skin

  1. Pingback: What is the Right Dosage of Omega 3 for Cats and Small Dogs? | What's Up With My Pet?

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  4. Pingback: Small Fish Oil Pills for Dogs | What's Up With My Pet?

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