The Cat Is Obsessively Licking and Has Dandruff

Dry skin, which can be caused by too much grooming, leads to dandruff.
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A cat should spend 30 to 50 percent of her day engaged in grooming activities, a decidedly large part of her waking hours. When kitties spend more than 50 percent of their time licking and have a case of dandruff, there may be an underlying medical or psychological condition at play.


Dandruff in cats looks similar to dandruff in people. Kitty will have tiny white flakes on her fur. Her underlying skin may seem flaky and dry. While your cat may be more likely to experience seasonal dandruff since air is drier in winter, this condition can occur at any time of year.

Excessive Grooming Behavior

Excessive grooming or licking can actually cause cat dandruff. While some licking is normal, your pet's obsessive licking can actually dehydrate the skin. As dehydration piles up, a cat with healthy skin can develop dandruff and a cat with a mild case of dandruff can have more dandruff. Obsessive grooming may have either psychological causes, such as extreme stress or anxiety, or underlying physical causes.

Excessing Grooming Treatment

Your vet can run tests to determine if an allergy or skin condition is to blame for these behaviors. If the vet finds a physical cause, such as skin irritation or allergy, he'll prescribe a treatment course. Follow your vet's recommendations regularly to soothe dandruff and excessive licking. If your vet can't find a physical cause, he'll typically suggest psychological treatment. Creating cat-friendly areas of your home, engaging in daily playtime with your kitty and prescription anti-anxiety drugs can relieve obsessive licking behavior.


Cats may be allergic to food or to something in the environment -- from laundry detergent to scented products -- just like people. Dandruff is one symptom of allergies. If your cat has sores and welts in addition to dandruff, sneezes or develops an ear infection, schedule a vet appointment to examine feline allergies. These are ultimately treatable, although it may take a few vet visits to diagnose the underlying problem.

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