When your feline friend does more itching and scratching than grooming and purring, she could have cat dandruff. Causes of dandruff include fungal infection, diabetes, poor diet, fleas and mites, sunburn and even pregnancy. After the vet establishes the cause of your kitty's itch, get him to give you his OK for giving the cat a vinegar wash.
No doubt, your cat companion will be uncomfortable during his vinegar rinse. Even though cats don't like to bathe, this one act alone can significantly reduce -- and sometimes cure -- dandruff. Brush the cat to remove loose hair, then place cotton balls in the ears to keep water out. Fill a sink with 5 inches of warm water, and fill a plastic bucket with water. Place the cat in the sink and gently pour the water over her back.
Wash the cat using a specially formulated cat-dandruff shampoo. Rinse thoroughly with warm water, at least twice, making sure to remove all residue. Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into 1 pint of water. Pour it gently onto the cat's coat. The vinegar rinse will acidify the cat's skin. If the dandruff is a result of any fleas or ticks, the vinegar will help shoo them away. After the cat air-dries, she'll have a soft, shiny coat.
What Leads to Dandruff?
Keep your cat inside to lounge, or confine her to a shady area outside. Too much sun exposure can lead to skin problems, as can low humidity. Also notice the cat's indoor environment. Is she breathing something she might be allergic to or exposed to a considerable amount of pollutants? If she has fleas or parasites, you'll need to rid the bugs from household objects with detergent. Make sure to wash all your own sleep area and carpets -- in addition to any bedding or toys the cat uses.
Diet for Dandruff
Add high-quality cod or fish oil supplements to your cat's diet. Veterinarian Jean Hofve has more than 20 years cat experience and is an adviser to the Association of American Feed Control Officials. She says marine animals are the only reliable source for EPA and DHA omega 3. "Cats have a harder time converting flax seed, for example, so it's best to squeeze a few drops of omega 3 from a capsule into wet cat food. This anti-inflammatory improves a cat's skin and coat within weeks."
Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.