Winter is hard on your cat’s skin, but it doesn’t have to be. If your cat is suffering from seasonal dry skin, let’s talk about how you can help.
Dry Skin Signs in Cats
Unless your cat is scratching/grooming their skin excessively, creating wounds that can become infected, their dry skin is simply a cosmetic issue. In most cases, dry skin results in dandruff or “flakes” nestled in a cat’s fur. You may notice flakes on your furniture or even on yourself after a petting session.
The colder and drier the air is where you live, the more likely your cat is to suffer skin issues, particularly in winter time. Cats with existing health concerns are also more likely to deal with skin issues as well.
Alleviating Your Cat’s Dry Winter Skin:
Brush More: Brushing your cat’s fur with a smoothing brush on a daily basis helps distribute their skin’s natural oils. Using a comb also helps and, bonus, removes loose fur that would otherwise end up on your couch! And in case you were considering it? Skip the bath.
Diet & Supplements: If dry skin is a persistent issue, it may be time to talk to your vet about a diet change. Foods and supplements high in Omega-3 fatty acids can help keep your cat’s skin supple. Ask about food, chewables, and even oil droppers for dry food.
Get a Humidifier: Do you know how dry your home’s air is? Most modern thermostats monitor humidity, too; if yours is below around 50%, consider getting a few inexpensive humidifiers for the rooms where your cat spends the most time. Their skin – and yours! – will thank you.
Extra Water: Is your cat actually dehydrated? You might be surprised. Encourage your cat to drink more water and consider switching to wet food from dry. If you’re concerned about your cat’s overall hydration levels, make an appointment with your vet.
Weight Loss: If your cat’s dry skin is concentrated to specific parts of their body, namely their back, they may actually be too overweight to groom that spot properly which causes matting and dandruff. Let that be a motivation to help your cat achieve a healthy weight.
Should You See the Vet?
Dry skin isn’t usually anything to stress about unless it’s severe, or unless it’s causing other issues like open sores or painful lesions. In general, dryness is seasonal and will probably correct itself when the temperature heats back up.
If you sense your cat is uncomfortable or you haven’t had luck with any of the suggestions above, it’s probably time to reach out your vet. In rare cases, dry skin can be a symptom of ongoing issues with your cat’s thyroid or another more serious health concern.