Is cat dander a problem or not? Here’s the scoop on why cat dander occurs and how to manage cat dander.
What is dander in cats?
Since veterinary medicine even has a term to describe freckles in ginger cats (simple lentigo), it should come as no surprise that veterinary medicine has a term to describe severe dandruff: seborrheic dermatitis. I prefer to call it dandruff.
Is cat dander common? Why does cat dander occur?
Yes, cat dander is common. It most often occurs exactly where you described it: at the back, closer to the tail than the head. This cat dander can be accompanied by greasy hair.
Most of the time, dandruff, even when severe, is not representative of a disease . However, some skin parasites (particularly one called Demodex) and fungal infections (such as ringworm) can cause cat dander. Glandular disorders, such as hyperthyroidism, flea or food allergies , and even serious problems such as lymphoma can also occur. Some cats appear to respond with dermatological disturbances (such as exposure to irritating chemicals) by producing dander.
What should you do with cat dander?
To be safe, you did the right thing by taking your cat to the vet. I hope he has done the appropriate tests to rule out those more serious problems. If you did, it’s safe to say that your cat has a mild case of feline dander. That means two things. First, the problem will be difficult to solve. Second, the problem is not a problem and does not need to be solved.
Cat dander is, in my experience, difficult to treat. Some veterinarians have touted success with dietary supplements like omega-3 fatty acids. Others recommend special shampoos or spot therapies (specifically, I’ve seen some vets recommend Douxo Spot On ). Some owners have reported success after changing their cats’ diets.
However, most people who have cats with dandruff end up frustrated. In my experience, the cat dander “problem” doesn’t get better, no matter what you do.
Dandruff in cats: Conclusion
I put “problem” in quotes for a reason. If your vet has ruled out a serious skin condition and your cat is not suffering from itchiness, hair loss, or pain, then as far as your cat is concerned, no problem. Cats, unlike humans, don’t care about first impressions. They are not obsessed with the mirror.
Since dandruff does not bother your cat, I recommend that you do not let it bother you. Why risk a gastrointestinal disorder from a change in diet, or an adverse reaction to a shampoo? The problem is not really a problem, why not do anything? Veterinary medicine also has a fancy term: benign neglect.
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