I am cat sitting, and don't know a thing about cats. The kitty has dandruff and oily hair. What gives?

If it helps, the cat has medium length hair, is a tabby male, a little round but not a "fat cat", and eats 1 little can of Fancy Feast a day.

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Asked by Member 650884 on Jul 8th 2008 Tagged grooming, dandruff, diet in Home Grooming
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wow, you're a good friend for showing such concern over your friends cat, oily hair and dandruff is not healthy at all!

Anyway, Hopefully you're willing to talk to your friend about her cat. one little can of cat food is not enough for any cat. Also, Fancy Feast Isn't really the best cat food. He could have the dry skin from an allergic reaction to it. He might not either, thats a pretty drastic assumption, but it wouldn't hurt for your friend to feed the cat some better quality food. Or, if he has medium length hair, he probably needs to be brushed everyday or at least a few times a week, especially with the dandruff and oily hair! maybe a bath to start off would be nice.

There is a lot of great advice for foods and grooming on this site if your friend is willing to listen and look around, and it doesn't have to cost a lot either, if that's a concern.

Philbert answered on 7/8/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Bella (In Loving Memory)

For a cat that you describe as "round", a can of fancy feast daily should be fine, especially if its split up. 1/2 in the am and 1/2 in the pm. Though there are quite a few zealots in the cat food world rest assured that Fancy Feast will not cause any adverse health effects in most cats. I have works MANY years in the animal health profession and never once saw any problem with it ;o) So don't worry about what / how much he's being fed!

The oily skin and dandruff are also nothing to worry about as long as he's acting healthy other wise. Heavier cats tend to groom their back along their spine poorly, leading to a buildup of natural oils and some flaky skin. The flaky skin could also be attributed to age (if he's older) or allergies.

Brushing him would help, but unless he's vomiting, lethargic, having diarrhea or a poor appetite I wouldn't worry about him at all.

Bella (In Loving Memory) answered on 7/8/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Izadore (Izzie)

It does sound like this kitty has a poor diet, although my cats eat Fancy Feast also and they do fine on it. (They also free feed dry food which means they have it in their bowls all the time, so FF is not ALL they eat.) Since this isn't your kitty and you admit that you don't know much about cats, I wouldn't preach to my friend that they have to change his diet, brush him, etc. as that may end your friendship. However, I would kindly suggest to them that they take him to the vet for a simple blood test that would check for thyroid disease. The vet can also talk to them about his diet. You ARE a good person for cat-sitting!

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 7/8/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Dandruff, as I seem to recall, can also be a sign of diabetes, so I think a blood test is in order. Some cats do fine without a single bath their entire lives, but medium/long haired cats often need the occasional bath to keep them clean and wash away the dead fur. Certain breeds, such as the Maine Coon, are especially known for having oily coats. I agree that, sine it's not your cat, you can't tell your friend what to do, but suggesting that dandruff could be the sign of various diseases, and that they should be ruled out by a vet before they get worse, might work.

Lola answered on 7/9/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Corn Gluten Meal
Wheat Flour
Ground Yellow Corn
Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex
Some of the products about are found in a lot of kitty foods, the excess corn can be a problem for kitties and puppies, its a filler and on the bag or can of food it is listed by weight, sometimes with the excess corn it can cause them to poo more and in turn pooing out the nutrition from the food faster, and the skin being the largest organ needs alot and it is also the last organ to receive most nutrition, so in turn you can see dandruff and dry patches, just like people, if i had problems with foods before causing issues like this , i suggest finding a product with less wheat and corn fillers. Also to look on the internet at what the ingredients mean, and talk to people that sell pet foods, i have learned a lot in my research in the last year, and my kitties have benefited a lot,.. look at the ingredients and understand what their eating and you'll have a happy healthy kitties!:)

Moodus answered on 12/8/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer