Feline Seborrhea

We have previously discussed seborrhea in dogs.

Seborrhea in cats is the same condition as in dogs, but usually has a different appearance and is treated differently.

Like canine seborrhea, feline seborrhea may be triggered by stimulation of the oil glands of the skin from inflammatory processes such as allergies and infection. Such stimulation is most likely to cause the patient to experience seborrhea oleosa, the oily form of seborrhea.

More often, however, we see seborrhea sicca, the dry, flaky form in cats. The flakes are usually white and are therefore most noticeable on black cats. Clients will often arrive with a complaint of “dandruff” on their kitties.

These same clients also ask whether anything can be done.

Many cats benefit from essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are ingredients we eat in our diets that are used in exactly the form we eat them. For example, if we eat rutabaga protein we don’t begin growing rutabagas in our bodies. Rather, our digestive tracts break down the rutabaga and reformulate the ingredients into human proteins. Essential fatty acids, on the other hand, are not broken down and rearranged, but are used “as is.”

EFAs have properties of reducing inflammation and moisturizing the skin.

The other treatment is usually rejected by most cat owners. Daily bathing with antiseborrheic shampoos gives tremendous help for seborrheic dogs, but most cats just aren’t interested in a single bath, much less daily.

The flakiness is rarely more than a cosmetic problem, but usually improves with EFA treatment.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.


  1. My cat (Cyril) has a terrible skin condition. It is bumps all over his body. The bumps are rather large, for a cat that is. Some of the bumps are dry, I can pick the top of them off. Others have fluid in them should I pick the top off them. There are times when I pet him my hand gets wet. He never had this before I was hospitalized and one of the women taking care of our home threw him out in the garage. He could get under the house. He was born here and I own his mother and father and their mother and father. I am not adverse to taking him to my vet however due to an accident I have not been able to travel. I have other house cats, they are not in an enclosed area. They are not outside at all except for that one incident and that was for less than a day. My other cats are well and have no skin problems. Can you help me?

    • I wish I could, Sue, but the signs you describe could be from any number of conditions, and it’s going to take a hands-on visit, possibly with some laboratory testing to know what’s going on with Cyril. We would appreciate hearing back from you when you’re again able to travel and can get him a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Thank you for reading http://www.MyPetsDoctor.com.

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