How To Treat Cat Shedding, Dry Skin, and More

9 Minute Read
Updated January 28, 2023

Your cat’s coat should be silky, shiny, and smooth, so if it's not, then you need these tips for treating cat shedding, dry cat skin, and more skin and coat problems in cats.

The first step toward giving your cat the luxurious coat she deserves is to try to identify the cause. Your cat's skin and coat is a really good indicators of her overall health.

Narrowing down the cause can sometimes be the hardest part. Cat shedding, dry cat skin, and other conditions can leave your cat's coat and skin looking dull and dishevelled.

Learn more about your cat's skin problems and find easy DIY solutions that you can try at home. Let your cat have the healthy skin and beautiful coat she was meant to.

Treat Cat Shedding, Dry Skin, and Other Cat Skin Problems



Best Cat Shedding Solutions

While you can never completely eliminate cat shedding, there are some ways you can decrease it. Dry skin, poor diet, food allergy, and infrequent grooming can all contribute to shedding.

Try these solutions:

  • Moisturize Dry Skin – As if dry skin isn’t bad enough, it can also increase shedding! Add supplements that are high in omega fatty acids, like fish oil,  to condition your cat's skin from the inside out.

  • Change Diet – If your cat isn’t already eating a high-quality diet that includes plenty of named animal protein and wholesome fresh ingredients, you might want to think about changing your cat's food. Natural cat foods are easier to digest and can help support your cat's skin and coat health. 

  • Groom, groom, groom – The more you groom your cat, the less hair that will end up on your carpet and clothes. For some cats, that could mean once a day. Rubber brushes for cats are great for massaging the skin and removing hair. Your cat will love the attention, too! Another excellent choice for a cat brush is the Furminator de-shedding tool. They remove a lot of hair with less effort required than your standard brush.

How to Treat Cat Dry Skin


A dry climate can wreak havoc on your cat’s skin. Other factors, including poor diet and too much bathing, can contribute to problem skin, too. Thankfully, dry skin is usually a temporary problem.

Try one of these solutions:

  • Curb Environmental Factors – If you believe it’s the weather that is keeping your cat’s coat dry, try a waterless cat shampoo such as Earthbath Hypo-Allergenic Grooming Foam. Simply spray and massage it into your cat’s coat for a moisturizing, no-water cleanse. Use a skin and coat care shampoo infrequently, as too much bathing can dry out the skin further.

  • Change Diet – If your cat is missing essential oils or vitamin E in his diet, it could very well be showing up in his skin and coat. Switching to a diet rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids can restore natural oils to the skin and coat. Try premium quality cat food with fish. Another alternative is to seek out a cat vitamin or supplement, such as Wholistic Pet Coconut Oil, which you can feed directly to your cat or mix with your cat’s food.

  • Reduce Bathing – If you bathe your cat frequently (once a month or more), he could be losing his natural oils too quickly to replace them. To fix this, try bathing less often. Cats are meticulous self-bathers, and most can keep themselves clean. Switch to a shampoo and/or conditioner specifically designed for skin and coat care with vitamin E, natural oils, or oatmeal. If you simply must bathe more frequently, try a very mild apple cider vinegar and water solution. 

Matted Cat Fur

If your cat’s hair clumps or mats often, chances are your cat also suffers from dry skin or excessive shedding. Check out the solutions above to help solve your problem. Mats develop because of infrequent grooming and exposure to a dirty environment.

  • Brush your cat’s coat regularly - Remove hair before it clumps and forms a mat.

  • Clean your cat’s litter box frequently - Mats generally appear when your cat is exposed to a dirty environment. Dirt gets caught in the fur and forms mats, which can be painful and difficult to remove.

For more tips on treating and preventing knots, mats, and tangles, check out our top Matted Cat Fur Solutions

If your cat gets a little fussy when trying to brush out mats and tangles, then give them something to occupy their mind, like a tasty treat. Or try a Messy Cat Lick Mat. Spread an Inaba Churu on it, and let your cat lick away!

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How to Treat Cat Skin Infections


If your cat has all the symptoms of dry skin, but those symptoms do not improve with standard treatments, it is likely that your cat is suffering from a skin infection. Please see your veterinarian!

Infections are often warning signs of another primary issue, such as a food allergy or parasite. Otherwise, cat skin infections can happen any time there are open sores on the skin, such as if your cat is injured. They can also be highly contagious to other cats, so make sure to medicate them quickly.

  • Prevent with ointment – Topical antiseptic sprays, such as NaturPet Healing Spray, use natural herbs to prevent skin infections from developing from open wounds.

  • Eliminate possible primary causes – Skin infections can be caused by parasite infestation, an open wound, or severely dry skin where your cat has scratched an opening in the skin.

  • Get your pet tested – Your veterinarian can perform tests on your cat's skin if a wound does not heal or clear up, if the infection is recurring, or if you believe some underlying condition may be the cause. Internal diseases such as hypothyroidism or external skin gland diseases can be more serious primary issues.

Cat Food Allergy Solutions

Cat allergies generally manifest as skin problems. Symptoms include dry, itchy skin, skin infections, excessive shedding, and a dull coat.

Itching is generally concentrated in the ear, face, and neck area. Lesions and patchy spots are also usually present. Other allergy symptoms to watch for in your cat are red bumps and flaking of the skin, red areas, and even swelling of the face and eyes.

  • Rule out parasites – Flea bites can cause an allergic reaction in cats called flea dermatitis. This appears as severely itchy and red skin. Fleas should be present, although symptoms can appear shortly after fleas are killed. Treat your cats for fleas or use a flea and tick preventative

  • Change Diet – Though they appear as skin conditions, allergies can still be dietary in nature. Switch to a limited-ingredient pet food (one that has a single protein or carbohydrate source), such as Go! Solutions LID Pollock to help eliminate offending ingredients. For best results, try a food your cat has never tried before.

  • See your Veterinarian – Whenever you are concerned, check with your veterinarian.

Sources and More Information


Cat Shedding and Dry Skin FAQs


What months do cats shed the most?

In Canada, shedding seasons happen in spring and fall, though the specific months can be different depending on your climate. As the weather begins to warm or cool significantly, your pet's coat will prepare them for whatever season is approaching. 

How much shedding is normal for a cat?

All cats shed to some degree, but how much will depend on your cat's breed and your climate. Cats with a thick undercoat, like Persians, will shed a lot more than a domestic short-haired cat breed. Regular brushing will reduce how much fur ends up coating your furniture and clothing.

Do cats shed more when stressed?

Stress can be a factor in shedding. Stressful situations or big changes to your cat's environment can cause some additional shedding. Calming solutions and regular grooming habits can help to reduce stress and excessive shedding. 

What's the best way to moisturize my cat's skin?

Your cat's skin health is best treated from the inside out. Topical treatments might help temporarily, but your cat needs to be healthy on the inside to stay healthy on the outside. A combination of high-quality, natural, and moisture-rich foods and omega fatty acids can help to keep your cat's fur healthier for longer. 

Can I rub coconut oil on my cat?

Coconut oil can be rubbed onto your cat like a lotion, but remember that your cat is an obsessive groomer and will lick a lot of it off. Use coconut oil sparingly to prevent your cat from ingesting large amounts of this high-calorie food. 




Written by

Krystn Janisse

Krystn is a passionate pet nutrition enthusiast. She has worked in the pet industry for over a decade and loves to share her passion for animal welfare with others. She is currently working for one very rebellious cat, Jack, and hanging out with a goofy but loveable doggo named Roxy.


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