How To Treat Cat Shedding, Dry Skin, and More

6 Minute Read
Updated March 15, 2021

When healthy, a cat’s coat should be silky, shiny, and smooth. Unfortunately, many things can get in the way of your cat’s skin and coat looking its best.

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

Find your cat's skin problems and solutions here. Let your cat have the healthy skin and beautiful coat he was meant to.

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

Treat Cat Sheddingpinit


Cat Shedding

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! See Cat Dry Skin below for ways to moisturize your cat's skin and coat.

  • Change Diet – If your cat isn’t already on a premium quality food that includes plenty of natural sources of essential fatty acids (omega 3s and 6s), such as fish and flax, you might want to think about changing your cat's food. These fatty acids moisturize the skin and coat, decreasing shed hair. A quality cat fatty acid supplement can help. On rare occasions, food allergies can also cause dry skin and hair loss.

  • 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.

Cat Dry Skin

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. 

Matting 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.

Cat Skin Infections

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 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
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 loves all animals but is currently channeling some crazy cat lady vibes with her four lovable, but rebellious cats.


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