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Help and advice if your pet suffers from cat flu, cat colds or other ailments

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Many cats suffer from dandruff but thankfully there are plenty of medicated shampoos, powders and other products are available to help combat it.

Dandruff comprises flakes of dried out dead skin and is usually quite easy to detect on a cat or kitten.

It's usually the result of allergic dermatitis which causes a cat’s skin to become dry, scaly or itchy.

Dandruff can be caused by many things ranging from parasites (fleas, lice or mites), a sensitivity to new bedding, upholstery or carpets, air being too dry in a home or even sunburn.

It's important not to confuse dandruff with dander which is the perfectly normal shedding of dead skin cells.  These cells, combined with proteins from cat saliva deposited during the

grooming process, is often what causes human allergies to cats.

Always check your cat for parasites as bites from mites, fleas and lice can all trigger off allergic dermatitis. Most parasites can be treated quite easily but to ensure the problem has been completely eradicated it may be necessary to treat all other pets, and even your home and occupants!

It's also important to ensure you maintain the correct humidity in your home. If dry air is making your skin feel tight and dry, your cat will most likely be experiencing the same thing.

Controlling humidity will also have the beneficial effect of reducing static electricity on your cat's coat as well as cutting down the risk of it contracting winter colds.

Some owners fail to realise how susceptible cats can be to sunburn. Those who spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer months can experience burning of their lips, eyelids, ears and nose.

As with humans, sunburn will kill the top layer of a cat’s skin, causing it to dry up and flake off - and in the worst cases sunburn can cause skin cancer in cats and kittens.

In particularly hot weather it is advisable to keep a cat indoors between 10am and 3pm.

In most cases dandruff is not a dangerous condition but if it remains untreated a cat will scratch itself aggressively, causing the skin to become raw and vulnerable to infection.

There are plenty of parasite treatments and pet shampoos and powders available in pet shops and online stores.

However, you should do a bit of research when choosing a medicated shampoo as some of those available can actually make the condition worse - this is caused by soap getting into a cat's undercoat and proving difficult to wash out despite thorough rinsing. When this soap dries it has the undesirable effect on drying out a cat or kitten's skin, leading to dandruff.

In the battle against dandruff you should also ensure your cat is getting the right amount of omega-3 fatty acids in its diet. A lack of this nutrient means a cat’s skin will not be adequately moist.

Adding tuna fish to your cat's food is a good way to boost its omega-3 intake.  Don't consider giving a whole tin of tuna to the cat as the amount of omega-3 contained in it is significantly higher than the quota required for your cat.

It is advisable to pay a visit to the vet if a cat or kitten’s itching and flaking appears to be getting worse and becoming more persistent.


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