Cat Dry Skin: Why Does My Cat Have It?

Cats, like people, can have dry skin at times. This is most common in the winter when the cold outside air and more heating indoors is used to dry up the air. Of course, it can also happen on other occasions.

Patched, flaky areas around your cat's coat are the best method to determine whether it has dry skin. Another indicator that your cat has dry skin is if you see them scratching and itching all the time, especially if they're concentrating their scratching on one area of their body.

Dry skin on your cat might take the form of bald areas, scabs, scaly patches, or flakes that resemble dandruff. These symptoms can develop anywhere on your cat, but the nose, tail, lower back, and ears are often the most affected areas.

Once you've determined that your cat has dry skin, the next step is to figure out what's causing it and how to treat it properly.

My cat has dry skin and dandruff

There are a few reasons why your cat might have dry skin or dandruff:

Its diet

What you feed your cat might cause dry skin. To keep their skin and hair healthy, cats require a nutritionally balanced diet with sufficient fatty acids.

Additionally, the quality of your cat’s diet can have a real influence on how well they are able to digest and gain nutrients. For example, meals that are cooked at high temperatures, such as kibbles, offer limited nutritional value to your cat as compared to a meal with fresh high quality ingredients.

If you want to be assured of quality cat food, check out PetCubes Gently Cooked Cat Food made out of fresh, quality ingredients.


Cats are known for drinking far less water than they require.

Cats would acquire the majority of their moisture from their diet in the wild. Because many domesticated cats eat dry kibble diets, it's normal for them to be somewhat dehydrated for lengthy periods of time.

This lack of moisture can lead to dry skin, a reduction in healthy oil production, and inflammation, which can cause itching.

Dry air

To keep its suppleness and resilience, your cat's skin requires a specific quantity of moisture. The skin can get dry in a low-humidity environment. This is especially common when the air is cooler and we switch on the heat more frequently. Humidity is also quite low in arid regions.


Dry skin can also be a sign of obesity. An overweight cat will have difficulties in reaching their back for proper grooming due to their form or discomfort. Hair matting, skin irritation, and flaking can occur as a result of this.

Excessive bathing

Most cats only need to be washed on rare occasions due to their natural grooming habits. Bathing your cat too often, using a shampoo that isn't designed for cats, or using water that is too hot can all cause your cat's skin to dry up.

Why does my cat have dry skin on the back near its tail?

A cat’s skin is delicate and thin. As a result, the skin, particularly around the lower back, can quickly dry out. When a cat scratches to relieve an itch, the result can be ugly, scaly skin and scabs.

Dehydration and a lack of humidity can create dry skin on a cat's lower back. Make your environment airier and encourage your cat to drink more water.

If your cat's back has dry skin, it may typically be treated at home without the use of medicine and can be cured with a natural remedy. However, you'll need to figure out what's causing your dry skin and take steps to fix it.

How to cure my cat’s dry skin?

Like every cat skin problem, there are a few ways in which you can help your cat. Here’s a list of cat dry skin remedies that you can try out:

Feed it well

If your cat has dry skin, you should feed it high quality food like salmon. This will help ensure it gets all the proper nutrients it needs while getting a great meal at the same time.

Hydrate it regularly

Since cats are fans of running water, you might try upgrading from a plain old water dish to a water fountain to encourage them to drink more.

If this doesn't work, look for ways to increase the amount of fluids in your cat's food. Try feeding it meals with high moisture content. Many of these can be served as a side dish or as a special treat.

Regularly groom

Grooming eliminates stray hair and prevents matting and knots. Regular grooming is the single most effective technique to preserve the general health of the skin and hair coat.

And when you do give your cat a bath, be sure to use shampoos specifically made for feline grooming and not human ones.

Olive oil

The oleic acid in olive oils can help your cat soothe its dry skin. This acid can help minimise inflammation and promote healthier skin and coats.


Oatmeal will calm, nourish, and moisturise your cat's skin, as well as give rapid itching relief. For at least a few days, the moisturising qualities will soothe any dry skin and prevent itching. The anti-inflammatory qualities of oats is what provides the soak with its calming effects.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is high in fats, which assist to moisturise your cat's skin and encourage the formation of a healthy coat. It also coats irritated skin in soothing oils, which soothes it.

Every day, gently rub the oil into the afflicted regions or take it orally for optimal effects, since it also offers nutritional advantages. A teaspoon a day, mixed into their food and applied topically, can provide significant relief.

What is the best food for dry skin?

Look for dishes that are made with fresh, natural ingredients. A fully balanced raw diet is an excellent example of a high-quality meal that provides easily digestible nutrients to support all of your cat's bodily systems. PetCubes Raw Cat Food Collection is made with the best ingredients and gives your cat the proper nutrients it needs to have healthy skin.

Additionally, you can try feeding it meals that have fish oils and other omega-3 fatty acids to promote better skin and coat and minimise cat dandruff and dander. Salmon, cod liver and sardines are examples of wild-caught fish oils.

Kibbles are generally poor sources of omega-3s as they oxidise and may become rancid during the extrusion process.

You can also try feeding it wet cat food as it has high moisture content. You can kill two birds with one stone this way as this diet will help you feed your cat and also make sure it is well hydrated.

What cat treats for dry skin can I feed my cat?

Certain vitamins and minerals are especially beneficial to the hair and skin. These substances manage skin health at the cellular level, as well as preserving the colour of your pet's fur and imparting softness and gloss. Hence, you can get treats that are made with copper, vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc or Omega-3 or 6 fatty acids.


Dry skin in cats is curable, just follow the steps mentioned above. Do remember to consult your veterinarian before starting anything or if the problem persists.

Reviewed by: 

Dr Francis is one of the top wildlife nutritionists in Asia. Originating from Montreal, Canada, he left at 21 to pursue his Masters and subsequently a PhD in wildlife nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. Instead of taking the path of common animal science to learn about farm animals, or through the veterinarian space and taking a certificate in nutrition, he took the road less travelled to dive deep into the world of animal ecology, metabolism and nutrition.