There are two forms of seborrhea: oily (oleosa) and dry (sicca). Your cat can also have both forms. A change in the amount or quality of the oily skin secretions (sebum) causes this condition. An imbalance between new and dying skin cells causes the flakes on your cat's coat.
Dandruff can be observed in cats with no dermatological disease, and it is usually due to a lack of grooming. This can be caused by:
- Obesity - some cats can't physically reach every body site and groom properly
- The hair coat is too long to groom completely
- General sickness with depression or endocrine disorders
- Spinal pain which prevents your cat from turning around properly
Other common causes include fungal infections (such as ringworm or Malassezia dermatitis), parasitic skin disease (cheyletiellosis, demodecosis) and lymphoma of the skin.
Oily skin is waxy and greasy. Often, cats will have bad odor. With dry seborrhea, dandruff is frequent and a lack of sebum irritates the skin. Skin hyperpigmentation and hair loss are also common.
Damage of the natural protective skin barrier can contribute to bacterial or yeast infections. Excessive itching may also occur.