A good diet is the best way to treat dry skin in cats. Switching to higher-quality foods and supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids can help. However, many skin diseases and parasites have similar symptoms to dry skin; a veterinary examination can diagnose the cause of the dry skin and determine a course of treatment.
Frequent bathing or harsh soaps can also cause dry skin in cats. If you bathe your cat often or use anti-allergy soaps or other potentially harsh products, try stopping that for a while to see if the skin condition improves. Mats in the cat's fur can cause symptoms that look like dry skin, including dandruff and itchiness, so regular brushing without the use of any additional products may help.
Some cats get dry skin due to environmental conditions, especially during the winter or in arid climates. Using a humidifier to add moisture to the environment can help these cats. A soothing dip of aloe, catnip, pennyroyal or rosemary may provide temporary relief of symptoms.
Take the cat to a veterinarian if any significant skin changes occur, including dandruff or excessive itchiness. The veterinarian generally performs an examination and may take skin scrapings or perform other diagnostics if she believes there is an underlying problem. Common skin conditions that may mimic dry skin include bacterial infections, some parasites, allergies and fleas. Stress may also cause cats to bite or lick excessively at themselves.