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Published: Jun 13, 2012

Oils are a normal part of healthy skin, but if your cat seems to be producing an excessive amount of oil, it might have a skin disorder known as seborrhea or seborrheic dermatitis.

Seborrhea in cats occurs when the sebaceous glands of the skin produce an excessive amount of sebum, or oil, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. This condition usually affects skin that has a large number of sebaceous glands. On cats, this is along the back, face and flanks. This condition is usually characterized by scaly, flaky and red skin that the cat scratches frequently. You might also see some flakes of skin on your cat's favorite sleeping places, since these whitish scales tend to fall off.

In many cases, seborrhea may be a clinical sign of another disease, according to To determine the cause of the skin issues, veterinarians will usually consider the cat's health history - including when the skin symptoms began and whether there has been any other changes in the animal's behavior or health. They can also perform a physical examination, take a skin biopsy or perform other tests on the skin as needed to confirm a diagnosis of the problem.

Treatment is directed toward the underlying cause of the seborrhea, but may include fatty acid supplements, medicated shampoos, moisturizers, or antibiotics, VCA reports.