How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask FelineMed Your Own Question
FelineMed , Licensed Veterinary Technician
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 386
Experience:  Accomplished LVT for over 10 years with a BS in Biology as well. Experience working in 2 feline specific hospitals.
Type Your Cat Question Here...
FelineMed is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My 13-yr-old Maine Coon has a problem with severe dandruff/matted

Resolved Question:

My 13-yr-old Maine Coon has a problem with severe dandruff/matted fur only on his back near his tail. Is this mange? He's had it a long time, but it never seems to spread to any other part of his body. Once, I shaved the matted section but within a few months it was looking bad again. What can I do to control it?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  FelineMed replied 2 years ago.

Hi! I am a Licensed Veterinary Technician and have worked in 2 different cat hospitals for well over 10 years. I'm looking forward to assisting you!


I am sorry, but the person you requested is not available...but I can certainly assist you if you would like. If you would prefer to continue to wait for the requested expert, you can certainly do so. If not, I do have a few questions so that I can better assist you:


1) Does the hair in this area grow back normally after it is shaved, but then becomes oily and the dandruff starts and then it turns into matted fur?


2) Does Mabel have a history of any other health issues that you know of?


3) What type of food does Mabel eat?


Thanks in advance for the further information! Once you reply, please give me a little bit to respond : )



Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, the hair grows back normally, then the whole process starts again. No other health issues. He only eats dry food. I thought that increasing his oil intake would help, so I tried to give him the oil/water from a can of tuna, but he won't eat it. When he was younger he loved it. I think the current dry food he's eating is Cat Chow. He has no problem eating and eats quite a lot. He's over 20 lbs. I attached a picture of him, and one of the problem area. But he was moving so the image is blurry. Sorry.


Mabel 1


Mabel 2

Expert:  FelineMed replied 2 years ago.
Awww what a handsome boy!

Thankfully this issue does not look or sound like mange. With mange you would actually see signs of hair loss rather than just dandruff and matting and it would spread to other locations, other than where you are seeing Mabel's fur issue.

Most likely Mabel's condition is basic seborrhea, which is often seen due to a few factors. The first would be decreased grooming in that area. The tail base is a common place for this to happen because it is a very hard area for a cat to reach, especially larger overweight cats. Also, as a cat ages, it becomes even harder and harder. Sometimes as a cat gets older, they are unable to reach certain areas when grooming due to arthritis. Certainly it would do no harm at Mabel's age to start him on a glucosamine arthritis supplement. This comes in a variety of forms and brands...powder to mix in with food and treats, here are some links to a couple:

To help Mabel "groom" in this area, you can get a fine toothed flea comb and comb that area as needed. This will help to keep it from matting up. Certainly shaving it periodically as you have done can serve the same purpose. Another factor that contributes to this condition is an increase in oily fur in that area. Sometimes this even occurs all up a cat's back area. The dandruff you are seeing is also very typically seen with this as well. Flea combing this area will also help to remove the dandruff and break up the oily fur can help as well. Also, adding a fatty acid supplement to Mabel's diet can help to decrease the dandruff and oil production. Here is one commonly used:

Shampooing this area as needed with a hypoallergenic shampoo can also help to clear it up. If you do shampoo the area, then you do want to be sure though with Mabel's long fur that you comb it especially as it
dries because wet fur can mat up easier than dry fur.

There is a condition called "Stud Tail," which most often occurs in non neutered male cats, but can also occur in neutered males, though less often:

Usually there will be some skin infection present underneath the fur in that area, but that would have been noticeable once the fur was removed by shaving. I'm assuming that Mabel is neutered, but if not yet for some reason, neutering him will help if this is his actual issue. His issue looks and sounds more like just basic seborrhea as mentioned above.

One other thing that I would recommend if not done recently...would be to have some basic lab work including a thyroid level done on Mabel. As cats age, they are more at risk for some common elderly cat diseases, some which can cause poor hair coat.

I hope all of this information has been helpful!

Please do not hesitate to ask any further questions. I aim to provide you with the best service possible. If you feel I have done so, then
an excellent rating is greatly appreciated! If not, please let me know how I can better assist you. Thanks! XXXXX
FelineMed, Licensed Veterinary Technician
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 386
Experience: Accomplished LVT for over 10 years with a BS in Biology as well. Experience working in 2 feline specific hospitals.
FelineMed and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for all the great info! I'm sure we'll make progress now. By the way, it was when he was getting neutered that relates to him having a girl's name. When we got him from the shelter as a new kitten, they said it was a girl. I agreed. The vet agreed. Then when we took him in later to be "spayed" the vet had actually cut into him and realized there were no girl parts and had to sew him back up. She then went hunting for the boy parts and finally found them. She said they were tiny. So it just seemed like the girl name still fit since his boy parts were practically not even there.

Expert:  FelineMed replied 2 years ago.
Goodness! I wondered about the name hehe

You're welcome! Thank you for the excellent rating, it is greatly appreciated : )


JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • The response from the Expert literally saved my cat's life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart -- I will recommend all of my friends to you!!! Lucia Rincon, Georgia
< Previous | Next >
  • The response from the Expert literally saved my cat's life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart -- I will recommend all of my friends to you!!! Lucia Rincon, Georgia
  • I will use your service again. I was very pleased with the response and the fact that you have a low cost option so that those of us on fixed income can have questions answered. I will also recommend you to others. Karen Jackson Heights, NY
  • You helped us to come to what we believe is a better next step in Jack's treatment, and hopefully have saved us $800!! Thanks again! Jack's Mom Tuscon, AZ
  • The vet said that the information and my following it will be what made the difference. Thanks again for being so very helpful. Tracy Grayson, LA
  • My oldest male cat had a seizure this evening. This site was the first place I could think of to go after the seizure had passed. Dr. Lucy was fantastic and she was spot on! Debbie USA
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

Meet The Experts:

  • Terri


    Feline Healthcare Expert

    Satisfied Customers:

    Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
< Last | Next >
  • Terri's Avatar


    Feline Healthcare Expert

    Satisfied Customers:

    Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
  • Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • Cher's Avatar


    Feline Specialist

    Satisfied Customers:

    Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
  • Lori's Avatar


    Feline Healthcare

    Satisfied Customers:

    16 yrs health care mgmt & issues relating to cats, reproductive issues and multicat environments
  • Micki's Avatar


    Expert in cat behavior and health

    Satisfied Customers:

    Expert in cat medical and behavior issues.
  • Candy R.'s Avatar

    Candy R.

    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • Theresa's Avatar


    A Voice for your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    19+ years in animal medicine as a veterinary technician