PictureCombinationof dried saliva and dead oily skin (seborrheic dermatitis)

​Conditioners for cats is a greatly misunderstood topic. Professional cat grooming is still in its infancy and there are a lot of myths floating around like dandruff. In fact even veterinarians often erroneously recommend conditioner when they see flakes on a cat.

Previously we talked about dandruff and static and how and why they do not benefit from conditioner. Visible dandruff floating on the fur is either dried saliva or dead oily skin (seborrheic dermatitis), NOT dry skin. Large yellow/green flakes floating on the surface of the hair is just sloughed off oily skin, meaning the cat needs an exfoliating bath. Dried saliva is translucent and brittle. Dry skin can be determined only on the actual surface of the skin once scratched and best evident on the belly by tiny, tiny flakes, just like our skin.
Cats are naturally greasy for weather-proofing and most do not get bathed often enough to ever warrant using conditioner. The only time conditioner is required is if you are bathing your cat twice a week or more frequently. In other words, only show cats that are actively campaigning may require a light conditioner every other bath, or a cat groomed every six weeks or less with a specialty coat colour of a damaged nature, such as shaded silvers, dilute colours, 

Winter static problems well-meaningly remedied by owners with conditioner results in an ever increasing greasy lump of cat. Typically it is dirty hair which has the greatest static problems. It has to do with positive and negative charged ions. While conditioner adds moisture to the hair and smothers the hair cuticle, you can just as easily reduce static by adding moisture to the air and defusing the charged ions by humidifying the air, and/or spraying a fine mist of water over your static kitty before combing with a metal comb. Avoid plastic grooming tools as they conduct static. You do not need conditioner.

Most pet products have rubbing alcohol in their ingredients, among other dubious things on the list and it is not something you want your cat licking. Pet products were designed for dogs, and the entire grooming industry is dog-centric. These products can be dangerous for cats as they ingest them plus the fur and skin on a cat is very different than a dog. Most pet shampoos will not get your cat properly clean as they are much greasier than dogs, owners have difficulty properly rinsing, inappropriate pet shampoos and conditioners will leave residue behind in the fur, and all of the above will make the hair more prone to matting. Finally word, using conditioner or sprays to attempt to remove mats is a huge mistake. Cat mats never untangle (they have to be eased out) and you have a greasier mess than before. 

Indoor cats still produce weather-proofing oils despite being indoors. All this oil and spit builds up over time making the hair sticky and dirty making it the perfect breeding ground for mats to develop. It is unlikely the average household cat will ever need conditioner in its lifetime and more likely needs a regular bath schedule to remove dead skin flakes, saliva, loose hair, and revitalize the skin and hair to stay soft, silky and healthy.