I adopted a cat recently and she has excessive dandruff, maults lots, and has a very tender back. She flinches whenever stroked on her back. She also has bald patches on her neck by her collar. She is scratching her neck a lot lately too.
What could be the problem and what can i do to help her?
The first thing a cat vet thinks of when you describe dandruff, shedding, and tenderness on the back is a cat who isn't grooming herself well in that area. The reason for this is often obesity and the cat just can't reach the area like she once could although there can certainly be other reasons. (see photo above; although cute this cat is very overweight and has the same problems on his back that you describe) Arthritis could have the same effect in making it more difficult for her to groom her back.
If the skin and hair on the rest of her body (other than the ears which I'll touch on in a moment) are normal, then the above possibility becomes even more likely.
If, on the other hand, all of her fur is dry and lacks luster, she could have something else going on. The skin and fur often reflect what is going on internally. Going to the vet for a good exam and most likely bloodwork would be a very good idea.
The area around the collar may be bald from the collar or from her scratching. She could be scratching because of the collar. Is it a plain collar she has worn all her life or is it new? Is it a flea collar? If so, I strongly recommend taking it off at once. They can be toxic and very irritating. It's much better for her to have Frontline applied to the back of her neck once monthly if there is a concern about fleas.
If she has any fleas, that could also be the reason for scratching around her neck as could ear mites. Allergy of any type also causes itchiness in cats more than it causes sneezing and watery eyes as it does in people.
If she is eating well, not losing weight, acting normally and appears normal in all other respects, you could try brushing the area daily. Also, go to the pet store and get her a fish oil supplement to take. My favorite is distributed by VEDCO. It is called NutriVed O.F.A. Chewable Tablets. (Microencapsulated Omega Fatty Acids with Fat Soluble Vitamins, Zinc and Amino Acids)
If however, she has any other symptoms at all, you should schedule a vet appointment right away.
Good Luck and Thanks for Writing!