Keep fur where it belongs with the best cat food for shedding
Shedding is a natural process for cats.
In the wild, cats shed their coat twice a year, in spring and autumn. Your outdoor cat will follow these timelines naturally.
Indoor cats can shed at any time, and you may notice periodic increases in the amount of hair adorning sofas and clogging up your vacuum cleaner.
If your feline is shedding too much hair, though, you may be able to do something about it by addressing the cat’s diet—whether you are using dry, wet, raw, homemade, or tailor-made cat food, there may be a dietary way of reducing hair loss.
Untamed has all the advice you need on the best cat food for shedding and ways to keep your kitty looking sleek and well-groomed.
What is shedding?
Shedding is a natural process by which cats lose hair due to:
- Seasonal changes
Cats react to the amount of sunlight they are exposed to and naturally shed:
- In spring—to get rid of their winter coat and stay cooler in summer
- In autumn—to make way for their winter coat to grow
The light stimulus is known as a photoperiod. Indoor cats will more than likely shed all the time as their system is confused by artificial light and the constant temperature in a house.
Cats are fastidious, but this is not necessarily due to vanity.
Constant grooming keeps their skin and coat in top condition, which affords them protection from the elements.
Although domestic cats don’t necessarily need this protection, the behaviour is hardwired into them as a result of their wild heritage.
A further reason for cats‘ desire to look good has to do with self-preservation.
Predators look for easy targets, and an unkempt coat is often a sign that an animal is weak or sick.
Looking svelte and well-groomed sends out a signal that a cat is:
- Likely to put up a fight if attacked
This serves as a warning to predators to look for easier prey.
What could be better than a good grooming session?
Source: Claudio Herrera
Is shedding a bad thing?
As part of cats‘ natural bodily functions, shedding isn’t a problem for them.
The problem is more to do with us and our reaction to dealing with the result of shedding—whether it is the constant battle to clean cat hair off our best furniture or the chore of dealing with hairballs.
When is shedding a problem?
If your cat is shedding normally, there is no cause for concern—it’s a natural process and needs to happen.
There may be an issue, though, if you notice that your feline is:
- Losing more hair than normal
- Struggling with hairballs
Losing more hair than normal
Excessive hair loss in cats is usually accompanied by excessive grooming and could be a symptom of an underlying issue.
The most likely causes of overgrooming or hair loss are:
Causes of shedding
Fleas, ticks, and other parasites can cause itchiness and result in your cat trying to lick the problem away.
Most of the common parasitic reactions are treatable or preventable using localised medication
Allergic reactions to a cat’s food are common causes of overgrooming and hair loss.
A protein allergy is the result of the feline’s body misidentifying certain proteins and mounting an immune response.
Food allergies often result in red pustules on the skin, causing a cat to lick the area for relief.
You should also check to see whether your cat has eaten something harmful
All kinds of household items can cause skin irritations—from washing powder to cleaning agents or pollen from a houseplant.
Your cat will react by licking the affected area excessively
Ringworm is a fungal skin infection. If it is left untreated, your cat may lose all its hair in the affected area, and it can take up to nine months for the bald patch to heal.
Ringworm can also be transferred to humans, so it needs to be treated as quickly as possible
Stress can be caused by a change in environment, a new pet, or contact with other local animals.
Stress or anxiety can lead to overgrooming and excessive shedding
Struggling with hairballs
Cats groom themselves by licking, and some of the hair they remove inevitably gets swallowed.
Most of the ingested hair passes harmlessly through the cat’s system and exits via the digestive tract—you can even help this process with designated hairball control food.
Some hair, though, may stay in the stomach, where it collects into small balls of hair, mucus, and stomach contents. These are what you find on your carpet and furniture and are perfectly natural—if a bit unpleasant.
While hairballs are a natural phenomenon, they can cause digestive problems for cats that overgroom.
If a hairball gets stuck in a cat’s digestive tract, the result can be serious, and you may need to have the blockage removed surgically by your vet.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should consult your vet as soon as possible:
- Retching, vomiting, or coughing without a hairball being produced
- Appetite loss
How can you control your cat’s shedding?
If your cat has no underlying infections and you simply want to reduce the amount of hair deposited around the house, the most important step to take is to change the diet.
Switching to a high-quality cat food can have a significant impact on your cat’s hair loss.
Let’s take a look at how diet can influence your cat’s shedding and the general health of the skin and coat.
How does diet affect a cat’s coat?
“You are what you eat” is as true for cats as it is for humans.
Cat hair is made up primarily of keratin, which is a protein that also makes up the outer layer of a cat’s skin.
A cat will typically produce around 25,000 hair strands per square centimetre of skin, meaning that an average-sized cat has around 70 million hairs in total.
With so many hairs, and with the skin being the largest organ in a feline’s body, maintaining the skin and coat uses up the majority of your cat’s protein intake.
If your feline is consuming high-quality protein, this will be translated into:
- More stable skin structure to promote stronger hair roots
- More stable follicle structure in each hair
- Reduced need to replace damaged hair and dead skin
The better the quality of the food your cat eats, the better the skin and coat can be maintained.
What is the best cat food to reduce shedding?
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that their bodies are set up to process meat.
Cat food contains protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, but the most important of these for maintaining healthy skin and coat are:
How can protein in cat food reduce shedding?
Protein provides cats with the building blocks for muscles, skin, and fur.
When felines eat, they metabolise the amino acids in the protein portion of their food to produce new proteins that they need—keratin is one of these.
As meat-eaters by nature, cats are best adapted to metabolising animal protein as this gives them the amino acid profile they need in an easily digestible form.
You can compare different protein sources by looking at their biological value—what percentage of the protein source a cat can metabolise. A protein source with a higher biological value means that your cat has to eat less to get the amino acids required.
The biological values of the most common protein sources in cat food are as follows:
If your cat is fed a diet with a high percentage of any protein source with a biological value of over 90%, it will have a beneficial effect on the feline’s skin and coat.
Top-quality protein can make all the difference to your kitty’s coat
Image (c) Untamed
What do fats do in cat food to stop shedding?
Besides protein, fat is another viable source of energy in cat food, delivering around twice as many calories as carbs.
Fat also delivers fatty acids, such as:
- Linoleic acid
- Arachidonic acid
- Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
These help maintain the integrity of a cat’s cell membranes, and high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can also help keep your feline’s healing responses in top form.
The most digestible fats for cats are animal fats, such as:
- Chicken fat
- Pork fat
- Beef tallow
- Fish oil
Animal fat also tastes great for a cat, meaning that your kitty will go wild about getting the benefits that it delivers.
Wherever form your cat’s food comes in, you should aim for the highest-quality ingredients possible. This applies to:
If your cat’s diet is rich in animal protein and animal fat—like in high-calorie diets—it will improve the health of the skin and coat. This can help in reducing shedding and keeping your cat looking sleek and well-groomed.
Always look your best from head to toe!
How much animal protein and animal fat is necessary in anti-shedding cat food?
If you want to feed your feline a cat food to reduce shedding, you should check the label for the following values:
More than 50%
Up to 20%
What about carbs and cheap cat food?
Cats don’t need carbs in their diet, but many cheaper foods use:
- High proportions of carbohydrates
- Undefined or cheaper meat products as ingredients
Many food allergies in cats are caused by protein sources that are of inferior quality—the problem with cheaper cat foods is that you often don’t know what the true ingredients are.
The ingredients list will include a lot of grains and cereals and might be cagey about what meat has been used to make the product.
Cat food of this type will not help you reduce shedding and may even make the problem worse.
Does Untamed have cat food for shedding?
Untamed cat food is the best you can give your cat if shedding is a problem.
We want your cat to get the best possible nutrition every day, so all our diets are formulated on the following principles:
- High protein levels—Our meals are packed with twice the amount of animal protein than the industry standard! With a single serving of Untamed food, your cat will get all the essential nutrients, including taurine
- Whole meats only—We only use human-grade meat in our feline delicacies, with no meat derivatives or unnecessary fillers. Our tasty and nutritious food is free of all known allergens and super easy to digest both for senior cats and kittens
- Vet-formulated recipes—All Untamed recipes were carefully designed to answer your cat’s biological needs
- Sustainable production—We work hard to erase our carbon pawprint, using 100% recyclable packaging and ethically sourced ingredients
- Fussy eater approved—If your cat suffers from the “picky eater” syndrome, pop open a tin of Untamed food, and see them meow in anticipation
Depending on your cat’s life stage, preferences, and known sensitivities, you can choose any of our products to help you control your feline’s shedding.
How long will it take to see a difference in your cat’s coat?
Cats replace their coat every three to six months, depending on the length of the hair.
When you switch to Untamed, you should notice the difference within the following timelines:
The Untamed effect
Within a week
You should notice:
After two months
You will see:
Within four months
The effects you will spot are:
Your kitty should suffer from fewer skin and coat problems and should shed considerably less than with inferior diets
How can you switch to Untamed and get the best cat food to stop shedding?
You will never completely eliminate shedding, but switching to Untamed can help you keep your kitty looking sleek and well-groomed.
We want your feline to enjoy Untamed with as little hassle to you as possible, so we offer a seamless online cat food ordering system—here’s what you need to do:
- Visit our Try Now page
- Tell us more about your cat
- Select a meal plan and place your order
Your trial pack will be at your doorstep in no time, and your feline friend can check out which of our meals taste the best.
Once we get their approval, healthy food in balanced portions will be delivered every month to make sure the kitty doesn’t miss a meal.
If anything changes, like your kitty's taste preferences or your delivery requirements, let us know and we'll adjust your cat food susbcription accordingly. If not, you can look forward to watching your kitty become better-looking by the day!
Good-looking and knows it!
Image (c) Untamed
What else can you do to limit your kitty’s shedding?
The best change you can make is to your feline’s diet, but you can also reduce shedding by:
- Brushing regularly
- Discouraging excessive grooming
Depending on whether your cat is short- or long-haired, you should introduce regular brushing sessions.
You can get specialised tools to help you, such as:
- A six to eight-inch long metal comb with medium teeth
- A rubber curry brush
- A grooming glove for short-haired cats
You should aim to introduce brushing sessions:
- Five to six times a week for long-haired cats
- Once or twice a week for short-hairs
Worried that your kitty won’t submit to getting a hairdo? Most cats will learn to love the attention you are lavishing on them—your grooming sessions may soon become an on-demand activity.
Discouraging excessive grooming
Cats can become a bit OCD about grooming.
Felines can spend up to half their waking hours grooming, so you should expect to see your cat with legs at impossible angles a fair amount of the time.
If you notice that your cat is becoming a compulsive groomer, you should step in to actively discourage the behaviour.
Tips for breaking the obsessive grooming habit include:
Grooming control tips
Introducing and maintaining routines
Cats love predictable routines and get stressed by unexpected situations. The more you can keep to a fixed daily routine of feeding, litter tray cleaning, play, and relaxation time, the more relaxed your cat will be
Stimulating your cat
Boredom can lead a cat to groom excessively, so you need to provide as much mental stimulation as possible.
Toys, puzzles, things to chase, and scratching posts are all great tools to stimulate your kitty’s playful tendencies and reduce boredom
Using calming medication
If the grooming is anxiety-related, you can give your cat calming medication or supplements. You may need to get medication from your vet, but many calming treats are available over the counter
You shouldn’t try to intervene when your cat begins compulsive grooming—this may only serve to raise their anxiety level.
Distraction with a toy or play opportunity is the safer route.
Your new full-time job
Source: Gustavo Fring