Dr. Marie Menniti's Veterinary Advice
Shedding is a normal process as part of a healthy cat coat.
Some cats will shed more than others and shedding can be seasonal. Choosing the right diet can help maintain a healthy coat and prevent excess shedding. If you notice excessive hair loss in your cat, consult with your veterinarian as this can be a sign of illness.
The following tips can help you pick out a diet that is suitable for a cat who is shedding.
1) Choose a diet suited for cats with adverse food reactions
Hair loss and shedding can sometimes be related to an allergy or adverse food reaction. Choosing a diet with alternative ingredients, particularly the protein source, can help to solve this problem.
The best choice for a suspected adverse food reaction or allergy is a hydrolyzed protein diet. This diet uses proteins that are broken down into pieces as their amino acid source. These pieces that are so tiny that they are unlikely to trigger a reaction. These diets are also a top choice to use for clinical dietary trial to pinpoint the exact ingredient causing the problem.
2) Choose a diet with a source of insoluble fiber
A shedding cat is more likely to accidentally swallow stray hairs while grooming. Ingredients which provide insoluble fiber to the diet, such as cellulose or beet pulp, can help to keep things moving in the gut.
If your cat gets hairballs frequently, regular brushing is another great way to prevent their occurrence.
3) Consider your cat’s energy needs
Over time, excess calories can cause obesity which can make it impossible for even the most flexible cat to groom properly. Be sure to match your cat’s energy needs and continue to monitor her body condition as she grows. Your veterinarian can help you determine her daily caloric needs. Always use a scale to measure out meals as cups are inaccurate.
4) Choose a diet with the correct AAFCO statement to ensure protein levels are adequate
The main building block of hair is protein, so your cat will need to be getting enough dietary protein to maintain a healthy coat.
You can be sure there is an adequate amount of protein in a food when there is an adequacy statement by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) on the label. The AAFCO statement will highlight the life stage which matches the nutrient profile of the food. For example, a diet that is formulated for “maintenance” will meet the requirements of an adult or senior cat while a diet for “growth” is suited for kittens.