Saturday 2 September 2023

Is there a high-quality cat food I can give my cat to reduce shedding?

Ragdoll groomed during the shedding season. Image in public domain.

Conventional response to the question

While there is no cat food that can completely eliminate shedding, you can choose high-quality cat foods that can help reduce excessive shedding and promote healthy skin and coat. Here are some factors to consider when selecting cat food to help with shedding:
  1. Look for foods with a high-quality protein source: Cats are obligate carnivores, so their diet should primarily consist of animal-based protein. Foods with high-quality protein sources like chicken, turkey, or fish can promote healthy skin and coat.
  2. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids: These essential fatty acids are crucial for skin and coat health. Foods containing fish oil, flaxseed, or other sources of these fatty acids can help reduce shedding and improve coat quality.
  3. Limited fillers and carbohydrates: Avoid cat foods that have excessive fillers and carbohydrates, as they may not provide the essential nutrients your cat needs for optimal coat health. Look for foods with a lower carbohydrate content.
  4. Nutrient balance: Ensure that the cat food you choose is balanced and meets the nutritional needs of your cat. High-quality commercial cat foods are typically formulated to provide the right balance of vitamins and minerals.
  5. Avoid artificial additives: Some artificial additives and preservatives may contribute to skin and coat issues. Opt for cat foods with natural ingredients and minimal additives.
  6. Consult your veterinarian: If your cat's shedding is excessive or if you're concerned about their coat health, it's a good idea to consult your veterinarian. They can recommend specific cat foods or dietary supplements tailored to your cat's needs.
Remember that genetics, age, and environmental factors can also influence shedding, so even with the best diet, some shedding may still occur. Regular grooming, such as brushing your cat's fur, can also help reduce shedding by removing loose hair and preventing matting.

Comment on the above

I feel it necessary to comment on the above which, by the way, is a conventional answer taken from sources on the Internet. I think, to be fair, you will find some websites being a little overoptimistic about the prospect of a certain cat food reducing the shedding of fur from a domestic cat.

Why should I say this? Because it is entirely natural for a domestic cat to shed fur when there's more light not, by the way when it is warmer. It is light which dictates when and how much a domestic cat sheds.

Some people believe that seasonal temperature changes dictates when a domestic cat sheds but my reference book written by four distinguished veterinarians tell me that "shedding is influenced more by changes in ambient light. The more exposure to natural light, the greater the shedding. This applies to both neutered and intact cats."

I guess, on that basis, if you kept your cat in a darkened room they wouldn't shed! But that's entirely impractical and cruel. Cats kept indoors full-time exposed to constant light may shed lightly and grow a new coat year-round.

But the point here is that it is a natural process and so feeding high-quality cat food with the intention of reducing this natural process is not going to produce a dramatic change. There might be a slight improvement partly because good quality cat food would improve the overall condition of the cat including the condition of the skin and it makes the skin more supple and the hair strands softer and silkier.


I have said it before but I will say again briefly. There are no cat breeds (except hairless!) or individual cats who don't shed fur. All domestic cats of whatever cat breed shed fur because, as stated, it is a natural process. I wouldn't believe what you read on the Internet about certain breeds not shedding fur. They are not really true.

The hairless cats don't shed hair because they don't have any real hair except for a downy coating and so you won't have the problems of shedding hair but you will have other problems of keeping the skin of the hairless cat clean and in good condition.

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