While cats are the ideal pets in many ways; they don’t require bucket loads of attention, are typically clean, one area where they don’t quite receive full marks is the amount they shed. As cats tend to be voracious groomers, they often dislodge large amounts of fur, which, when it collects can cause allergies and breathing problems.
Why Do Cats Shed?
Shedding in cats is a perfectly natural process, just like it’s completely natural that we lose 100-150 strands of hair a day. Cats routinely shed fur to replenish their coats as well as deal with and avoid minor skin irritations.
However, if you notice that your cat is shedding more than normal, take a closer look for patchiness, increased chewing, sores and lesions. If you notice these, there’s probably a greater problem at hand; we’d suggest you visit your vet who can deduce the problem and prescribe appropriate remedies.
Aside from skin conditions, other factors like stress (both emotional and physical) as well as environmental factors – like an excessive use of detergent, fabric softener, paint, candles, glue and air freshener – can irritate your cat’s skin, causing him to shed.
Another culprit that could be making your cat shed is his diet. Cats have specific nutritional needs which mimic those diets they would have followed in the wild. House pets are often deprived of certain essential elements, upsetting their body’s balance and therefore leading to external problems like shedding. Here are some elements of your cat’s diet you need to pay special attention to help the shedding problem:
Cat’s fur is made up of keratin, a protein, and a cat’s diet in the wild is significantly protein rich with them hunting and consuming rodents and birds. Therefore, to have a healthy coat, a house cat’s diet needs to be similarly protein rich.
If your cat eats dry food, ensure that at least 45% of the dry food is made up of animal based protein. If you cook at home for him, ensure that a majority (55-60%) of his meals consist of animal proteins like chicken, duck and even rabbit,
Omega-3 and Omega-6
Omega-3 and Omega-6 are fatty acids which nourish and smoothen fur, reducing hair fall. Look for the presence of omega-3 and omega-6 in the packaged foods you feed your cat or try including cold water fish and fish oils (like salmon and cod) in his diet occasionally.
Additionally, you can also ask your vet for omega-3 and omega-6 supplements; use them as advised.
Wet Food Over Dry Food
Even if you do feed your cat high quality pet foods, try feeding him more semi solids, jelly based and wet foods than kibble. Cats get a majority of their water requirement form their food and water helps nourish and strengthen fur.
For home cooked diets, include a little meat broth in his dish of food and give him the occasional saucer of milk.
Try these tips for a few weeks and you should see a marked difference in the amount of fur your cat is shedding.