If you share your home with a furry feline, you're probably no stranger to cat hair on your couch, clothes and blankets!
Shedding is a natural process for cats, but how much is too much?
Patchy fur and excessive shedding could be signs of a deeper health issue - so let's take a look at some of the possible reasons behind your cat losing hair, and also explore the role diet plays in keeping their skin and coat healthy.
Cat losing hair? This could be why
A number of factors influence your cat’s shedding behavior, from breed, lifestyle and age to environmental factors.
- Some cats simply require more maintenance - so do your research. Ragdolls, Ragamuffins, Persians and American Bobtails (to name a few) tend to leave a trail of fur in their wake!
- Older or overweight cats also tend to shed a little more, and sometimes need a hand with grooming to ensure their hair doesn't get matted.
- Like their canine counterparts, cats will shed their fur after giving birth.
- If your cat’s an explorer who is regularly outside in the sunshine, their shedding may be determined by the seasons (they’ll lose fur in spring to keep cool, and retain it in winter to stay warm), as opposed to indoor cats who shed consistently year round.
- Shedding can also be medical or diet related - your cat could be losing hair because of illness, stress, skin sensitivities or allergies (which are often a result of not getting the right nutrition).
How to spot an issue
Start by assessing the quality of your cat’s coat.
If your cat is healthy, they should have a smooth and shiny coat. There shouldn't be any visible patches of bald skin, rashes, red or irritated skin, or signs of excessive licking, scratching or biting. There definitely shouldn't be any hair falling out in clumps.
Could it be alopecia?
That’s right - cats can get alopecia too. This condition is described as bald patches or thinning/patchy fur, and is either a result of illness or your cat over-grooming (and essentially pulling their hair out) due to pain, stress and itchy skin.
If you do notice any of these symptoms, we recommend consulting your vet, and also looking closely at what’s in your cat’s food bowl.
Healthy diet, healthy fur, healthy kitty
A soft, shiny coat is a sign of a healthy cat. It’s also a sign your cat is eating an optimal, high-meat, species-appropriate diet!
Cats are obligate carnivores, after all. They need a high-protein, meat-rich diet to thrive.
When your cat digests animal proteins (found in raw or air-dried meat), amino acid 'building blocks’ start to build and strengthen your cat’s coat. The problem with most commercial cat foods is they rely on gluten-based protein (such as grains and potatoes) to boost their protein levels, but cats don't have the digestive enzymes to efficiently utilize these proteins.
Cats that aren't fed a meat-rich diet also don’t get the moisture their organs need to function safely. Without this moisture, your cat’s digestive system can’t transport hairballs.
The good news is that a raw (or raw alternative) diet - the diet your cat was biologically designed to eat - is naturally full of ‘building block’ animal protein required to keep their fur in tip-top shape. And if you include high quality canned food (like our wet variations, which contain 77.5% moisture), you can be sure your cat is getting the moisture they need.
This is why all ZIWI Peak recipes are carefully crafted to mirror the whole-prey, meat-rich, diet that cats require for a happy, healthy life. The fact they’re ideal for all breeds and life stages (even those cats with sensitive tummies) is a bonus!
ZIWI Peak cat food is packed with:
- Omega-3 fatty acids - essential for skin and coat heath. These nutrients are abundant in New Zealand Green Mussels and oily fish such as mackerel. To give your cat’s skin and coat a boost, try the ZIWI Peak Mackerel & Lamb recipe (which comes in both wet or air-dried variations).
- Kelp - combats skin allergies, itching and inflammation, and promotes hair growth.
- Green tripe - gentle on the digestive tract and ideal for pets with sensitive stomachs. If your kitty has protein sensitivities, you might like to start with a novel protein recipe like ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Venison.
Still have questions about your cat’s shedding behavior, or want to know more about the benefits of a raw diet? Get in touch with our team. We’re here to help.
We also recommend consulting your vet and doing your own research, because the more you can learn about your cat’s breed, hair type, diet and lifestyle, the better equipped you’ll be to tell the difference between natural (albeit, sometimes annoying!) hair shedding and something more concerning.