Our skin is a reflection of our internal health, and the same is true for cats.
If your kitty isn’t eating a quality diet and getting the right balance of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals, they’re more likely to suffer from skin issues as well as a number of other problems.
But which diet is best? Can diet help to relieve symptoms? What nutrients should you be focusing on?
To help you navigate the complex world of cat skin conditions, below we explore some of the most common issues and offer insight into the role diet plays in nourishing your cat’s skin from the inside out.
What healthy skin looks like
The condition of your cat's skin and coat are good indicators of their overall health. Here’s what you should be looking for:
- A healthy coat is shiny and smooth, not dull, coarse or brittle. There shouldn't be any visible patches of bald skin, excessive shedding, or signs of excessive licking, scratching or biting.
- Healthy skin is supple and clear of rashes or red, irritated skin. It shouldn't be greasy, flaky, bumpy or patchy.
Cat skin problems
There are a number of reasons why your cat’s skin or coat might be looking less than pristine. Let’s take a look at some common symptoms, and match them up with potential causes.
While every cat is different, and there are sometimes various causes behind a cat’s skin condition, nutrition is the ‘cornerstone of health’ for a reason: the quality of your cat’s diet can severely impact their skin and coat.
Please note changes in your cat’s skin and coat can also indicate bigger medical problems - if you’re ever unsure, it’s a good idea to consult your vet.
The role of diet in skin health
If you’re ever outdoors with your cat, environmental damage like sunburn or grass sensitivities may be inevitable, but you can control the food they’re eating.As your feline friend’s pet guardian, you have the power to ensure they’re getting all the nutrients they need to build and maintain a healthy coat and skin!
The best diet for the job? It’s not a specialized ‘skin diet’, it’s the food your cat was designed to eat - a raw or raw alternative diet like ZIWI Peak.
Cats are obligate carnivores. They can’t utilize plant proteins as efficiently as animal proteins, which is an issue if your cat is eating kibble because these foods are often packed with highly processed fillers such as grains, cereals, and potatoes (and very little meat).
These ingredients can’t be efficiently utilized by a carnivore’s digestive system, leading to various health issues such as itchy skin and ears, obesity, IBD/IBS and allergies.
Processed filler ingredients can also lead to a dull, weak coat because the ‘building blocks’ of cat hair are the amino acids that come from the breakdown of the proteins the cat ingests. These proteins are meant to be from an animal source, not a plant source.
The key takeaways here?
- Without enough quality meat-based protein in their diet, your cat will struggle to maintain a healthy coat because the quality of their furry ‘building blocks’ is inadequate.
- If they’re eating too many processed filler products and grains, their tummy and skin are not going to be happy.
Now you know why a high-meat diet is so important, let’s take a look at some of the key nutrients it offers and the issues it can help with.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: these powerful nutrients are widely recognised to provide anti-inflammatory properties and improve skin health and coat condition. All ZIWI Peak recipes contain 3% whole New Zealand Green Mussel, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids (try Mackerel & Lamb which contains the highest levels out of all our recipes).
- Kelp: we include this superfood in our recipes as it helps to heal dry and flaky skin.
- Zinc, copper and vitamin A: vitamins and minerals also play a big role in your cat’s skin. Meat and organs, found in all ZIWI Peak recipes, are great sources of zinc (which supports cell development and hair growth), vitamin A (helps to repair skin damage) and copper (maintains hair color and helps your cat grow a thick, luscious coat).
Making the switch
Switching to a biologically-appropriate diet full of skin-loving nutrients is one of the best things you can do for your pet’s health - it will help boost your pet’s natural resistance to environmental sensitivities, as well as reduce allergens going into their body. It’s a win win!
If your cat has sensitive skin in any way, they’re in safe hands with ZIWI Peak. No cheap fillers or meat by-products, just 96% meat, broth, seafood and organs - designed to match your cat’s biological needs.
Although pet health and wellness can seem overwhelming at times, remember the optimal diet is simple: it’s the diet they were designed to eat.
It doesn't matter whether you choose air-dried food, wet food or a mixture of both - if you couple quality food with weight management, regular brushing, and regular flea treatments, your cat’s skin and coat should look and feel its most beautiful.