Why is My Cat Shedding So Much? Nutrition Tips to Stop Your Cat’s Excessive Shedding

It’s completely natural for a cat to shed their fur, especially as they begin to don their winter or summer coats. But did you know that excessive shedding can actually be minimized through their diet?!

Your cat’s fur is made up of certain types of proteins, and the quality of your cat’s coat can be improved with the help of different vitamins and minerals, and of course, fatty acids.

Here are some nutrients that can help SHED the excess shedding:

1) Protein

Since your cat’s fur is literally made up of proteins, it logically follows that your cat will need to be consuming a high-quality protein. This means that the protein sources in your cat’s food should be made with a highly digestible protein source, and it should supply all ELEVEN of the essential amino acids for cats.

Remember that cats are obligate carnivores, this means they have a much higher protein requirement than our dogs and also require additional amino acids at higher levels. Therefore, we cannot feed our cats like small dogs.

Look for complete and balanced meals for your cat to ensure they are meeting their requirement for amino acids and proteins and to prevent poor coat quality and shedding.

Did you know that black cats may require additional amounts of the amino acid, tyrosine? If you notice that your black cats’ fur is looking brown or reddish, this could be a sign that they are low on tyrosine!  

black cat                                                                               Photo by Daria Shatova

2) Fatty Acids

Fats seem to get a bit of a bad rep in pet food, but fats are actually essential for our pets! In particular, long chain fatty acids can improve coat quality and prevent fur breakage and shedding for cats.

Specifically look for the inclusion of omega 3 fatty acids for your pet. A good omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio can help control water loss and skin barrier function. This can help to promote a healthy coat and prevent damage to fur resulting in shedding.

3) Vitamins and Minerals

Although required in much smaller amounts than fats or proteins, vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy skin and a healthy coat. Zinc and vitamin E are particularly important for a healthy coat.

While these vitamins and minerals are required, it is important not to over-supplement. For example, high levels of zinc can reduce the absorption of other important nutrients such as copper and iron and can result in a zinc toxicity.

Choosing a complete and balanced meal for your cat ensures that they are getting the nutrients they need without over-supplementing!

4) While water is not technically a nutrient, it is too important not to mention. Aside from being required for normal functioning, a well-hydrated cat will have fur that is the envy of all!

cat drinking water                                                                         Photo by Carolien van Oijen

Water ensures well-hydrated skin that allows for a good quality coat. If your cat has dry skin, this will result in breakage and can cause excess shedding.

Other ways to minimize shedding is to regularly brush your cat’s fur. This can help remove loose fur, and helps remove dead skin. While not all cats will appreciate a bath, baths can sometimes help to remove dead skin and debris that might be preventing your cat from showing off a healthy coat. Use cat-friendly shampoos that keep the skin from drying out!

If your cat is shedding excessively, this could be a sign that they are deficient in one of the above nutrients. Shedding can also be a symptom of a food intolerance, environmental allergies, dermatitis, and other diseases. If you are unsure whether your cat is shedding more than what is considered normal consult with your veterinarian.

Looking to add gently cooked meals to your cat’s diet? Check out our complete and balanced recipes for cats here.

Other articles you might like:
Benefits of Omega 3 and 6 for Dogs and Cats
Taurine in Dog & Cat Meals

Written by: Hannah Godfrey
Animal Nutritionist
BSc.H. | MSc. Animal Nutrition