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If you’ve ever had cat hair in your coffee cup or wine glass, covering your new black pants (if you have a white cat), covering your new white jeans (if you have a black cat), layered on your pillow (the purrfect place for her to relax), or on the backside of your guest as they walk away (and you try to keep a straight face), then you know all about the shedding feline.
Why Does My Cat Shed?
You might know all about the problems that shedding can cause you and your family, but what do you really know about the shedding itself? Well, the good news is that it’s completely normal. Cats naturally shed their fur to get rid of the dead hair that can cause skin irritation. It keeps their coat fresh and in tip-top shape. Of course, brushing your cat regularly helps remove the hair, but most of the time the cat will just release it on their own and this is how it ends up in your mouth, in clumps on the carpet, or even in your A/C filter.
Shedding Means Good Health
Another good thing about shedding is that it’s a sign of good health. A shedding cat is one whose body is following the natural cycle of fur replenishment; those who have a sickness that keeps the cycle from continuing are far less prone to shedding. A cat who is not feeling well might also stop grooming himself. This, of course, can cause skin irritation and fur clumping, so be sure to have your kitty checked out by the vet if you notice this happening.
Shedding Season Is Year-Round For Some
Anyone who has ever owned a cat has been privy to the pleasures of shedding season. Outdoor cats typically shed their coats twice a year; once in the spring to lose the heavy undercoat that has kept them warm all winter, and once in the fall to prepare their skin to grow in the upcoming winter coat. However, if you have an indoor cat, you’ll notice that shedding season is pretty much year-round. Since our indoor kitties are exposed to heat and air conditioning through the year, it fools their bodies into following a faux cycle.
What Can You Do For Your Shedding Kitty?
Brushing and combing your cat regularly is the best way to keep her hair from spreading around your home. Brushing removes the dead fur before it has a chance to embed itself into your favorite recliner. Start off brushing your cat over short periods, stopping when the cat begins to protest. You can work up to longer sessions as your cat gets used to the feeling. Believe it or not, your cat will eventually enjoy the brushing sessions; it feels good and it they’ll absolutely love the attention you’ll lavish on them! If your cat has severe matting, see your vet before you attempt removal.
The Breeds That Have Needs
Though most cats shed in some way, some are shed more than others. There are a few breeds who are more prone to shedding and need constant grooming, such as:
- American Bobtail
- Maine Coon
- Norwegian Forest
- Russian Blue
If you own one of these breeds, be sure to keep lint and roller brushes in stock!
What Is the Best Cat Food for My Cat’s Coat?
Asking yourself “What is the best cat food for cats who shed a lot” shows that you are concerned about their nutritional needs. Of course, good nutrition is important for all cats, but those who shed more often can benefit greatly from food that contains Omega 3 and 6 to soften the coat and reduce shedding. Anything that contains fish oils (such as salmon) or canola oil are a good bet as well. Look for the cat food varieties that are fish-based; the better quality brands will contain real fish that contains plenty of fish oils and Omegas.
Menhaden Oil and Ground Flaxseed
Two ingredients to look for on your cat food bag (or can) are menhaden oil and ground flaxseed.
Menhaden is a forage fish that produces very healthy levels of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are very healthy for cats. In this case, the oil is extracted from the fish and used in the cooking process as well as to add these beneficial fat sources to the food. While some cat owners shy away from fish products due to mercury levels naturally found in fish and the amount of farmed fish used in cat food, this ingredient is unlikely to cause any issues as it is simply the oil extract.
Flaxseeds (also called linseeds) are a rich source of micronutrients, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA or omega-3. It is not only a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber; modern research has found evidence to suggest that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Cat Food Considerations
Be sure to look at the labels to discover the best ingredients yourself, and be sure that real meat or fish is on the top of the list. To keep your cat’s fur soft and healthy, avoid anything with corn or wheat, as these have been known to cause allergies resulting in hair loss in some cats. Some of the best cat food for your cat’s coat include:
- EVO Herring and Salmon
- By Nature Adult Dry
- Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Adult Salmon
- Science Diet Adult Grain Free
- Solid Gold Katz-n-Flocken
Now you know that keeping your cat’s skin and coat as healthy as possible is one way you can help when it comes to shedding. The other way is to groom regularly. Of course, you could look for a cat that is low on the shed factor; but that’s another story.