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How Nutrition Affects Your Cat’s Skin and Coat Health
How Nutrition Affects Your Cat’s Skin and Coat Health

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How Nutrition Affects Your Cat’s Skin and Coat Health

 

Your cat’s skin and coat help keep viruses and bacteria from entering the body and prevent water and heat from leaving it. And because nutrients such as protein, fat, vitamins and minerals play crucial roles in your cat’s skin and coat health, it’s important to make sure your cat is receiving the right types and amounts. IAMS™ cat foods are designed to provide your cat with the nutrition they need to support their skin and coat health.

 

Without Proper Nutrition

  • Dry, weak and brittle hair
  • Hair loss
  • Greasy skin
  • Dull hair coat

With Proper Nutrition

  • Smooth and glossy hair
  • Supple, clear skin

 

 

Your Cat's Protein Needs

Your cat’s hair coat is composed almost entirely of protein. If your cat’s diet doesn’t contain enough quality protein, her hair may fall out or become dry, weak and brittle.

 

But not all proteins are alike. Proteins are found in both animal- and plant-based ingredients. Animal-based proteins contain all of the essential amino acids cats need, while plant-based proteins may contain only some. Cats need the nutrients in animal-based protein sources for the best health.

 

Your Cat's Fat Needs

Fats also can be found in both animal- and plant-based ingredients, and are incorporated into skin cells as fatty acids. Three fatty acids help maintain your cat’s skin and coat condition:

  • Linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid found in animal tissues such as chicken fat and vegetable oils such as corn oil and soybean oil
  • Arachidonic acid, found in animal tissues such as chicken fat
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, found in vitamin-rich fish oils

 

Without these fatty acids, cats may experience a dull, dry coat, hair loss and greasy skin.

 

 

How Hydration Plays a Role

To promote your cat’s skin health and elasticity, make sure to provide clean, fresh water at all times. 

 

How Much Linoleic Acid Does My Cat Need?

Most cat foods contain more than the required amount of linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. However, IAMS research shows that it is not just the amount, but the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids that is most beneficial to cats.

 

The optimal omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio to maintain a healthy skin and coat in cats is between 5:1 and 10:1. In other words, five to 10 omega-6 fatty acids should be present for every one omega-3 fatty acid.

 

Your Cat’s Vitamin and Mineral Needs

Vitamins and minerals are essential for the development of healthy skin and coat. The best way to provide them is through a complete and balanced diet rather than through supplements.

Vitamin or Mineral

Role in Skin and Coat Health

Vitamin A

Necessary for growth and repair of skin

Vitamin E

An antioxidant that helps maintain the health of skin cells

Vitamin C

An antioxidant that helps maintain the health of skin cells

Biotin

Aids in the utilization of protein

Riboflavin (B2)

Necessary for fat and protein metabolism

Zinc

Necessary for fat and protein metabolism

Copper

Involved in tissue, pigment, and protein synthesis

 

 The protein, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals in your cat’s food all play a vital role in your cat’s skin condition and coat health. While other factors, including the season and your cat’s age, can also affect the health of your cat’s hair and skin, optimal nutrition can help support a shiny coat and healthy skin.

 

  • Is Your Cat a Picky Eater? Try These Cat Feeding Tips!
    Is Your Cat a Picky Eater? Try These Cat Feeding Tips!

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    Is Your Cat a Picky Eater? Try These Cat Feeding Tips!

    Cats are known for being a bit choosey about what they will and won’t do. And a little pickiness is fine when it comes to picking out toys and napping spots! But if your cat is or becomes extra-selective about what they’ll eat, it’s time to pay attention and perhaps talk to your vet. You and your vet know your cat best, so it’s always worth checking in if you think your cat isn’t eating enough and want their professional advice.

     

    Start by paying close attention to what your cat is eating and how they behave. This information will help you, your household and your vet work together to make sure your cat is living and eating well.

     

    Feeding Tips for the Truly Finicky Cat 

    Pay Attention to All the Cat Treats 

    Is your cat begging for table scraps or holding out on eating until you offer treats? Extras like these can be very disruptive to your cat’s appetite and diet. Think about them like snacks or desserts for you — tasty cravings that are easy to fill up on. A small portion may not seem like much, but it can make a big different for a cat-sized digestive system!

     

    Try dialing back how much you treat your cat to tasty extras and see if their interest in the food bowl starts to return. Remember, it’s generally all right for cats to skip a few meals, but if they haven’t eaten for 24-36 hours it’s time to call the vet (even if they’ve continued drinking water).

     

    Review Your Cat’s Food Routine 

    Humans often crave variety in their meals, but for cats, routine is king. It’s not likely they’d avoid their regular food out of boredom with it, but if you’ve recently changed the kind of food, the number of feedings or the times you feed your cat, they may be avoiding eating as a response.

     

    It's a good idea to change your cat’s diet gradually (unless your vet advises otherwise). Pickiness can often be resolved by helping your cat adjust and get comfortable with their updated diet!

     

    Help Your Cat Relax While Feeding 

    If your cat starts eating less, you may want to look for factors that could be causing stress. Seemingly unrelated changes to their environment can shift your cat’s stress levels enough to impact their interest in food. Has another animal or person joined or left the household? Has your cat been adapting to new surroundings due to a move or renovation? As the stress of that change begins to subside, your cat will probably go back to a normal diet.

     

    Talk to your vet about good ideas for reducing your cat’s stress levels and share any concerns you have about their diet then too. You’re both on the same team, so work together to help your cat feel better!

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