Beautiful Nutrition, Beautiful Coats?

The condition of our furkid’s coat indicates best their nutrition and well-being, which depends on what they consume.

Our furkid’s hair is mostly make up of protein and hence, the better its nutrition, the better its coat. A healthy cat’s coat is usually shiny and delightful to touch but they do serve some vital roles for our furkid’s well-being such as:

  • Providing sensory data
  • Protect them from the weather (wind, rain, sun) and keep them warm
  • Manufacture vital nutrients like vitamin D

Hence just like ourselves, our furkid’s diet and nutrition is important in maintaining a healthy body including their shiny coats. Today we will discuss how the food they consume affects their coats

 Nutrition:

Nutrients

Function

Deficiency

Protein

(raw meat, fish)

Alpha-keratin protein is the major component of cats’ hair shaft

 

Red, flaky skin

Loss of hair colour

Hair breakage

Crusty skin lesions with patchy spots

Dry brittle hair coats

Copper

(chicken, turkey, beef, sheep liver)

Maintain normal hair colour

Prevent hair loss

Keeps coat soft & shiny

 

Hair Loss

Abnormal hair colour (black coat turns rusty brown)

Distortion of limbs or curling of tails due to collagen defects

Zinc

(meat, whole grain cereals, mineral salts- zinc sulphate and zinc oxide)

Increase skin hydration &cell replication

Dry, scaly, red skin

 

Vitamin A

(eggs,

Rapidly divides cell population (eg. Skin cells, hair follicles)

Promotes healthy hair and tissue growth by regulation the action of several important genes

Dry, scaly skin

Hair loss

Itchiness

Vitamin E

(vegetable oil, fish oil)

Potent natural antioxidant

Protect skin cells from free radicals (formed routinely during normal metabolism & being in external environment)

Irritated, inflamed skin

Biotin

(nuts, whole grain, egg yolk, meat, organ meat, fish)

Utilize body energy to promote healthy tissue growth

 

brittle hair, generalized crusts, loss of normal hair color

Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids

(poultry fat, vegetable oil, canola oil, fish oil)

Supports skin elasticity, glossier coat

General health

Flaky scales

Coarse, lustreless coats

Hair loss

Itchy skin

 

Susan G. Wynn, a veterinary nutritionist in Georgia pointed out that our furkids’ skin and coat reflects on what’s going on inside its body which is highly related to its diet. Compared to our own diets, cats need to consume large amount of meat for protein and fat. A large serving of carbohydrates is unnecessary as it leads to obesity problems. Nonetheless, suitable amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats aids in giving our furkids their healthy skin, hair and body. Plotnick, a veterinary internist and feline specialist in New York claims that a low-fat diet which mostly made up of generic and poor quality food “will definitely cause a poor-quality coat.”

In addition, “low-fat” cat foods can be a factor of their dull, lifeless coat. If your furkid is overweight, cut down on carbohydrates instead of the healthy fats. Most vets recommend premium cat food which are available at specialist pet stores or online stores such as WaggyMeal.com. When looking at the ingredient lists, look out for ingredients such as flaxseed, chicken fat, fish oil, soybean oil, zinc and whole grains.

But note that every premium food company has its own nutritional philosophy. So if you’re wondering why your furkid’s coat is still dull, try switching to another high-quality cat food. A cat food can be great for one cat, but not necessarily to others.

How about raw diets?

 

According to some pet parents, they do notice that their furkid’s coat has gotten softer and silkier after feeding it raw diets. Gates, founder of the Feline Nutrition Foundation claims that our furkids’ diet requires unsaturated fatty acids, omega-6 and omega-3 which can be obtained from animal sources as our furkids themselves have a limited ability to produce these acids from plant derived precursors. These essential fatty acids contributes in providing our furkids with healthy skin and coat altogether while reducing the shedding of furs which causes hairballs.

Supplements:

In the quest for a shiny coat, we can supplement our furkid’s food with fatty acids found in salmon or fish oils. The results are not immediate, as they usually takes at least four to six weeks. Cat food from stores may include omega-3s as being in the formula but the heat and processing can affect the content and hence making the product less effective. However, do consult with a vet before attempting to feed any supplements. Rather, you can opt to feed your furkids real tuna or salmon or add extra fish oil or coconut oil into their pallet

Do you know that our furkid’s weight issue causes an effect too?

Ever wonder what’s with the dandruff down the centre of your furkid’s back or around the base of its tail? It can be due to the difficulty our furkid is facing while trying to reach their whole body for cleaning. As mentioned, too much carbohydrate can cause severe obesity problems, hence the difficulty. Plus when we don’t have time to groom and take care of our furkid’s basic hygiene, this can cause our furkids to have dull and unkempt coat.

If you realize obesity is the factor contributing to your furkid’s dull coat, it’s wise to consult a vet instead of handling it alone. Vets are professionals that can help create and calculate the right amount of calories your cat should consume per day and recommend a suitable weight loss diet.

Bottom line

Certainly, with the right nutritions you feed to your furkid, the results will likely reflect on your furkid’s body. However, we should not only rely on diets and nutritions but also take the responsibility to do some basic groomings on our furkids too such as brushing their coat regularly.

What are your secret remedies for your healthy furkid coat? Do share your opinions and ideas in the comment section!