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. If you’re worried that your cat isn’t getting enough water, try switching to wet cat food, such as IAMS™ Perfect Portions™ Indoor Cuts in Gravy, which has a higher moisture content than dry food and can provide your cat with the additional hydration they need.
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.