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Cat food for a
healthy skin and coat

The condition of a cat’s skin and coat is an indicator of general health and well-being. Cats are carnivores, and many nutrients that promote a shiny, soft coat and healthy skin are found in food derived from animals.

What nutrients should be found in cat food for a healthy coat and skin?

The skin acts as a protective outer barrier against potentially harmful environmental factors and prevents water loss to maintain hydration. This barrier is made possible through the action of lipids (fats), which seal together the layers of skin cells.

They also make up the lipid in sebum, the oily substance that is secreted from the skin onto hair shafts and helps give the coat a shiny or glossy appearance. They also make up the lipid in sebum, the oily substance that is secreted from the skin onto hair shafts and helps give the coat a shiny or glossy appearance.

For your cat to have a healthy coat, it’s important that their food contains the right nutrients in the right amounts. Along with fatty acids, vitamins and minerals are also important.

Zinc is a mineral widely distributed throughout the body and is an integral part of many enzymes involved in the metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrates. It is also essential for the biosynthesis of fatty acids and plays a role in the body’s immune system, both of which are important to a healthy coat in cats.

B vitamins, such as biotin (vitamin B7), niacin (vitamin B3), riboflavin (vitamin B2), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), are also important nutrients for skin and coat health. Many of the B vitamins help with the metabolism and synthesis of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids that are important in the structure of skin and hair cells.

The science behind a healthy skin and coat in cats

It is well known that deficiencies in fatty acids, zinc or B vitamins result in skin problems, including a dry, dull coat and flakey skin. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis 1 identified the requirements for essential fatty acids in cats and linked the health of skin and coat to dietary fatty acids.

What ingredients should be found in cat food for a healthy coat and skin?

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are provided through natural sources, such as flaxseed, fish oil, fish and fish meal.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids come from vegetable oil, chicken, chicken meal, chicken fat and whole grains.
  • B vitamins are found in natural sources such as whole brown rice. They also need to be supplemented in cat food as niacin, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin (vitamin B2), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6) and biotin in order to achieve the necessary levels for a healthy coat and skin.
  • Zinc can be found in its mineral form as zinc oxide and zinc proteinate, where it is bound to a protein for easy absorption by the body.

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