If you are a cat owner, you might have seen your cat itching and rubbing her body against hard objects. If yes, you might also know that it is not normal and something might be wrong with your catty! Well, most of us well understand the importance of a healthy balanced diet incorporated into food. As a balanced diet is essential for humans in the same way, a healthy, nutrient-filled diet is also crucial for animals, especially cats. The food we provide to the cats must be well balanced, having each nutrient such as proteins, fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants for their better overall health.
A veterinary doctor Dr. Ward, who is the founder of an Association regarding obesity prevention in pets, says that “nutrition is the building block of good health.”
As described earlier, a nutritionally complete diet contributes to overall health improvement; it means that cats with skin problems may find their solution to the skin problems in a perfect food. Before I discuss the right food for skin problems, first of all, it is necessary to find it out what type of skin issues are found in the cats
Skin problems in cats
A healthy cat’s skin does not have flakes, redness, and itching. It is smooth, glistening, fluffy, and soft. Healthy skin should not have hairless areas and should be neither too dry nor too oily.
Most of the time, cats are presented at clinics with fungal and bacterial infections leading to skin problems and allergies. Skin problems are indicated by the signs of:
Bad color of skin
Loss of hair
Thickening and scabbing of the skin
All these results in excessive scratching by the cat showing discomfort.
There are different reasons which can result in allergies in cats, to name a few. These are
Environmental pollutants such as grass, mites, molds, and pollen.
One type of mites called ear mites can cause itching in the ears and is mostly seen in kittens. If such kind of condition occurs, the cat keeps her head sideways due to discomfort.
Food allergies are another cause of skin conditions in cats, which occur as a response of the immune system to specific food items. Cats with food allergies usually have an itchy face, or the itchiness may spread all over the body.
Bites from insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. Ticks get attached to a cat’s skin surface in response to which the cat develops an area of localized swelling and a raised bump, which is a way to fight back the tick.
Infections from bacteria can also cause skin infections.
There exists a genetic disposition in cats regarding dermatitis due to allergies that occur due to environmental allergens.
Hormonal imbalance can also cause skin problems in cats. An excessive or too low amount of certain hormones is the cause of such issues.
First of all, it is necessary to determine the root cause of skin disease in your cat. If the cats can absorb the food’s nutrients, it indicates that food might not be the reason for the skin problems, you can read on ThePets blog. In that case, you have to look for other underlying causes of skin disease.
It would be best if you keep in mind that skin problems related to allergies might be decreased to an extent, and the signs disappear for a while by treatment, but it can reoccur as allergies are lifelong.
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How can the right food help fight skin problems in cats?
Different skin problems need variable management to be cleared up from the body; for example, some of the skin problems quickly clear up while some of them need long term precautions in food intake, even for a whole life. The great news is that you can help your cat fight the skin conditions by providing them with the right food. Even if the skin problem is not related to nutritional issues, the right food will still cure the disease.
Here is a list of essential nutrients that will help in protecting your cat from skin problems
The role of proteins is essential to understand if your cat suffers from food allergies. For the food allergies in cats, a change in diet is a must. Mostly allergies result in response to some unusual proteins that your cat did not eat before, so you have to figure out the food items that may contain such proteins. Proteins are made up of amino acids, and feeding high-quality proteins serve as building blocks to repair skin damage. Duck and venison are protein sources to the cats that help minimize food allergies and issues related to intolerance to certain ingredients in the cat’s food.
Proteins offered in a hydrolyzed form are also a good option. By hydrolysis, the proteins are cut into small pieces, making them unable to be recognized by the body, and ultimately they cannot trigger an allergic reaction.
Essential fatty acids
One of the miraculous products to be offered to cats suffering from dermatological issues is omega-3 fatty acids in their purest form. These fatty acids act as anti-inflammatory products and help reduce the itching faced due to allergy. Doctor Ward says that omega-3 fatty acids help fight skin allergies as they help boost the immune system and also aids in the healing of the skin. It is extremely necessary to take care of the largest organ “skin” of the cat. Fatty acids help protect the cats from other health problems by crossing this skin barrier if it is not in proper health.
Omega 6 fatty acids also are great contributors to feline health, especially skin health. Omega 6 fatty acids are found in the grains of cereals. They have anti-inflammatory properties, which decrease the inflammation-causing molecules present in the skin resulting in less itching and scratching by the cats. However, it must be kept in mind that Omega 6 fatty acids’ levels should not exceed the amount of Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can be added to the food of cats suffering from skin problems. These essential fatty acids are found in fish oil naturally. It also helps reduce the skin’s dryness and inflammation and serves as a source of nourishment to the cat’s fur.
Feeding fatty acids and supplements are beneficial if your cat’s diet is already deficient in these. Take the advice of a veterinarian before adding supplements to the cat’s diet. Excessive addition of fatty acids in the diet may have adverse effects, so it is necessary to take veterinarians’ help.
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Antioxidants and vitamin E have great significance to help boost and maintain the cat’s immune system and many other animals and humans. They protect from oxidation, which occurs due to free radicals in the cells. Besides vitamins and minerals such as B complex vitamins, Vitamin A and zinc are included in the diet to maintain healthy skin.
When you choose cat food, don’t focus on online ratings and reviews, advertisements, and marketing. Also, keep in mind that expensive food doesn’t mean it is the best food for your cat. They don’t have a linear relationship. While choosing commercially available cat food, you must be good at reading the labels. Don’t use such food, which has the ingredients from which your cat is allergic.
Hypoallergenic commercially available pet foods:
As indicated by their name, hypoallergenic foods are commercially available foods for cats free from those ingredients that cause allergies in cats. Most of the time, they are free from beef, dairy, and wheat. For susceptible pets, a diet free of grains is available in the market. A hypoallergenic diet is the right option if your cat has a delicate digestive system, runny eyes, and has sensitive skin. These are the signs indicating food intolerance or food allergy, and such a diet works best in these cases.
Home-cooked protein diet
A home-cooked protein diet is one option you can opt for in case of skin allergies in cats. Ensure the ingredients you choose to make a home-based diet should not contain any previous ingredient that caused allergy earlier in your cat.
Cat food that is a combination of all the above nutrients makes it easier to cope with your cat’s skin condition. It is always recommended to have the advice of a veterinarian for correct diagnosis and ask him to recommend the best possible cat food. Developing food allergies and ultimately having skin problems in cats is variable among different breeds of cats. While having a puppy or a kitten at home, try to find out the parents’ record and choose the kitten whose parents never had skin issues. It takes almost 30 days to see the potential benefits of added nutrients into the diet for improving the skin health of a catScience Articles, so you need to be patient to get the results.