Feed a Diet With Key Nutrients
Feeding your cat a balanced and complete diet is essential to overall health and well-being, but several nutrients play a prominent role in skin and hair vitality. Both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are essential for good skin, explains Dr. Sherry Sanderson, associate professor at The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.
She says cats require two types of omega-6 fatty acids: Linoleic acid, which is found in vegetable oils, and arachidonic acid, often sourced from animal fats. Omega-6 fatty acids, “help maintain the health and integrity of epithelial tissues, such as skin.”
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are two omega-3 fatty acids that also aid in skin and coat health. Sanderson says that ALAs, sourced from foods like flaxseeds, help maintain the skin’s water permeability barrier. Most commonly found in certain fish oils, EPAs are important for their anti-inflammatory properties and role in normal cell membrane fluidity.
Because nutrition is so crucial to your cat’s skin and health, it’s essential not to skimp on quality. But how do you know if what you’re feeding your cat is up to standard? Elizabeth Goodale, DVM, a veterinary dermatologist at UC-Davis, says, “I typically recommend owners look for a statement that the diet they are feeding has either been feed-trial tested or formulated to meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) nutritional guidelines.”