Hair loss in cats can be caused by irritants, disease or poor nutrition. In the case of poor nutrition, improving the diet to include only quality ingredients with ideal levels of necessary nutrients -- including vitamins -- can help restore a healthy coat and prevent abnormal hair loss.
Everyday Shedding Vs. Abnormal Hair Loss
Shedding is part of feline life, evidenced by hairballs and fur scattered around the house. But if a cat sheds excessively or loses clumps of fur, poor nutrition may be to blame. In that situation, vitamins may offer assistance. However, before starting a cat on vitamin therapy for hair loss, it's in your cat's best interest to visit a vet or nutritionist first to rule out any medical conditions that need veterinary treatment.
Some Causes of Hair Loss
There are several reasons cats may lose hair. Flea bites, for example, can cause such irritation that a cat can scratch and bite himself to the point of biting his fur out. Environmental allergies or food sensitivities can cause the same result. Hyperthyroidism, the most common hormone disorder in cats, also can cause hair loss. Vitamins can help support the body in these situations, but also can provide direct assistance if hair loss is due to inadequate vitamin levels.
Start With a Proper Diet
Numerous nutrients are needed to support a cat's skin and coat. These include vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and protein. Insufficient levels, or inability to fully absorb nutrients, can contribute to hair loss. Balanced diets with all necessary vitamins and other nutrients can help prevent deficiencies and associated hair loss. A cat's diet should focus on quality meats and their associated fats; this kind of diet goes a long way to provide the vitamins needed for a healthy body and coat.
Specific Vitamins That Support Skin and Coat Health
Along with offering a quality meat-based diet to support general health, a cat's skin and coat health is dependent on proper levels of specific vitamins, including A, E and the B vitamins. The B vitamins work in concert and should be taken as a team, and ideally, all vitamins should be obtained through food. Cat-friendly B-vitamin sources include meat and egg yolks. Eggs also provide vitamin A, while many oils offer vitamin E, which can help heal irritated, inflamed skin.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.