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9 Best Cat Foods for Shedding & Hair Loss in 2024: Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on February 13, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat eating_Purina_Chewy

9 Best Cat Foods for Shedding & Hair Loss in 2024: Reviews & Top Picks

cat eating_Purina_Chewy

When you first got your little bundle of fluff, you might not have been ready for the shedding and grooming. But some cats, like American curls, shed tremendously, and others exhibit excessive grooming behaviors or develop allergies that lead to hair loss.

If you were looking for a diet to combat shedding and hair loss, we found eight brands to check out. Our detailed reviews can help, but check with your veterinarian before making a dietary transition.

Disclaimer: The foods reviewed here were chosen because they have certain characteristics that might help with some of the causes or consequences of this medical condition. However, they are not a medical treatment or a substitute for medical treatment. Keep in mind that each medical case is different and what works for some pets may not work for others. Your veterinarian is the right person to advise you on the best diet for your pet’s individual case.

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A Glance at Our Winners in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Smalls Smooth Bird Recipe (Fresh Cat Food Subscription) Smalls Smooth Bird Recipe (Fresh Cat Food Subscription)
  • Sustainably-sourced ingredients
  • Includes chicken as the first ingredient
  • Made in the USA
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Purina ONE Hairball Adult Formula Purina ONE Hairball Adult Formula
  • Affordable
  • Lessens hairball production
  • SmartBlend nutrients
  • Third place
    Royal Canin Hairball Care Cat Food Royal Canin Hairball Care Cat Food
  • High fiber ingredients
  • Meets all nutritional profiles
  • Specifically formulated for hairballs
  • Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Cat Food Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
  • Promotes hair growth
  • No grains
  • Great for indoor cats
  • American Journey Grain-Free Cat Food American Journey Grain-Free Cat Food
  • No irritating ingredients
  • Lots of vitamins and minerals
  • High protein
  • The 9 Best Cat Foods for Shedding & Hair Loss

    1. Smalls Smooth Bird Recipe (Fresh Cat Food Subscription) – Best Overall

    smalls freeze-dried raw and human-grade fresh cat food with tabby cat

    Smalls Smooth Bird recipe contains human-grade ingredients, which are gently cooked and shredded into a smooth texture, making it the best cat food for shedding and hair loss. The recipe includes high-quality ingredients, such as chicken thigh, chicken breast, and chicken liver. Because chicken thigh is the first ingredient, this formula is higher in protein than most commercial cat foods.

    On top of the chicken, Smooth Bird also includes a variety of veggies, such as green beans, peas, and kale. The only protein source is chicken; for cats with sensitive stomachs, sticking with one protein source is often best. Therefore, we also recommend Smooth Bird for those with troubled tummies.

    Like all Smalls recipes, it features only USDA-certified and sustainably sourced ingredients. Plus, because it only contains sustainably sourced ingredients, many consider it better for the environment than other brands.

    All Smalls recipes are made in the USA and prepared in kitchens throughout the United States. They thoroughly test all of their foods for salmonella and other food-borne illnesses in small batches to ensure they are safe and healthy for your feline.

    • Sustainably-sourced ingredients
    • Made in the USA
    • Includes chicken as the first ingredient
    • High in fat and protein
    • One animal source
    • More expensive than regular kibble
    • Only available on their website

    2. Purina ONE Hairball Adult Formula Dry Cat Food – Budget Buy

    Purina ONE Hairball Adult cat food_Chewy

    If your kitty doesn’t stop licking until they have bald patches, you may want to look at the Purina ONE Hairball Adult Formula Dry Cat Food. It can help with hairballs while providing total nutrition. Plus, it’s the best cat food for shedding and hair loss for the money.

    This recipe is full of fiber to combat hairballs, making digestion a seamless process. One cup of the kibble contains 445 calories. Purina ONE contains 34% crude protein, 14% crude fat, 4.5% crude fiber, and 12.0% moisture.

    It’s carefully crafted to provide natural fiber while catering to your feline’s health needs. If you’re on a budget and want to save as much as possible while feeding an adequate diet, check out Purina ONE Hairball to reduce shedding.

    • Affordable
    • Reduces hairball production
    • Provides easily digestive ingredients
    • SmartBlend nutrients
    • Might not work for all issues

    3. Royal Canin Hairball Care Dry Cat Food

    Royal Canin Hairball Care cat food_Chewy

    If money is no object, look into Royal Canin Hairball Care Dry Cat Food. It is pricier, but it provides high-quality ingredients. Royal Canin carefully crafts its recipes, and its Hairball Care targets the problem of too many hairballs.

    In each cup of kibble, there are 338 calories. There is also 32% crude protein, 13% crude fat, 8.4% crude fiber, and 8% moisture. Due to the high amount of fiber, it smooths digestion, preventing hairball formation.

    In addition, the recipe includes psyllium seed husk, which has insoluble fibers to help as well. The main ingredients also meet the required nutritional profiles for overall health. However, if hairballs aren’t your main concern, this probably won’t bring a lot of benefit to your kitty.

    • High in fiber
    • Meets all nutritional profiles
    • Specifically formulated for hairballs
    • Trusted brand
    • Might not match your cat’s issue

    4. Taste of the Wild Canyon River Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Taste of the Wild Canyon River cat food_Chewy

    If your grain-allergy sufferer has hair loss issues, Taste of the Wild Canyon River Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is an exceptionally healthy choice. It is a bit expensive, but it quickly pays for itself in results.

    Taste of the Wild prides itself on offering protein as the main ingredient, creating solid muscles and healthy hair growth. Each cup contains 350 calories. It contains 32% crude protein, 16% crude fat, 3% crude fiber, and 10% moisture.

    Another perk to Taste of the Wild is that it contains live probiotics to aid gut health. It also has healthy vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids to give your cat the necessary nutrition. It’s a low-calorie meal and works well for indoor cats.

    • Promotes hair growth
    • No grains
    • Live probiotics to aid in digestion
    • Great for indoor cats
    • Not all cats need grain-free diets
    • Pricey

    5. American Journey Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    American Journey Salmon Recipe cat food_Chewy

    American Journey Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is one of our favorites for combating shedding issues. It’s full of all the nutrients your cat needs to stay healthy. Deboned salmon is the first ingredient, which provides an irritant-free protein-rich diet. Each cup contains 410 calories. Each serving contains 40% crude protein, 15% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 10% moisture.

    American Journey contains taurine, vitamins, and minerals that replenish the body and keep organs in tip-top shape. The omega-fatty acids soothe the skin and keep coats shiny. This protein-dense dry kibble is an ideal recipe for house cats struggling with sensitivities.

    It’s made in the USA with trusted ingredients. However, grain-free recipes aren’t necessary for all cats. Please consult your veterinarian before switching to grain-free cat food.

    • No irritating ingredients
    • Lots of vitamins and minerals
    • High protein improves coat
    • Not all cats benefit from grain-free diets

    6. Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Wet Canned Cat Food

    Instinct Original Grain-Free canned cat food_Chewy

    If your kitty is partial to a wet food diet and you’re looking for a brand that helps with shedding, the Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Wet Canned Cat Food. It has no grains, is soft to chew, and has all the ingredients that help your cat thrive. It contains real meat, vegetables, and savory broth to stimulate taste buds.

    Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient, and each can contains 193 calories per serving. It has 10% crude protein, 7.5% crude fat, 3% crude fiber, and 78% moisture.

    Many cats don’t drink enough water, and Instinct Original can help you hydrate your furry pal. You can use it as a standalone diet or add it in with their daily dry kibble. Be mindful if you use it as a solitary diet since some cats are prone to weight gain.

    • Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient
    • Chunks of real meat
    • Soft to chew
    • No grains
    • Can cause weight gain
    • Grain-free is not for every cat

    7. Blue Buffalo Indoor Hairball Control Adult Dry Cat Food

    Blue Buffalo Indoor Hairball Control cat food_Chewy

    Blue Buffalo works directly with nutritionists to target specific health issues, like hairballs. Blue Buffalo Indoor Hairball Control Adult Dry Cat Food is an ideal pick for your house cat. It is tailored to meet the needs of indoor cats while helping them pass their fur without issues.

    The first ingredient is real deboned chicken, and in one serving, there are 397 calories. There is 32% crude protein, 15% crude fat, 6% crude fiber, and 9% moisture. It also has several fatty acids to keep the skin and fur healthy.

    Each Blue Buffalo recipe has LifeSource Bits, which are antioxidant-packed soft kibble pieces. They give your cat a kick of free-radical-eliminating nutrients for optimal health, and the brown rice also helps with digestion.

    • Tailored for indoor cats
    • High fiber
    • Real deboned chicken is the number one ingredient
    • LifeSource Bits
    • Won’t work for every hair issue

    8. Go! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food

    Go! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient cat food_Chewy

    If your kitty is having hair loss issues due to an irritating ingredient in their regular kibble, check out Go! Sensitivities Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food. It is grain, gluten, potato, and filler-free. It contains dried chicory root, which is a natural prebiotic fiber for sensitive tummies.

    This cat food for hair loss recipe has a high-calorie count of 464 calories per serving. It contains 31% crude protein, 15% crude fat, 3.5% crude fiber, and 10% moisture. It also has ash, magnesium, and fatty acids that feed the body. Many cats are sensitive to common proteins like beef, fish, and chicken, but this recipe uses cage-free duck instead.

    It only contains six key ingredients, which is ideal for cats on limited-ingredient diets. Again, grain-free isn’t the answer for every cat, so consult your veterinarian unless your cat has a known grain allergy.

    • Free of fillers, potatoes, grains, and gluten
    • Novel protein
    • 6 key ingredients
    • Prebiotic support
    • High calories
    • For grain-sensitive cats only

    9. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Pate Canned Cat Food

    Wellness CORE Natural Grain cat food_Chewy

    Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Pate Canned Cat Food is a protein-rich wet cat food recipe that is sure to appeal to your feline. The savory taste of chicken, turkey, and liver is combined with a nutritious medley of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and taurine for immunity, skin, and muscle support.

    This grain-free recipe contains 101 calories per can. There is 12% crude protein, 7% crude fat, 0.5% crude fiber, and 78.0% moisture. It’s a perfect way to give your cat an extra kick of hydration and protein.

    With added cranberry, it also supports urinary health and digestion. It has absolutely no harmful fillers, artificial preservatives, or dyes. It does contain potato, however, which is a known irritant for many cats.

    • Three meat medley
    • Supports urinary and digestive health
    • Contains no harmful additives
    • Not for cats with potato allergies

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    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing Cat Food to Help With Shedding & Hair Loss

    Shedding is normal for most cats. However, sometimes it’s excessive, which is an issue that needs to be addressed. In addition to diet changes, veterinarian attention might be a requirement to alleviate some of the behaviors. So, let’s go over some of the reasons your cat might have problems with hairballs, hair loss, and bulk shedding.

    What Are Hairballs?

    A hairball is a collection of fur in a cat’s stomach that can’t be digested. It can pass through the tract, or your cat might regurgitate the clump. Many breeds, including those with long hair, occasionally hack up hairballs. While it’s normal, having a proper diet can reduce the effects. Also, it might be a bigger issue for some cats, causing irritation and other problems.

    Do Indoor Cats Shed Seasonally?

    Cats shed year-round, especially if they are only indoors. Outdoor cats, or those who alternate between, can experience heavy shedding in the springtime as they lose their winter coats.

    cat indoor_Melanie Hogue_Pixabay
    Photo Credit: Melanie Hogue, Pixabay

    Can You Stop Cat Shedding?

    Shedding is a standard part of cat-owning. Unless you have a Sphynx cat or other hairless variety, all cats shed. Even downy-haired cats like the Devon Rex shed lightly.

    What Conditions Lead to Excessive Hair Loss?

    If you have a problem with your cat excessively shedding, it can have multiple causes. It’s best to work with your vet to perform the necessary testing to uncover the root cause. Here are some triggers for bulk hair loss:

    • Food Allergies: A dietary sensitivity is a prevalent reason cats might experience hair loss. Not all food allergies are the same. If your cat has an allergy, you might have to perform food trials and testing to find the trigger. Typically, cat food allergies stem from a protein source but may also develop from grains or artificial additives in the recipe.
    • Excessive Grooming: If your cat is anxious or overzealous, they might lick themselves until they develop bald patches. It might also be a display of nervousness or anxiety.
    • Flea Allergies: Every cat owner knows how important flea treatment is for our felines and homes, and some cats can have an allergic response to flea bites.
    • Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a disease when your cat’s thyroid produces too few hormones, causing an under-activity of the gland. It can have several signs, but brittle hair and hair loss are common.
    • Fungal Infections: Fungal infections on the skin, like ringworm, can irritate the area, causing patches of lost hair. It might also cause intense itching, which may lead to biting, scratching, and hair-pulling.

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    Common Food Allergies in Cats

    cat eating food_ Seattle Cat Photo, Shutterstock
    Photo Credit: Seattle Cat Photo, Shutterstock

    Like us, our cats can develop allergies from different causes. Many food-related issues can cause sensitivities to spark in cats. However, some of the most common triggers for cat allergies are protein sources. Common meat like chicken, beef, and fish can cause stomach issues in some cats.

    Though grain-free diets are hot on the market these days, grain sensitivities only make up a small percentage of allergies in cats. Cats might also be sensitive to a number of other ingredients in their cat food, like corn, wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, and artificial additives. In those situations, vets might recommend dietary changes to combat the problem once they find the reason behind it.

    What Are Signs of Allergies for Cats?

    While every cat might display different symptoms, normal symptoms of allergies include:

    • Recurring yeast infections on the skin
    • Recurring ear infections
    • Excessive or intense scratching
    • Wheezing, sneezing, or hacking
    • Diarrhea
    • Vomiting
    • Bloating

    Only your vet can determine if your cat has allergies. They will likely look for triggers through blood testing, examination, or food trials.

    Why Does Diet Matter?

    Some causes of hair loss have nothing to do with their diet. But many times, some ingredient in their cat food causes trouble in their digestive system. Weeding out each ingredient in food trials can pinpoint the problem so you can craft a recipe to soothe your kitty.

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    Above others, the Smalls Smooth Bird recipe contains all human-grade ingredients, which are then gently cooked and shredded into a smooth texture. The nutritious recipe includes chicken thigh, chicken breast, and chicken liver and is the overall best cat food for shedding & hair loss.

    If you want a more affordable brand, glance at Purina ONE +PLUS Hairball Formula Adult Dry Cat Food. It is easily digestible, and full of fiber, which reduces hairballs in the tract. This recipe might not work for every situation, but it’s worth looking at when excessive grooming is a problem.

    We hope these reviews helped you make an informed purchase!

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