10 Best Cat Foods For Shedding


best cat food for shedding

Dealing with shedding is just part of living with cats. It’s usually pretty easy to tell exactly where your cat’s favorite spot to sleep is because there will be a nice layer of kitty fur. But it doesn’t end there…cat hair has a way of getting just about everywhere.

I’ve even pulled fresh clothes out of the laundry only to find a shirt with cat hair already on it! That’s when you know you’re losing the war against cat fur and that’s when I decided to do a deep dive into feline shedding and all the options for managing this problem. One of the things I found, was the connection between diet and shedding.

I was already brushing my cat but I also discovered a great write up by Dr. Jennifer Coates on PetMD explaining exactly what to look for in cat food to manage shedding. With that inspiration, I’ve put together a list of the 10 best cat foods for shedding with 5 options for dry and 5 for wet.

Why Do Cats Shed?

Shedding is a normal process for cats and helps them remove dead hair. In the wild, cats will grow a long coat for the winter season and shed heavily come spring and summer. While you can see the same trend in indoor cats too for the most part they shed all year long.

So we can’t stop shedding altogether, no matter what kind of food we feed our cat, but we can make a BIG difference in the amount of hair that falls off.

How Can Diet Help With Shedding?

While a healthy diet for your cat will help with a lot more than just their coat, the impact of quality food on shedding can be significant. If your cat’s coat is dry and brittle it’s much easier for hairs to break off or fall out. That means more hair on your favorite sweater, couch, and of course in the bed!

What Makes Cat Food Healthy?

One of the first things to look for any cat food is whether or not it’s species-appropriate.

So what does species-appropriate mean? It means the food matches, in a biological sense, what’s best for your cat’s digestive system. Cats are what’s called obligate carnivores which means that they can’t all the nutrition they need from plants alone. For example, humans and many other mammals can convert the beta carotene from carrots into vitamin A.

But your cat can’t actually do that. Instead, they rely on purely animal sources for vitamin A such as liver, fish oil, and egg yolks.

So one of the first factors to consider is whether or not a food is healthy is whether or not it matches up to what your carnivorous cat would have eaten in the wild. We want to see several animal-based ingredients and we always want to see an animal-based protein as the first ingredient.

How Much Protein Is Enough?

Protein should be a huge part of your cat’s diet. Not only will this help with your cat’s overall health but as Dr. Jennifer Coates explains “if cats do not get enough protein in their diet, or the protein they do take in is of poor quality, their coat will suffer.”

She also points out that “after all, hair is made from keratin,  a protein.”

So how much protein is enough?

She recommends that food contains at least 45% protein on a dry matter basis.

But here’s where things can get a little confusing because in order to find the dry matter basis you need to remove moisture from the equation.

Understanding Dry Matter Protein Content

Let’s look at the guaranteed analysis for our number on dry food on the list, Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein:

protein for shedding in cats

In order to figure out the dry protein content, we need to remove the percent moisture from 100.

That gives us 88% which is the total percent of dry matter in the food.

Next, we divide the protein percentage by the dry matter percentage and multiple by 100.

And 59 divided by 88 gives us 0.67 which we multiple by 100 to get 67%.

So while the label lists 59% protein the dry content weight is actually 67% making it one of the highest protein dry foods on the market so you can see why it’s my pick for best overall dry food for shedding. This math is much more important when it comes to wet food since it’s common to see wet foods with 75% to 80% moisture.

And if you want to go ahead and check out Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein food you can see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

If That Didn’t Make Sense…Don’t Worry

I’ll be listing the dry protein content of every diet so I’ll be doing the match for you. I just wanted to quickly share how it works.

You can also rest easy knowing that every diet on this list includes at least 45% protein per the suggestion of Dr. Coates.

How Much Fat Is Enough?

Fat is also an important factor in maintaining a healthy coat and decreasing shedding. One of the most important parts of this equation is healthy fats called omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. You’ve probably heard of these before and over the last couple of years more and more foods for both humans and pets are advertising these important nutrients.

And those advertisements aren’t wrong.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play an important role in maintaining the health of your cat’s coat and skin. But beyond that, fatty acids can help with overall health including heart health!

Here’s what Dr. Coates recommends, “the total fat content of a food to reduce shedding in cats should be between 25-35% on a dry matter basis.” She goes on to say that if you’re worried about a higher calorie food for your cat, focus on the bottom end of that range.

Dry Cat Food and Fat Content

Trying to reach that level of fat content with dry food alone can be very difficult simply because of the way fats are processed in dry kibble. I’ve still selected dry foods that get as close as possible to the 25% minimum suggested requirements.

But still, not only of the foods on our dry list which reach that level so if you primarily feed your cat dry food, I’d suggest considering supplementing your cat’s diet with another source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

I highly recommend this option from Nordic Naturals on Amazon. Most cat owners (myself included) are able to simply add this on top of their cat’s dry food without any issue. You can read some of the many reviews from happy cat owners who are excited about how this supplement has changed the look and health of their cat’s coat.

The Best Cat Food For Shedding

That means that the best cat food for shedding is one that:

  • Features high protein content with at least 45% protein on a dry matter basis
  • Features fat content between 25-35% on a dry matter basis
  • Includes protein and fats from animal sources

Best Dry Cat Food For Shedding

Dry food is almost always more convenient and typically lower priced. However, the moisture content is often lower and proper hydration has the potential to improve coat health (and overall health). The other issue is that because of the way it’s manufactured, it’s difficult to reach our goal of 25-35% fat content by feeding only dry food. Again, that’s why you may want to consider using a fat supplement like this fish oil from Nordic Naturals on Amazon.

Here are the foods we’re going to cover:

  1. Best Overall: Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein
  2. Runner Up: Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused
  3. Best on a Budget: American Journey
  4. Budget Alternative: Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain
  5. Premium Pick: Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels

Keep reading to learn more about why we selected each of these foods for every category.

 Best Overall: Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein

Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Formula Dry Cat Food without fillers

 

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Pros:

  • High protein content at 67% protein based on dry matter
  • High fat for dry food at 20.4% based on dry matter
  • One of the few cat foods on the market without vegetables, fruit, or grain
  • A perfect recall history with ZERO recalls

Cons:

  • You have to pay more for this kind of quality!

Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein dry food is one of the best cat foods on the market…period! It has everything we’d expect to see in a cat food designed to mitigate and manage shedding. While vegetables like peas and carrots are very popular these days, especially in grain-free foods, Dr. Elsey’s breaks the mold and is one of the few veggie-free recipes.

While this diet doesn’t reach our goal of 25% fat based on a dry matter we do get very close at 20.4% which is great for dry kibble. Finally, this recipe features protein (and fats) primarily from animal sources with all five of the first ingredients coming from animal-based sources. You can pick up a bag of Dr. Elsey’s on Amazon and you can check out the latest price by clicking here.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes this food so good by diving in the first 5 ingredients.

1. Chicken

As we’ve already mentioned, we always want to see a high-quality protein as the first ingredient. Chicken definitely fits that description and is a great start to this recipe.

2. Dried Egg Product

Eggs are another animal-based protein that can help our kitty’s coat shine!

3. Pork Protein Isolate

This is a concentrated protein that while low in fat as a result of processing still provides a high-quality protein source for your cat.

4. Gelatin

While most dry cat foods used vegetables, starches, and grains (which are clearly not species-appropriate for your carnivore) Dr. Elsey’s recipe instead uses gelatine. While gelatin can have a variety of sources it’s typically animal-based and comes from the collagen of animals (usually cows and pigs). While it does provide a minor source of protein, it’s more important for what it lets the recipe avoid which is unneeded vegetables and fruits.

5. Chicken Fat

This a great animal-based fat source and while it doesn’t have the same fatty acids profile we’d see in fish, it’s still an excellent ingredient.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the chicken recipe:

Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Pork Protein Isolate, Gelatin, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate, Fructooligosaccharide, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Calcium Carbonate, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Carbonate, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide), Potassium Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Taurine, Salt, Rosemary Extract.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis for fat and protein converted to dry matter:

  • 67% Protein
  • 20.4% Fat

Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Formula Dry Cat Food Summary

Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Formula is more than just a great cat food for shedding- it’s one of the best cat foods on the marketing terms of species-appropriateness and quality ingredients. That means I recommend it only for cat owners looking to improve their cat’s coat and reduce shedding but for most cat owners across the board!

 Runner Up: Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused

Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Raw Infused Dry Dry Cat Food

 

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Pros:

  • Meets our dry protein content goal with 46% protein based on dry matter basis
  • Features freeze-dried raw meat for a more unique taste
  • Great balance of price and quality

Cons:

  • Includes potatoes and peas in the top 5 ingredients which some cat parents may want to avoid
  • Lower fat content at 15.7% on a dry matter basis.

Our runner up is Merrick’s Backcountry Raw Infused recipe. This recipe features freeze-dried pieces of raw meat and impressive protein content that meets our 45% requirements. While the fat is a little lower at 15.7% it can be corrected with a fish oil supplement (Amazon link).

Merrick Backcountry is an excellent choice but it is a clear runner up to Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Formula. While Merrick’s recipe is still high protein (especially compared to most commercial cat foods) it doesn’t feature the same commitment to avoiding plant ingredients as it features potatoes and peas within the first 5 ingredients. Still, it’s a great option if you’re looking for something that can help with shedding at a more budget-friendly price point. You can click here to check the latest price on Amazon.

Let’s take a closer look at the first 5 ingredients to learn more about what’s inside this recipe from Merrick. We’ll be looking at the Pacific Catch recipe.

1. Deboned Salmon

We always want to see a high-quality protein in our number one ingredient and so this is exactly what we’d expect. Salmon is not only high in protein but is also a great source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that may help with shedding and coat health.

2. Salmon Meal

Salmon meal is ground up salmon that’s also had most of the fat and moisture removed. While I’d love to see more fat present, it does help bring the overall protein content up and is a great option for more animal-based protein.

3. Whitefish Meal

Whitefish meal goes through the same process of removing fat and water but instead of salmon whitefish is used.

4. Potatoes

This is the first carbohydrate on the list and one of the reasons that this formula for Merrick is in the runner up position. While it’s better than something like corn it’s doesn’t pass our specicies-appropriate test.

5. Peas

Peas are another popular ingredient that isn’t species-appropriate. While it does allow the diet to avoid grains and adds some fiber it’s still not the perfect ingredient.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the full list of ingredients in Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Pacific Catch Recipe:

Deboned Salmon, Salmon Meal (Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids), Whitefish Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Natural Flavor, Potato Protein, Sweet Potatoes, Pork Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Whitefish, Trout, Dried Yeast Culture, Salt, Organic Dried Alfalfa Meal, Choline Chloride, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Proteinate, Cobalt Carbonate), Phosphoric Acid, Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis for fat and protein converted to dry matter:

  • 46% Protein
  • 15.7% Fat

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Summary

While the inclusion of potatoes and peas put this recipe in our runner up position, the combination of high-protein and relatively high fat makes it a great option on the search for the best cat food for shedding.

 

Best on a Budget: American Journey Salmon Recipe

american journey cat food without chicken salmon recipe

 

Buy On Chewy

Pros:

  • Excellent ingredient list for the price
  • ZERO recalls across any pet food product
  • Great price with a 25% off offer for first-time buyers

Cons:

  • Lower fat and protein content than others on this list

My selection for the best cat food for shedding on a budget comes from American Journey. While this Chewy-only brand may score a little lower on protein and fat content, it makes up for it with an excellent ingredient profile for budget cat food.

This recipe has 44.4% protein content on a dry matter basis putting it within 1% of our minimum requirement. It has only 16.6% fat content which makes it one of the lower fat content options on this list. Despite that, this recipe does great of staying species-appropriate on a budget with 4 out of the first 5 ingredients coming from animal-based sources.

You can get this food from Chewy.com for $2.35 per pound and if you’re a first-time buyer you also get an extra 25% off making this a clear winner for the best on a budget. Click here to see the latest price and grab the 25% off offer.

Every American Journey cat food is always free of corn, wheat, soy, and artificial preservatives but let’s dive a little deeper into this specific recipe by taking a look at the first five ingredients.

1. Deboned Salmon

It’s great to see muscle meat as the number one ingredient here, especially with our budget option. Salmon is not only a great source of protein but also healthy fats that also improve your cat’s coat.

2. Salmon Meal

Salmon meal is made by grinding up salmon that’s had most of the water and fat removed from it. While more fat would be great for this recipe, this concentrated salmon protein is still an solid ingredient.

3. Tapioca Starch

While tapioca starch is a carbohydrate, it is the only one in the first five ingredients. This ingredient helps reduce the overall cost (which makes sense on our budget option) and aids in the manufacturing process. You can hear one veterinarian’s opinion on tapioca starch for cats in this article.

4. Menhaden Fish Meal

Just like the salmon meal ingredient, this is ground up menhaden fish but with fat and water removed.

5. Dried Egg Product

Another animal-based protein is a great addition to this food. It’s also an ingredient that most American Journey foods seem to favor.

American Journey Summary

American Journey is a great budget option for cat owners looking to manage shedding. While it’s not perfect in terms of macronutrients, it still has a great ingredient profile at a budget price. First-time buyers also get 25% off the first order at Chewy.com.

 

Budget Alternative: Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain 

taste of the wild rocky mountain

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Pros:

  • High protein content at 46% on a dry matter basis
  • Great fat content at 20% on a dry matter basis
  • Budget-friendly

Cons:

  • The ingredient quality is lower than other foods on this list

My pick for the budget alternative is the Rocky Mountain recipe from Taste of the Wild. While it may not feature the same quality ingredients as some of the other options on our list, it’s one of the best budget options for cat foods to help with shedding. That’s because it features a high 46% dry matter protein content and an impressive 20% dry matter fat content all at a very budget-friendly price.

But I’m not going sugarcoat things here, the overall quality of protein and ingredients is lower than any other dry food on the list. Still, with high fat and protein content, it earns a well-deserved spot as our best budget cat food for managing shedding and you can check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

Let’s review the first five ingredients in the Rocky Mountain recipe to get a better idea of what’s inside this food:

1. Chicken Meal

While this meets our requirements of seeing a quality animal ingredient in the number one position, I’d strongly prefer a muscle meat source and not a meal. However, it is species-appropriate and helps get the overall protein content above our goal of 45%

2. Peas

Peas aren’t species-appropriate and it’s not what we would ideally want to see on our number two spot.

3. Sweet Potatoes

While sweet potatoes aren’t ideal, they are one of the better options for carbohydrates in cat food as they may not spike blood sugar as much as something like corn.

4. Chicken Fat

This is exactly the kind of ingredient we want to see more of! Chicken fat helps this recipe reach it’s impressive 20% fat content and is a great animal-based ingredient.

5. Pea Protein

Pea protein doesn’t contain the same amino acid profile that we see in animal-based proteins but there have at least been studies showing the digestibility of plant-based proteins for cats.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain formula:

Chicken Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Pea Protein, Potato Protein, Roasted Venison, Smoked Salmon, Natural Flavor, Ocean Fish Meal, Dl-Methionine, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Raspberries, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentaion Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D Supplement, Folic Acid. Contains A Source Of Live (Viable), Naturally Occurring Microorganisms.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis for fat and protein converted to dry matter:

  • 46% Protein
  • 20% Fat

Taste of the Wild Summary

Taste of the Wild may not have the same quality of ingredient as other dry foods on this list but it still meets our minimum protein requirement and has high-fat content (especially for dry kibble) which makes it a solid option to try and manage excessive shedding on a budget.

Premium Pick: Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

stella and chewy freeze-dried dinner morsels

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Pros:

  • High protein at 47.3% based on dry matter
  • Highest fat content on our dry food list at 26.3% based on dry matter
  • Mimics a “raw” diet with freeze-dried bits

Cons:

  • Rehydration can take extra time
  • May contain too much phosphorous for some kitties (especially those with active kidney disease)

My premium pick is this freeze-dried option from Stella & Chewy. While this can be served as dry kibble, it can also be rehydrated to mimic wet food which makes it one of the more unique options for the best cat foods to decrease shedding. It’s also the only dry food on this list to meet both the 45% protein AND 25% fat content minimums without any supplementation. By going for the rehydration option, you can get the convenient storage of dry food while getting the extra hydration benefits of wet food!

This recipe also features several probiotics that help keep this partially raw freeze-dried fresh but can also help with digestion. This really is one of the most unique food choices out there and with high fat, high protein, and quality ingredients it’s got a lot of potential when it comes to managing shedding and coat health. You can check out the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

Let’s dig a little deeper into this unique food by reviewing the chicken flavor:

1. Chicken (Ground With Bone)

As always, we want to see a high-quality animal-based protein as our first ingredient and Stella & Chewy doesn’t disappoint. What makes this is a little more unique is the inclusion of bones while we’ve seen several recipes on the list specify “deboned”. This means that this food contains more phosphorus which isn’t recommended for cats with kidney disease. This is something you’ll want to discuss with your veterinarian.

2. Chicken Liver

Chicken liver is absolutely species-appropriate and nutrient-dense.

3. Chicken Gizzard

Here’s another ingredient you won’t see on many cat food labels. Chicken gizzards are again species-appropriate and highly nutritious which makes them a great overall addition.

4. Pumpkin Seed

Pumpkin seeds don’t pass the species-appropriate test but they’re a mostly low-carbohydrate ingredient that can add some useful micronutrients.

5. Potassium Chloride

This ingredient is used to balance the overall pH of the diet.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

You’ll find the complete ingredient list here but keep in mind that it’s going to look a bit different from your traditional kibble. This freeze-dried food features several probiotics all of which feature long and possibly intimidating names. But not only do these probiotics help preserve the freeze-dried raw food they can also have useful digestive benefits.

Chicken (Ground With Bone), Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Fenugreek Seed, Dried Pediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Taurine, Tocopherols (Preservative), Dandelion, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis for Stella & Chewy:

  • 47.3% Protein
  • 26.3% Fat

Stella & Chewy Summary

Stella & Chewy is one of the best options for dry food to manage shedding. The protein and fat content both match our target requirements without any need for supplementation. The added benefit of being able to rehydrate the food also makes this a great option for cat owners who want the flexibility of dry kibble with the option for wet food.

Best Wet Cat Food For Shedding

Wet food often has a higher protein and fat content which makes it ideal for food to help with shedding. Remember, our ideal product has at least 45% protein and 25% fat content based on on dray matter. The dry matter distinction is even more important for wet food which contains as much as 80% moisture in some cases.

But don’t worry, all percentage contents will be converted to a dry matter basis so you can easily compare wet and dry foods. You can read complete reviews of every product on this list (and why they were selected) or you can use the links here to purchase the food you’re looking for:

  1. Best Overall: Wellness Core
  2. Runner Up: Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Wet
  3. Best on a Budget: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Delights
  4. Budget Alternative:: Instinct Original
  5. Premium Pick: Feline Natural Beef and Hoki Feast

Best Overall: Wellness CORE

wellness core

 

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Pros:

  • High protein content at 54% based on dry matter
  • Fat content right on the middle of the target range at 31.8% based on dry matter
  • First 6 ingredients are ALL animal-based

Cons:

  • You have to pay more high-quality cat food and this recipe is no exception

For the best overall, I’ve selected the CORE line from Wellness. With 54% protein content and 31.8% fat content, this wet food perfectly matches Dr. Coates’ recommendations for managing shedding with diet.

But having the right amount of protein isn’t enough to get the number one recommendation alone! This wet cat food also has an exceptional list of quality ingredients with all 6 of the first ingredients coming from animal sources. That makes this not only a great option for managing shedding but also a solid choice overall. You can see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

A quick note though, pay attention to the size of the can as this food comes in both 3 oz. and 5.5 oz. varieties. If you don’t see the size you want on Amazon, be sure to check Chewy as an alternative option.

Now let’s take a closer look at the first 5 ingredients to see what’s going on inside the Wellness CORE Chicken Turkey & Chicken Liver Pate recipe.

1. Chicken

Chicken is a great first ingredient for just about any cat food. It’s high in protein and species-appropriate.

2. Turkey

This is one reason why I love this recipe! While it’s common for wet foods to feature broth as the second ingredient, this Wellness recipe features a second high-quality and animal-based protein source.

3. Chicken Broth

As I mentioned broth is a typical ingredient in wet food but it’s great to see it in the number three position and not any higher.

4. Chicken Liver

Chicken liver is another great ingredient for your little carnivore.

5. Chicken Meal

Meal (for any animal protein) is the ground up version of the ingredient with fat and water removed. That makes this another quality protein source for your cat.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

As mentioned, the first six ingredients all feature animal protein which you can see here on the full list of ingredients in the chicken flavor:

Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Chicken Meal, Turkey Liver, Dried Ground Potatoes, Natural Flavor, Cranberries, Guar Gum, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Salmon Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Dried Kelp, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Magnesium Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis on a dry matter basis:

  • 54% Protein
  • 31.8% Fat

Wellness CORE

Wellness CORE perfectly matches our targeted ranges for protein and fat which makes it a great option for managing shedding with diet. But it gets the best overall pick because it also features excellent ingredients with all 6 of the first ingredients coming from animal sources. I highly recommend this wet food!

 

Runner Up: Dr. Elsey Clean Protein

dr elsey's clean protein with carrageenan

 

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Pros:

  • High protein content at 50% protein by dry matter
  • Extremely low carbohydrate (and species-appropriate) with no fruits, vegetables, or carbohydrates
  • 90% of all protein sources come from animals
  • Dr. Elsey’s brand has had zero recalls

Cons:

  • High fat content at 40.9% dry matter may be awesome for some cats but too much for others

Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein is our runner up when it comes to the best wet food for shedding. With only 4% carbohydrate content this food easily reaches our protein goal with 50% protein by dry matter. This recipe actually exceeds the fat recommendations with 40.9% fat by dry matter. Remember, the recommendation from Dr. Coates was 25% to 35% fat content.

That’s part of the reason I put this food in the runner up position. While the higher fat content will certainly help the coat of some cats, it may lead to some unwanted weight gain. While this can be managed with portion control it’s still something to consider.

There’s also the issue of reviews. While I always take reviews about cats not liking a recipe with a BIG grain of salt, the wet food line from Dr. Elsey does seem to run into a surprisingly high number of picky eaters.

I still highly recommend this recipe if you’re looking to improve the coat of your cat and decrease shedding. You can check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

Dr. Elsey’s cat food always have excellent ingredients- this chicken recipe is no exception. Let’s take a close look at the first five ingredients.

1. Chicken

Plain ol’ chicken is rarely a bad thing! Chicken is high in protein and species-appropriate so it’s a great first ingredient for this recipe.

2. Chicken Broth

Broth is a standard ingredient in most wet food diets. It’s still good to see broth from an animal source instead of a vegetable broth that we see in some lower quality foods.

3. Chicken Liver

Liver nutrient-dense and species-appropriate which means it’s another great ingredient.

4. Dried Egg Product

Eggs are a great protein and fat source for your cat. Animal-based and species-appropriate it checks all the boxes we’re looking for!

5. Natural Flavor

Natural flavor is a non-nutritious but natural flavor additive. It typically has very little impact on the overall diet. You can read the complete definition on the FDA’s website here.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the chicken recipe:

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil, Agar-Agar, Tricalcium Phosphate, Barley Grass, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Taurine, Turmeric, Dried New Zealand Green Mussels, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Magnesium Proteinate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide, Folic Acid.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 50% Protein
  • 40.9% Fat

Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Formula Canned Food Summary

Based on ingredients alone, this is one of the highest quality wet foods you can find. It’s also a great option if you’re specifically looking to manage shedding and give your cat a healthier coat. The only downside is that the flavors and overall recipe don’t seem to be as universally loved as the dry version- at least based on reviews. Despite that, this is still an excellent option for most cat owners.

Best on a Budget: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Delights

blue buffalo wilderness wild delights

 

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Pros:

  • Budget-friendly price from a well-known brand
  • Meets our target requirements with 25% and 50% protein based on dry matter making this a good option for shedding

Cons:

  • Water AND chicken broth show in the first 5 ingredients

For the best food for shedding on a budget, I’ve selected Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Delights. While Blue Buffalo isn’t typically looked at as budget food, this product typically comes in at a great price while meeting our fat and protein requirements. The 25% fat content (by dry matter) might be perfect for heavier or overweight cats since it’s right at the bottom range of our 25% to 35% target.

The only issue I have with this food is the inclusion of water within the first 5 ingredients. The recipe already includes chicken broth, which is standard in wet cat food, so instead of water, I’d really love to see another animal-based protein. Still, this recipe from Blue Buffalo makes a great budget option for managing shedding and you can see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

Let’s take a closer look at the first 5 ingredients in the chicken and turkey flavor.

1. Chicken

Chicken is a great, protein-rich first ingredient in any cat food!

2. Chicken Broth

Broth typical for any wet cat food and I always like to see the broth come from an animal source.

3. Water

Adding water helps keep the overall price down and it’s better than adding a pure filler ingredient.

4. Turkey

I love seeing another quality protein source within the first five ingredients. Turkey is certainly species-appropriate!

5. Chicken Liver

Chicken liver is a good source of animal protein and fats but also vitamin A for your cat.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

You can take a look at the complete list of ingredients in the chicken and turkey recipe here:

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Water, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9).

Here is the guaranteed analysis with moisture removed:

  • 50% Protein
  • 25% Fat

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Delights

Not only does this recipe from Blue Buffalo meet our targeted fat and protein content, but it’s also more budget-friendly when compared to other foods on this list. That makes it a great option for cat owners trying to manage excessive shedding on a budget. But with 25% fat by dry matter, which is on the low end of our range, it’s also a good option for overweight cats.

 

Budget Alternative: Instinct Original

instinct original cat food

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Pros:

  • Avoids traditional thickening agents (like guar gum or xanthan gum) by using montmorillonite clay
  • High fat content at 34% and excellent protein content at 45.5%

Cons:

  • Some believe that montmorillonite clay is a bad addition to this food

For my budget alternative, I’ve selected Instinct Original from Nature’s Valley. While some may not consider this a “true” budget option, we’re looking for a very specific type of food to help with shedding and most wet foods fail to meet both our protein and fat requirements. That means that most of our list represents a higher tier of cat food. In other words, budget is relative and Instinct Original is a great option for shedding at a middle-of-the-road price.

Instinct Original features 34% fat by dry matter and 45.5% protein by dry matter. That means it meets both our requirements and falls on the high end of our target fat content. This line of cat food also features a wide variety of flavors which is great if you already know your cat’s preferences or you’d simply prefer an alternative protein source.

This food also features a very unique ingredient in the form of montmorillonite clay. By using montmorillonite clay, this recipe is able to avoid traditional thickening agents like xanthan gum, guar gum, agar-agar, and more. While I’m not making a judgment call on those ingredients, I do acknowledge that some cat owners would prefer to avoid them altogether and Instinct Original allows you to do that. You can learn more about montmorillonite clay from a veterinarian in this article.

Still, this ingredient isn’t without controversy and some cat owners feel that cats shouldn’t be eating it. The final decision is up to you but if you’re interested in trying this unique wet food for your shedding cat you can check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s inside the chicken flavored recipe:

1. Chicken

While we’ve chicken at the top of most foods on this, Instinct Original specifically reference that they use cage-free chicken which I love.

2. Turkey

Another high-quality protein source is a great addition to this recipe.

3. Chicken Liver

I’m happy to see another animal-sourced protein here instead of broth!

4. Chicken Broth

Broth as the number 4 ingredient means there’s more room for additional high-quality proteins on this list!

5. Ground Flaxseed

While flaxseed might not be the most species-appropriate ingredient, it is a good source of healthy fatty acids and adds to the overall fat profile of this food.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the chicken recipe:

Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Ground Flaxseed, Montmorillonite Clay, Egg Product, Peas, Carrots, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Taurine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Menhaden Fish Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis (converted to dry matter):

  • 45.5% Protein
  • 34% Fat

Instinct Original Summary

Instinct Original is a great budget option for cat owners that want to manage shedding without a major compromise on ingredients. While the inclusion of montmorillonite clay may concern some cat owners, this food has a proven track record online.

Premium Pick: Feline Natural Beef and Hoki Feast

feline natural beef and hoki flavor for shedding cats

 

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Pros:

  • Only 20 ingredients which is about half a typical wet cat food
  • Features sustainably caught Hoki
  • Completely free of thickening agents like guar gum or xanthan gum
  • 33% fat and 47.8% protein by dry matter fits perfectly into our target range

Cons:

  • Higher quality means a higher price

This diet from Feline Natural is certainly one of the most unique ones on the market. First, it features beef as a primary ingredient. While beef products do make their way into some recipes, they’re rarely the focal point of the diet. Second, it features the hoki which is a fish found primarily off the coast of New Zealand and Australia and is also considered a more sustainable fish to eat and harvest. Finally, this food is free of the traditional thickening agents you often see in wet food. That means ingredients like guar gum and xanthan gum aren’t going to be found in this recipe.

But what about shedding?

Premium, animal-based, and species-appropriate ingredients are a good start and this diet features animal-based ingredients for the first six ingredients. It also has 33% fat and 47.8% which means it perfectly matches that fat and protein content we’re looking for.

Overall, this really is a premium food and a highly recommended option for cat owners who not only want to manage shedding but also want to feed their cat high-quality ingredients. You can check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

Let’s dive into the first 5 ingredients and see some of the unique ingredients that make up the beef and hoki recipe.

1. Beef Heart

Beef heart is species-appropriate in that it’s an animal source of protein though I think it’s unlikely that your wild cat would be hunting cows! Beef heart also has a relatively high amount of taurine, which is a critical amino acid for your cat.

2. Hoki

Hoki is a sustainable fish primarily found in New Zealand and Australia. Like most fish, it’s high in protein but also fatty acids that can help with skin and coat health.

3. Beef

Beef is another quality ingredient for your cat. With a rich amino acid profile, it makes a great protein source for your feline.

4. Beef Kidney

While kidney is a more unusual ingredient in cat food, Dr. Coates has also written about the differences between skeletal muscle and organ meats for cats where she says organ meats are “a natural way to provide cats with many essential nutrients that might otherwise have to be added as supplements to a balanced feline diet.” So while we wouldn’t necessarily want to see a recipe that was all organ meat, it can make a great addition.

5. Beef Liver

Similar to the above, beef liver can be a great source of micronutrients for cats.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the beef and hoki recipe. Notice that there are ONLY 20 ingredients which is pretty unique in the world of wet cat food.

Beef Heart, Hoki, Beef, Beef Kidney, Beef Liver, Beef Blood, Sunflower Oil, Flaxseed Flakes, New Zealand Green Mussel, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Water added for processing.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis (converted to dry matter):

  • 47.8% Protein
  • 33% Fat

Feline Natural Summary

Feline Natural is exceptional cat food and one of the best you can get for shedding.

Why?

Not only does it meet our requirements for fat and protein, but it also features high-quality and animal-focused ingredients that are a step above most lists of ingredients. It takes a well-deserved spot as the best premium option.

How Long Does It Take To See Results?

While it’s going to vary greatly from cat to cat, you should see some kind of change in the overall condition of your cat’s coat and a decrease in shedding after about a month of completely changing your cat’s diet. Keep in mind, in order to not needlessly upset your cat’s stomach it’s best to slowly switch over your cat’s food. Wellness actually has a great guide on how to do this but they generally recommend that you switch between foods over a roughly 10 day period.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best cat food for shedding might seem complicated but having some guidelines helps you pick the winning recipes from the…not so good ones. I really dug deep to find the best foods for shedding on the market. In fact, I looked at more than 80 brands and a couple of hundred recipes just to narrow it down to this 10!

But I’m always open to feedback! Let me know if you found this list helpful or if you think there’s a food that should be added!

Logan M.

Logan has always loved everything about cats! Growing up with a family full of pets and a lifelong passion for animals he pursued work in the veterinary industry. After 10 years, he started BetterWithCats.net to help cat owners learn more about their feline friends.

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