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9 Best Cat Foods for Shedding & Hair Loss in 2023: Reviews & Top Picks

cat eating_Purina_Chewy

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

If you were looking for a diet that would combat shedding and hair loss, we found eight picks for you to check out. Each of the reviews is honest but always check with your veterinarian before making a dietary transition.

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A Glance at Our Winners in 2023

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Smalls Smooth Bird Recipe (Fresh Cat Food Subscription) Smalls Smooth Bird Recipe (Fresh Cat Food Subscription)
  • Feature iconSustainably-sourced ingredients
  • Feature iconIncludes chicken as the first ingredient
  • Feature iconIncludes chicken as the first ingredient
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Purina ONE Hairball Adult Formula Purina ONE Hairball Adult Formula
  • Feature iconAffordable
  • Feature iconLessens hairball production
  • Feature iconSmartBlend nutrients
  • Third place
    Royal Canin Hairball Care Cat Food Royal Canin Hairball Care Cat Food
  • Feature iconHigh fiber ingredients
  • Feature iconMeets all nutritional profiles
  • Feature iconSpecifically formulated for hairballs
  • Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Cat Food Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
  • Feature iconPromotes hair growth
  • Feature iconNo grains
  • Feature iconGreat for indoor cats
  • American Journey Grain-Free Cat Food American Journey Grain-Free Cat Food
  • Feature iconNo irritating ingredients
  • Feature iconLots of vitamins and minerals
  • Feature iconHigh 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 all human-grade ingredients, which are then gently cooked and shredded into a smooth texture making it the best cat food for shedding and hair loss. This food starts with chicken thigh, chicken breast, and chicken liver. Because chicken thigh is the first ingredient, this formula is higher in fat than most commercial cat foods. On top of the chicken, this food also includes a variety of veggies, such as green beans, peas, and kale.

    However, the only protein source is chicken and for cats with sensitive stomachs, sticking with one protein source is often best. Therefore, we also recommend this food for those who tend to have troubled tummies.

    Like all Smalls recipes, this one features only USDA-certified and sustainably-sourced ingredients. Plus, because this food contains only sustainably sourced ingredients, many consider it better for the environment than other options out there.

    All Smalls recipes are made in the USA and prepared in a variety of kitchens throughout the United States. This particular brand is likely made in Chicago, Illinois, and then distributed throughout the rest of the US. They thoroughly test all of their foods for salmonella and other food-borne illnesses in small batches to ensure it is 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
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    2. Purina ONE Hairball Adult Formula Dry Cat Food – Best Value

    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 those hairballs while providing total nutrition. Plus, it’s the best cat food for shedding and hair loss for the money.

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

    This food contains a SmartBlend of nutrients specific to the bag. It was carefully crafted to provide natural fiber while catering to all of your feline’s health needs. If you’re on a budget and looking to save as much as possible while feeding an adequate diet, you definitely want to check out this best value best cat food to reduce shedding.

    • Affordable
    • Lessens hairball production
    • Provides easily digestive ingredients
    • SmartBlend nutrients
    • Might not work for all issues
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    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 than many like selections, but it provides nutrients that trump many. With their carefully crafted recipes, this one targets the problem of too many hairballs, making them easily digestible.

    In each cup of this 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 and mucilage, it smooths digestion, preventing hairball formation.

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

    To conclude, when it comes to our top picks, we think this is one of the best cat foods to help with shedding.

    • High fiber ingredients
    • Meets all nutritional profiles
    • Specifically formulated for hairballs
    • Trusted company
    • Might not match your cat’s issue
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    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 is having hair loss issues, Taste of the Wild Canyon River Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is an exceptionally healthy choice. It is a bit on the expensive side, but the food 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 this cat food is that it contains guaranteed live probiotics to aid in gut health. It also has tons of healthy vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids to give your cat the nutrition they need. It’s also quite a low-calorie meal for Taste of the Wild, so it 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
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    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 and we think it is the best cat food for shedding and hair loss. No irritating grains to trouble the tummy, but there’s no scrimping on nutrition here. This recipe is full of all the goodies your kitties need to stay their healthiest.

    Deboned salmon is the very 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.

    This cat food for hair loss recipe meets all standards for feline nutritional profiles. It has tons of taurine, vitamins, and minerals that replenish the body and keep organs in tip-top shape. All the omega-fatty acids soothe the skin and keep coats shiny.

    This protein-dense dry kibble is an ideal recipe for many sensitive house cats who might be struggling with sensitivities. It’s made in the USA with trusted ingredients. However, grain-free recipes aren’t necessary for all cats. Please consult with your veterinarian before the switch.

    • No irritating ingredients
    • Lots of vitamins and minerals
    • High protein improves coat
    • Not all cats benefit from grain-free diets
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    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 cat food that helps with shedding, the Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Wet Canned Cat Food. It has no irritating grains, is soft to chew, and has all of 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, providing wholesome chunks of delicious meat to gnaw on. Each can contains 193 calories per serving. It’s made up of 10% crude protein, 7.5% crude fat, 3% crude fiber, and 78% moisture.

    Many cats don’t drink enough water, so this is a terrific way to hydrate your furry pal. You can use this food as a standalone diet or add it in with their daily dry kibble. Be mindful if you use this as a solitary diet since some cats might be prone to weight gain.

    • Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient
    • Actual chunks of real meat
    • Soft to chew
    • No grains
    • Can cause weight gain
    • Grain-free is not for every cat
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    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 cats. It is tailored to meet the needs of indoor cats while helping them pass their fur without issue.

    The first ingredient in this cat food for hair loss recipe is real deboned chicken. In one serving, there are 397 calories. There is 32% crude protein, 15% crude fat, 6% crude fiber, and 9% moisture. It also has lots of fatty acids to keep the skin and fur healthy.

    Each Blue Buffalo recipe has LifeSource Bits in the form of antioxidant-packed soft kibble pieces. These pieces give your cat a kick of free-radical eliminating nutrients for optimal health. Brown rice also helps with digestion, helping things move along as they should.

    • Tailored for indoor cats
    • High fiber
    • Real deboned chicken is the number one ingredient
    • LifeSource Bits
    • Won’t work for every hair issue
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    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 pretty high-calorie count with 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 kitties are sensitive to common proteins like beef, fish, and chicken, so this recipe uses cage-free duck instead.  It only contains six key ingredients, making sure they get only the good stuff. 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
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    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 combined with a nutritious medley of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and taurine for immunity, skin, and muscle support.

    This fully 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 all in one.

    With added cranberry, it also supports urinary health as well as digestion for ease of elimination. It has absolutely no harmful fillers or artificial preservatives and 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

    Hair loss and shedding are a normal part of cat-owning. However, sometimes these things happen in excess, which is an issue that needs to be addressed. There can be several factors that play into shedding or hair loss, causing owners to seek answers.

    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 the collection of fur in a cat’s stomach that can’t digest. It can pass through the tract, or your cat might regurgitate the clump.

    When cats groom themselves, where does all the hair go? Into their belly, of course. Many breeds, including those with long hair, might commonly hack up hairballs. While this is 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, might go through bulk shedding in the springtime as they lose winter coats.

    cat indoor_Melanie Hogue_Pixabay
    Image Credit: Melanie Hogue, Pixabay

    Can You Stop Cat Shedding?

    Shedding is a standard part of cat-owning. Unless you have a true 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 directly with your vet to perform the necessary testing, uncovering the root cause. But 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 just plain overzealous, they might lick themselves until they develop bald patches on their bodies. It might also be a display of some type of nervousness or anxiety.

    • Flea Allergies

    Every cat owner knows how important flea treatment is for our felines and our homes. They can be completely irritating and take over in a short period of time. Even though they are yucky little parasites, cats can have an allergic response to flea bites.

    • Hypothyroidism

    Hypothyroidism is a disease where your cat’s thyroid produces too few hormones, causing an under-activity of the gland. It can have tons of symptoms, but brittle hair and hair loss are very common themes in the disease.

    • 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
    Image Credit: Seattle Cat Photo, Shutterstock

    Just like us, our felines can have all sorts of allergies from different causes. Many food-related things can cause sensitivities to spark in cats. But some of the most common triggers for cat allergies are actually protein sources. Common meat like chicken, beef, and fish can react negatively, causing the body to reject the food.

    Though grain-free diets are hot on the market these days, grain sensitivities only make up a small percentage of allergies in cats. So, proper testing to ensure a grain allergy is present should happen before any grain-free recipes go into their food bowl.

    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 these 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?

    feeding cats_Dora Zett_Shutterstock
    Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

    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.

    Want to see more cat food reviews? Check out our review page here!

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

    If you’re looking to save money, glance at Purina ONE +PLUS Hairball Formula Adult Dry Cat Food. It is affordable, 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!