Healthy Skin and Coat for Your Cat
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Why Is Nutrition Important to Skin and Coat Health?
Nutrients such as protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals play important roles in the skin and coat health of cats. Skin and hair are used to prevent things (such as water or heat) from leaving, or things (such as viruses and bacteria) from entering the body.
The hair coat is composed almost entirely of protein. If your cat's diet doesn't contain enough quality protein, her hair may fall out or become dry, weak, and brittle.
Skin is made up of flat cells tightly packed together. These cells have tough membranes that are composed of proteins and fats. Without proper nutrients, cell membranes weaken, allowing water to escape and bacteria and viruses to enter more easily.
Essential Amino Acids and Fatty Acids
Proteins are found in both animal-based and plant-based ingredients. Animal-based proteins contain all of the essential amino acids cats need, whereas plant-based proteins may contain only some. Cats need the nutrients in animal-based proteins for the best of health.
Fats also can be found in both animal-based and plant-based ingredients, and are incorporated into skin cells as fatty acids. There are two essential fatty acids for skin and coat health. Linoleic acid and arachidonic acid maintain skin and coat condition in cats. Without them, cats may experience a dull, dry coat, hair loss, greasy skin, and increased risk of skin inflammation. Both of these are found in animal tissues such as chicken fat, whereas vegetable oils such as corn and soybean are rich in linoleic acid but do not contain arachidonic acid. Omega-3 fatty acids, another type of fats, are found in vitamin-rich fish oils. IAMS™ Company research has found that the fatty acids in fish oils help promote excellent skin and coat health.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential for the development of healthy skin and coat. The best way to provide them is through a complete and balanced diet rather than through supplements.
Vitamin or Mineral Important for skin and coat health
Vitamin A Necessary for growth and repair of skin
Vitamin E Protects skin cells from oxidant damage
Vitamin C Helps heal wounds
Biotin Aids in the utilization of protein
Riboflavin (B2) Necessary for fat and protein metabolism
Zinc Necessary for fat and protein metabolism
Copper Involved in tissue, pigment, and protein synthesis
Changes in Coat Condition
Diet is often believed to be a factor when changes in skin and coat condition occur. The most common causes, however, are changes in season and life stage. As cold weather approaches, most cats grow a thick coat to help keep heat in and cold air out. As the weather begins to warm up, they shed their thick, heavy coat.
Most kittens are born with soft, fuzzy hair, but as they age, a coarser coat grows. Pregnant and nursing cats may also experience a change in coat condition or hair loss."
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- adp_description_block480Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes
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Understanding and learning how to decipher kitten food product codes will help you choose the right kitten food. While selecting the right ingredients is important, making sure those ingredients are fresh is just as vital to your young cat. Learn how to read the product codes of kitten food packages and cans with our handy guide.
What Is a Product Code?
A product code is a series of numbers and letters printed on the outer package of each product a manufacturer produces. This code provides information about when and where the kitten food was made.
As part of the product code, IAMS™ products include a “Best Used By” date, or the date at which the product is no longer considered fresh and should no longer be sold. This date is expressed in “ddmmyy” and “ddmmmyy” formats.
The second line of the product code represents company internal information for use in traceability and inventory control.
Line 1: (ddmmyy) (ddmmmyy)
Example: 040220 04FEB20
Line 2: 60351111## QQQQQQQ
This product should be used before February 4, 2020.
Depending on the production line, pouch products* may have code date information in a single or double line. By recognizing and understanding these codes, customers can make sure they are receiving a fresh product.
What Is Shelf Life?
Shelf life is the duration, measured in months, during which a properly stored kitten food product maintains its freshness. This means if a product has a 16-month shelf life, it is fresh for up to 16 months from the date of manufacture.
The shelf life for IAMS dry kitten foods is 16 months. All canned formulas have a shelf life of 24 months.
How to Properly Store Dry and Wet Kitten Food
Unopened dry kitten food products are best stored off the floor in a cool, dry place. Open bags of kitten food should be stored in a clean, dry container with a tight seal. Dry kitten food products may also be frozen without loss of nutrients.
Opened wet kitten food products are best kept refrigerated in tightly sealed containers for no more than three days after the container has been opened. Wet products should not be frozen in unopened cans. However, wet kitten foods can be frozen if removed from the container, packed in freezer containers and frozen immediately.
*IAMS has no kitten pouch products at this time.
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