Black cat's fur turning brownish

This is my first cat, so I am not an experienced cat owner. 2 year old, healthy, black, long-haired cat at a good weight is starting to get some slight reddish brown color to certain patches of her hair. Other people say they can’t see it, but as the person who grooms her, I think it’s there. I read online that this could be tyrosine deficiency, copper deficiency, etc – but I’m not sure I trust a Google diagnosis and I don’t really know where to go from here. Does anyone have experience with this or a good way to fix this? Definitely don’t want kitty to be missing out on something she needs!

Current diet:
Free choice dry kibble + ~1 can wet food per day
Dry kibble is Elevate Shenandoah Recipe: 35% protein, 17% fat, 6% fiber, 10% moisture with first several ingredients being chicken, turkey meal, chicken meal, lentil, faba beans, peas, chicken fat, ground flaxseed. On the surface, I guess that should be enough protein, but in light of the coat color changes, should I be concerned that much of that protein probably comes from non-meat sources?
Wet food is a mix of brands and flavors, but currently Paws & Claws and 9Lives. Meat products or by-products are near the top of the list and the protein % on a dry matter basis seems okay from what I’ve read online?

I’m open to changing / upgrading food, but am honestly a little confused by how to pick something better. I’m on a budget, so if I’m spending more $, I need to have a reason why and some clear benefit. The guaranteed analysis on the back of the wet food cans seems a little lacking compared to the GAs for horse feed or human food. And since, unlike horses, 100% of the diet comes from a commercially prepared ration (vs. a natural product like hay), shouldn’t the feed company’s nutritionists have already worked this out so the cat gets everything needed?

Thanks in advance!

I feed mostly Fancy Feast- chicken, liver, and various fish types and maybe 1/3 Purina One Hairball.
My two motley cats have gorgeous shiny, colorful hair. I’m sure it’s the Fancy Feast.
And they both love most of the FF types.

Does the cat sun itself a lot? Are you seeing the rust coloring only in certain light? Most black cats aren’t truly black- it’s common to see color variations in their coats, especially in direct sunlight.


Yeah, I have seen a lot of “rusty” black cats, especially in certain light.


Her inner tortie coming out?

I was going to guess sunfade as well.

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Okay thanks! It sounds like I am probably worrying needlessly. That’s about par for the course, then :laughing: I don’t think it’s bleaching from the sun since she doesn’t sit in the sun much, but the link @Cammie shared said that it is common for long-haired black cats to show reddish hairs due to a recessive red gene so that seems like a likely explanation for this long-haired cat. Her hair over her back is very black, shiny, and silky. Her underside is less shiny and, in good light, you can see the reddish brown hairs there.

Regardless, this hair color question has made me think more about her diet. Should I switch her to Fancy Feast or something similar? Like @Marla_100 's cats that are on FF, her coat is shiny and she seems healthy…so not sure if I should just stick with what seems to be working?? Vet has said she looks good and is in good weight for her size. I compared FF vs. Kit and Kaboodle, 9Lives, etc in the store today and the guaranteed analyses seemed similar. The only real difference I could see was that FF had meat rather than meat products and less added water. If I can save money by continuing to feed the cheaper brands, that’s ideal, but I also want to make sure she is getting what she needs.

Kit and Kaboodle and 9Lives are pretty dreck-y as far as cat food goes. Fancy Feast is a step up but still not great. You can try it but I will warn you that one of my cats had an allergic reaction to it. She started itching and losing hair. When I removed from her diet, she cleared up. If you can afford it, try something a little better.

My vets have always approved of Purina foods.
Your vet says your kitty is looking good so I would stick with what you’re feeding and at next visit ask him about her coat color/s.

I will never feed Fancy Feast again after discovering plastic strips peeling off the sides of a lot of Purely Fancy Feast containers. The plastic strips were the same size and color as the shreds of meat in the food itself. I did not want my cats ingesting any plastic strips that might have come completely detached from the containers. That was several years ago now, and I did report it to the USDA and Fancy Feast and the grocery store, but I still won’t feed any Fancy Feast in any container.

saliva will rust black fur. On a foofy cat you can see it more. It is the same effect you see on light color dogs with flea problems, the itchy/ licky area will often turn rusty.

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Thank you! The saliva is a good point – a lot of the lighter hair is in areas where she grooms herself heavily. Glad I asked about FF since it seems like that is not the way to go.