Does Your Cat Need Vitamins or Supplements?
Most of us take some form of vitamins and supplements, but what about our pets? Do they need one? Taking supplements and multivitamins is one of the easiest ways to ensure we get the full scope of nutrients recommended for optimal health.
Did you know that there are specifically designed vitamins and supplements that target the needs of animals, in particular cats? Can your feline benefit from a daily dose of vitamins? Let's find out!
What components go into cat supplements?
Cat supplements vary from brand to brand and bottle to bottle. However, most of them contain a couple of key ingredients crucial for a cat's well-being.
Let's start with taurine, an amino acid essential for heart function in cats. Feline's body can't produce taurine, so they must receive it through a diet. Cat supplements are also packed with iron, electrolytes, probiotics and B vitamins, among others.
The next ingredient commonly found in feline supplements is EPA omega-3, which is great for skin and coat and can help with dry and itchy skin or a dull-looking coat. When it comes to probiotics, they can improve gastrointestinal health and gut microbiome while keeping your feline's digestive system in top shape. Probiotics are well-known for their benefits and their impact on gastrointestinal health is well-established.
We would also like to mention B vitamins since this is a large group and they play an important role in the production of red blood cells, skin, the nervous system and digestive health. Electrolytes regulate muscle and nerve function and balance blood pH and hydration, while iron is crucial for developing red blood cells.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are one of the best components found in the feline supplement to help treat early signs of arthritis.
How to choose the best cat vitamins?
Don't start giving your cat vitamins just because you think that's the right thing to do. Ask your vet for advice. Although your feline friend should be getting its daily dose of vitamins and minerals from its diet, that’s not always the case.
A lot of times, commercial food lacks a sufficient amount of vitamins necessary for your cat to thrive. In some stages of life, your pet might require different vitamins and minerals to feel better.
For instance, senior cats may benefit from joint supplements as they age. Before giving your cat vitamins, it’s essential to assess what aspect of their lives you can improve. Maybe they need help with a coat or are battling some health issue like an ear or urinary tract infection.
Some of the options worth considering:
- Powder: It's easy to mix with dry or wet food.
- Liquids: Easy to doze, sold with a dropper.
- Treats and chewable tablets: Felines think of these as rewards since they tend to have the same flavour as treats.
- Paste or gel: Many cat owners say their pets love these kinds of supplements.
Type of cat supplements
Vitamin A is crucial for cats because it keeps their skin and fur healthy and maintains their night vision. It also plays a huge role in a feline's immune system while trying to protect their bodies from pollution, cancer and other diseases.
However, when giving your cat vitamin A, you need to be very careful because it can lead to toxicity. The best way to prevent vitamin A toxicity is to talk to your vet and then decide whether to put your cat on supplementation.
Supplements for skin and fur
Your cat might experience hair loss due to poor nutrition or disease. For instance, felines with a poor diet may lose clumps of fur. You only need to improve their nutrition and include a couple of high-quality ingredients to help them restore their hair. Many cats suffer from itchy, flaky and dry skin.
For healthy skin and coat, cats require minerals, proteins, fatty acids and proper Vitamin B, A and E levels. The fastest way to improve the look of their skin and coat is to give them the necessary vitamins and supplements.
Supplements for the immune system
If you want to ensure your cat lives a long and healthy life, you need to work on its immune system. Probiotics are great because they help improve a cat's immune system.
They introduce good bacteria and promote digestion. A lot of factors like poor diet, medication or stress can affect a cat's microbiome, leading to issues like gas, diarrhoea and a weakened immune system. Probiotics will help restore balance in your feline's GI tract and improve its immune system.
You can check out other supplements that are specifically formulated to strengthen the immune system. Some feature anti-parasite and antibacterial properties, which could protect your pet from getting sick or help recovering cats.
Cat arthritis supplements
These types of supplements are specifically formulated to target joint-related diseases in cats, such as arthritis or joint trauma. They can help ageing cats feel better since their joints tend to deteriorate over time.
Essential ingredients like Chondroitin, Glucosamine and MSM can be found in highly concentrated dosages to provide optimal results. When it comes to Glucosamine, this ingredient is widely used and is known to help restore joints and minimise discomfort caused by arthritis.
Feline's body uses this chemical to build ligaments, cartilage and tendons. Chondroitin helps stimulate cartilage growth and elasticity. MSM offers anti-inflammatory properties while signalling the body to produce more cortisol, which results in lower inflammation.
Cat anxiety supplements
Anxiety is a common condition that can affect all animals, cats included. Whether your cat gets anxious when left alone or overstimulated by loud noises, it means they need help. Getting them supplements that help them release good hormones and make them feel comfortable and relaxed is absolutely necessary.
When buying cat anxiety supplements, make sure they contain ingredients like catnip which is known to reduce depression, stress and anxiety while encouraging happier behaviour. These supplements are great because they can calm your pet, minimise separation anxiety, promote restful sleep and bring focus and clarity.
How to notice vitamin imbalance in your cat?
Nerves, muscles, skin and coat need vitamins for proper function. If your pet doesn’t have enough vitamins and minerals in their diet, some of the first signs that appear are a dull-looking coat and not-so-healthy skin. Over time, your cat’s muscles will deteriorate and will become fragile.
Vitamins and minerals are important for kittens because they require these ingredients for neurosurgical, muscle and growth development. But, let’s not pregnant females and cats struggling to overcome a health issue. Eventually, felines of any age could benefit from vitamins and minerals intake.
Can we prevent arthritis in cats?
Unfortunately we can't change cats' genetics. However, there are always ways to help your pet feel better and slow down the progression of the disease. We already mentioned that some supplements can greatly help your animal and minimise any signs of distress.
Managing weight is another way to help your cat feel better. Weight puts a lot of pressure on a feline's joints and no matter how cute they look, overweight cats can experience many health issues.
Fat cells are pro-inflammatory and their presence in a cat's body can lead to secondary inflammation. Ask your vet about how much food your cat can eat daily to maintain its optimal body weight.
It's also important to feed your cat with a balanced and high-quality diet designed for each stage of their lives, be it a kitten, nursing mother, adult cat or senior cat. They simply need different nutrients, calories and minerals to stay healthy.
Consider buying your pet some toys that will make them physically active. By moving their joints, they are moving synovial fluid, which lubricates their joints. This is a great way to minimise bone-to-bone fraction.
Why should you use cat supplements?
There are plenty of reasons to use cat supplements:
Arthritis and joint problems: supplements packed with chondroitin, glucosamine and vitamin C, among others, can lead to a reduction of inflammation, improved mobility and increased comfort.
Growing kittens: they require an additional boost to develop properly. Choose multivitamins for cats that will support their overall health and well-being.
Health condition: your cat might have some health issues like urinary infection, cataract, liver disease, or atopic dermatitis, to name a few. It could be a good idea to start giving your cat supplements to help with the symptoms.
Overall health: your cat doesn’t have to be sick to take supplements. Giving your cat supplements could be a great way to prevent many health conditions.
If your pet has no underlying issues and expresses normal physical development, they might not need supplements. Felines with vitamin deficiency require an extra boost. In a lot of cases, you can give your cat supplements to prevent certain health conditions, which is a great way to keep their bodies in optional condition.