Cat Vitamins - Does Your Cat Really Need Vitamins And Supplements?
What vitamins do cats need?
Vitamins are needed by all mammals, including cats. A poor diet with insufficient vitamins can lead to a whole host of health problems in your cat. Here are some of the most essential vitamins that your cat needs to stay strong and healthy.
Fat soluble vitamins that your cat needs include Vitamin A, D, E and K.
- Vitamin A is found in liver, meat, fish and eggs. It helps your cat with vision as well as skin regeneration.
- Vitamin D is found in egg yolk, tuna, sardines and dairy products. Your cat needs it to regulate calcium. Vitamin D deficiency can result in joint issues and rickets.
- VItamin E is found in animal products such as liver, eggs, and butter. Most cat food contain vitamin E in the form of oils. It improves immunity and is needed to fight oxidation, heart disease, and neurological diseases.
- Vitamin K is found in meat and certain vegetables such as spinach and cabbage. It is needed for blood coagulation. Vitamin K deficiency can cause anemia.
Water soluble vitamins that your cat needs include Vitamin C and the B complex vitamins.
- Vitamin C can be found in vegetables, citrus fruits and berries. It helps with disease due to old age, and joint issues such as arthritis.
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is found in yeast, wheat, cereals and meat. It works to keep cells healthy and maintain the nervous system.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) can be found in yeast, eggs, dairy products and liver. It trunks fat into energy. It is also important to help keep your cat’s skin healthy.
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) is sourced from meat, eggs and dairy products. It is important for the creation of energy in your cat’s cells.
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is found in yeast, meat and wheat germ. It functions as a coenzyme and is involved in processing amino acids and metabolism.
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is found only in meats. Your cat needs it for protein synthesis, and production of red blood cells. It also helps to prevent anemia.
Do cats need vitamins?
Some advocate that cat vitamins and supplements should be part of a cat’s diet as they can help cats have healthier and longer lives.
Others are of the opinion that if a cat is generally healthy, a good quality, balanced diet is all that the cat needs. Giving more vitamins and minerals to a cat who already has sufficient levels of it can cause more harm than good.
Many vets usually only recommend cat vitamins if your cat is sick. For example, underlying medical conditions may hamper your cat from being able to absorb a particular nutrient properly. In cases like this, vitamin supplements may be necessary to correct the deficiencies.
Cats with allergies and cats who are pregnant may also need vitamins to supplement their diet.
The need for cat vitamins should be determined on an individual basis. As such, it is best to consult your vet if you intend on giving your cat vitamins to determine the right vitamin supplement for your cat.
Types of cat vitamins and supplements
Cat vitamins and supplements can be divided into three broad categories:
- General vitamins and minerals are available for cat to supplement their diets
- Essential fatty acids such as the Omega-3 fatty acid and Omega-6 fatty acids play a large role in keeping your cats’ fur healthy, boosting its immune system as well as protecting its joints. It also helps to fight high cholesterol.
- Probiotics contain microorganisms such as Lactobacillus acidophilus that help to keep your cat’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract healthy by increasing ‘good’ bacteria in the gut.
Cat vitamins for older cats
You might be wondering whether your senior cat needs vitamins. Just like humans, older cats may start to have health issues. You may need to make some dietary changes as their activity level decreases. However, just like younger cats, older cat’s whose diets are healthy and balanced should not need additional vitamin supplements.
Senior cat vitamins are needed when the older cat is unable to absorb certain vitamins or nutrients for some reason or another. It’s best to ask your vet to recommend the supplements that are needed to ensure that it is safe for your cat. This is especially so to prevent interactions with medications that your senior cat is already on.
Is vitamin A toxic to cats?
Vitamin A is actually very important in a cat’s diet. It helps to keep a cat’s skin and fur healthy, and maintain its night vision. It also plays a large role in a cat’s immune system as it works to protect against pollution, cancer and many other diseases. However, vitamin A can be toxic to cats if it is taken in high levels.
Vitamin A toxicity in cats occurs when vitamin A is ingested at exorbitant levels. It often happens when cats are fed vitamin A enriched diets, such as raw liver or when a cat is getting an excessive amount of vitamin A supplementation. For example, cod liver oil contains high levels of vitamin A and giving too much to your cat might cause more harm than good.
This condition can affect cats of any age. Symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite and weight loss, and constipation. Additionally, your cat might also exhibit an abnormal sitting posture, such as raising its front limbs as well as skin allergy on its neck and front limbs. You might also notice that your cat’s fur is rougher than usual.
Most cats recover as soon as the source of vitamin A is no longer being ingested. You vet may prescribe some painkillers if your cat is in pain.
The best way to prevent vitamin A toxicity is to consult your vet before starting your cat on a vitamin A supplement. You should also inform your vet if you intend to change your cat’s diet. Ideally, a balanced diet should include all the vitamin A that your cat needs.
As a precaution, you should not allow other people to feed your cat without permission. This is especially so if your cat is being given liver.
Cat vitamins for hair loss
Hair loss in cats can be a result of disease, irritants as well as poor nutrition. Cats with poor nutrition may shed excessively or even lose clumps of fur. In cases where poor nutrition is to blame, an improved diet with high quality ingredients which provide the necessary nutrients, minerals and vitamins can help restore its hair.
Cats need protein, minerals, fatty acids and proper levels of Vitamin A, E and B for healthy skin and coat. While all vitamins should ideally be obtained through a balanced, nutrient rich diet, vitamins and supplements may be of assistance where hair loss is due to nutritional deficiencies.
If you are thinking of starting your cat on vitamins because of its hair loss, do make sure that you visit a vet before doing so. Allow your vet to rule out any other underlying medical conditions that might be causing the hair loss. It might be that your cat’s diet is indeed balanced and nutritious but it is not able to fully absorb the nutrients from the meal.
Vitamins for cats immune system
One of the best ways to ensure that your cat lives a long, healthy life is to strengthen their immune system. Cat vitamins and supplements that can help boost their immune systems include:
- Probiotics that will introduce good bacteria in the gut to promote good digestion in your cat’s intestines. A cat’s gut microbiome can be thrown out of whack by stress, medication as well as poor diet. This can cause issues such as diarrhea and gas, as well as weaken the immune system. Probiotics will help to restore balance in your cat’s GI tract and strengthen your cat’s immune system.
- Multivitamins and supplements that are specially formulated and packed with vitamins and minerals that are designed to strengthen the immune system. Some of these supplements also contain antibacterial, and anti parasite properties. These can be a great help for cats who are sick or recovering.
A strong immune system will keep your cat from getting sick. The right, and sufficient nutrients will keep your cat strong and healthy as can be.
Taurine for cats
Simply put, taurine is an amino acid that can be found in your cat’s cells, tissues, as well as in the GI tract. Cats require quite a large amount of taurine and with an adequate supply of this amino acid, they can become taurine deficient very quickly.
Taurine deficiency is linked to central retinal degeneration, heart disease, reproductive failure, and gastrointestinal irritations. Kittens who are born to taurine deficient mother cats are more likely to have poor growth.
Many commercial cat foods now contain taurine to ensure that cats do not suffer from taurine deficiency. However, it can still occur in cats who are given homemade meals, especially when the diets are vegan or vegetarian. This is because taurine is obtained from animal-based sources of protein such as meat and fish.
If your cat is found to be taurine deficient, your veterinarian will most likely prescribe a taurine supplement. Taurine supplements can also be bought over the counter. Do read the labels carefully as some contain only taurine while other taurine supplements may combine taurine with other cat vitamins. Cat multivitamins these days also often contain taurine.
Bone broth for cats
Bone broth for cats is another supplement that you can consider adding to your cat’s diet. It is not only delicious but full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that will help keep your cat strong and healthy.
Bone broth can help to strengthen your cat immune system, helps in liver detoxification, aids in digestion, and promotes healthy skin and coat
It is a great supplement for cats with colitis as well as cats who are suffering from urinary tract infections. Petcubes’ Bone Broth Dr. is simmered over 72 hours and jammed packed with nutrients for a most nourishing meal.
How to choose vitamins for cats?
Here are some guidelines that will help you to choose the best vitamins and supplements for your cat:
- Read labels carefully to make sure that it is safe for your cat
- Look for brands that have conducted proper clinical studies on their products
- Look for a lot number on the product. Products with lot numbers are more likely to have undergone quality control checks
- If the vitamins sound too good to be true, then it is probably too good to be true. Remember that while vitamins will help your cat, they are not medications. Be wary of cure-all claims and reviews that say that a particular vitamin is the solution for all your cat’s ailments.
- Never give your cat human vitamins or supplements. They may contain ingredients that might be harmful for cats.
- Check with your vet to ensure that the vitamins are safe for your cat. Even better, get the vitamins and supplements that your cat needs from your vet!