Cat Supplements

Cat supplements may provide an additional boost to the health of your pet. However, if you”re feeding your cat a high-quality diet filled with the proper nutrients, supplements might not be necessary. Understanding the unique requirements for proper cat care can help you decide whether or not to add supplements to your feline”s daily meal plan.

Proper Cat Care through Nutrition

High-quality cat foods meet the dietary needs of most cats. Because cats are genetically engineered to be carnivores, they need a high level of proteins and carbohydrates to thrive. Meat-based canned, dry and semi-moist goods contain most or all of the required nutrients.

Before Giving Your Cat a Supplement

Keep in mind that cat food manufacturers provide specialty products for different stages of an animal”s life. These provide specific nutritional elements in varying degrees and have undergone much testing and research.

In addition, prescription cat foods can provide a proper diet and nutrition for cats with certain health conditions or who are recovering from surgery.

Along with proteins, a variety of essential nutrients is critical to maintaining proper cat nutrition, including:

  • Beta carotene (vitamin A), which is good for respiratory function along with bones and teeth
  • Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, fish oils that act as antioxidants and help prevent skin problems, control blood flow, promote tissue health and boost the immune system
  • Phosphorus, copper, zinc, iron, calcium and potassium, minerals that promote normal body functions
  • Taurine, an amino acid not naturally produced by a cat that is needed to prevent blindness, heart function and more
  • Vitamins B (1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 12), water-soluble vitamins that aid with stress and help the nervous system
  • Vitamins E, C and A, fat-soluble vitamins that may help keep cats feeling young.

The above is a list of a few of the nutrients found in most commercially prepared cat foods. Check the label of your cat”s food to see if he is getting the proper nutrients. If his food does not contain the above-listed elements, consult a vet about switching foods or providing supplements.

Cat Supplements and Vitamins: A Warning

It is important to note that some vitamins, in excess, can be toxic to your pet. For instance, an overdose of vitamin A, which is found in liver, can be toxic. Overdosing on vitamin D or calcium could cause kidney and bone disease. Therefore, when incorporating cat supplements, you should first identify which vitamins and minerals are lacking in the diet.

Cat Supplements: Targeted Health Issues

Sometimes, your cat may have a specific condition that calls for him to take a supplement. For instance, a pregnant or nursing cat may require nutrients beyond those provided in regular food. Similarly, a kitten or ill cat may require supplements to stay in optimum health.

However, remember that you should always check with a veterinarian before making any changes to an animal”s diet. The feline digestive system is particularly delicate when it comes to imbalances or additions.

Many products on the market today target cat health issues, including:

  • allergies
  • arthritis
  • body odor
  • diarrhea
  • digestive upset
  • emotional stress
  • hairballs
  • parasites
  • shedding
  • vitamin deficiencies.

Other formulations provide support for ongoing health, including:

  • bladder control
  • digestion
  • heart health
  • immune system function
  • kidney health
  • lung health
  • skin and coat health.

Like human supplements, however, some of these products may not be as healthy as advertised. Always know which ingredients are in a vitamin or supplement before giving it to any pet.

Natural Cat Supplements

Owners who provide homemade or raw diets often incorporate natural nutritional products to make up for any deficiencies in food. Such products include:

  • alfalfa
  • brewer”s yeast
  • catnip
  • cod liver oil
  • kelp
  • psyllium husk powder
  • sterilized bone meal
  • wheat germ oil
  • wheat grass.

Cats have unique nutritional needs. Proponents of cat supplements believe that boosting elements found in the diet can help prevent a host of ills. Many also state that commercial processing, which includes heating, reduces the benefits even of premium food. Observing your cat on a day-to-day basis and talking to your vet will help you decide whether or not your cat would benefit from a supplement.