If you are feeding your cat with a premium quality diet that is ideal for his life stage and lifestyle, the need for supplements may be unnecessary. Not only is it not necessary for most cats, but there are instances when supplements can be harmful.
When should supplements be given to cats?
Specific supplements can be given to cats based on their health needs. But it is always recommended that you discuss with your veterinarian before starting your pet on any supplements. This can help ensure that there will not be any negative reactions or health concerns that may develop especially if your pet is on other medications or is suffering from certain medical issues. Another important thing to keep in mind is that supplementing a premium diet that is already complete and balanced could possibly lead to a negative reaction with the nutrients in the formula and could lead to toxicity.
Common Supplements That Are Given To Cats
Glucosamine and chondroitin
Often given together, glucosamine and chondroitin are popular joint supplements. Studies have shown that they can help protect the joints and slow down the progression of arthritis by increasing joint lubrication and promote repair of the joint cartilage. They can also help increase joint mobility. Keep in mind that joint supplements cannot reverse or treat arthritis or correct any abnormalities in the joint structure, but they do support the function of the joints.
Kala Health Arthrix Plus Joint & Cartilage Vet Formula is available as chewable tablets that contain high-quality glucosamine, low-molecular chondroitin sulfate, and manganese.
Essential fatty acids (EFA)-- Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids
The most common source of fatty acids for cats is fish oil. They are known for their powerful anti-inflammatory properties for the skin, joints, and various organs of the body. Other beneficial effects of EFA include keeping the cat’s hair coat shiny, prevent excessive shedding, and boost heart health. Many vets recommend sardine oil over salmon oil because it contains more EPA and DHA and has lower amounts of environmental contaminants.
Dom & Cleo Wild Fish Oil For Cats contains omega-3 essential fatty acids from wild fish oils that are naturally preserved with vitamin E. It is recommended as a dietary supplement to promote healthy skin and hair coat, boost immune response, and for cardiovascular health. Omega-3 fatty acids also possess anti-inflammatory properties.
These supplements are made up of good or beneficial bacteria that can help boost the health of the gastrointestinal tract. The most common components in probiotics are Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus acidophilus. Probiotics help control the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the digestive tract. It’s also recommended in cats that are on antibiotics or has gastrointestinal issues.
Dom & Cleo Probiotics For Dogs & Cats is a cocktail of 8 strains of good bacteria and 30 billion CFUs (colony-forming units). The product promotes a healthy balance of microflora in the gastrointestinal tract, displacing bad microorganisms, and improving the absorption of nutrients in the intestines.
Supplements that contain L-lysine (a type of essential amino acid) is usually recommended for cats with upper respiratory tract infection and other chronic viral infections.
Studies have shown that this powerful antioxidant helps protect and repair brain cells in senior cats suffering from cognitive dysfunction or dementia.
General vitamins and minerals
Some supplements are formulated for multi-vitamin and mineral supplementation. These supplements usually contain various vitamins and minerals that are essential to the health of cats of all ages.
Azmira Mega Pet Daily Supplement for Dogs & Cats provides essential daily vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A's, B's, E's as well as selenium, chromium, zinc, and choline. It’s also rich in chlorophyll and EPA's (fatty acids). It’s recommended for senior pets, stressed, or ill-prone cats.
NHV Multi Essentials Supplement for Pets is a plant-based multi-vitamin herbal extract that helps stimulate metabolism, reduces fatigue, increases energy, and promotes healthy skin and coat of cats.
Milk thistle extract
A popular herb supplement, the extract can help in the elimination of toxins from the cat’s liver. It is often recommended for cats diagnosed with liver disease.
Azmira Milk Thistle Extract contains milk thistle extract, silymarin, citrus bioflavonoids, and milk thistle powder to help protect against environmental toxins and allergens. It also protects the liver from fatty deposits and circulating toxins.
Cat Supplements To Avoid
There are many supplements for cats that are considered unsafe, thus cat parents should be aware of what these are.
- Garlic -- causes anemia by destroying red blood cells (RBC)
- Onion -- it can cause destruction of red blood cells that leads to anemia
- Calcium -- excessive intake can be toxic
- Vitamin D -- toxicity can occur when there is too much intake
- Vitamin C -- excessive intake can cause urine to become overly acidic which is an important predisposing factor of the formation of urine crystals that can cause life-threatening blockage of the urinary tract.
Should I give my pet cat supplements?
If your cat is generally in the peak of health and is eating a complete and balanced premium-quality pet food, your pet doesn’t need anything else. Giving any extra supplement could possibly cause more harm than good.
But supplements may be recommended by your veterinarian if your cat is sick ore require any additional boost. There are certain health issues in which specific supplements are deemed necessary.
When it comes to supplements, more is not always better. You are not doing your cat anything good by giving him too many supplements and always consult your vet if you are unsure!
Japanese article: 猫にサプリは必要？サプリメントの成分と猫が食べていけないもの