Cat Nutrition: What about Vitamins?

The winter is coming, viruses are threatening to chain you to bed and you often feel that popping a vitamin or two to prevent getting a cold is just what you need. Instinctively you want to help your cat stay healthy too, so you might reach for a vitamin for her, as well. Don’t do it! Unlike humans, cats don’t need as much vitamin as humans do. In fact, it might cause more harm than good.

You have surely come across many web pages suggesting different types of multivitamins for your pet, claiming them to be necessary for a cat’s proper development. Truth is, everybody can set up a web site and write whatever they want, hence give misleading information on topics you are browsing. Whenever you are in doubt what to give to your pet, consult with the veterinarian. General opinion on cat supplements and vitamins is that they should be a mere extension of cat’s diet, that is that supplements should be given to a cat only in case of sickness. As supplements are meant to correct deficiencies, it is advisable to avoid them unless they are needed as a cure. In other circumstances (read: when cat is healthy and upbeat), cat food already contains all the necessary vitamins your pet needs.

Never give vitamins to your cat without consulting a vet, as they haven’t been proven and tested in veterinary medicine.

What may happen to your cat is that she might develop a condition of having trouble with absorbing a particular nutrient. Intestinal disease is likely to cause the inability to absorb cobalamine as well as B vitamins folate. If this occurs, your cat will most probably need injections as oral intake of these supplements won’t be absorbed. In case your cat gets pregnant before age 10-12 months, she may require supplementation since she could develop nutritional deficiencies. Again, don’t give any supplements without consulting the vet.

There are several types of cat supplements that could be taken into consideration.
The essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 are not only good for keeping a cat’s coat shiny but for boosting a cat’s heart health and fighting high levels of cholesterol as well. These fatty acids protect a cat’s brain, eyes, immune system, joints and liver. Further, probiotics will improve digestive health as they contain microorganism that fight “bad” bacteria in the large intestine. Apart from probiotics and fatty acids, there are general vitamins and minerals that are already one of basic ingredients of any cat food. Be careful what supplements and foods you give your cat as there are some that could be really harmful and cause a lot of damage, such as:

1)      Onions: leads to anemia as it destroys blood cells

2)      Calcium: if given in large amounts, it can be toxic

3)      Garlic: leads to anemia as it destroys blood cells

4)      Vitamin C: if given in large amounts , can cause acidic urine which “can lead to crystal formation and a life threatening blockage”

5)      Milk/dairy products: most adult cats are lactose intolerant and consumption of dairy products can upset their digestive system with diarrhea

6)      Chocolate and sweets: Containing a toxic agent theobromine, chocolate can cause tremors, seizures, abnormal heart rhythm and eventually death

7)      Raw meat/fish: Consumption of these foods can cause serious neurological problems and result in a coma and

8)      Liver: Large portions of liver its consumption on regular basis can affect a cat’s bones, causing osteoporosis and bone deformities. The worst scenario is that it can cause death.

If you have ever come across a term nutraceuticals and you have wondered what it was, here’s a little explanation: nutraceuticals are natural remedies and are referred to as “more than feed additives but less than pharmaceuticals.”  Supporters of nutraceuticals claim that these herbs only supplement the cat’s natural diet. But, as they are used to prevent a disease, they fall into the category of drugs, not supplements.

We are sure that you want the best for your cat.  Just, be aware of possible consequences and everything will be fine. Also, don’t forget to consult your vet for any changes you are planning to implement in your cat’s nutrition.

About The Author:

Marta De Angelis, italian journalist, article writer, pets lover and article editor of online pet shop Stefmar, which includes many web pages suggesting different types of multivitamins for your pet.

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