You are shopping for your cat. Inside your cart, you already have some boxes of cat food, a new scratch board, and a bottle of shampoo. Your checklist is clear and you decide to pay them, but on the way to the cashier you notice a whole row of supplement and vitamin – specifically made for cat to ensure their health and happiness.
You feel like you miss something. Do you need to start giving your cat these supplements and vitamin? Does cat even need those? Your Fluffy seems fine so far without them. But what if he actually needs them and you just don’t know?
Well, then it’s time for you to learn more about supplements and vitamin for cat. In this article, you will find information about the different types of supplements and their use, whether your cat needs them or not, and whether they are safe to consume or not.
Types of supplements and vitamin
There are countless supplements products for cat out there – with various brand names, main ingredients, and the effect they claim. You may read digestive enzyme in one of the package and wonder what it is and what will it do to your cat. Below are some of the most common supplements and vitamin you can find in the market.
1. Supplements with General Mineral and Vitamin
This supplement is loaded with vitamin and minerals that your cat will need. However, most of premium cat food usually already added these minerals and vitamin into their product. Meanwhile, specific vitamin (like Vitamin A, Vitamin B, and so on) should be given only if you have any reason to feel concerned that your cat may suffer from vitamin deficiency. Vitamin deficiency causes cats to have poor appetite, lethargic, and may even get ill. However, some vitamin can be toxic if consumed too much.
2. Supplements with Essential Fatty Acid (EFA)
This is the most common supplements for cats. EFA, particularly omega-3 fatty acid and omega-6 fatty acid help with a great variety of cat physical problems, from cardiovascular disease, food allergies, dermatitis, kidney disease, arthritis and autoimmune disorders to strengthen the cat’s coating and minimize hair shredding.
3. Supplements for Digestive Problem
Digestive supplements help your cat gets over her digestive problem such as weight loss, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. It is classified into two types of supplements: digestive enzyme and probiotic.
Digestive enzyme, just like its name, is an enzyme that helps with the digestion process inside your cat’s stomach. They are usually marketed to help eliminate bowel disease, digestive irregularities, chronic diarrhea, and other digestive problems. Probiotic is a lot like digestive enzyme, except instead of enzyme, it is made from living microorganism. The good microorganism the digestion process overall and is generally recommended to stop diarrhea.
4. Supplement for Joint Problems
This supplement is aimed for aging cat with problems in their bones and joints – such as osteoarthritis. Left on their own, this disease may cripple the cat. Supplements for joint problems are usually fall into cathegory of nutraceuticals – natural ingredients which is not quite like drugs. Glucosamine and Chondroitin are the most commonly recommended nutraceuticals by veterinarian since they are known to have little to no side effects.
Does My Cat Need It?
It depends on the cat’s diet and physical condition.
The purpose of giving supplements is to make sure your cat receives all the nutrients she needs to be healthy. So, if she already has everything she needs then it’s safe to say she doesn’t need extra nutrient. You don’t want to overdose her, even with something good.
The next question is how do you know if your cat has enough nutrients or not? The most accurate answer is to bring her to her vet and ask for diagnosis whether she is malnourished or not. The less accurate, but close enough and with far less hassle, is to check your cat’s diet.
If her diet is mainly from premium cat food, chances are she has enough nutrients. Premium cat food is packed with nutrients and vitamin that your cat needs – hence the premium title and the slightly expensive price. However, if you give your cat homemade diet or if she’s eating scraps from your table food, she might not get every nutrient she needs.
Lack of necessary nutrients may come from diet, but can also come from physical condition. If your cat catch some illness – for example diarrhea or allergy – she may needs certain nutrients more than usual. Even if her diet is good enough, when she is sick, the diet alone may not be enough. Consult your vet to get the illness diagnosed properly as well to get recommendation on the kind of supplement she will need.
Is Supplement and Vitamin Safe?
In principle, supplement and vitamin are safe for your cat’s consumption. After all, they are nutrients that the cat needs in the first place. In practice, unfortunately, the regulation regarding cat supplement and vitamin is loose at best. There is a glaring need for tightening in the regulation to ensure that all of the supplements and vitamin in the market is actually safe. Currently, there are some supplements for cat that contains garlic even if garlic has been proven to cause hemolytic anemia.
Not all of supplements and vitamin are like this, of course, but we also don’t know how much of those products in the supermarket aisle is safe and not. To minimize the probability of buying the wrong supplements, be a smart buyer. Do a thorough research about a particular brand and compare it with several other products. If it sounds fishy in any way, don’t purchase it. Better safe than sorry. If you need the supplements, however, for safer option you can ask your vet and get some recommended brand.
Another thing to consider is the dosage. Even if the product is as safe as your homemade food, if you overdose your cat, it will lead to complication. Vitamin D, for example, can be toxic if the cat is overdozed with it while overdozing on vitamin C can increase the acidity in cat’s urine and causing it to crystallize inside the body and blocking the way out.
Overall, supplements and vitamin are good for cat as long as they fulfill these conditions:
- The cat needs it due to her diet or physical condition.
- The supplements and vitamin are administered at the recommended dosage
- The supplement and vitamin doesn’t contain dangerous ingredients.
So, do you think your cat needs the supplement or not?