Should I Give My Cat Dietary Supplements?

Should I Give My Cat Dietary Supplements?

A balanced and nutritious diet is all part of giving your cat a happy and healthy lifestyle. If you are feeding your cat high quality food, and they are young and healthy, supplements probably aren’t needed in their diet, but for older cats, or ones with health challenges, supplements may contribute to better health and improved well-being.

In this blog post, I will explain what a food supplement is, their benefits, and whether they are suitable for your feline friend.

Dr Carol Doyle Veterinarian

Carol Doyle, BSc VN DVM

Carol DoyIe is a small pet veterinarian in a practice in Ashbourne, Co. Meath and is the human companion to her cats, Nala and Donal, two horses - Indie and Bella, and her dog Phoebe.

As a guest blogger and advisor, Carol shares her professional advice with pet owners, answering many of the questions that she gets asked regularly in-clinic.

What are the nutritional needs of my cat?

Cats are carnivores which means that the only eat meat; so, it is important that their diet includes a high content of protein. Cats are also lactose intolerant so they should always have access to fresh, clean water, but never milk.

Kidney problems are prevalent in cats, particularly as they enter their senior years. A prescription-renal diet may be needed for your older cat.

A high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet is needed to help prevent diabetes in cats, a common illness which can be exasperated by obesity

What are Food Supplements?

A food supplement is used in conjunction with your cat’s regular meals to improve their nutritive balance, usually with a particular function or purpose such as helping mobility issues or digestive problems. If your cat has many health problems as they get older, I advise you to contact a veterinarian to plan a proper diet. Older pets with specific conditions, like diabetes, kidney failure, or liver disease will benefit from special veterinary diets to assist in the treatment of their conditions.

Once your vet has assessed your cat, they may suggest certain dietary supplements.

cat eating from a food bowl

Common Supplements for Cats

Muscle & Joint Supplements

Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are one of the best treatments for early arthritis in cats. Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance that helps keep joints healthy and in good condition. As our cats age, the cartilage tends to wear thin because their bodies produce less glucosamine than they did when they were younger. This can lead to joint pain and stiffness, particularly in cold weather. The focus on joint health is what makes glucosamine supplements an ideal option for your ageing kitty.

Probiotic Supplements

Probiotics are healthy, “good” bacteria that help promote digestive health. They have numerous benefits, including preventing digestive issues and strengthening the immune system. I recommend consulting with your vet on the best probiotic supplements for your cat.

tabby cat looking up at camera

Essential Fatty Acids Supplements

Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids help maintain your cat’s shiny coat and prevent shedding. They also boost a cat’s immune system, liver, eyes, brain, and joints. And, just like in humans, omega-3 fatty acids promote a healthy heart and combat high cholesterol.

Should My Cat Take a Supplement?

I recommend you speak with your vet before making any changes to your cat’s diet. Research the supplements available and only introduce them into your cat’s diet if they are deemed necessary. Remember, not every cat will need a supplement and an overload of different supplements can do more harm than good.

What is the difference between Over The Counter and Prescription Supplements?

Over the counter (OTC) are products purchased and administered without a prescription. It is essential to conduct research and gather information and advice from your vet about the products, their contents, and conditions they can help with before feeding them to your cat. OTC medications are safe in both cats and dogs when they are used correctly, at a safe dose, and for an appropriate length of time.

Prescription medication cannot be dispensed without the authorization of a veterinarian. The instructions how long to take the medication for and how much to give your cat are usually displayed on the side of the medicine. Once your prescription runs out, your vet will be able to provide you with a refill if required.

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