Should I Give My Senior Cat Dietary Supplements?

Should I Give My Senior Cat Dietary Supplements?

In her senior years, it’s more important than ever that your cat is provided with a high quality, tasty diet and a balance of key nutrients.  If you are feeding your cat 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 elderly 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.

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.

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.

senior cat looking up waiting for his food

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.

Skin & Coat Supplements

If your senior cat suffers from skin and coat problems such as excessive itching, scratching, red spots or blemishes, a supplementary diet of omega-3 and 6 can relieve irritations. Supplements such as BEAPHAR Salmon Oil is naturally rich in Omega 3 and 6 and is ideal for supporting cats who have dry, itchy or flaky skin, promoting a thick lustrous coat.

If your cat is suffering from skin issues, I suggest you visit your vet anyway as not all skin problems are diet-related.

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