B Vitamins for Cats

Vitamins for cats are usually provided by well-balanced cat food formulas. Healthy cats that are well fed do not need vitamin supplements. Only cats recovering from a health condition, senior cats, cats that are anemic, dehydrated or have been losing water due to some other cause are normally prescribed vitamins. The B vitamins are essential for cell building and development, for normal kidney function and energy production. As vitamin B is water soluble, it can easily become scarce. If you notice any of the symptoms of B vitamin deficiency you have to call your veterinarian and get some supplements.

When to Administer B Vitamins for Cats

B vitamins are water-soluble, which means that they are not stored by the body, but rather eliminated through urine. Cats are more prone to B vitamin deficiency than dogs. If your cat has gone without food or water for several days, there is a high chance that he has also lost a lot of B vitamin. A cat that has been on a poor diet can lack B vitamins. The B vitamins may be lost during the processing of certain commercial food. Fish that has not been properly processed can interfere with B vitamin absorption.

The vitamins can be administered in the following situations also:

  • Cats suffering from kidney disease or kidney failure will be prescribed B12 vitamin injections.
  • Veterinarians often prescribe B12 vitamin injections to cats with anemia.
  • Bowel disorders affecting the stomach, intestines or pancreas can affect the absorption of vitamin B.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea cause dehydration and loss of vitamin.
  • Loss of appetite and general lethargy can also be signs that your cat lacks vitamin B. Due to this deficiency, the body is not producing the energy it needs.
  • Severe forms of vitamin B deficiency can lead to seizures and depression in cats

How Vitamin B Is Administered

The B vitamins are available in complex vitamin formulas for cats, but there is no specially formulated B vitamin for cats only. Veterinarians might prescribe B12 (cobalamine) or the B vitamin complex orally or through injections. As oral vitamin B is formulated for humans, it contains sugar and flavors which may not be appealing for a cat. The injections are more often recommended, because they are subcutaneous (given under the skin) and therefore almost pain-free.

If you need to give your cat B12 injections, you should have your veterinarian show you how to administer the shots. The best spot to give the injection is the loose skin in the neck area (the skin a mother grabs her kittens by). Grab the loose skin, insert the needle (you do not need to go deeper than 2 mm) and empty the syringe.

Risks of B Vitamins for Cats

Although vitamin B is not toxic, giving a high dose might cause anaphylactic shock. Animals that are known to be hypersensitive to cobalamine or cobalt should not be given B12.