Nutritional Supplements for Cats

Nutritional supplements can be very useful for cats that lack vitamins, have a health condition or are fed incomplete diets. Nutrition supplements can also be harmful to your cat if he already received enough of the substances you are supplementing, or if they are not suitable for the development stage of the cat. Consequently you should never start supplementing his diet before consulting a specialist.

When to Introduce Nutritional Supplements

While healthy cats that are fed cat commercial food (which should be chosen so that is suitable for the specific needs of the cat) do not need any nutritional supplements, cats that are ageing or recovering from certain medical conditions might need supplements. There are several situations when you could consider using nutritional supplements:

· Gastrointestinal problems such as: acute enteritis, diarrhea, intestinal microbial imbalance

· Liquid feces in kittens

· Cat having dull hair or shedding hair,

· Dry skin

· Allergic dermatitis

· After  or together with antibiotic therapy

· Weak immune system

· To help treat osteoarthritis in older cats

· If the cat is fed a homemade diet or eats table scraps

· If you are changing your cat's diet

What Kind of Nutritional Supplements Does a Cat Need?

Depending on the cat's age and health there are different nutritional supplements to be considered. If your cat is sick, you should not forget that these supplements cannot replace medication.

Essential fatty acids, found in fish oil supplements, can be prescribed for cats with allergic dermatitis or having other skin and hair problems. Omega 3 fatty acids are also recommended for conditions such as cardiovascular disease, food allergies, kidney disease, arthritis or in autoimmune disorders. Regular cat food usually contains a minimum of fatty acids which can be enough for a healthy cat. Consult your veterinarian if you feel this quantity might not be enough for your pet.

Gastrointestinal disorders can be improved by administering digestive enzymes and supplements.

Probiotics contain microorganisms that rebalance intestinal flora can be administered if the cat has diarrhea or is on an antibiotics treatment.

In bowel disease or other digestive conditions veterinarians sometimes recommend digestive enzymes to ensure complete digestion.

Aging cats suffering from osteoarthritis might get glucosamine and chondroitin supplements.

If your cat has a poor appetite or has been eating less because of a health condition, vitamin and mineral supplements might be necessary. However, keep in mind that some vitamins, especially vitamins A and D, which are stored by the body, can be toxic if given in excess or combined with other supplements without veterinarian supervision.

So, even if you feel that your cat needs more vitamins, minerals or other supplements, you should get advice from a specialist before changing anything in your healthy cat's diet. If the cat is recovering from a health condition you could ask your veterinarian whether nutritional supplements would be a good addition or replacement for the prescribed treatment.