Fri, Jan 13, 23
If you want only the best for your cat, you’ve probably spent a good amount of time looking into cat nutrition. It can be a complicated subject to research. With so many possible ways to support your kitty’s health, you might have a hard time separating fact from fiction, or just figuring out what your pet actually needs throughout their life stages.
While there are a lot of different cat foods out there, thankfully there are a few easy ways to tell which ones are right for you. By checking whether any given cat food meets AAFCO’s nutritional standards, you can be sure your furry friend is getting the proteins, vitamins, and minerals they require for wellness.
Still, your effort to support your cat’s health and wellness might lead you to wonder about cat supplements, such as vitamins.
After all, your cat needs lots of different vitamins for immune support, joint support, and urinary tract health to stay in tip-top shape. Vitamin A supports their vision and skeletal system, vitamin B12 keeps their metabolism functioning, and vitamin K helps their blood clot normally — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
No matter what the contents are, all the best cat foods contain plenty of vitamins and probiotics for your cat’s wellbeing.
But does your cat need dietary supplements added as a topper to their diet? Or do they receive all the nutrients and calories they need from a good bowl of cat food?
The answers will depend on your individual cat and any health problems they might have, as well as specific recommendations from your veterinarian. In this article, we’ll explore whether cat vitamins effectively support your cat’s health or not and whether they’re right for your feline.
What Vitamins Do Cats Need?
There are a lot of different cat vitamins available today. Whether you’re shopping online or in your local pet store, you’ve probably seen a few of these supplements advertised to help your kitty with any number of problems, including hairballs, heart health, or joint health.
Along with minerals and nutraceuticals, which are meant to act as natural remedies, vitamins are often sold as a natural way to supplement your cat’s diet.
In theory, this makes sense. We know that there are 13 different vitamins your cat requires in order to live a happy, healthy life. These vitamins are covered in the AAFCO nutrient profiles for every cat’s diet.
Since your cat can’t produce these vitamins themselves, they rely on their food to provide them with all 13, including:
- Vitamin A: Supports good vision and skin regeneration, healing minor cuts and scrapes
- Vitamin D: Supports strong, healthy bones and maintains calcium levels
- Vitamin E: An antioxidant that helps the immune system
- Vitamin K: Helps blood clotting and prevents anemia
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): Helps metabolize carbohydrates
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Supports your cat’s metabolism and healthy fur
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): Breaks down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
- Vitamin B4 (choline): An important neurotransmitter
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Converts fats and some amino acids into energy
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Supports the metabolism of amino acids and essential fatty acids
- Vitamin B7 (biotin): Helps your cat convert proteins and carbohydrates
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid): Synthesizes DNA and supports blood oxygen levels
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): Supports your cat’s digestive health and metabolism
The best cat foods will provide your cat with every vitamin they need, like our Optimeal® Turkey & Barley Recipe, which supports healthy digestion and a shiny coat.
Without all these vitamins, your cat might experience significant health problems. You want to make sure your kitty gets all the nutrients they need to support their health and wellness. However, supplemental vitamins might not be the solution.
Do Cat Vitamins Actually Help?
You might think it’s better to err on the safe side and give your cats multivitamins or other supplemental vitamins, just to make sure they’re getting enough to maintain their health.
In fact, you might be doing more harm than good. There are a few cases where cats might need vitamin supplements, but we’ll get to those later. For now, keep in mind that a healthy cat should get all the vitamins and nutrients they need from their food, including taurine which is essential to every cat’s diet.
That means choosing the right cat food is even more important. By picking a nutritionally balanced meal, like our Chicken & Turkey In Gravy recipe, you can make sure your cat is getting all 13 vitamins they need to support their health and wellness for many years to come.
As long as you’re feeding your cat the right kind of food, we recommend avoiding nutritional supplements unless your vet recommends otherwise. Many of them are untested in laboratory conditions, so you can’t know if they’re actually safe for your kitty.
They might not have any explicitly harmful ingredients, but it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. For example, while the right amount of vitamin D is crucial to your cat’s skeletal system, too much vitamin D is toxic. If you jump to give your cat a supplement they don’t actually need, the results can be harmful or even life-threatening.
It’s better to stay on the safe side and choose a healthy cat food like the Optimeal® Beef & Rabbit In Savory Sauce, a balanced meal that’s easy on the stomach and supports your cat’s wellbeing. You’ll be giving your cat plenty of vitamins, minerals, and proteins, without the worry of accidentally feeding them the wrong kind of vitamin and potentially endangering them.
However, there are some cases where vitamins are necessary for your cat.
When Should I Feed My Cat Vitamins?
While you shouldn’t randomly choose vitamins to give your cat and hope they help, there are several health issues that might require supplements to keep your cat bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
There are some medical conditions that prevent nutrients from being absorbed properly. If your cat has one of these issues, they won’t be able to extract all the vitamins from their food using their own digestive enzymes.
One example would be small intestinal diseases, which affect your cat’s digestion and prevents them from processing B12 and B9 vitamins. Your cat would need these vitamins to be provided through injections, rather than food or supplements.
Pregnant cats and nursing cats also have high nutritional needs, since they’re providing for their kittens as well as themselves. Deficiencies are especially common if your cat is younger than a year old when they become pregnant.
If you’re not sure whether your cat needs additional vitamins, the best resource is your veterinarian. They’ll know how to figure out if your kitty has a vitamin deficiency, as well as the best ways to deal with it. They can also direct you to safe, trusted sources of vitamins and other supplements.
The Right Vitamins for Your Cat
The good news is getting the right vitamins for your cat isn’t too hard. You don’t need to do any guesswork or try risky products; most cat foods will give your cat the nutrition they need, in quantities that support their health and wellness every step of the way.
If you’re ever concerned about your cat’s health, your veterinarian should be your first resource. After all, they know each kitty has unique needs and can choose the right supplement for your situation.
In most cases, you simply don’t need to provide your cat any extra vitamins. If you pick the right food, like any of our tasty and nutritionally complete premium cat food formulas, you can be sure you’re supporting your kitty in every way possible.
By giving them healthy food specifically designed for cats and packed with proteins and nutrients, you’ve already ensured your kitty will get all the vitamins they need.