Nutrients and Supplements for Cats
Being true carnivores, cats have a higher protein requirement than dogs. Animal-based protein is a necessary component in a cat’s diet as it supplies essential amino acids, such as vitamins, minerals, and water.
Many animal nutrition experts feel that providing a variety of foods for your cat helps to provide optimal nutrition.
Cats and Grass
Domestic cats may look for grass and other greens. Some experts believe it’s to supplement their diet or in order to clean their systems of hairballs or food that they should not have eaten. Cats may even eat plants out of boredom or curiosity. Owners should make sure that any plants accessible to their cats are nonpoisonous.
These Greens Are a Go!
Check out this list of safe plants before letting your cat have at your indoor garden.
Multivitamin supplements are available for cats whose owners wish to add to their diet. With a balanced diet of high-quality cat food, these additions may be unnecessary. If your cat is elderly or you feel she has special nutritional needs, be sure to read up on the benefits and possibly harmful side effects of each supplement. Mineral oil, for example, is often suggested to prevent constipation, but it can do more harm than good. Follow your vet’s instructions and stick to the recommended dosages.
Supplements that supply vitamins A and D should be monitored to ensure that your cat does not develop a health problem. Too much vitamin D can lead to elevations of calcium in the blood and may result in damage to the kidneys. Calcium and phosphorous mineral supplements should also be avoided. Some owners believe that feeding a cat raw liver has health benefits, but liver contains large amounts of vitamin A, which can actually reach toxic levels in cats when fed in excess.
Pregnant and nursing queens benefit from being fed a growth diet during the last three weeks of pregnancy and while nursing kittens. This type of diet provides extra nutrients and energy.
If you do decide to give your cat a dietary supplement, you might want to try and add the supplement to your cat’s food so that your cat can eat it without ever noticing a difference. Otherwise, your cat may be unhappy about having things forced down his throat.
Some owners feel the need to give kittens nutritional supplements. Check with your vet for advice. At most, a multivitamin formulated and dosed appropriately will ensure that your kitten’s nutritional needs are being met.