Cats can benefit from a variety of holistic supplements prepared to remedy any number of health issues, or to ward them off in the first place. Familiarizing yourself with the options, benefits and risks is the first step in designing a holistic health care plan tailored specifically to your own cat.
Why Use Holistic Supplements?
Some cat parents use holistic supplements as an overall approach to achieve better health for their cats, just as many people do for themselves. Other times, supplements are used to target a specific health concern or correct a nutritional deficiency, and sometimes they are used when conventional veterinary medicine hasn't succeeded in addressing a specific feline health issue.
Examples of Holistic Supplements
Vitamin and mineral supplements help your kitty get the full nutritional spectrum. Other supplements may target specific issues such as inflammation, digestive ailments, kidney function and joint health. For example, omega-3 supplements fight inflammation and boost immunity. Probiotics balance digestive health. Several herbs are appropriate for cats to take, including milk thistle for liver detox, couchgrass for the urinary tract, and hawthorn to improve renal blood circulation.
Cats should eat a diet focusing mostly on protein. Whether you're feeding commercial or homemade food, make sure known, quality meat sources are at the helm of your cat's diet. Through great food, your cat will receive many needed nutrients. Holistic supplements will not replace a healthy diet.
Dangerous Supplements, and Talking to Your Vet
Some supplements may be dangerous, including anything with onion or garlic-these can lead to anemia in cats. Excess calcium or vitamins A, C or D are toxic too, so use recommended amounts. Some herbs, including willow bark, feverfew and birch, are also toxic.
Research supplements before using them especially if your cat has a medical problem. Always involve your vet in your decisions. Keep her apprised of your holistic health protocol in case any reactions pop up, and keep a journal of the supplements you're using.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.