Some people take vitamins to supplement nutritional deficiencies. Similarly, cats obtain certain nutrients from the foods they eat. Omega-6 is an essential fatty acid that feline bodies need but don’t naturally produce on their own. Omega-6 oils found in food and supplements can help improve your cat’s health.
Omega-6, comprised of linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA), is in a class of dietary fats deemed essential for optimal health in people and animals. Feline health depends largely on diets that are rich in high quality fat sources like omega 6 fatty acids. Omega-6 is an essential fatty acid that directly impacts metabolic activities such as neurological development, immune competence, energy generation and fat metabolism.
Benefits of Omega-6
Omega-6 is one of the essential fatty acids that your cat’s body needs in order to stay healthy. The major benefits of omega-6 oils for your cat include improved health in your cat’s skin, coat and joints. If your cat is prone to skin infections that lead to hot spots, supplementing her diet with both omega-3 and omega-6 oils can help reduce outbreaks and strengthen her immune system health.
Best Sources of Omega-6 Oils
Not all omega-6 fatty acids are created equally. While some sources of omega-6 fatty acids are considered “bad” because they can cause inflammation, there are other sources of omega-6 that are highly beneficial and promote healthy skin and coat in cats. The best sources of omega-6 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties include sunflower oil, safflower oil and soybean oil. Omega-6 fatty acids are also included in most commercial cat food products.
Balancing Fatty Acid Ratios
For optimal health benefits, a particular balance between the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is required. Your cat may suffer from a variety of health problems if she obtains omega-6 fatty acids from her food but is deficient in omega-3. Omega-6 is a sort of double-edged sword in this regard because receiving too little or too much of it can negatively impact your cat’s health. Research results indicate that the ideal ratios for a healthy pet range from 5:1 to 10:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Ask your vet for advice on which ratio would be most beneficial for your cat’s unique needs.
Given in the right proportion to omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids could potentially eliminate the need for certain drugs like anti-allergy or anti-inflammatory medications.
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.
Kristina Barroso is a full-time teacher who has been freelance writing since 1991. She published her first book, a break-up survival guide, in 2007 and specializes in a variety of topics including, but not limited to, relationships and issues in education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University.