Everyone wants their kitty to receive optimal nutrition, and vitamin/mineral supplementation is an easy way to provide it. With hundreds of vitamins and minerals necessary for a well-balanced diet, how can you choose the right ones for your cat? Thankfully, there are two main groups of vitamins for mature cats.
Who Needs Vitamins?
Like humans, any mature cat can benefit from vitamins in a variety of ways, but there are certain cats who will benefit most from vitamin supplementation. These cats include those who eat home-cooked food, older cats, ill kitties, finicky eaters, those with vitamin/mineral deficiencies and immunocompromised cats. Consult your veterinarian about nutritional supplements if your kitty falls into any of the above categories.
Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in your kitty’s body tissues. Instead, her urine constantly flushes them out of her system. This means there is little to no risk of toxicity with water-soluble vitamins. However, as with any medications or supplements, consult your veterinarian to determine the proper dose for your kitty.
Vitamin C: This potent supplement can ease joint pain, prevent hip dysplasia, cure feline leukemia and prevent urinary tract infections.
B Complex: This group of vitamins includes thiamin, niacin, folic acid, biotin and riboflavin. They provide a variety of benefits that include anemia prevention, glucose stabilization, muscle regeneration, a strong immune system as well healthy skin and coat maintenance.
Unlike water-soluble vitamins, your kitty doesn’t naturally flush out these vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored within her fat cells and build to toxic levels if not monitored closely. It’s essential to prevent over-supplementation of fat-soluble vitamins.
Vitamin A: This vitamin can help promote ocular health (especially night blindness prevention), skin and hair regeneration and muscular and skeletal growth.
Vitamin D: You may have heard some talk about the sun and vitamin D. Our sun is actually one of the main, natural sources of vitamin D, which can help your kitty with bone formation, muscle control and nerve function.
Vitamin E: This vitamin serves as a feline antioxidant. It's naturally found in vegetable oils and is best absorbed when taken with food.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K promotes blood clotting. It can be essential for kitties with certain types of bleeding disorders. It's also used to treat cats who have ingested dangerous anticoagulants.
Vitamins for Seniors
Your cat’s dietary needs will change as she ages. Studies have shown cats who receive vitamin E, beta-carotene, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and prebiotic diets live on average one year longer than those cats who don't receive dietary supplements. Your kitty may also benefit from increased fiber as well as antioxidants that slow down aging processes, such as vitamins A and C. As she ages, she may also eat less, which would necessitate the need for dietary supplements. Consult your veterinarian about vitamin supplements if your kitty has reached her golden years.
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.
Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. A veterinary assistant, she taught English in South Korea and holds a BA in English with cum laude honors from Portland State University.