While most owners provide their cats nutritious meals, there's value to adding vitamin supplements to its diet. Vitamin supplements generally are used for cats suffering from health conditions. However, use caution when providing these supplements, as they're not strictly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
General Health Vitamins and Minerals
A variety of single and multivitamin supplements exist on the market today for cats. Like those made for humans, these supplements provide a range of dietary boosters, including everything from Vitamin A to folic acid to zinc. You can purchase most of these multivitamins at pet stores. However, make sure to check with your veterinarian before giving your cat a dietary supplement. If they have a healthy diet, vitamins likely are not needed.
Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids are used as supplements for their ability to prevent over shedding in cats and keep their coats shiny. These vitamins also can help to boost a cat's immune system by protecting its brain, liver, eyes and joints. The vitamins also help to fight high cholesterol as the wrong cat foods sometimes can contain more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. These vitamins also can be found at your local pet store.
Probiotics are good bacteria that help improve your cat's digestive health. These supplements contain some of the same bacteria found in yogurts, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and other Lactobacillus species. Probiotics are good for cats suffering from excessive vomiting, hairballs, constipation and diarrhea. These supplements can be given to cats while they're taking antibiotics and up to two weeks afterward. Probiotics also can be used to treat allergies in cats and inflammatory bowel disease.
Nutraceuticals: An Herbal Supplement
Nutraceuticals are considered natural remedies. Many of these remedies are already in your cat's healthy diet. These supplements can be found in any local pet store and include items, such as glucosamine, chondroitin and milk thistle. Glucosamine and chondroitin can help your elderly feline friend with joint mobility, while milk thistle helps remove toxins from a cat's liver. Dozens of these products are on the market today, so check with your veterinarian if you're not sure what product is right for your cat.
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.
Crystal Owens is the managing editor at a Northern Virginia newspaper with more than 10 years experience in journalism. She has worked as a reporter in Florida, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Georgia, covering various topics from crime to politics to health care. She studied communications at the University of North Florida.