Although with a quality diet our cat will not need anything else, there are times when we may need supplementation, always following the advice of the veterinarian.
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Does my cat need to supplement its diet?
A good diet adapted to the needs of the cat contains the ingredients that it requires without adding any type of supplement. In fact, its uncontrolled administration could even be counterproductive. But, in certain situations, turning to nutritional supplements can be beneficial. They will be cases like the following:
- Cats that are going through a period of significant stress .
- Situations that cause anorexia and you need to stimulate your appetite.
- Animals convalescing after illness or surgery.
- Diseases that present with digestive symptoms that have unbalanced the normal intestinal flora.
- In cases of osteoarthritis and similar problems.
- In dermatological disorders that affect the hair and skin.
The supplements that we can use will be vitamins, probiotics, chondroprotective, fatty acids, etc. The veterinarian will indicate the most appropriate dosage to take advantage of all its benefits. It should be borne in mind that these supplements are usually added to commercial foods.
Can I give my supplements to the cat?
We should never add food supplements that we use to our cat’s food. First, because the occasions in which the cat needs supplementation will be counted and, second, because the amount to be administered must be determined by the veterinarian.
These supplements are not safe. For example, an excess of vitamins or minerals cannot always be eliminated from the body, causing problems such as digestive disorders , difficulties in assimilating nutrients due to interference, etc.
Taurine in cats
Included among the amino acids is taurine, which every cat sitter is sure to have heard of. Its importance lies in the fact that the cat by itself is not able to produce all the amount it needs . Hence, it is important to ensure its adequate contribution to the diet.
We will see that feed or wet foods usually incorporate taurine in necessary doses. On the other hand, if we feed our cat a homemade diet, we may have to supplement with taurine . It helps with vision, heart function and the maintenance of healthy skin and hair.
Its deficit can cause blindness, heart problems, problems in reproduction and growth, or neurological and immunological disorders. Therefore it is important to ensure that the cat receives an adequate amount. In this case there is no dosage problem because the excess is eliminated with the urine.
Green mussel for cats
Scientifically known under the name of Perna canaliculus , this mollusk contains chondroitin sulfate and omega 3 fatty acids . Powdered mussel is added to commercial meals and has been shown to improve osteoarthritis in dogs. It is also used in cats.
It is a chondroprotector that helps to stop the wear and tear of the joint and, if the veterinarian advises it, it can be added to the diet as a supplement in some circumstances such as problems in the joints , bones, ligaments or tendons.
It is important to note that if our cat suffers from a disease such as osteoarthritis, supplementing with green mussel will not cure it. It is the veterinarian who must implement a treatment in which this product will be a complement to help a better quality of life.
Omega 3 and omega 6 How much do you need?
Both are essential fatty acids that have also been incorporated into the commercial diet of cats. They are beneficial for the functioning of the brain, heart and kidneys. They prevent inflammation, improve dermatological processes, including allergies, and joint.
They must be administered in an adequate proportion. If the amount of omega 6 exceeds that of omega 3, problems of arteriosclerosis or inflammation could appear . Therefore, if we supplement them, it should always be following the veterinarian’s instructions. They are found in fish oils and vegetable oils, where the cat absorbs them worse.
Probiotics for kittens
The function of these microorganisms is to maintain the health of the intestinal flora. This flora can be altered if there is a digestive disorder. Probiotics are to be found, above all, in dairy products that have undergone fermentation , such as cheese or yogurt.
If our cat accepts this type of food well and, remember, it needs supplementation, we could simply offer it from time to time. Otherwise, there are commercial probiotics that could be administered.
They should not be confused with prebiotics , which are fibers of plant origin that the intestine does not digest and that favor the growth of beneficial bacteria. In short, probiotics add “good” bacteria and prebiotics help multiply existing ones, but they can also favor “bad” bacteria.
Fiber is it beneficial?
In addition to regulating gastrointestinal transit, fiber also prevents digestive and cardiovascular diseases . Present mainly in vegetables, these are included in commercial cat food.
If the fiber intake is insufficient, it can be added as a supplement, for example if the cat suffers from recurrent problems of constipation or hard stools. In these cases, in addition to fiber, it is necessary to improve hydration and encourage the cat to physical activity.
Antioxidants, absolutely necessary
Antioxidants fight free radicals that the body produces due to aging. They are present, above all, in fruits and vegetables. There are numerous antioxidants with beneficial properties for the immune system, joints, or heart. Antioxidants are credited with benefits in preventing cancer.
Within this group of substances , minerals stand out . As an example we can cite copper, which performs various functions, such as its collaboration in the fixation of calcium and phosphorus. Zinc intervenes in the immune system and promotes cell renewal. For its part, selenium protects against cancer and maintains cardiac functionality.
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