Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Vitamins for Pets and other Vitamin topics.
Cats aren't omnivores like dogs and humans. They're carnivores. As such, housecats need a diet nutritionally similar to a wild cat, one based on meat. The vitamins found in animal protein are essential for the cat diet.
Vitamins work as catalysts for enzyme reactions in the feline physiology. Since most vitamins can't be produced within a cat's body, they must be ingested.
Cats need to take in Vitamins A, D, E and K from their diet. Though Vitamin A is present in some vegetables in the form of beta-carotene, cats cannot metabolize it in this form. They need the preformed Vitamin A found only in animal protein. Cats also require B vitamins, thiamin and niacin in their diet.
Luckily, the vitamins cats need are usually found in commercially produced cat food. Look for foods labeled "complete" or "balanced" in nutrition. By law pet food manufacturers may only put that label on the package if animals can get all their nutrition from the food alone.
Unless your cat has been diagnosed with a vitamin deficiency, it is generally not necessary to supplement her diet. For instance, small intestinal diseases can prevent the cat from absorbing the B vitamins folate and cobalamine. If that's the case, your veterinarian will prescribe the appropriate supplement. Likewise, young feline mothers may develop nutritional deficiencies. Again, a vet provides the best guidance.
Cat supplements do exist on the market. General vitamins are equivalent to the multi-vitamins many people take. However, they do not provide any more nutrition than a cat food labeled "complete" or "balanced." In fact, since vitamins such as A,D,E and K are fat soluble, meaning they're stored in an animal's fat, over-supplementing a cat's diet can lead to hypervitaminosis. This excess of vitamins can actually harm your cat's health.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|