Healthy and Not-So-Healthy Supplements for Your Cat : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Thursday Jan 22 | BY |
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Seriously, he’d prefer a bit of tuna.

Does your cat need nutritional supplements?

It’s a question that vets get asked more often these days. Our pets are part of our families, and we want them to be as healthy and happy as possible, so they’ll enjoy as long as life as they can with us.

Most vets will say that as long as you’re feeding your cat a cat food that’s formulated to provide a balance diet, and the cat is healthy, you don’t need supplements. Others, however, counter that food stored for a long time on the shelves can lose some of its nutritional value, and that many cats have special needs that require more nutrients.

The best option is to check with your veterinarian. Some supplements can actually be harmful for your cat, as they can upset the balance of nutrients the cat needs. Using too much of one nutrient, for example, can upset the absorption or others, resulting in nutrient deficiencies or even dangerous overdoses. Most supplements have not been tested in cats, so even if they’re safe in humans and dogs, cats have very different metabolisms, and are likely to react differently.

Some Potentially Helpful Supplements —- Check with Your Vet
With that in mind, here are a few supplements that may be helpful to your cat. If you do decide to try one, as always, make sure you’re buying from a reputable supplier. Veterinary formulated supplements are often preferred.

  1. Multivitamin: If you have taken in a stray cat, or just adopted one, you may have an animal that has not been treated well, and needs a boost of good nutrition. Cats who have gone through an illness or surgery may also benefit from a good multivitamin short-term.
  2. Digestive enzymes: According to Dr. Michael Dym, VMD, a good plant-based digestive enzyme added to each meal can help with digestion and help your cat absorb critical nutrients essential in preventing and treating diseases. Try NaturVet Enzymes or Prozyme.
  3. Omega 3 fatty acids: Like in people, omega-3s can help support brain function in cats, as well as help decrease body inflamamation, ease joint pain and arthritis, support a healthy coat, and lessen allergic reactions. They may also help prevent heart and kidney disease in the long term.
  4. Probiotics: These may be a good addition to your cat’s daily diet, as they can help prevent digestive upsets and strengthen the immune system. Particularly for aging cats, who have digestive systems less able to retain nutrients ingested from foods, probiotics may be helpful. Also, cats who have been sick and have taken antibiotics may bounce back faster with probiotic supplementation.

Some Potentially Helpful Herbal Supplements
Though again, you must be cautious when giving plant supplements to cats, there are a few that may be helpful in certain situations. Always start with low doses.

  1. Chamomile tea: For cats that are nervous or hate to travel, chamomile tea may help to calm them down. Allow a strong-brewed tea to cool and administer via an eyedropper—about 3 vials full. This is also considered a good remedy for an upset tummy. You can also pour it into a spray bottle and use it for red and raw skin irritations—it will soothe on contact.
  2. Ginger root extract: A few drops before leaving on a car trip may also help soothe an upset stomach.
  3. Bee pollen: ¼ teaspoon for every 15 pounds, given two to three times weekly, may help slow the aging process, restore hormone balance, and regulate the digestive tract, as well as calm symptoms of allergies. Start with only a little to determine your cat’s tolerance. May be best used short-term in times of stress, illness, or disease.
  4. Slippery elm: This herb is recommended for treating diarrhea and vomiting, or for pets with sensitive stomachs. Use ¼ teaspoon powder per 10 pounds of body weight.

Supplements to Avoid
The following supplements may actually cause damage to your cat’s health.

  1. Antioxidants: People think that antioxidants will provide similar protection against disease in cats as they do in humans, but tread carefully here. Cats need vitamin A, for instance, but too much can cause medical problems. In fact, overdoses of vitamin A are more common than deficiencies in cats. High doses of vitamin C can also cause problems in the urinary tract, mouth, and stomach.
  2. Garlic and/or onion: These can destroy red blood cells, leading to anemia.
  3. Calicum and vitamin D: It’s difficult to find the right balance with these. Too much can be toxic.
  4. Vitamin C: As mentioned above in “antioxidants,” too much vitamin C can cause overly acidic urine, which can lead to crystal formation and a life-threatening blockage.

Kev’s Thoughts:

Just a few personal thoughts on this…

We don’t give Jonny 5 any supplements. We rotate his food from organic canned wet food — no grains — to a full-on raw food mix from the butcher.

He loves chlorella tablets, so we give them to him from time to time.

I don’t think it’s wrong to give cats supplements — I’m sure some are helpful — we just prefer not to give him anything.

I do completely disagree with feeding a cat a vegan diet. They’re not vegans. They eat flesh, blood and bones. Dogs are able to be more toward vegetarian, but still require animal food.

Annmarie and I recently saw this video online and I’m seriously considering feeding Jonny 5 the diet that this man does. If you own a cat, you’ll love this…

Do you give your cat supplements? Which ones do you use? Please share your thoughts.

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Photo courtesy KisforCo via Flickr.com.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

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