Thursday, September 22, 2011

10 Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Cats

Cat owners love their snuggly pets and want to make sure they have proper nutrition to keep them healthy. Even though cats have different nutritional needs than humans, they do require vitamins and minerals to maintain good health. Some felines develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies, but even healthy cats may need supplements. Here are 10 essential nutrients your cat may need.

  1. Niacin – Otherwise known as vitamin B3, niacin is a water soluble vitamin that gets depleted in your cat’s urine. Your cat needs this vitamin for enzyme functions that prevent weight loss and elevated body temperature.
  2. Riboflavin – Another water soluble vitamin, riboflavin or B2 is also important to enzyme functions. A deficiency in riboflavin can cause cataracts or a fatty liver in your cat.
  3. Thiamin – This vitamin also known as B1 is important for your cat’s energy and carbohydrate metabolism. A lack of thiamin can cause seizures or heart rate disorders in felines.
  4. Vitamin A – Fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A are stored in your cat’s body fat and need to be monitored closely to prevent overdose. Felines are unable to produce vitamin A from beta carotene, so this is often recommended for a supplement to prevent skin and coat problems or night blindness.
  5. Vitamin D – Your cat needs vitamin D for strong bones, muscles, blood clotting and the nervous system. A lack of vitamin D can cause rickets and progressive paralysis.
  6. Vitamin B6 – Cats need vitamin B6 to maintain a healthy nervous system, red blood cell function and immune system. A severe deficiency could result in stunted growth, seizures or kidney lesions.
  7. Iron – Even though cats don’t require a large amount of minerals, an iron deficiency can result in anemia. This can be caused by illness or parasites and make your cat very weak.
  8. Calcium – One of the most important minerals for cats is calcium, especially if she’s a nursing mother. Cat’s naturally love milk which is a great source of calcium.
  9. Magnesium – Important to a cat’s immune system, magnesium is another mineral essential for felines. However, too much calcium and magnesium can cause urinary tract problems in male cats.
  10. Potassium – Along with sodium and chloride, potassium is important to prevent dehydration in cats. If your cat has been ill and vomiting, it may need some extra potassium.

Check your cat’s food to make sure there is an adequate amount of these essential vitamins and minerals that can be destroyed during the food processing. Your cat may need supplements to correct a deficiency, but probably will not be very enthusiastic about taking pills. If dissolving them in water or hiding them in food doesn’t work, you may want to try vitamins and minerals in liquid form. Be sure to consult your veterinarian about your cat’s specific nutritional needs.

Taken From Vitamins and Minerals

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