A young cat in full growth, a pregnant cat, an aging feline … During its life, the cat may have specific needs. How to respond? Thanks to a balanced diet and sometimes food supplements. What is their composition? How to choose them? When to give them? Here’s everything you need to know about food supplements for cats.
All about food supplements for cats
What is a food supplement?
Whether intended for humans or animals, a food supplement is considered a foodstuff. Its role is to supplement the diet by providing nutrients, nutrients and vitamins. Food supplements can be given to cats on an ad hoc basis or on a permanent basis. In both cases, the choice and dosage depend on the age of the cat, its metabolism and its state of health. Taking food supplements improves the well-being of cats. Depending on the formulas chosen, they meet the specific needs of the cat, help his body to face external aggressions and boost the immune system.
Why give your cat food supplements?
A cat must have a balanced diet, in other words, a diet that meets its needs at each age. For this, you have the choice between:
- croquettes, or dry food,
- pâtés, also called wet food,
- “Home-made” meals.
In addition to these meals, it is possible to give your cat food supplements. There are different types whose role is to meet the needs of cats. Here are some examples.
- Urinary disorders
- Pest control
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- Allergies and intolerances
The different types of food supplements for cats
Catnip is a full-fledged food supplement. It helps reduce hairballs and other obstructions in the digestive tract. Catnip is particularly recommended for felines that live in apartments. You should know that an obstruction of the digestive tract can be very dangerous for cats because it requires surgery. It can even be fatal! Know that just like catnip, malt prevents the risk of clogging.
It may seem surprising, but the oil is an excellent dietary supplement for cats. Of course we are talking about good oils here, in other words vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil which is both rich in nutrients, essential fatty acids (omega), calcium, vitamins and trace elements. In case of digestive disorders, paraffin oil is recommended to treat constipation. Warning ! The oils should not be given to cats fed on processed foods. These already contain some.
Milk is a food supplement. But vigilance is required because we are not talking about traditional cow’s milk here. This is not suitable, it contains too much lactose and causes intolerance. Some milks are great for cats. This is the case with kefir. This fermented milk contains probiotics to ensure the proper functioning of the digestive system. There is also special cat milk. The latter contains very little lactose and a suitable amount of lactose. In both cases, a very limited dosage must be observed. Consumed in too large quantities, milk causes intestinal disorders and kidney stones.
The cat’s body cannot make all of the vitamins it needs. It may be beneficial to give him food supplements containing taurine and vitamins. These formulas contain everything the cat needs to strengthen its skeleton, to preserve vision and heart. Once again, these dietary supplements are not to be expected if your cat is fed on processed foods. The formulas marketed are indeed very complete.
The case of sweets
In supermarkets and pet stores, it is not uncommon to find cat treats. Depending on the formulas, recipes and brands, these foods can be considered as food supplements. Be careful, this is rarely the case. The treats are most often far too caloric and unbalanced for cats. Avoid especially cat treats that do not have the European standard.
Cat food: what you need to know
The cat: a carnivore
Remember, the cat is a carnivore, and even more! It is a strict carnivore. In other words, in the natural state the cat eats only small preys, namely small mammals, rodents and birds. Of course, it is possible to feed him some vegetables but also some cereals. Once weaned, the cat can start consuming animal protein. It is not necessary to give him milk.
A beneficial fast
It is also to know that a cat can fast a few days. This period is even excellent for him! It helps to put the digestive system at rest, to help it regain its natural hunting instinct and sometimes to make it less difficult or less capricious.
Choosing the right croquettes
If you have chosen to give your cat dry food, you must choose the formulas well. Not all kibbles are created equal. It is recommended, for the health of the cat, to avoid entry-level kibbles made mainly from cereals and too high in calories. To know if kibble is good, just look at the food list. Be aware of the presence of animal proteins. Also note that croquettes prepared at low temperature have better nutritional qualities.
Hydration of the cat
A cat drinks little or not at all. If you notice that your cat is not drinking enough, you should review her diet. For example, it is preferable to make homemade meals or to give it wet food such as mousses, mince or pâtés. Even if your feline drinks little, you should always provide him with fresh water.
Reminder: dangerous foods for cats
Cats can’t eat everything. Besides, some foods are dangerous for them. Here is a non-exhaustive list.
- Chocolate is dangerous for cats and dogs alike. The danger comes from theobromine present in too large a quantity.
- Coffee is toxic to cats because it is too stimulating.
- Dairy products contain too much lactose.
- Preserves that are not intended for animals are harmful because they are too rich because they are too rich in salt.
- Onions, garlic and eggs are also foods that should not be given to cats.
If your cat is not in good shape, is losing weight, or is going through a particular period in his life, it is possible to help him by giving him food supplements. Do not hesitate to seek advice from the veterinarian who follows your animal. He can advise you on the type of supplements to give to ensure the well-being of your cat.