Fish oil is a very important supplement that every cat owner should consider adding to their companion’s diet. Conventional dry kibble and canned food doesn’t always supply our pets with the essential nutrients that they need, usually containing mysterious ingredients, additives and unnecessary fillers. Veterinarians will recommend high quality foods, and some people will go to the extent of actually feeding their cats a raw diet, according to their carnivorous nature.
Now, despite being carnivores, feeding our cats a raw diet isn’t the prime option for all pet owners, and even cats. Some pets have different dietary needs and sensitivities which is something every pet owner needs to consider carefully while planning out their cat’s diet and supplement program.
Fish oil is considered one of the most beneficial oils to both kittens and adult cats. Not only does it benefit their overall health, but it also improves the skin and coat, immune system, vision, cognition, etc. These benefits are mainly due to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are considered Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) for humans, as well as cats, because they cannot be made in the body. They must be obtained through diet and supplementation. They are mainly found in cold-water fish and represent a very necessary role for maintaining optimal health.
- 1 Top Rated Fish Oils for Cats!
- 2 Benefits of Using Fish Oil on Your Cat.
- 3 Dangers/Risks of Using Fish Oil on Your Cat.
- 4 How to Use Fish Oil for Your Cat.
- 5 Selecting a Quality Fish Oil Supplement
- 6 FAQ
- 7 Conclusion
Top Rated Fish Oils for Cats!
Benefits of Using Fish Oil on Your Cat.
Every concerned pet owner has the right to wonder, is fish oil good for cats? If you think about it, cat’s ancestors mainly fed off of fresh, raw meat and even fish. Conventional, store bought food is very lacking in nutrients nowadays, and trying to buy the best quality food can be very costly at times. This leads pet owners to consider supplementation programs.
When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, it’s important to know that these can only be found through proper diet and supplementation, and are very necessary structural components of cell membranes for your cat. These fatty acids help cats maintain healthy functioning cells, specifically EPA and DHA.
These omega-3 fatty acids also have the following benefits for your cat:
- Improves joint health.
- Aids growth and reproduction.
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Promotes skin and coat health.
- Boosts metabolism, promoting more fat burn.
- Improves heart health and endurance.
- Aids brain development of kittens.
- Supports fetus growth and development.
- Reduces inflammation.
- Aids digestion and prevents constipation.
- Slows down aging.
- Reduced stiff joints produced by arthritis.
- Keeps brain sharp, improving concentration.
- Improves mood.
So, is fish oil good for cats?
Definitely! Fish oil is actually very necessary to your cat’s diet. On a cellular level, it’s an important part of development and overall health. Given this long list of benefits, you shouldn’t have a doubt as to whether add fish oil to your cat’s diet.
The website Judy’s Health Café states “veterinarians are discovering that fatty acids can be valuable for a variety of conditions. Fish oil supplementation may be helpful for pets with inflammatory diseases including allergies, arthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, and cancers. Pets with any type of inflammatory disease may benefit from fish oil supplementation.”
Dangers/Risks of Using Fish Oil on Your Cat.
Despite all the health benefits of using fish oil as a supplement for your cat, it’s only normal as a pet owner to wonder if there are any side effects of if it’s safe for feline consumption. We can tell you why fish oil is safe for your cat, but as a pet owner, you should also know that every cat is different and will respond differently to fish oil. While there are no serious side effects from fish oil supplementation, some cats will present certain reactions, for example:
- Weight gain: this can be managed with a healthy and balanced diet and regular exercise
- Bad breath (it is fish oil); this can be resolved by regularly cleaning their teeth
- Stomach ache
- Loose stool and diarrhea
- Platelet function interference, diminished ability to form blood clots. Cause by over-supplementation
Not all cats will have this side effects, if any. The worst are mostly associated with pets that have gastrointestinal sensitivities, over-supplementation, and the use of low quality oils. Anyways, while administering the first doses of fish oil, be vigilant of any side effects to make sure your cat is compatible with the supplement.
So, is fish oil safe for cats?
We say, absolutely! Before you try any supplementation of fish oil, always check with your veterinarian beforehand. Also make sure you are feeding your cat the proper dose of fish oil daily to actually see the benefits and not expose your pet to over-supplementation. Regardless of your cat’s age, it will benefit greatly from fish oil, keeping its cognitive functions sharp throughout its life.
Your cat will start showing signs of the benefits of fish oil around a month after starting its use. If you’re using it to treat certain inflammatory conditions, then you should expect results within two weeks.
How to Use Fish Oil for Your Cat.
To properly benefit from the use of fish oil, you need to know exactly how much your cat needs. Keep in mind that I am not a veterinarian and the best way determine how much fish oil your cat needs, you should consult with your veterinarian first. Sometimes, standard dosages will keep your cat’s hair shiny but probably aren’t enough to target a specific disease.
The magazine Animal Wellness provides the following guidelines:
“Look at the product label, whether it be a liquid or capsule. Forget how much fish oil is in each daily dose (the label will define the daily dose as one capsule, one teaspoon, etc., depending on the product). What you’re really looking for is how much EPA and DHA is in each dose. Add together the amount of EPA and DHA from the recommended daily dose to get the total dose of active Omega-3s.
For most cats, I recommend 500mg of EPA+DHA twice daily. For example, if one capsule contains 500mg of EPA+DHA, your cat would get one capsule twice daily. If one capsule contains 100mg of EPA+DHA, your cat would get five capsules twice daily. This is why it’s a good idea to choose the most concentrated product you can find so you don’t have to give your cat too many capsules with each meal.”
Other sources say that 20mg of EPA and 12mg of DHA combined, per pound of animal is recommended. For kittens, you should always go with the most minimum dose. A veterinarian must always be consulted from proper guidance.
Selecting a Quality Fish Oil Supplement
When supplementing your cat with any kind of oil, you should always seek quality. Purity, fish oil structure, and freshness will dictate the quality of a product.
Nordic Naturals provides the following comprehensive guidelines for selecting the best product for your cat:
“Select a company whose fish oil quality (purity and freshness levels) surpasses the stringent quality standards set forth by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, European Pharmacopoeia, and World Health Organization.
Fish oil should be distilled for purity, without use of chemicals or excessive heat, to effectively remove heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins, and furans while preserving the natural constituents of the oil to the highest degree. In addition, fish oil should be processed in an oxygen-free environment, which maintains oil freshness and integrity. Freshness in fish oils directly correlates to the taste and utilization of the fish oil by the body.
Request third-party laboratory test results on the fish oil, from the manufacturer, to verify fish oil purity and freshness levels.
In nature, fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that occur in the triglyceride form. However, some fish oil products on the market contain omega-3 fatty acids that are produced in the ethyl ester form. Confirm the fish oil (omega-3 fatty acid) is in the triglyceride form. The triglyceride form is a more stable form, which ensures optimal freshness and utilization of the oil by the body, delivering maximum benefits for your pet companion.
Protect our oceans by using fish oil obtained only from sustainably sourced wild fish.”
- Why should I feed my cat fish oil?
Fish oil should be a must for your cat’s diet. It has many beneficial health properties, from keeping its skin and fur soft, to maintaining and improving cognitive functions and a solid immune system. Conventional, store bought foods will most likely not contain the necessary amount of Omega-3 fatty acids that your cat needs. These fatty acids also tend to oxidize in these foods. This is why supplementing with high quality fish oil is a great idea if you’re not feeding your cat a raw, fresh fish-based diet.
- Are there any side effects to feeding my cat fish oil?
The side effect related to the supplementation of fish oil are mostly attributed to improper dosage, over-supplementation, or low quality oil. Some cats with certain gastrointestinal sensitivity or with a history of pancreatitis, may also be susceptible to the use of fish oil. Be sure to always consult with your veterinarian first before you begin adding fish oil to your cat’s diet.
- Can give my kitten fish oil?
Kittens will greatly benefit from ingesting fish oil, as it helps with their brain development and overall health. Make sure you follow the proper dosage guidelines and give your kitten the smallest dose possible. Always consult your vet first!
- Are fish oil supplements better than providing my cat real meat or fish?
To best answer this question, one must first consider the availability of both alternatives. If you were to feed your cat fresh fish, it needs to be cold-water, marine fish, preferably salmon or tuna. Finding top quality, organic, and fresh fish may be a challenge to many pet owners, both in regards to cost and availability. Some canned varieties can suffice but not always ensure the best quality and availability of Omega-3s. There is also concern about the levels of mercury in the fish.
So taking all of this into consideration, one might opt for finding a product, whether in liquid or capsule form, to supplement your cat’s diet with. If you choose to supplement with fish oil, make sure you find the highest quality to guarantee purity.
- How do I use fish oil for my cat?
Fish oil must only be used orally, either mixing it with their food or, if your pet can manage, feeding it directly. Be sure to keep your fish oil stored in a dark place or even in the refrigerator to prevent it from oxidizing. Also, do not let the food mixed with the oil stay out for too long as the fish oil will oxidize as well and make your cat sick or simply not provide the beneficial properties due to oxidation.
- Will fish oil help my cat’s allergies?
One of the main uses of fish oil for pets is for its anti-inflammatory properties that are associated with allergies. You can expect your cat’s skin allergies to clear up in about two weeks after using fish oil regularly. Make sure to always consult with your veterinarian first before adding fish oil to your companion’s diet.
Fish oil is a supplement that should be considered by each and every cat owner. The Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil are an important part of overall feline health. It’s also a great supplement for treating sick cats and for preventing future diseases such as cancer. Fish oil can also protects your cat against any kind of inflammation. The fatty acids EPA and DHA are very important for the health of cat’s skin, coat and organ functions.
You may choose to supplement fish oil temporarily to treat your cat for a specific ailment or even adopt it as a long term addition to their diet. Whatever your choice, your cat will greatly benefit from it as long as you follow the right dosage and purchase the highest quality fish oil you can find. Always make sure to consult with your veterinarian to properly determine the best dosage for your feline companion to ensure a long and healthy life.