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What Vitamins Does My Cat Want? What Do They All Do?


    a ragdoll cat eating from a glass bowl

    As a cat proprietor, I do know that looking for cat meals could be overwhelming. All of us need to give our cats the very best diet however don’t essentially need to spend extra cash on issues they don’t want. It’s commonplace for pet meals labels to be deceptive. Producers capitalize on traits like “grain-free” or “added probiotics” to promote their merchandise. However which of them truly include the diet your cat must thrive? And what precisely do all these nutritional vitamins and minerals do in your cat?

    Let’s check out the vitamins cats want and why. I’ll present you the essential vitamins your cat wants and what all of them do!

    Cats Are Obligate Carnivores

    Cats are obligate carnivores, which implies they want animal protein in an effort to survive. In different phrases, they need to eat meat. The truth is, cats can’t digest plant protein, and so they can’t produce sure nutritional vitamins and amino acids with out meat of their weight loss plan. They want meat to outlive.

    Amino acids are the constructing blocks of protein. They’re linked collectively in chains known as polypeptides. Some proteins additionally include nitrogen-containing compounds known as purines (adenine and guanine). Proteins carry out many capabilities within the physique, like constructing muscle, sustaining physique tissues like pores and skin and organs, transporting oxygen by means of crimson blood cells, aiding digestion so meals could be extra simply absorbed, producing antibodies to battle illness, and producing enzymes to manage chemical reactions in cells all through the physique.

    Picture Credit score: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

    Cats Want Amino Acids

    Your cat wants 20 amino acids that their physique can’t produce on their very own. These important amino acids have to be obtained from meals. Crucial ones are taurine, arginine, lysine, and methionine.

    The Significance of Taurine

    Whereas it’s essential to verify all important amino acids are contained in your cat’s weight loss plan, taurine is especially essential. Whereas taurine is available in animal-based proteins, cats can’t retailer it of their our bodies. Due to this, it have to be consumed regularly to keep away from a deficiency.

    Signs of taurine deficiency don’t present up immediately. They develop over a number of months. By the point it turns into obvious {that a} cat is poor in taurine, the deficiency is already extreme. Taurine deficiency results in impaired imaginative and prescient by means of the deterioration of the retina. It additionally causes the muscle tissues of the center to weaken, resulting in dilated cardiomyopathy.

    Omega Fatty Acids

    Arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, is one other important nutrient for a cat’s well being. This fatty acid is used to create prostaglandins and leukotrienes. These compounds are important for blood clotting and the right functioning of the immune system. Arachidonic acid additionally helps cats battle off parasites like fleas.

    Arachidonic acid could be present in hen and eggs however is especially excessive in fish oil dietary supplements like salmon oil. In case your cat’s meals accommodates omega-6 fatty acids, it’s probably they’re getting sufficient. Total supplementation shouldn’t exceed 2% of their each day calorie consumption.

    How A lot Protein Does a Cat Want?

    Grownup cats require a minimal of 6.5 g/100 kcal of protein each day. Pregnant or nursing cats and kittens want 7.5g/100 kcal per day. Most industrial cat meals include 1.5 to 2 occasions this quantity of protein. In case your cat is consuming meals that meets the AAFCO pet diet tips, you’re protected to imagine they’re getting sufficient protein of their weight loss plan.

    grey cat eating meat
    Picture Credit score: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

    Fats as an Power Supply

    Fats is a vital nutrient for cats. They want about 0.5 to 1.5% fats of their weight loss plan, however not like different animals, cats don’t retailer fats for later use. Because of this they want a relentless provide of vitality from the meals they eat to keep up a wholesome weight and vitality degree all through the day.

    Whereas we have a tendency to think about fats as dangerous, a fat-free weight loss plan will make your cat sick. As a result of they’re small animals, cats want excessive quantities of vitality from a small quantity of meals. That is known as caloric density, and it’s essential in your cat to remain wholesome. It’s additionally why you need to select meals that packs as a lot high quality diet into each chunk as attainable.

    A wholesome kitten requires roughly 60 energy per pound of physique weight to keep up its well being, whereas grownup cats want between 400 and 500 energy per pound each day. The ideally suited weight loss plan will include round 5–10% fats on a dry matter foundation (after all of the water is eliminated). Which means in case you feed your cat 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of meals, it ought to include between 5 and 10 grams of fats (0.18 ounces).

    Different Essential Vitamins

    Along with protein, amino acids, omega fatty acids, and fats, there are a variety of different nutritional vitamins and minerals which are essential to your cat’s total well being.


    Water isn’t a nutrient per se, however it’s important. A cat’s physique is 70% water. Water helps a cat’s physique distribute vitamins correctly, preserve physique temperature, remove toxins, and metabolize meals accurately. Not like different animals, cats can’t go with out water for greater than 24 hours with out struggling critical well being penalties, so it’s essential that they’ve fixed entry to scrub consuming water.

    grey British cat looks at blue water bowl on the floor
    Picture Credit score: Yuka Y, Shutterstock

    Vitamin A

    Vitamin A is essential for wholesome imaginative and prescient and the upkeep of a robust immune system.

    Vitamin D

    Generally known as the “sunshine vitamin,” Vitamin D performs an important position within the functioning of nerves, bones, and muscle tissues.

    B Nutritional vitamins

    • Vitamin B1, also referred to as Thiamine, is important for carbohydrate metabolism and nerve impulse transmission.
    • Vitamin B2, or Riboflavin, permits oxygen distribution all through your cat’s physique and improves the breakdown of vitamins. Vitamin B2 deficiency may cause a lower within the high quality of your cat’s pores and skin and coat.
    • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) retains the gastrointestinal, pores and skin, and nervous programs wholesome.
    • Vitamin B6, or Pyridoxine, performs a task within the functioning of the immune system and crimson blood cells. This vitamin is important for correct protein metabolism. B6 deficiency results in seizures and kidney lesions, however this can be very uncommon.


    Iron is essential for the manufacturing of crimson blood cells and for transporting oxygen all through the physique. Industrial cat meals include supplemental iron to fulfill dietary necessities.

    tabby cat eating cat food out of bowl inside
    Picture Credit score: Africa Studio, Shutterstock


    Calcium performs a task in various totally different physique capabilities, together with:

    • Bone progress
    • Blood coagulation
    • Muscle contraction
    • Nerve impulse transmission


    Magnesium permits your cat’s physique to soak up different nutritional vitamins and minerals. It additionally enhances bone progress in kittens and assists with digestive enzyme manufacturing.


    To ensure that your cat’s physique to effectively take away toxins and waste merchandise and switch vitamins on to cells, they want sodium. Whereas an excessive amount of sodium might quickly trigger elevated thirst, additional sodium is excreted by means of your cat’s urine.


    Correct protein digestion requires chloride to keep up correct physique pH.


    To sum it up, cats want a weight loss plan that accommodates sufficient vitamins for his or her our bodies to operate correctly. Normally, these dietary wants could be met by feeding high-quality industrial cat meals. I like to recommend checking AAFCO tips, which rigorously define the wants of cats, and meals that meet these requirements are checked to verify they include sufficient of every compound. If you’re uncertain in case your meals is assembly your cat’s wants, one of the best useful resource is your veterinarian. They will advocate one of the best meals in your cat.

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