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

As a cat proprietor, I do know that purchasing for cat meals may be overwhelming. All of us need to give our cats the very best diet however don’t essentially need to spend more money on issues they don’t want. It’s common 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 really comprise 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 suggests they want animal protein as a way to survive. In different phrases, they have to eat meat. The truth is, cats can’t digest plant protein, they usually can’t produce sure nutritional vitamins and amino acids with out meat of their eating regimen. 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 comprise 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 purple blood cells, aiding digestion so meals may be extra simply absorbed, producing antibodies to combat illness, and producing enzymes to control 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 should be obtained from meals. An important ones are taurine, arginine, lysine, and methionine.

The Significance of Taurine

Whereas it’s necessary to ensure all important amino acids are contained in your cat’s eating regimen, taurine is especially necessary. Whereas taurine is available in animal-based proteins, cats can’t retailer it of their our bodies. Due to this, it should be consumed regularly to keep away from a deficiency.

Signs of taurine deficiency don’t present up straight away. 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 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 very 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 combat off parasites like fleas.

Arachidonic acid may be present in rooster 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 possible they’re getting sufficient. General supplementation shouldn’t exceed 2% of their every day calorie consumption.

How A lot Protein Does a Cat Want?

Grownup cats require a minimal of 6.5 g/100 kcal of protein every day. Pregnant or nursing cats and kittens want 7.5g/100 kcal per day. Most industrial cat meals comprise 1.5 to 2 instances this quantity of protein. In case your cat is consuming meals that meets the AAFCO pet diet pointers, you might be secure to imagine they’re getting sufficient protein of their eating regimen.

grey cat eating meat
Picture Credit score: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

Fats as an Power Supply

Fats is a necessary nutrient for cats. They want about 0.5 to 1.5% fats of their eating regimen, however not like different animals, cats don’t retailer fats for later use. Which means that they want a relentless provide of power from the meals they eat to keep up a wholesome weight and power stage all through the day.

Whereas we have a tendency to think about fats as unhealthy, a fat-free eating regimen will make your cat sick. As a result of they’re small animals, cats want excessive quantities of power from a small quantity of meals. That is known as caloric density, and it’s necessary 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 chew as potential.

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 every day. The splendid eating regimen will comprise round 5–10% fats on a dry matter foundation (after all of the water is eliminated). Which means when you feed your cat 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of meals, it ought to comprise 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 selection of different nutritional vitamins and minerals which might be necessary to your cat’s general 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 wash consuming water.

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

Vitamin A

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

Vitamin D

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

B Nutritional vitamins

  • Vitamin B1, often known 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 techniques wholesome.
  • Vitamin B6, or Pyridoxine, performs a job within the functioning of the immune system and purple 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 necessary for the manufacturing of purple blood cells and for transporting oxygen all through the physique. Industrial cat meals comprise supplemental iron to fulfill dietary necessities.

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


Calcium performs a job in quite a lot of 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 briefly trigger elevated thirst, additional sodium is excreted by your cat’s urine.


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


To sum it up, cats want a eating regimen that accommodates enough vitamins for his or her our bodies to perform correctly. Generally, these dietary wants may be met by feeding high-quality industrial cat meals. I like to recommend checking AAFCO pointers, which fastidiously define the wants of cats, and meals that meet these requirements are checked to ensure they comprise sufficient of every compound. If you’re uncertain in case your meals is assembly your cat’s wants, the very best useful resource is your veterinarian. They’ll advocate the very best meals in your cat.

Featured Picture Credit score: Snowice_81, Shutterstock

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