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 purchasing for cat meals could be overwhelming. All of us need to give our cats the very best vitamin 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 truly comprise the vitamin your cat must thrive? And what precisely do all these nutritional vitamins and minerals do to 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 with the intention to survive. In different phrases, they need to eat meat. In actual fact, cats can’t digest plant protein, they usually can’t produce sure nutritional vitamins and amino acids with out meat of their food 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 comprise nitrogen-containing compounds known as purines (adenine and guanine). Proteins carry out many features within the physique, like constructing muscle, sustaining physique tissues like pores and skin and organs, transporting oxygen via purple blood cells, aiding digestion so meals could be extra simply absorbed, producing antibodies to struggle 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 vital to ensure all important amino acids are contained in your cat’s food plan, taurine is especially vital. 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 frequently 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 via the deterioration of the retina. It additionally causes the muscle tissue of the guts 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 correct functioning of the immune system. Arachidonic acid additionally helps cats struggle off parasites like fleas.

Arachidonic acid could 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 probably they’re getting sufficient. Total supplementation shouldn’t exceed 2% of their day by day calorie consumption.

How A lot Protein Does a Cat Want?

Grownup cats require a minimal of 6.5 g/100 kcal of protein day by day. Pregnant or nursing cats and kittens want 7.5g/100 kcal per day. Most business cat meals comprise 1.5 to 2 occasions this quantity of protein. In case your cat is consuming meals that meets the AAFCO pet vitamin pointers, you might be protected to imagine they’re getting sufficient protein of their food plan.

grey cat eating meat
Picture Credit score: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

Fats as an Vitality Supply

Fats is a necessary nutrient for cats. They want about 0.5 to 1.5% fats of their food plan, however in contrast to 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 unhealthy, a fat-free food 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 vital to your cat to remain wholesome. It’s additionally why you need to select meals that packs as a lot high quality vitamin 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 day by day. The superb food plan will comprise 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 comprise between 5 and 10 grams of fats (0.18 ounces).

Different Necessary Vitamins

Along with protein, amino acids, omega fatty acids, and fats, there are a selection of different nutritional vitamins and minerals which can be vital 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 appropriately. In contrast to different animals, cats can’t go with out water for greater than 24 hours with out struggling severe well being penalties, so it’s crucial that they’ve fixed entry to wash ingesting water.

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

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is vital for wholesome imaginative and prescient and the upkeep of a powerful immune system.

Vitamin D

Often called the “sunshine vitamin,” Vitamin D performs an important position within the functioning of nerves, bones, and muscle tissue.

B Nutritional vitamins

  • Vitamin B1, often known as Thiamine, is crucial 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 could 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 purple blood cells. This vitamin is critical for correct protein metabolism. B6 deficiency results in seizures and kidney lesions, however this can be very uncommon.


Iron is vital for the manufacturing of purple blood cells and for transporting oxygen all through the physique. Business 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 task in quite a lot of completely different physique features, together with:

  • Bone development
  • 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 development 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 could quickly trigger elevated thirst, further sodium is excreted via your cat’s urine.


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


To sum it up, cats want a food plan that accommodates enough vitamins for his or her our bodies to operate correctly. Typically, these dietary wants could be met by feeding high-quality business 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 not sure in case your meals is assembly your cat’s wants, the perfect useful resource is your veterinarian. They’ll advocate the perfect meals to your cat.

Featured Picture Credit score: Snowice_81, Shutterstock


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *