Vitamins and minerals are the building blocks that your cat’s body uses to produce and repair everything from skin cells to neural pathways. These vitamins and minerals are considered to be essential nutrients – without them your cat’s body is unable to function optimally. From wound healing to immune system function, vitamins and minerals are critical to you pet’s overall health and wellbeing.
While there are some vitamins and minerals that your cat is able to produce on its own, most are synthesized from the raw materials found in your pet’s food, which is why a balanced and nutritious diet is so crucial to good health. Here is a quick breakdown of the most common essential vitamins and minerals that your cat should be getting from his/her diet.
1. Vitamin A: Crucial for a strong immune system and healthy vision. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin which means it gets stored in fatty tissue or the liver (versus being excreted by the body). This means that too much Vitamin A in the diet has the potential to build up to toxic levels so supplementation should be done cautiously and only under veterinary supervision. Good to know: cats are unable to produce vitamin A from beta-carotene.
2. Vitamin D: Also known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is vital in regulating the balance of calcium and phosphorus in your cat’s body. Since Vitamin D also promotes the retention of calcium it is important in the development and function of bone as well as nerve and muscle control.
3. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): A water soluble B vitamin necessary for healthy metabolism of carbohydrates as well as the maintenance of normal growth and nerve impulse transmission.
4. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin is a coenzyme in many biochemical reactions including the production of energy from fat. This vitamin helps contribute to the quality of your cat’s skin and coat and a deficiency may cause changes to the skin around the eyes and the abdomen.
5. Vitamin B3 (Niacin): This water soluble vitamin is easily depleted through your cat’s urine and must be replaced regularly to maintain adequate levels. Vitamin B3 is necessary for a healthy nervous system, gastrointestinal function and skin.
6. Vitamin B6: Only a small amount of this water soluble vitamin can be stored in your cat’s muscle tissue which means it must be replenished daily in order to maintain adequate levels. Vitamin B6 is important for healthy immune function and red blood cell function.
7. Calcium: An important mineral necessary for the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. Calcium also plays a role in blood coagulation and nervous system health. A deficiency of this mineral can lead to skeletal abnormalities. Too much calcium can also lead to problems so any supplementation, especially in kittens, must be done with veterinary supervision.
8. Magnesium: An important factor in the maintenance of the electrical balance across cell membranes, magnesium is also important in the production and elimination of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. An imbalance of magnesium levels at the cellular level can result in muscular and cardiac abnormalities.
9. Iron: Iron is critical for red blood cell health and since red blood cells are responsible for delivering oxygenated blood throughout your cat’s body a deficiency in this mineral can lead to health concerns. Though cats don’t require a large amount of this mineral, iron deficiency can result in anemia.
10. Potassium: A vital mineral critical to both electrical and cellular functions. Potassium belongs to a group of blood minerals known as electrolytes, which help carry electrical charges in the body. Potassium is very important for the maintenance of normal fluid levels within cells and is responsible for the conduction of electrical charges in the heart, nerves and muscles.
11. Taurine: Taurine is technically not a vitamin or mineral but is rather an amino acid that is absolutely critical to your cat’s survival. And since your cat’s body cannot synthesize taurine on its own, it is crucial that your kitty gets it from his or her diet. Most cat diets are supplemented with taurine but deficiency is still quite common.
BONUS! Vivamune (aka – Carotenoid blend): Though not technically considered a vitamin or mineral, Vivamune has been shown to operate on the cellular level to support and promote healthy immune function and leading to optimized mobility and enhanced skin/coat health.
As you can see, vitamins and minerals are an important component of your cat’s overall health. If your cat is eating a healthy and balanced diet he/she should be receiving all the key vitamins and minerals he/she needs to live a long, healthy and happy life!
1. 10 Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Cats
2. Niacin: Key Compound in Pets Metabolism
3. Magnesium Deficiency in Cats
4. Low Blood Potassium in Cats