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

Final Up to date on: October 31, 2022 by Crystal Uys

a ragdoll cat eating from a glass bowl

As a cat proprietor, I do know that looking for cat meals may be overwhelming. All of us wish to give our cats the very best vitamin however don’t essentially wish to spend extra cash on issues they don’t want. It’s common for pet meals labels to be deceptive. Producers capitalize on developments like “grain-free” or “added probiotics” to promote their merchandise. However which of them really comprise the vitamin your cat must thrive? And what precisely do all these nutritional vitamins and minerals do on 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 have to eat meat. Actually, cats can’t digest plant protein, and so they 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 referred to as polypeptides. Some proteins additionally comprise nitrogen-containing compounds referred to 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 way of pink 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.

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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. A very powerful ones are taurine, arginine, lysine, and methionine.

The Significance of Taurine

Whereas it’s vital to verify all important amino acids are contained in your cat’s eating regimen, 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 should be consumed frequently to keep away from a deficiency.

Signs of taurine deficiency don’t present up instantly. 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 way of the deterioration of the retina. It additionally causes the muscle tissues 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 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 doubtless 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 vitamin pointers, you might be secure to imagine they’re getting sufficient protein of their eating regimen.

grey cat eating meat
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Fats as an Power Supply

Fats is an important 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. Because of this they want a continuing provide of power from the meals they eat to keep up a wholesome weight and power degree all through the day.

Whereas we have a tendency to consider 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 referred to as caloric density, and it’s vital on your cat to remain wholesome. It’s additionally why you wish 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 every day. The very best 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 variety of different nutritional vitamins and minerals which are 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, keep physique temperature, remove toxins, and metabolize meals accurately. In contrast to different animals, cats can’t go with out water for greater than 24 hours with out struggling critical well being penalties, so it’s crucial that they’ve fixed entry to wash consuming water.

grey British cat looks at blue water bowl on the floor
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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 function within the functioning of nerves, bones, and muscle tissues.

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 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 pink 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 pink 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
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Calcium performs a task in quite a lot of totally different physique capabilities, 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 might quickly trigger elevated thirst, further sodium is excreted by way of 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 sufficient vitamins for his or her our bodies to operate correctly. Normally, 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 verify they comprise sufficient of every compound. If you’re uncertain in case your meals is assembly your cat’s wants, the perfect useful resource is your veterinarian. They’ll advocate the perfect meals on your cat.

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