There are many potential benefits to giving omega-3 fatty acid supplements to cats. Some of the benefits are visible, while others are not so visible. Regardless of whether you can see the results, part of a healthy diet is making sure your cat gets plenty omega-3 fatty acids.
What is Omega-3?
Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that possesses double carbon bonds within the carbon chain. It’s opposing fatty acid is omega-6, and it’s important for your cat to have a balance of both omega-3 and omega-6 for optimal health. There is also an omega-9 fatty acid, but this article will focus on the omega 3 & 6 ratio.
Why Does Your Cat Need Omega-3?
Just like dogs, a cat’s health only benefits from getting the right balance of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered the building blocks of good nutrition, and you need plenty of omega-3 to balance out the surplus of omega-6 that can accumulate in your cat’s system.
Omega-6 often accumulates because there are too many omega-6 fatty acids in your cat’s food, whether it’s commercial cat food or fresh meat. A cat can easily become out of balance without supplementing omega-3.
Each of these fatty acids performs different functions and jobs, but neither one can work optimally without the other. When one is out of order, it knocks the whole system out of order, compromising your cat’s immune system and endangering his health.
Where Do Cats Get Omega-3?
Cats can get omega-3 from a variety of marine as well as plant sources. Flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil, and walnut oil all provide omega-3 in its various forms. It’s also prudent to talk to your vet about the best option for your feline.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Benefits for Cats
Some of the supplementation benefits of omega-3’s in cats include:
- Itch and Inflammation Relief
Because cats often have very sensitive skin, too much licking, itching, and scratching can leave their skin irritated and raw. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to help reduce the inflammatory response in a cat, which therefore reduces the related symptoms such as itching, biting, and chewing.
- A Healthy, Shiny Coat
A healthy, shiny coat is one of the main benefits that is visible and easy to see. Supplementing omega-3 fatty acids in your cat’s diet can help strengthen his fur, reduce shedding, reduce dryness and dandruff, and make your cat’s coat gleam.
- A Boost to the Immune System
Omega-3 fatty acids can also help to keep your cat’s immune system functioning optimally. With an immune system operating the way it should, your cat can better fight off minor colds and viruses, and even prevent more serious health concerns as he ages.
Additionally, pregnant or lactating cats that are supplemented with omega-3 can help improve the development of retinal function in kittens. This can offer benefits to their eye health throughout their entire lives.
- Help To Manage Joint Pain
Just like people, cats can suffer from joint problems and cat joint pain too, especially when it’s related to age degeneration. Omega-3 fatty acids can help improve your cat’s range of motion as well as boost his energy. This is all due to the powerful anti-inflammatory effects that omega-3 fatty acids provide.
Remember that cats are quite a bit different than people, and as felines, they will need different dosages and different forms of omega-3. Make sure that any supplement you give your cat is especially formulated for use in felines.
With a regular omega-3 fatty acid supplementation schedule, you can help to keep your cat healthy, spry, agile, and looking downright beautiful, throughout all his (nine) long lives!
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*This article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any symptoms.