The Benefits of Vitamin C for Cats

by on February 26th, 2011
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Cats are amazing companion animals and loving pet owners want what is best for their cats. With so much emphasis on nutrition and proper diet for humans, its natural to want to provide the same kind of high-quality nutrition for pets, too. Cats are different from people and other pets, and therefore have different dietary needs. This raises the question as to whether vitamin supplements, such as vitamin C for cats, is safe or not.

Cat Basics

Cats are classed by scientists as carnivores. This means they need a high meat diet to thrive. While humans need to find dietary or supplemental sources of vitamin C, cats usually do not. Their bodies are designed to synthesize the vitamin C they need.

In cats, Vitamin C is beneficial because it can help the immune system, combat pain and aid in detoxification. It also can aid in collagen building. If a cat is ill, it may need supplemental vitamin C because it is not producing enough or to help it digest other supplements or medication. A veterinarian can test vitamin levels as well as access the needs of your particular cat. It is best never to give your cat supplements or medication without first consulting with your veterinarian.

Vitamin C Forms

Vitamin C specifically for cats can be found in several forms. It can be part of a multi-vitamin formulated for cats or alone. It may be part of a special formula targeting the immune system or any number of conditions. It can found as a powder or liquid.

Administering Vitamin C to Cats

If the vitamin C is in powder form, perhaps the easiest way to administer it to your cat is to mix it in with a small portion of your cat’s food. Give your cat that part of its meal first, and once done, allow it to have the rest of its meal. This helps ensure it consumes all of the vitamin C.

In liquid form, it can be mixed in with food or administered with a dropper. Gently restrain your cat (wrap in a towel to help prevent scratching and make it feel more secure). Open its mouth and place the dropper part way in its mouth. Try to get the liquid on the back section of the cat’s tongue. It will naturally swallow what you place there. If the vitamin C is in tablet form, place the tablet on the back section of your cat’s tongue. It will naturally swallow it.

Some cat owners find gentle stroking, soft talking and keeping the cat’s head tipped slightly back until the supplement is swallowed help.

Dangers of Vitamin C for Cats

One problem with a cat intaking too much vitamin C is that they may develop urinary tract problems. High vitamin C levels can contribute to the formation of calcium oxalate uroliths, which are stones that can form in the bladder or cause a urinary tract blockage.

Unless your veterinarian advises you to do so, supplementation of vitamin C for cats is really unnecessary.

References

Cats are Different. Dr. T. J. Dunn, Jr. September 15, 2009. The Pet Center. http://www.thepetcenter.com/article.aspx?id=3405

Max’s House Feline Nutrition. http://maxshouse.com/feline_nutrition.htm

Feline Bladder Stones and Urinary Obstructions. Susan Little, DVM. The Cat Fancier’s Association, Inc. http://www.cfa.org/articles/health/urinary-obstructions.html


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