7 Key Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Cats

omega 3 benefits for cats, photo source; 123rf.com

Although many people are aware of the benefits of Omega-3s for their health, did you know that they’re also really good for your cat? Discover seven ways that omega-3 fatty acids help your kitty stay healthy and thrive.

What Are Omega-3s?

Omega fatty acids are considered essential fats because your cat can’t naturally produce them on her own. Instead, she needs to get them as part of a healthy and balanced diet. There are two main types of omega fatty acids, omega-3s and omega-6s—and each can contribute to your cat’s health in different ways.

Omega-3s are the ones that most people are familiar with because of their benefits for the heart, skin, and brain. Good omega-3 levels have been linked to cancer prevention and curbing psychological disorders. And, as cat owners, we all want these benefits passed on to our beloved furry companion. Cats are already highly sensitive on their own!

Omega-6s are also essential fatty acids. However, it’s the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s that’s key to good health. It’s important that cats have a higher level of omega-3s because they help regulate the function of omega-6s. That’s because all fatty acids compete for the same physiological areas, thus, a poor ratio of omega-6s can lead to an increase in prostaglandins, which can significantly increase pain sensitivity.

Omega-3s in Cat Food

Often, we assume that cat foods are complete, but your cat may not be receiving everything she needs from commercial cat food, especially when it comes to omega-3s. Thus, it’s a good idea to supplement your cat’s diet with omega fatty acids. They can help with many common feline ailments like allergies, dander, and skin infections.

According to Jean Hofve, DVM, a holistic veterinarian based in Denver, Colorado, omega-3 fatty acids are “the most important supplement you can give your pet.” From the relief of joint pain to a healthy shiny coat, the benefits of omega-3s for cats are far-reaching.

Here are seven ways that omega-3s can help you cat stay healthy and thrive:

  1. Heart Health: The anti-inflammatory benefits of EPA (long-chain omega-3 fatty acids). Studies have shown that the use of omega-3 fatty acids can help lower blood pressure and prevent ventricular arrhythmia in cats.
  2. Brain and Eyes: The DHA in omega-3s has been shown to play an important role in brain and eye development in kittens. These omega-3 fatty acids can also help keep the brains of older cats working at their optimum for longer.
  3. Healthy Joints: Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is best known for relieving joint pain and inflammation associated with arthritis in cats. The beneficial anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3s is attributed to their EPA content.
  4. Strengthen Immunity: Omega-3 supplements can support cats with a weak immune system. This is especially true for older cats that are more susceptible to inflammation and infections.
  5. Fight Cancer: Veterinarians are increasingly recommending omega-3s for cats with cancer. This comes after a study showed that omega-3 in fish oils can slow down the development of cancer cells.
  6. Healthy Skin: Omega-3s are regularly recommended for cats with dry skin. Many cat lovers report that dandruff problems go away once they introduced omega-3 supplements to their cat’s diet.
  7. A Shiny Coat and Fewer Hairballs: Omega-3s are also regularly recommended for cats who shed excessively. They help keep your cat’s coat shiny and reduce shedding to minimize hairballs.

Sources of Omega-3s for Cats

The sources of omega-3s for cats are very similar to those for people. However, we all know how much cats like pills, so you can’t just pop into your local Vitamin Shop and buy a bottle of supplements for your cat. Natural sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids include fish, seeds, and oils derived from these sources. You can also get supplements designed especially for cats.

Here are thee easy ways to add omega-3 fatty acids to your cat’s diet:

1. The Missing Link

cat-missing-linkThis powdered food supplement contains a healthy balance of omega-3s and omega-6s to help your cat maintain a healthy skin and coat. The Missing Link is made from whole foods and whole food concentrates including ground flaxseed, beef liver, sunflower seeds, dried carrot, ground beef bone, and oysters. And it’s super easy to give it to your cat. Simply sprinkle a small amount (varies depending on weight) on your cat’s food. And if your cat is a picky eater, start by adding a tiny amount to their food, and gradually increase until you reach the recommended level. Read more about The Missing Link.

2. Omega-3 Fish Oil for Cats

cat omega 3 fish oil supplementFish oil is an excellent source of omega fatty acids, but quality can vary. That’s why Deley’s Natural Fish Oil for cats is a great choice if you’re concerned about quality ingredients. This 100% pure fish oil is human grade with no additives, preservatives, mercury or toxins, and it’s packaged in a BPA-free bottle. Plus, Deley’s formula is more concentrated than cod liver oil or krill oil, so your cat gets more of the benefits with fewer of the calories. The fish oil comes in an easy to dispense pump bottle and is virtually odor-free–so no strong fishy smells in your home. Find out how cat lovers love Deley’s fish oil.

3. Feline Greenies Smartbites Cat Treats

cat-greeniesFeline Greenies Smartbites Cat Treats are a fun way to add omega-3s to your cat’s diet. They’re made with natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids, including fish oil and ground flaxseed. Smartbites come in two tasty flavors, chicken or salmon, making them ideal for finicky felines. Use them to replace regular cat treats so Kitty gets a healthy snack that nourishes her skin and helps keep her coat shiny and healthy. Get Greenies on Amazon for just a little over $5 a pack.

Now that you know the benefits of omega-3s for cats—heart health, brain function, immune system support, fewer hairballs, and a healthy coat and skin—you may want to pick up some omega fatty acid supplements for yourself too!

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Green Little Cat is the only blog that's all about eco-friendly ideas for cats and cat lovers. This blog is a labor of love, created by Holly Tse, author of Make Your Own Cat Toys.