One important cat care tip is that it is fundamental that all of the important vitamins for cats be provided in the correct quantities. Vitamins are fundamental to the cat's health because they participate in a variety of fundamental functions for survival. They are involved in everything from bones to hormones to metabolism.
There are two main types of vitamins: those that are stored within the body and those that aren't, which has to be replaced each and every day. Water-soluble vitamins, including vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins, must be replaced every day because they aren't stored in the body. Fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E and K, are stored within the body.
If you want to improve cat health, you need to make sure that your cat gets enough of these vitamins without giving excess. We will go over some very important vitamins, their functions, how much the cat normally needs a day and any important effects from deficiencies or excess.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Thiamine is important for metabolism especially of carbohydrates. Cats need 0.33 mg. Deficiencies have severe consequences because this can affect the brain function as well as the heart function.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin )
Riboflavin takes part in the correct functioning of enzymes. The cat needs roughly 0.27 mg. A deficiency of this vitamin can lead to cataracts and fatty livers.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin )
Niacin is another vitamin that isn't produced in the feline body and must be supplied via diet. This vitamin is also a participant in enzyme function. The recommended amount per day is 2.5 mg. A deficiency of this vitamin will cause weight loss and a congested, ulcerated tongue.
This water-soluble vitamin participates in the production of glucose and niacin as well the function of red blood cells, the immune and nervous systems and hormone regulation. The recommended level is 0.16 mg. Deficiency causes growth problems, convulsions and kidney problems.
Vitamin B 12
Another participant in enzyme function, 1.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 is needed on a daily basis. Too little of this vitamin will cause weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea and intestinal problems.
Cats do not produce vitamin A in their bodies. Instead, they get it from their diet. Vitamin A is important for eyes and also participates in growth, immune function and cellular differentiation. Vitamin A can be found in liver and fish. Cats need around 63 micrograms a day. Both a deficiency and an excess of this vitamin can cause problems. For instance, cats fed a diet with lots of liver, causing an excess, can get skeletal lesions. Deficiency causes eye problems, weight loss and other disorders relating to growth and development.
Vitamin D participates in the maintenance of the proportions of minerals in the body, especially in the bones. This includes the balance of phosphorous. The normal amount cats need is 0.4 micrograms. Deficiency can cause Rickets and other skeletal disorders whereas excess can cause lethargy, vomiting and calcification of soft tissue.
Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that protects the body from damage from free radicals. The normal amount recommended for consumption is 2.5 mg. Deficiency of vitamin E can be a result of diets that are heavy in canned food based on fish products and cause anorexia, abdominal pain and depression.
Vitamin K participates in the clotting process and with proteins. 82 micrograms are recommended daily. Less can cause the blood to take longer to clot, with consequent hemorrhaging.
There are many vitamins in existence, we have just covered the important vitamins for cats, but you should keep in mind that the medical field is always changing and new information may become available as our knowledge grows with research.
National Research Council of the National Academies. Your Cats Nutritional Needs. 07/24/06. Accessed 03/01/2012.