Health Benefits of Fish Oil for Cats

young woman holding a cat up with both hands in front of her

Why would you want to give fish oil to your cat?  Studies show that the fatty acids in fish oils can help reduce feline fur issues and reduce joint pain.

Fish oil is an excellent source of the omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

EPA and DHA have been proven in human and animal studies to help fight inflammation.

Since our bodies can’t make these fats, we need to get them from our diets or by using nutritional supplements.

What are the Health Benefits of Fish Oil for Cats?

Does your cat suffer from dry flaky skin, dandruff or a dull fur coat?

Adding healthy fats to your cat’s diet may help reduce dry fur and give your cat a thick, healthy fur coat.

Cats with arthritis pain in their hip or knee joints may also benefit from fish oils.

Studies have shown that EPA and DHA can reduce joint pain, improve range of movement, lessen morning stiffness and reduce the amount of steroid medication normally used. Fish oils also reduce high triglyceride levels in human studies.

There’s currently no recommended fish oil dosage for cats, but a study in the March 2013 issue of Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine states that possible side effects could include weight gain, altered immune function, effects on blood sugar and insulin sensitivity and effects on wound healing.

Feeding Fish Oils to Your Cat

According to some veterinarians, if your cat is suffering from one of the above conditions, it may take up to 2 – 4 weeks of regular supplementation before seeing any results.

Research in human subjects showed it could take up to 4 weeks of fish oil supplementation before seeing any increase in omega 3 fatty acid blood levels.

Cats with a sensitive stomach or other digestive issues may not be able to tolerate a sudden increase in its dietary fat content.

You may have to start with very small dosages of the fish oil and monitor your cat’s response before increasing the amount.

If your cat experiences any sudden changes in its stools, such as diarrhea, you should stop using fish oil and consult with your veterinarian.

indoor cat lying inside bamboo cat shelter

Another method to increase your pet’s dietary omega 3’s is by feeding it more fish. Mackerel, trout, herring and tuna contain some of the highest amounts of fatty acids.

Some cat owners will feed their pets sardines which provide about 1.5 grams of omega 3 fatty acids for every 3.5 ounces.

You can also get specialty cat food products that contain fish oils or omega 3 fatty acids:

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