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What are the Benefits of Fish Oil for Cats?

By K. Gierok
Updated May 21, 2024
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While cats have long been known to have a special affinity for fish, it may not just be the flavor that makes them seek out this particular food. When consumed in the right amounts, the oil found in fish has been found to be highly effective in a number of conditions related to the health of cats. Some of the most significant benefits associated with fish oil for cats includes the promotion of healthy skin and shiny fur, improved heart health, and decreased skin allergies. While flax seed oil is often used as an alternative for fish oil, it may be significantly less effective.

One of the most important ways that fish oil for cats can be effective is in the promotion of healthy skin and shiny fur. Supplementing the diet of a cat with fish oil has been found to be highly effective in moisturizing the skin. In addition, the amount of shedding experienced by cats whose diets are supplemented with fish oil is typically lower than in cats who do not received fish oil in their diets.

Fish oil for cats has also been found to be highly effective in aiding in improved heart health. As in humans, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil has been found to be highly effective in the promotion of a healthy cardiovascular system in cats. In addition, studies have shown that fish oil can significantly reduce serious cardiac arrhythmias that can lead to premature death. Fish oil works in part due to its blood-thinning properties. Because of this, fish oil is not encouraged for cats who are already on medications that thin the blood.

Research has found that fish oil for cats is also highly effective in the treatment of skin allergies. Often, cats who experience skin allergies are injected with steroids or other allergy medications. Using fish oil supplements may be a safer and more effective course of treatment for cats who suffer form this condition.

Often, veterinarians recommend that cats who suffer from the conditions listed above consume diets that are supplemented with flax seed oil. Flax seed oil is often preferred by owners due to the fact that it produces a significantly more pleasant flavor when consumed by the cats. While flax seed oil does contain the same fatty acids that are prevalent in fish oil, it may not be able to be digested in the same manner as traditional fish oil.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the primary benefits of fish oil for cats?

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for a cat's health. It supports skin and coat health, reducing dryness and promoting a shiny coat. Omega-3s also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with conditions like arthritis, and they support cardiovascular health, kidney function, and cognitive function in older cats.

Can fish oil improve my cat's joint health?

Yes, fish oil can significantly benefit your cat's joint health. The omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce joint inflammation and pain associated with conditions like arthritis. This can lead to improved mobility and a better quality of life for your feline friend.

Is fish oil safe for all cats?

Fish oil is generally safe for most cats, but it's important to use the correct dosage and to choose a high-quality product free of contaminants. However, cats with certain health conditions, such as those with a history of pancreatitis or seafood allergies, should only be given fish oil under the guidance of a veterinarian.

How does fish oil affect a cat's skin and coat?

Fish oil nourishes a cat's skin and coat due to its high content of omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients help to moisturize the skin from the inside out, reducing flakiness and promoting a glossy coat. Regular supplementation can also alleviate itching and irritation associated with allergies or skin conditions.

Can fish oil supplements help with my cat's allergies?

Fish oil supplements can be beneficial for cats with allergies. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe skin irritation and reduce allergic reactions. Additionally, they can bolster the immune system, potentially making your cat less reactive to allergens over time.

What is the recommended dosage of fish oil for cats?

The recommended dosage of fish oil for cats can vary based on the cat's size, age, and health status. It's crucial to follow the manufacturer's guidelines or consult with a veterinarian for personalized advice. Over-supplementation can lead to adverse effects, so proper dosing is key to ensuring your cat reaps the benefits without risks.

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Discussion Comments

By anon994381 — On Feb 04, 2016

Fish oil (Welactin capsules from Amazon) have done my picky Himmie a world of good -- no longer scratching and drawing blood. However, she categorically refused to take it in her food, so per a couple of Amazon reviewer suggestions, she now gets it "down the hatch." It's a tiny amount and my giving it to her directly into her mouth, is over in a second, and I'm forgiven.

By anon352645 — On Oct 24, 2013

@bagley79: My cat is also a picky eater. What I've taken to doing is putting a 1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp of fish oil over her 2 tbsp kibble at night (she eats more wet food than dry). I mix it in so each kibble is coated in fish oil. She seems to like it better than her normal kibble. It also makes the kibble easier to digest (makes it less dry).

By Mykol — On Aug 19, 2012

I started to give my cat some fish oil because he developed skin allergies when he got older. My vet also recommend I try this and said if it didn't work, I might need to consider giving him some steroids to control the itching and scratching.

The fish oil has helped a lot with his allergies. I had a hard time with the smell of it and tried substituting flax seed oil instead, but my cat just turned up his nose at it, so I went back to the fish oil.

By andee — On Aug 18, 2012

I can vouch for how helpful fish oil supplements are to reduce shedding. Both of my cats were shedding more than normal, and I was having a hard time keeping up with all the hair.

They keep themselves meticulously clean, and I was also concerned they might get hairballs from all the fur that was coming off of them.

My vet told me to try giving them some fish oil capsules. I just open these capsules and sprinkle it over their food. I have found this to be the easiest way to give it to them. After a couple of weeks, the shedding was significantly less.

Now I just make this a part of their regular diet because I know how healthy it is for them.

By honeybees — On Aug 17, 2012

@bagley79-- There are many kinds of cat food that already have fish oil included in the food. This makes it a lot easier to see they get fish oil in their diet. Most cats love the taste of fish anyway, so it has never been a problem for me.

I also buy some fish oil vitamins for my cats so they get more than what is in their food. Everyone comments on how shiny their fur is, and I think this is because of the fish oil.

I just pour a little bit of this on their dry food. They eat it up with no problem. If you tried something like this, you might want to start out with just a drop or two until your cat gets used to the smell of it.

If you cat is anything like my cat, she will end up loving it and almost be begging for it.

By bagley79 — On Aug 16, 2012

It makes sense that cats that consume fish oil would receive benefits similar to humans when we consume fish oil. I'm just wondering what is the best way to give my cat fish oil?

She is a very picky eater, and if something is just a little bit different, she won't even touch it. Other than this already being included in some of her food, is there an easy way to get finicky cats to take fish oil?

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