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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{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} 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!

The Honest Kitchen: Review of Prowl Cat Food

If you’ve been thinking of switching your cat to raw cat food, but are looking for a more convenient option, here’s my honest review of The Honest Kitchen’s Prowl cat food.

Honest Kitchen Prowl cat food review

My cat, Furball, had been on the same diet for about two years. Because he had a history of struvite crystals, I had him on the prescription cat food from the vet’s and supplemented his diet with organic turkey baby food.

I know, I know. The natural solution would have been to put him on a high protein diet, and I did explore this in great depth in my Natural Cat Food Throwdown. However, Furball also had a sensitive digestive system where he would vomit if he was stressed and the high protein cat food was particularly difficult for him to keep down. I don’t remember exactly what triggered it, but at some point, he experienced another struvite crystal scare and when the vet told me to get Furball on a prescription diet or else, fearing the worst, I followed the vet’s instructions.

So, for two years, my little cat ate the prescription diet. I noticed right away that his fur wasn’t as nice on the diet and that’s when I added the organic turkey baby food (easy to digest). I always felt slightly uneasy about feeding him the factory food, but I let myself listen to the “expert” and thought it was best to keep Furball on the anti-struvite diet.

A few months ago, I looked into Furball’s eyes and noticed that they were starting to show flecks of gold and brown in the irises. In iridology, it is believed that the eyes reveal one’s health and that muddy splotches are signs of disease. My cat’s eyes had always been a pure minty green and now, they were starting to turn brown and splotchy.

I could have chalked it up to age as he is heading into “middle age cat years”, but I suspected it was his diet. If you eat processed crap, it affects your health. It seemed to me that the same would hold true for cats.

That’s when I began searching for a raw meat cat food for Furball. However, I also had to factor in my curious son who was old enough to know not to touch the cat food, but that didn’t mean he always listened. I wanted something that was convenient and safe and that’s where the Honest Kitchen’s Prowl cat food came into the picture.

The Honest Kitchen originally began making raw dog food, but they’ve since branched into producing both cat and dog foods gastrointestinal from human-grade ingredients. Because their pet foods are made from human-grade ingredients, the meats are steamed and dehydrated so they’re technically not raw. Only their fruits and vegetables are technically ‘raw’, so this makes their foods safe to have in the home even with small children who might be a little too curious.

The Honest Kitchen is also very eco-friendly. Based out of San Diego, many of the Honest Kitchen’s employees commute to work by bicycle. The packaging for their pet food is made from recycled materials and is also recyclable, even the plastic bag inside. As well, because the food is dehydrated, it’s very light (for cat food) and this helps to reduce the amount of resources needed to ship the food to stores or your home.

The Honest Kitchen also has supported hundreds of organizations over the years such as Heifer International through their Pawlanthropy program.

The Honest Kitchen was kind enough to send me a sample of Prowl dehydrated cat food. Prowl is an all natural cat food made with free range chicken, eggs and produce like sweet potatoes, spinach and cranberries. And, it’s made up of almost 70{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} meat.

When I first received the sample, I was surprised to see that Prowl in its dehydrated form, is actually a powder. I was expecting chunky pieces or dry slivers. Because it’s a powder, it was incredibly easy to measure and mix up a batch of Prowl for my cat. All you need to do is measure food out in a 1:1 ratio of food to water. Pour it in a bowl, stir and allow it to hydrate for 5 minutes. Then, voila! Dinner is ready. Prowl cat food expands to 4 times its original weight when hydrated.

The true test was whether Furball would eat it. I started out only adding a teaspoon to his food. Furball left it for last, but then gobbled it up. I then gradually increased the proportion of Prowl until after about 2 weeks, he had completed the switch to Prowl cat food.

See these eyes so green. It’s the Prowl cat food!

It has been almost 2 months since I switched Furball to Prowl dehydrated cat food and I’m happy to report that I do notice a difference. When I look into his eyes, I see the brown muddy splotches are clearing up and his bright green eyes are shining brightly once again.

Prowl Cat Food is available online and at specialty pet stores.

Bella Gives Two Paws Up to Orijen

BellaRecently, Bella, a blue silver classic tabby, and reader of Green Little Cat, wrote in to tell us about her latest culinary discovery, Orijen.  Fresh, local, never-frozen, free-run poultry, free-range meat, wild-caught fish, and sustainably farmed, fished or ranched, Orijen’s ingredients read like a menu at a trendy Californian restaurant.  But, these are actually the ingredients that go into their cat and dog foods.

Bella sniffed her nose up at other natural cat foods, but she loves Orijen. Bella’s owner spent many hours testing and researching cat food in order to give Bella the best cat food she could find. I can certainly relate. Those of you who read my Natural Cat Food Throwdown know that I investigated the eco-friendliness of several natural cat foods when I was looking for a high protein diet to help Furball manage his struvite crystals. Before Furball’s bladder issues, I had also reviewed several brands of organic cat food too. Despite all this research, I was surprised that I had never learned of Orijen before.

Orijen is made by Champion Pet Foods, a Canadian-based company located in Alberta. Their philosophy on pet food is to create fresh, biologically appropriate food. By biologically appropriate, they try to mirror the natural diet that dogs and cats would consume in their natural environment and for which they evolved. Basically, this is a high-protein diet with 80{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} protein and 20{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} fruits and/or vegetables. No grains are included in any of their foods. They also process their pet foods themselves in a state-of-the-art food processing facility in Alberta.

As with anything that is brought to my attention, I do like to do a little due diligence. In this blood pressure case, I used my favourite search phrase for digging up dirt on pet food companies. Here it is. Simply enter the name of the food or the company in your search query and add the word, “recall” after it. In this case, I did a search for Orijen recall.

There was one major incident in 2008 where a number of cats in Australia suffered paralysis and/or death and it was linked to eating Orijen cat food. No dogs were affected. Apparently the problem was not the contents of the food, but the irradiation process used to treat the food for export to Australia. As a result, Australia banned the irradiation of cat food. It makes you wonder when many foods for humans are also irradiated.

I also found a dog forum where owners were concerned about finding salmon bone fragments in the dog food. Champion discovered that the problem was with one of their suppliers and had halted shipment on the food, but a few batches still got out. They also responded to the post on the dog forum and depending on your perspective, this was either a heinous disrespect of dog lovers everywhere or a sound, balanced and appropriate response. Honestly, I felt the latter, but I don’t have a dog, so I can’t really say how I would feel if I saw my dog eating food with bone fragments.

All in all, I would have to say that I agree with Orijen’s philosophy on pet food and applaud it for its dedication to local ingredients, sustainable harvesting, human-grade foods and free range meats. Thanks for the tip Bella!

Free Samples of Wysong Epigen Starch-Free Cat Food

EpigenJust got wind of a free sample offer from Wysong for their newest cat food, Epigen. I’m not sure how long the samples will be offered, but if you’re looking for a high protein, starch-free kibble for your cat, it might be worthwhile to give this a try.

Epigen gets some green points since it’s made in the USA from USDA and FDA approved domestic sources. It also contains 60+{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} meat and organs with over 60{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} protein, plus probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, phytonutrients, nutraceuticals, natural form antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

This is probably rather facetious of me, but I don’t get the name. Sounds too close to “EpiPen”, which is used for allergic reactions. In medical terminology, “epi” means “on top of”. Maybe they meant that this food is on the cutting edge of a new generation of cat food. Being facetious again, the marketing-unfriendly name and the lack of cartoony packaging suggest that Wysong is still a ma/pop company that hasn’t sold out to a major conglomerate. More green points. The website is not slickety-slick either. I particularly like the categories: dog, cat, ferret, horse, and human. 🙂

If anyone tries the sample, please send me an email (address in footer) and let me know how your cat likes it.

The only problem is if I have a really bad panic attack Buy Valium takes about 20 minutes to kick in and in those instances it’s not quick enough.

Click here for the Wysong Epigen sample offer.