Feline Dietary 3 :: Nutrients, Minerals and Vitamins
Vitamins, minerals, and nutrients all play vital roles in your kitty's diet and her future health. In kittens, the right combination of nutrients helps ensure proper development that allows them to develop into adulthood. An excessive increase or decrease in certain vitamins or minerals can cause considerable harm to your kitten or cat in her developmental stages and her future health as well. Feeding generic labeled pet foods, or those that are not designed for balanced nutrition, and feeding raw or natural diets can cause considerable amount of harm to your kitten or cat if fed in excess or if fed improperly. Please remember that these types of diets are not completely balanced or nutritionally complete and most need additional supplementation to provide a complete and balanced diet. Some commercially prepared diets and most premium brand pet foods provide the necessary balance of vitamins and minerals needed for proper growth and development, but not all pet foods are equal.
Please talk with your vet about selecting the proper diet for your kitten or adult cat. Your kitty is depending on you to provide her the proper nutrition to best benefit her future needs. In times of illness or stress, for example, some diets are not appropriate. Your vet can help answer questions you may have about specific diets geared for specific problems, as well as those geared for individual life stages.
The following tables are only intended as a guide to help you understand the importance of these elements in your kitty's diet. Having an idea of the effects of a nutrient excess or depletion can give you a better idea of the proper diet to select for your kitten or adult cat. Please do not hesitate to ask your vet or talk with pet food manufacturers when you are in the process of selecting that perfect diet for your kitty.
Note: No internet website on feline nutrition should be considered the authority on feline nutrition and therefore we strongly advise you to speak in greater detail with your vet about your kitty's diet and in selecting the proper diet for her particular needs. YOU are responsible for choosing the best diet for her future health, please choose carefully and involve your vet and his/her knowledge in your decisions. Remember, what one kitty might do well on does not mean another kitty will do the same. Each kitty has individual needs and you must make your decisions based on facts and proven methods, NOT on heresay or unproven "information" found on the internet. Please be responsible in your choices, your kitty is depending on you.
REQUIREMENTS AND EFFECTS OF DEFICIENCY AND EXCESS
when meat or organ tissue compromise majority of diet. INITIALLY: lameness,
stiffness, reluctance to move, constipation, enlarged metaphyses, splayed
toes, carpal and tarsal hyperextension. CHRONIC: spontaneous fractures,
limb deviations, anorexia, dehydration, loose teeth. ACUTE: tetany.
common cause is oversupplementation. May cause phosphorus, zinc, iron and
copper deficiencies. Slows growth, decreases thyroid function, and may
predispose to bloat.
due to excessive calcium supplementation. Causes depraved appetite and
same signs as a calcium deficiency.
or high P diets. Major effect is to cause Ca deficiency. If Ca is increased
enough to offset excess P, it results in excess Ca. Excess P promotes renal
to excess losses from diarrhea or diuretics, or inadequate intake because
of anorexia. Causes anorexia, weakness, lethargy and decreased muscle tone,
which may cause head drooping, ataxia and ascending paralysis.
not occur unless there is oliguria. Causes hyperkalemia, same signs as
a deficiency, cardiotoxicity and death.
salt hunger, pica, weight loss, fatigue, agalactia, and slow growth.++
Occurs only if there is inadequate nonsaline, good quality water available.
Causes thirst, pruritis, constipation, anorexia, seizures and death.++
CHRONIC: High amounts in many pet foods may induce hypertension resulting
in increased heart and renal diseases.
growth, spreading of toes and hyperextension of carpus and tarsus, hyperirritability,
convulsions, soft tissue calcification, enlargement of the metaphysis of
excess intake causes diarrhea because of poor absorption.++ Chronic
intake of high amounts present in many cat foods contributes to urolithiasis
occur if fed milk exclusively for an extended period or secondary to blood
loss. Causes microcytic-hypochromic anemia, anisocytosis and poikilocytosis
weight loss, hypoalbuminemia, hemochromatosis.++ Death following
excess administration to young, particularly if they are vitamin E or selenium
weight loss, slow growth, emesis, generalized thinning of hair coat, scaly
dermatitis, parakeratosis, hair depigmentation, decreased testicular development
and wound healing, depression, and peripheral lymphadenopathy.
a calcium and/or copper deficiency.++
be caused by excess zinc, iron or molybdenum. Slow growth, bone lesions
similar to calcium deficiency, pica and liver copper less than 20 ug/g
wet wt. Reported that anemia, hair depigmentation and diarrhea don't occur
in cats as they do in other species.
in Bedlington Terriers due to inability to mobilize hepatic copper, resulting
of liver disease
reproduction, abotion, enlarged joints, stiffness, reluctance to move,
short, thick and brittle bones.++
albinism, impaired fertility.++
goiter, alopecia, fetal resorption, cretinism, myxedema, lethargy, drowsiness,
timidity. At necropsy, feline thyroid weight is over 12 mg/100g body weight.
as a deficiency.++
muscle disease", skeletal and cardiac myopathy.
on data in other species: Nervousness, anorexia, vomiting, weakness, ataxia,
dyspnea and death due to pulmonary edema within hours to days.++
* Based on a diet providing 4.0 kcal metabolizable energy/g. For diets with a different
caloric density, multiply the amount given times the quotient of (kcal/g of that diet divided by 4).
** Ca should equal or exceed P and twice these amounts are recommended during growth and lactation.
+ The greater amount is recommended during lactation.
++This mineral imbalance is rare in dogs and cats.
AND FUNCTIONS OF VITAMINS
A, D, E, and K
B and C (absorbic acid)
and Excreted with
in diet of healthy animals
although minimal for K since it is produced by intestinal bacteria.
or minimal amounts needed because B vitamins are produced by bacteria in
the intestinal tract, which decreases dietary need. The B-vitamin Niacin
is also produced, although quite inefficiently, from the amino acid tryptophan
by all animals except cats. Vitamin C is produced from glucose in the liver
in adequate quantities to meet the needs of all animals except primates,
guinea pigs, fruit bats, red vented bulbul birds, coho salmon, and rainbow
fats and oils, egg yolks and cereal grain germ.
yeast, egg yolks and whole cereal grain, and for vitamin C fresh fruits
but vitamin E occur as inactive pro-vitamins in non-animal source foods.
Cats, in contrast to other animals, are unable to convert the inactive
pro-vitamin, beta-carotine, to vitamin A. The cat, therefore, must consume
preformed vitamin A, which is present only in animal tissues.
as the active form in all foods.
except B12 of which a 3-5 year supply is stored in the liver.
occur when ++
storage is depleted.++
excretion increases, or intake or synthesis in body decreases (e.g., oral
antibiotics at high levels for prolonged periods).++
Deficiencies are manifested by alterations in these functions.
= vision, hearing, tract lining, skin and bone (controls cell differentiation
and regulates rate of mitosis)
= bone, teeth, and calcium and phosphorus absorption and utilization.
= antioxidant, muscle, fat and reproduction.
= blood clotting.
= appetite and metabolism
= wound healing and capillary fragility, i.e., anti-hemorrhage, anti-scurvy.
can't be excreted so toxicities of A and D occur.++
times the vitamin D requirement increases plasma cholesterol and 10 times
causes calcium deposition in soft tissue. ++
times the vitamin A requirement is necessary to cause toxicity. Excess
carotene intake won't cause vitamin A toxicity.++
excreted so toxicities usually don't occur.
VITAMIN REQUIREMENTS AND SIGNS OF DEFICIENCY AND TOXICITY
(3.3 IU = 1 mg retinol)
failure, retinal degeneration, tearing, papilledema, keratomalacia, night
blindness, photophobia, conjunctivitis, poor coat, weakness of hind legs,
increased susceptibility to infectious diseases. Plasma vitamin A less
than 10 ug retinol or 45 IU/dl.+
weight loss, bone decalcification, hyperesthesia, plasma vitamin A above
600 ug retinol or 1800 IU/dl (normal is 40-100 ug/dl).
(40 IU = 1 ug)
in young, osteomalacia in adults, lordosis, chest deformity and poor eruption
of permanent teeth.+
weight loss, nausea, fatigue, soft tissue calcification, hypercalcemia,
diarrhea, dehydration, death.
failure with weak or dead feti. Muscular dystrophy, pansteatitis, progressive
retinal atrophy, intestinal lipofuscinosis (brown gut disease) impaired
required except during antibacterial therapy or chronic ileal or colonic
clotting time and hemorrhage.+
recorded, but high levels probably dangerous.
required for normal cats.
healing, increased susceptibility to disease, hemorrhage, anemia, rickets.+
vomiting, weight loss, dehydration, paralysis, prostration, abnormal reflexes,
ataxia, convulsions, cardiac disorders, ventral flexion of neck, called
"Chastek Paralysis", mydriasis.+
scaly skin, erythema, posterior muscular weakness, anemia, sudden death,
cheilosis, glossitis, pannus, reduced fertility, fatty liver, testicular
tongue", hemorrhagic diarrhea, anemia, reddening and ulcertaion of mucous
membranes of mouth and tongue, death.
cats only signs may be diarrhea, emaciation and death.+
of blood vessels, itching, burning of skin.
hypochromic anemia, high serum iron, atherosclerosis, convulsions.+
hypoglycemia, hypochloremia, BUN increase, gastritis, enteritis, convulsions,
fatty liver, coma and death.+
Acid (Pteroyl-glutamic Acid)
to blood loss, or prolonged malabsorption, or sulfonamide administration.
Hypoplasia of bone marrow, macrocytic anemia, glossitis.+
dermatitis, alopecia, dried saliva around mouth and secretions around eyes,
weakness, diarrhea, progressive spasticity and posterior paralysis.+
occur clinically, experimentally causes a macrocytic anemia.+
liver, hypoalbuminemia, and increased alkaline phosphatase, prothrombin
time, hemoglobin and hematocrit.+
diarrhea caused by 10 g/day or greater.
* Twice these amounts are recommended during growth and lactation.
** Based on a diet providing 4.0 kcal metabolizable energy/g. For diets with a different caloric density, multiply the amount given times the quotient of (kcal/g of that diet divided by 4).
+ All result in retarded growth or weight loss and most in anorexia.
++Although routinely listed as a vitamin it is not and is not needed for metabolism. It is needed as a structural component of fat and nervous tissue.