From about the 1970s, information about the benefits of omega 3 began to be known. In recent years, many nutritionists have echoed its pros and cons, encouraging people to include it in their diet and that of their pets. Of course, rigorous precautions must be taken to avoid these disadvantages as much as possible.
That said, omega 3 for cats can be very beneficial, but why? What is omega 3 in cats and what foods high in food are good for these animals? In this ‘ Pets Feed ‘ article, we’ll clarify all doubts and explain how to give omega 3 to a cat.
What is omega 3?
Omega 3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that provide various benefits, but because mammals cannot produce them, they must obtain them from sources that nature provides (tissues of certain fish and crustaceans and vegetables such as canola, soy, flaxseed, nuts, etc.).
There are different types of Omega 3:
- Hexadecatrienic acid (HTA).
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): it is associated with benefits in the cardiovascular system of mammals.
- Stearidonic acid (SDA): synthesized from ALA, it is known to be found in black currant, hemp and echium oils.
- Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA): it has been found in some species of mussels and has been described as inhibiting cyclooxygenase, making it a mild anti-inflammatory.
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): in human medicine, it is reputed to be effective against certain types of hyperlipidemia.
- Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA).
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): It has been popularized that consumption in humans could reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, although this hypothesis is still under study.
- Tetracosapentaenoic acid.
- Tetracosahexaenoic acid (nisinic acid): found in cod, Japanese sardines and shark liver oil.
Benefits of Omega 3 for Cats
As mentioned in the previous section, there are many types of Omega 3 and, since they have different chemical characteristics, they also have different effects individually. We can generalize the benefits of these fatty acids in our feline as follows:
- They are very effective anti-inflammatory drugs: ETA is associated with the inhibition of cyclooxygenases (a protein involved in the formation of phlogo makers), so it ends up inhibiting inflammation and helping joint and / or muscle pain ).
- They act as cognitive stimulants: some studies have described that omega 3 can provide significant brain benefits in dogs and cats, so it is encouraged to include it in the diet in the right way.
- They have anti-stress properties: it has been popularized that the correct use of omega 3 could be associated with the production of chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine which, among other things, counteract stress in mammals. Do not miss the article presenting symptoms of stress in cats to learn how to identify it.
- They have anti-cancer properties: it has been found that in men, the use of omega 3 reduces the risk that a person will suffer from breast or colon cancer. In animals, it is still under study.
- Countering excess fat: It has been found that EPA can counter hyperlipidemia by eliminating or decreasing excess so-called “bad fats”.
- They act as cardiovascular protectors: this action is associated with ALA, which has been included in many studies where it has been accompanied by good results in its mission to improve the cardiovascular quality of mammals.
What is omega 3 used for in cats?
After considering the benefits of omega 3 for cats, we can verify that these fatty acids have the following objectives:
- They improve cardiovascular and joint health, so they are recommended for degenerative or bone-related diseases, such as osteoarthritis.
- They promote the condition of the cat’s skin and hair, so it is recommended to include them in its diet and to buy a cat shampoo containing omega 3
How to give omega 3 to a cat?
There are two ways to give omega 3 to a cat: through a diet or through supplements. In the first case, there is the possibility of acquiring a dry or canned diet enriched with these fatty acids, using salmon oil or giving the animal foods rich in omega 3.
In the second case, which includes supplements, it will be the veterinarian who will pay the dose of omega 3 for cats and the frequency, since these are products with higher concentration.
Foods rich in omega 3 for cats
It is no coincidence that, for a few years, in all cartoons or children’s entertainment, the cat is shown eating fish. Many marine species are at the origin of many types of omega 3 and, as we already mentioned in the previous sections, they bring many benefits for the health of our feline. However, you should always consult the veterinarian when it comes to including any type of nutrient in your diet so that we know exactly what we are doing and that we can get some benefits, not some drawbacks.
- The most famous species that provide omega 3 by nature and that we can give to our cat are:
- Blue fish: tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc.
- Seafood: shrimps, ribs, mussels, etc.
- Green leafy vegetables: cucumber, lettuce, spinach, etc.
- Vegetable oils: linseed oil, olive oil, walnut oil, soybean oil, etc.
- Nuts: almonds.
Omega 3 side effects in cats
Since we mention substances that are still under study, we cannot exclude that these effects are associated with other chemical substances that have their sources. The side effects of these fatty acids usually appear when there is too much in the diet. Therefore, we must keep in mind that we cannot overdo it with a substance due to the many benefits that have been discovered. The most characteristic symptoms that will be observed in a cat when it has ingested a product containing omega 3 in excess are:
- Abdominal pain
- Halitosis (bad breath)
Each substance has its dose and exceeding it causes undesirable effects. This dose should be adapted to the species, breed, sex, age, weight and many other factors inherent in the animal. The veterinarian should be consulted if new substances are to be included in his diet, regardless of the popularity of its benefits.