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More and more pet owners want to make sure their kitties are getting all the nutrition they need right meow and later too.
In fact, if you look at recent data, there was a 21% sales increase for pet supplements in 2021 alone 😲. That’s a lot of pet parents looking for ways to help their cats live healthier, more comfortable lives.
But you want to ensure you’re choosing supplements for cats that will meet your pet’s needs. Whether they are young kittens or mature seniors, there’s a supplement to treat cat joint pain out there that can help.
In this post, we’ll go over the history of supplements for cats, what types of supplements for cats are on the market today, and how they benefit your cat in the long run.
Plus, we’ll get into 5 reasons why you need joint supplements for cats in your home and even the best supplements for cats in pain that will help them feel better in no time.
Brief History Of Supplements for Cats
Humans have been using herbal treatments to cure what ails us and our loved ones for hundreds of years, but we didn’t start commercializing an entire industry until recently.
In terms of our pets, commercially available supplements haven’t been around for long. In fact, it only started taking off in the last decade or so.
That doesn’t mean it’s a small industry by any means. Pet health supplements were already a $636 million industry globally in 2018 alone, projected to be worth nearly $35 billion by 2024. That’s a lot of caring pet paw-rents seeking supplements for cats and other household pets!
The focus on age and obesity-related health concerns and the desire to proactively manage health concerns in cats and other pets has driven the pet wellness market into the stratosphere.
As humans learn the benefit of proactive wellness, we want the same for our pets. After all, we don’t call our pets furry family members for nothing!
Benefits of Supplements for Cats
Cat owners can seek supplements for cats for many reasons.
Maybe you want to treat a specific problem, or maybe you want to proactively work on wellness for your cat.
By giving our kitties supplements, we can make sure they are getting maximum nutrition, as well as prepare for any health challenges that may come up as they age.
Common problems cat owners want to treat are:
- Nutritional Deficiencies
- Arthritis or other degenerative joint diseases (DJD)
- Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases (FLUTD)
Beyond those common issues, ageing is a huge part of pet wellness. Pet owners want to ensure that their kitty’s digestive health, joints, coat, and immune system remain completely healthy as they reach their golden years.
Supplements for cats can be added to your cat’s diet to help make sure these problems are addressed.
Tips and Strategies for Choosing Nutritional Supplements for Cats
Before you start deciding to choose specific supplements for cats in your home, you might want to consider learning to how to read a supplement label.
While that sounds funny, it’s important to fully understand what your cat will benefit from versus something just a filler.
The process of integrating supplements for cats doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are our top tips and tricks for getting supplements for cats into your kitty’s diet:
- When you observe your cat doing something outside its norm, it may be time to think about some supplements for cats. Be sure to talk to your vet first.
- Observe your furry family member carefully when they start taking the supplements for cats, as you’ll want to ensure it is helping and not harming them. Diarrhea and vomiting, as well as general behaviours that would make you say, “That’s not how he usually plays/sleeps/walks…”
- Make sure you consult your vet if you notice anything strange in your cat’s litter box (such as blood).
- Kitty doesn’t like taking their vitamins? Supplements for cats can be tricky to administer. Opt for a formula that offers the highest vitamin and mineral doses in the smallest serving size, like TRI-ACTA for Pets.
- When in doubt, seek your veterinarian’s advice about choosing cat supplements.
Finally, when choosing a supplement, make sure that it checks the following boxes:
- Safe and effective. Look for cat supplements that have designations, such as the Veterinary Health Product designation for Canadian products, or the NASC seal of quality for products made in the United States. These designations indicate that the supplement you’re buying undergoes regular third-party batch testing of their ingredients to ensure their therapeutic value, follows strict labelling guidelines, and uses ingredients that are backed by scientific research.
- The formula has lots of active ingredients. When you learn how to read a supplement label, you might notice that a lot of joint supplements on the market contain 50-80% inactive ingredients—meaning flavourings, colours, additives, preservatives, binders, and more. While these ingredients aren’t necessarily harmful for your pet, they increase the dosage amount, add unnecessary calories, and open up the door to potential allergens. Instead, look for supplements like TRI-ACTA that contain 100% active ingredients.
- Has positive reviews. Checking out online reviews and opinions from other pet owners and professionals on social media is a great way to get a birds-eye view of the supplement company’s overall reputation among their customers. But be aware that fake reviews can exist, so use your best judgement when reading reviews. People who have had a particularly good (or bad) experience will usually take the time for a detailed review rather than just leaving a simple rating.
Types of Cat Supplements
If you’re looking at supplements for cats, there are plenty of options for treating specific health concerns.
Before we get into all the details on types of cat supplements and how they benefit your feline, you might be asking which kinds of supplements we’ll cover in this section.
Some of the most popular supplements for cats include:
Natural Supplements for Cats
When we discuss natural supplements for cats, it’s important to be distinct about what we’re talking about. Sometimes, when people think about natural supplements, they think of herbal or plant-based. In reality, many supplements, including TRI-ACTA, contain only all-natural ingredients—the glucosamine in TRI-ACTA is sourced from shellfish, for example.
Other examples of natural supplements for cats include:
- Green-lipped mussel powder: Derived from the green-lipped mussels native to New Zealand, these creatures have been shown to help reduce joint inflammation and pain in dogs and cats.
- Fish oil for cats: Often sourced from salmon or krill, fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids, which provide a wide variety of benefits to your kitty’s health, including relieving dry skin, slowing the progression of kidney disease, supporting heart health, and more.
- CBD oil for cats: Derived from cannabis, CBD is a natural substance that calms and soothes your cat’s muscles without providing the typical “high” that would be associated with cannabis products that contain THC.
Herbal Supplements for Cats
Another type of natural supplement for cats is herbal. Since herbal supplements tend to have a more subtle effect than other supplements for cats, pet pawrents may not notice impacts immediately. But, in time, adding the right natural or herbal supplement can make a big difference for your cat.
Common herbs for cats and their benefits as natural supplements are outlined in the table below.
Though humans use it to calm down, valerian is a stimulant for cats. Lazy (sorry, Garfield) kitties can benefit from the energy boost this root can give them, allowing them to have the energy to get some active time in and keep their weight in check.
A natural supplement for cats who suffer from allergies, itchiness, and even digestive troubles.
Nature’s disinfectant, goldenseal, is great for healing wounds, and if your cat has swollen eyes from allergies or infection, goldenseal is helpful at reducing inflammation.
Echinacea is great to use if your cat is dealing with respiratory issues or just to support a healthy immune system.
You can get the benefits of these herbs by checking out natural supplements for cats that come most often in the form of natural tinctures you can drop into food or onto treats. As always, consult your veterinarian first before introducing anything new to your furry family member.
Natural Joint Supplements for Cats
Joint supplements with ingredients like yucca schidigera are common finds when you’re looking for natural joint supplements for cats. While herbal or plant-based might seem better, the therapeutic value of a plant-based supplement can be hard to determine. In other words, you’re never sure exactly how much joint-healing power your cat is getting with a plant-based supplement.
On the other hand, ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM can be precisely measured and have evidence-based scientific research behind them proving their efficacy. With medications like TRI-ACTA, you can be sure your cat is getting the full therapeutic benefit possible for their joints in every dose.
Nutritional Supplements for Cats
Most commercially available cat foods give your cat all the nutrients it needs, but sometimes your feline needs a little extra to keep them feeling purr-fect.
Always consult your vet before deciding to administer food supplements for cats in your home, as cats may need different kinds of specific supplementation.
The table below outlines some key vitamins and minerals that cats need in their diet and why they are important to their overall health:
Vitamin or Mineral
An Amino acid that cats can’t naturally produce, but they need it to maintain normal vision, digestion, heart muscle function and to maintain a healthy immune system.
Also known as Vitamin B1, thiamine is necessary for your cat’s metabolism. Thankfully, it’s in most of your cat’s food already, but watch out for sulfur dioxide in some fresh-meat foods, as it can actually block or inhibit B1 from being absorbed by your kitty’s system.
A water-soluble vitamin that is the key to energy metabolism, your cat needs niacin for various essential reasons, including maintaining healthy skin and digestion. Cats actually need more of it than dogs, leading many owners to pursue natural supplements for cats.
This is a tricky one. Cats definitely need Vitamin D to absorb calcium, but can’t synthesize it the same way humans do from the sun (thanks to their fur). However, you need to ensure you don’t give too much to your cat, as Vitamin D is toxic to cats in high doses.
Your cat’s skin, coat, muscles, and nerves all need Vitamin A to thrive, but again, this fat-soluble vitamin can be toxic to your kitty at too large a level. This is also typically found in cat foods, so be careful when supplementing it into their diet.
Glucosamine Supplements for Cats
Joint health supplements for cats have been around for a long time and continue to see high demand among cat owners.
In fact, in a 2020 survey, it was found that 29% of pet owners who use supplements for cats choose products that help ease joint and mobility issues, making it one of the most popular categories of supplements for cats out there!
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring chemical found in cats’ bodies and is an essential part of cat health. It helps keep the rubbery stuff between your cat’s bones, aka their cartilage, healthy. Glucosamine supplements for cats turn up the production of proteoglycans, which is kind of like the building blocks of your pet’s cartilage. As cats age, face injuries, or have weight trouble, glucosamine supplements for cats can help them feel comfortable again.
Supplements with glucosamine often include other compounds that help make up cartilage to help support your cat’s total joint health and wellbeing, such as:
- Chondroitin: Prevents cartilage from breaking down and deteriorating by inhibiting the enzymes that wear away at cartilage.
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): Reduces inflammation in the joints by enhancing the production of cortisol in your cat’s body.
- Hyaluronic acid: Retains water to promote lubrication of joints and strengthen connective tissue, which helps to reduce pain and inflammation.
TRI-ACTA H.A. for Pets
Our maximum strength formula is optimally designed to accelerate the formation of cartilage, minimize inflammation, expedite the healing process, and improve joint conditions.
Hairball Supplements for Cats
If there was something that you could say bothered most cats at some point during their lives, it would probably be hairballs.
Hairballs are the results of your cat’s grooming routine. Cats who excessively groom themselves are more likely to get hairballs. It is more common in certain cat breeds with longer hair, like Persians or Maine Coons.
Hairballs happen when fur doesn’t make it out of the stomach and through the full digestive tract. Instead, your poor kitty has to vomit it back up.
Gross right? Not only is it unpleasant to witness your poor cat getting rid of the hairball, and even grosser to clean up, but hairballs can actually cause your cat to suffer from intestinal blockages.
Some common options and natural supplements for cats who have hairballs are outlined in the table below.
Supplements for Cats with Hairballs
Joint health supplements for cats that contain ingredients like slippery elm bark, psyllium seed, and marshmallow root, you can ensure both the prevention and removal of your cat’s hairballs.
Treats for Cats with Hairballs
If giving your kitty a supplement proves difficult, try treats specifically formulated to give them the lubrication they need to keep things moving and to prevent hairballs from forming.
Specialty Foods for Cats with Hairballs
The simplest way to prevent hairballs is to feed your kitty food with natural fiber. This ensures things keep moving in their digestive system without having to worry about adding anything extra to their meal plan.
5 Reasons to Use Supplements for Cats
There’s a reason for everything, including why you’d supplement your cat’s diet in the first place.
Now that we’ve covered the most popular supplements for cats, we will break down why supplements for cats are so helpful.
You Want to Support Your Cat’s Joint Health as They Grow
Cats are notorious for getting themselves into mischief—which often requires them to contort their bodies to fit into small spaces, run away from another animal they got just a little too close to, or use those powerful claws to help them climb a tall tree. When your cat isn’t sleeping, they are putting their joints to work.
To help your cat maintain optimal joint health as they age, incorporating joint supplements into their daily diet is necessary. TRI-ACTA is a great preventative joint supplement, formulated with two types of glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM to provide cartilage repair and anti-inflammatory properties. If your kitty currently has a joint issue, giving them the extra-strength TRI-ACTA H.A. is a great bet—the addition of hyaluronic acid helps improve the viscosity of the synovial fluid in your cat’s joints, resulting in freer and more comfortable movement.
You Have A Senior Cat
When you see your normally active cat ignoring even their favourite toys, or avoiding getting up from their bed, joint pain or arthritis could be the culprit!
Joint health is really important to take care of as cats get older, which is why it’s our number one reason to use supplements for cats.
As they age, cats (just like humans) have their cartilage deteriorate and that can cause your kitty to experience symptoms like:
- Slow or difficult moving
- Spinal issues (like a “hump”)
- Licking, chewing on affected joints
Joint supplements for cats allow you to ease joint-related symptoms and help your cat live more comfortably.
One study found 90% of cats 12 and older showed evidence of arthritis when x-rayed, and 20% of those as young as one year old also showed early signs of arthritis. That’s a lot of kitties in need of some joint health support.
By using joint supplements for senior cats, you will be able to ease the degradation of cartilage and make sure your cat has plenty of cushion between its bones. That means playtime will be much more enjoyable and inactive, arthritic cats will be able to run, jump, and move more easily.
Aside from joint issues, mature or senior cats often face troubles related to the following:
- Weaker immune systems
- Weight gain or loss
- Skin/coat problems or infections
- Hearing problems
- Dental issues
- Degenerative joint problems
In a seven-and-a-half-year study, researchers watched over three groups of cats as they began to age. One group received no supplementation, one received some, and the third group received a cocktail of vitamin E, beta-carotene, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and a prebiotic, chicory root.
The biggest takeaways from the study? Participants given the most supplementation (that’s group three) lived almost a year longer than the other groups. Not only that, but they also maintained healthier weights and did better on lab tests that examined their blood glucose levels (aka, less likely to get diabetes).
The bottom line? Checking out some supplements for older cats may be the ticket to your kitty living not only longer, but healthier, too.
You’re Implementing a Special Diet
Who doesn’t want their cat to be feeling their best?
Some owners may try a specialty diet to appeal to their cat’s wild side, like a cat raw food diet, and that can require some extra supplementation to make sure your cat is at the top of its game.
Reason number three on our list is all about choosing the right supplements for cats that will balance their specialty diet. Cats need a balanced diet that includes:
- Amino Acids found in fish & meat (like arginine and taurine)
- Fish & Meat Protein
- Fatty Acids
If you’re opting for a specialty diet like raw cat food, ensuring each of these components makes it into your cat’s diet isn’t as straightforward as picking up a pre-formulated, pre-measured and pre-balanced manufactured food. Vets and scientists spend years developing recipes for cat food that includes complete nutrition to avoid dangerous diet deficiencies.
An example of something really important to your cat’s well-being? Taurine.
Taurine is something cats need for eyesight, digestion, and heart muscle function, but can’t produce it naturally in their bodies. So they need to get it from their diet, and sometimes meat alone is not enough. In fact, many manufactured pet foods add extra taurine to their blends, and you should too if the DIY diet is your preferred way of feeding your cat.
So now you can see why adding essential vitamins and minerals in the form of a supplement can make sure your kitty is healthy and happy no matter the diet they have.
Your Cat is Recovering from Injury or Surgery Or Has Chronic Joint Pain
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Cats always land on their feet”?
When cats need help recovering from joint-related surgery or to deal with chronic joint pain, cat joint supplements can provide much-needed relief.
Key ingredients like glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid in a supplement like TRI-ACTA H.A. can help promote cartilage production and reduce levels of inflammation.
Joint supplements are especially useful for reducing the amount of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that your kitty takes. These drugs can have significant negative impacts on the kidneys, liver, and stomach, resulting in serious conditions like organ failure or ulcers. But when you use joint supplements in conjunction with NSAIDs, over time you will be able to reduce the NSAID dosage until it’s eliminated, and continue on with the safe joint supplement.
Best Joint Supplements for Cats
Now that you’re an expert on what types of supplements for cats exist and what reasons you might have for trying them, we’re going to talk about the best joint supplements for cats out there.
1. Integricare TRI-ACTA for Pets
We saved the best for last, our very own TRI-ACTA for pets.
We may be a little biased, but we know our joint health supplements for cats are the best out there.
Not only is it formulated with 100% active ingredients (bye-bye fillers 🙅♀️) but TRI-ACTA is also a Health Canada-approved Veterinary Health Product (VHP) designation, so you can trust your feline is getting not only what they need, and nothing they don’t with our supplements for cats.
TRI-ACTA for pets contains these key ingredients that will make your pet’s joints feel their best:
- Glucosamine sulfate and HCl: glucosamine sulfate aids your cat’s joint health by ensuring they have the sulfur they need to heal and maintain their joint structures, while glucosamine HCl is highly-bioavailable, meaning your kitty’s body can absorb it faster.
- Chondroitin: when paired with glucosamine, helps repair and maintain the cartilage in your cat’s joints.
- MSM: is a natural anti-inflammatory that calms down swollen joints, helping your cat feel more comfortable and move easier.
For a little extra joint health support, our sister product, Integricare’s TRI-ACTA H.A. contains the added bonus of hyaluronic acid to keep your cat’s joints well-lubricated by increasing the viscosity of their synovial fluid.
TRI-ACTA H.A. for Pets
Our maximum strength formula is optimally designed to accelerate the formation of cartilage, minimize inflammation, expedite the healing process, and improve joint conditions.
Our formula offers an economical, low cost per serving, and If you also have dogs in the house, you can serve this power-packed supplement to them as well (obviously with an appropriate dose for their size).
Price: $23.99 – $64.99 CAD for TRI-ACTA, and $27.99 to $79.99 for TRI-ACTA H.A. as of August 2023
2. Maple & Cedar Happy Hips & Joints
Looking for an easy-to-feed treat that will help alleviate joint pain for your kitty?
Then maybe this Canadian-made option is for you!
Maple & Cedar’s Happy Hips and Joints contains the following active ingredients:
- Hydrolyzed Collagen
- Hemp Seed Protein
- Cold Pressed Hemp Seed Oil
This option features dried salmon that will make for a tasty treat your cat will enjoy. The one downside with this treat? It does have some fillers that aren’t necessary for ensuring good joint health for your cat.
Price: $11.99 CAD as of August 2023
3. Omega Alpha GlucosaPet
Hoping to find liquid supplements for cats?
Alpha omega’s GlucosaPet offers that!
Packed with all the ingredients that make joint supplements for cats powerful fighters of joint degradation (we’re looking at you, glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM) plus a few extra ingredients like devil’s claw root and silver root–be sure to check with your vet to make sure these ingredients will be ok for your cat to have.
One thing we don’t love? There are definitely a few fillers at play here, which is not ideal in our books. Another thing we don’t love is that the serving size is pretty large, and that can be hard to administer in our experience.
Price: $47.65 CAD as of August 2023.
Summary on Supplements for Cats
In this post, we’ve equipped you with all of the information you might need to know before choosing which supplements for cats you think will be most beneficial for your favourite feline.
We covered everything from the history of supplements for cats, types of supplements for cats, and of course, what reason you would have for starting a regimen that includes supplements for cats. That, and we gave you our picks for the best joint supplements for cats out there, including our very own TRI-ACTA for Pets and TRI-ACTA H.A.
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Proactive & Therapeutic Joint Supplements
When given daily, Integricare joint supplements recover bone and joint injuries faster and help prevent mobility injuries from happening in the first place.