What Vitamins Do Cats Need

Understanding the nutritional needs of our feline companions is crucial for ensuring their well-being, and a key aspect of this is providing them with the right vitamins in their diet. Cats, just like humans, require a range of vitamins to support different bodily functions and maintain overall health. From vitamin A for vision and immune function to vitamin D for bone health, it is essential to have a well-balanced diet that meets these requirements.

In this introduction, we will explore the specific vitamins that are essential for cats and where to find them, shedding light on the sources that contribute to a wholesome and nourishing feline diet. Whether you are an experienced cat owner or new to feline care, understanding the importance of these vitamins and their dietary sources is crucial for promoting a vibrant and happy life for your furry friend.

What Vitamins Do Cats Need in Their Diet Where To Find Them

Below are the essential vitamins that cats require in their diet and the sources where they can be found:

Fat-Soluble Vitamins:

  1. Vitamin A: This vitamin is crucial for night vision, skin health, and immune function. It can be found in liver, fish oil, eggs, and fortified milk.
  2. Vitamin D: It helps in the absorption of calcium and maintains strong bones and teeth. Cats can obtain it from oily fish, liver, and egg yolks. They can also synthesize some Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight.
  3. Vitamin E: This antioxidant protects cells from damage. It is present in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.
  4. Vitamin K: It aids in blood clotting and can be found in liver, leafy greens, and certain vegetables.

Water-Soluble Vitamins:

  1. B vitamins (complex): These vitamins play various roles in energy metabolism, nervous system function, and red blood cell production. They are present in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and whole grains.
  2. Thiamine (B1): It is important for nerve function and converting food into energy. Sources include pork, liver, whole grains, and some vegetables.
  3. Riboflavin (B2): This vitamin is involved in cell energy production and vision. It can be found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
  4. Niacin (B3): It helps release energy from food and maintains healthy skin. Sources include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and peanuts.
  5. Pyridoxine (B6): This vitamin supports amino acid metabolism and brain function. It is present in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and soybeans.
  6. Biotin: It is important for skin and hair health and can be found in egg yolks, liver, and certain vegetables.
  7. Pantothenic acid: This vitamin is involved in various metabolic processes and can be obtained from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and whole grains.
  8. Vitamin B12: It is essential for nerve function and DNA synthesis. Sources include animal products like meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.

Where to Find Them:

  • Premium commercial cat food: The majority of commercially available cat foods are specially formulated to fulfill all of your cat’s nutritional requirements, including essential vitamins. It is advisable to choose foods that are labeled as “complete and balanced” by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
  • Freshly prepared meat and fish: You can enhance your cat’s diet by incorporating small portions of cooked, unseasoned meat or fish. However, it is important to exercise caution and avoid excessive amounts, as this can potentially strain their kidneys.
  • Nutritious fruits and vegetables: Several fruits and vegetables are considered safe for cats when consumed in moderation. Optimal choices include blueberries, strawberries, broccoli, and carrots.

What Vitamins Do Cats Need in Their Diet Where To Find Them

Where Can Cats Get the Vitamins they Need

Cats need a well-balanced diet in order to acquire the necessary vitamins for their overall well-being. Manufactured cat foods are specifically designed to fulfill the nutritional requirements of cats, incorporating a combination of essential vitamins and minerals. Below are several crucial vitamins that play a significant role in a cat’s health, along with the food sources from which they can be obtained:

Vitamin A:

  • Source: Liver, fish oil, egg yolks.

Vitamin D:

  • Source: Fish liver oils, fatty fish, egg yolks.

Vitamin E:

  • Source: Vegetable oils, nuts, seeds.

Vitamin K:

  • Source: Leafy green vegetables, fish, liver.

Vitamin B-complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12):

  • Sources: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products.

Folic Acid (B9):

  • Source: Liver, kidneys, green leafy vegetables.

Biotin (B7):

  • Source: Liver, eggs, meat.

Vitamin C:

  • Cats can synthesize Vitamin C on their own, so it is not considered an essential dietary requirement for them.


  • Source: Eggs, liver, fish.
What Vitamins Do Cats Need Everyday

Cats require a variety of vitamins to maintain their health. As stated by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), cat food should include the following essential vitamins:

  1. Vitamin A: This vitamin is crucial for vision, bone and tooth development, reproduction, and the upkeep of skin and mucous membranes.
  2. Vitamin D: It aids in increasing blood calcium and phosphorus levels, which are necessary for bone growth and maintenance.
  3. Vitamin E: An important antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.
  4. Vitamin K: Essential for normal blood clotting.
  5. Thiamin: It plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism.

In addition, cats require small amounts of other vitamins like Vitamin B12, which supports the immune and digestive systems. This vitamin can be found in animal proteins such as meat, liver, and fish. It is vital to provide these vitamins through a nutritionally complete and balanced cat food. If considering additional supplementation, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian.

What Vitamins Do Cats Need to Eat

Cats necessitate a range of vitamins to maintain their well-being. As per the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), cat food must contain appropriate quantities and proportions of specific vitamins to ensure the overall health of cats. These vital vitamins encompass:

  1. Vitamin A: Crucial for the health of the skin and eyes.
  2. Vitamin D: Indispensable for the maintenance of sturdy bones and teeth.
  3.  Vitamin E: An antioxidant that shields cells from harm.
  4. Vitamin K: Essential for normal blood clotting.
  5. B vitamins: Such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, and pantothenic acid, which serve various functions in the body, including energy metabolism and the upkeep of a healthy coat and skin.

What Nutrients Do Cats Need in Their Diet

Cats require a variety of essential nutrients, in addition to vitamins, to maintain optimal health:


  1. Protein: An indispensable component of a feline’s diet, necessary for tissue repair, muscle growth, and enzyme production. Opt for high-quality protein sources derived from animals such as chicken, fish, or lamb when selecting their food.
  2. Fats: Vital for energy, metabolism, cellular function, and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Cats have a preference for animal fats like chicken fat or salmon oil, but it is important to strike a balance with healthy plant fats like flaxseed oil or olive oil.
  3. Carbohydrates: Although not crucial, they provide readily available energy. Cats have a lower carbohydrate digestion capacity compared to other animals, so it is advisable to choose moderate levels of easily digestible carbohydrates such as brown rice, oats, or barley.


  1. Minerals: Minerals such as calcium and phosphorus play a vital role in maintaining strong bones and teeth, while potassium supports proper nerve and muscle function. Sodium and chloride are necessary for maintaining electrolyte balance, and magnesium is essential for enzyme activity. These minerals are crucial for your cat’s overall health and well-being.
  2. Essential amino acids: When it comes to essential amino acids, cats require certain ones like taurine and arginine, as their bodies cannot produce them. It is important to choose cat food that is fortified with these essential amino acids to ensure your cat’s nutritional needs are met.
  3. Water: Water is the most crucial nutrient for cats, as it is necessary for all bodily functions. It is important to provide your cat with access to clean and fresh water throughout the day to keep them hydrated and support their overall health.

Do Cats Need Vitamin D

Cats require vitamin D for their overall well-being, but unlike humans, they cannot produce it naturally in their skin through exposure to sunlight. Instead, they rely on their diet to obtain this essential nutrient. Commercial cat foods often contain added vitamin D to meet their dietary needs. Vitamin D plays a vital role in maintaining cats’ bone health, muscle function, nerve function, and immune system.

Common sources of vitamin D in cat food include fish, liver, egg yolks, and beef. It is crucial to ensure that cats receive the recommended amount of vitamin D through their diet, as excessive intake can be harmful to them. Therefore, if cats are already consuming a balanced and complete diet, there is generally no need to provide them with additional vitamin D supplements.

What Vitamins Do Cats Need

Vitamins for Cats Skin and Hair

The following are the essential vitamins that cats require for maintaining a healthy skin and coat:

  1. Vitamin A: This vitamin is crucial for the overall well-being of cats, as it supports healthy skin, vision, and growth. It plays a vital role in maintaining the condition of the skin and coat. Cats can obtain vitamin A from sources such as animal liver, fish liver oil, and cat foods that are fortified with this vitamin.
  2. Vitamin E: As a fat-soluble antioxidant, vitamin E protects cells from damage and promotes a glossy coat and healthy skin. Good sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils, wheat germ, and green leafy vegetables.
  3. Biotin (Vitamin B7): Biotin, also known as the “hair and skin vitamin,” is essential for the health of the skin, coat, nails, and paws. Most cat foods contain sufficient amounts of biotin, but raw diets may require additional supplementation.
  4.  Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids: These essential fatty acids are beneficial for reducing inflammation and maintaining the skin and coat in optimal condition. They can be obtained from sources such as fish oil, flaxseed oil, and specific cat supplements.
  5.  Zinc: Zinc plays a crucial role in supporting a healthy immune system, wound healing, and maintaining skin integrity. It can be found in meat, seafood, and whole grains. A deficiency in zinc can lead to skin problems.

While cats consuming a complete and balanced diet usually do not require additional supplements for their skin and coat, some cats may benefit from omega fatty acid or biotin supplements if they experience dry skin, dandruff, or a lackluster coat. It is always advisable to consult with a veterinarian before introducing any vitamins or supplements to your cat’s diet.

Do cats need vitamin C?

Cats do not need extra vitamin C in their diet since they are able to produce enough of it naturally in their liver using the glucuronic acid pathway. Unlike humans and certain other animals, cats do not require additional vitamin C. Even though vitamin C is crucial for bodily functions, cats belong to the group of species that can create their own vitamin C and do not rely on dietary intake for it. Providing cats with excessive amounts of vitamin C can potentially result in health issues, therefore, there is no need to add vitamin C supplements to their diet.

FAQs About What Vitamins Do Cats Need

Should you give your cats vitamins?

It is especially accurate when it comes to vitamins and minerals, thus the utilization of supplements is generally unnecessary if you are providing a well-rounded and comprehensive diet. Administering supplements to your cat can pose risks and should never be done without the consent of a veterinarian. It is crucial for cats to have constant access to clean and fresh water.

What vitamin do cats lack?

Cats possess a distinct characteristic as animals, as they are unable to generate their own Vitamin A, unlike dogs. Consequently, it becomes imperative to include this essential nutrient in their diet. Vitamin A plays a crucial role in enhancing a cat’s night vision, promoting the well-being of their skin, and bolstering their immune system.

Do vets recommend vitamins for cats?

Providing additional vitamins or minerals to your cat may result in more harm than benefit. In cases where your cat is unwell, supplements might be suggested. However, it is important to note that while some cats may require supplements due to an underlying condition, many supplements in veterinary medicine lack testing and evidence of their effectiveness.

What are the symptoms of vitamin deficiency in cats?

Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is an essential dietary requirement for cats. Insufficient intake of this vitamin can lead to various symptoms, including loss of appetite, vomiting, and neurological manifestations such as dilated pupils, impaired vision, balance problems, uncoordinated movements, seizures, and tremors.

Do indoor cats lack vitamin D?

Unlike humans, cats do not produce vitamin D in their skin when exposed to sunlight. As a result, cats rely on their diet to acquire vitamin D, and this essential nutrient is frequently added to pet foods.

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