Vitamins and Supplements for Cats (cont.)

Types of Nutraceuticals

Nutraceutical products are found in the supplement section in pet stores and online. Some of the most popular-selling ones for cats are:

  • Glucosamine helps bones move smoothly and is often touted as a treatment for arthritis, although Cruz says it does not relieve its pain.
  • Chondroitin is also for healthy bone and joints. It is often found with glucosamine.
  • Milk thistle extract helps remove toxins from the cat's liver. It may be used for cats with hepatitis.

Cat Supplements to Avoid

Experts say there are a lot of unsafe supplements, but the biggest ones to avoid include:

  • Garlic: destroys red blood cells, leading to anemia
  • Onion: destroys red blood cells, leading to anemia
  • Calcium: too much can be toxic
  • Vitamin D: too much can be toxic
  • Vitamin C: too much can cause overly acidic urine, which can lead to crystal formation and a life-threatening blockage

Where to Buy Cat Supplements

Before buying a supplement, ask your veterinarian which kind, if any, is best suited for your cat's life stage and medical condition. “It is best to keep your vet in the loop on any supplements you are thinking about giving to your cats,” Sanderson says. She recommends asking your vet about a reputable seller of cat supplements, adding that she would not buy them online unless she had confidence in the company selling them.

Cruz says, “Don't believe everything that you read on the Net.” Cruz says she has seen some great nutritional breakthroughs in the past 20 years, but she's also seen an abundance of fad supplements.