Is Fish Oil Safe for Cats?
Although they’d never admit it, our cats rely on us to keep them happy and healthy.
As they age, cats can suffer from some of the same ailments that their staff — ahem — owners do. These problems can range from joint pain and skin issues to arthritis and cognitive decline.
While there’s no magic pill to cure all of these issues, fish oil supplements can help.
There are so many supplements marketed toward pet owners today, it’s only natural to wonder which supplements are safe and effective (and which are less fish oil, more snake oil). Thankfully, the health benefits of fish oil have been studied extensively across both human and veterinary medicine.
When it comes to fish oil, barring any allergies your cat may have, fish oil is generally considered safe and can have numerous health benefits.
That said, you should always consult your veterinarian before giving any new supplements.
Now here comes the tricky part: choosing a fish oil for your cat. From the type of fish a given oil is sourced from, to the way it’s processed, not all fish oil supplements are created equal.
So let’s take a deep dive into the wonderful, albeit sometimes smelly, world of fish oil.
What is fish oil?
Fish oil is extracted from, you probably guessed it — fish! It’s usually derived from fatty, coldwater fish. The oil is pressed and then processed through a centrifuge to purify it.
The resulting product is a concentrated form of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids: DHA and EPA.
The most common fish used in producing fish oil include:
- Anchovies (and you thought they were just for pizza)
The benefits of fish oil for humans have been touted for centuries, but more recent studies on the use of fish oils in pets have revealed just as many uses and health benefits for our four-legged friends.
What are the benefits of fish oil for cats?
The Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil help fight inflammation (AKA the immune system’s response to harmful stimuli). This anti-inflammatory effect offers a host of benefits for cats from nose to tail, including…
Ease pain and inflammation of arthritis
One of the most common uses of fish oil is to help ease pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases.
As cats age, they become more susceptible to developing arthritis and other joint problems. Just like us! Typically, cat owners notice their feline friends slowing down, playing less, or even becoming reluctant to run and jump.
While there’s plenty of scientific research indicating fish oil can have positive benefits for cats with arthritis, for many owners, seeing is believing. Countless cat owners and veterinarians have sung the praises of fish oil over the years, after supplementing with these potent fatty acids and seeing dramatic improvements in their cats’ energy and mobility.
Implementing a fish oil regimen can help get your cat back to doing what they love. (Like midnight zoomies and knocking things off counters. You know, cat stuff.)
Support brain health and cognitive function
Fish oil is well known for its cognitive benefits, in both humans and animals. It’s literally brain food.
Similar to humans and other animals, cats can experience a decline in cognitive function as they age. Studies have shown that both middle-aged and older cats showed marked improvement on cognitive tests after being supplemented with fish oil (and other vitamins).
Cat owners who supplement with fish oil have also observed improvements in their pet’s mental clarity. This is mainly attributable to fish oil’s high docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels, since DHA is directly linked to brain health and cognitive function.
Supplementing with a high-quality fish oil that’s a good source of DHA can help keep Mr. Whiskers sharp as a tack well into his golden years. And that means more bony snuggles for you.
Soothe allergies and skin conditions
From soothing dry, itchy skin to reducing the symptoms of allergies and other dermatological woes, fish oil is no one-trick pony!
Research shows that the DHA and EPA fatty acids in fish oil can help soothe inflammatory skin conditions, reduce dandruff, and promote a healthy, nourished coat. Of course, it’s important to consult your veterinarian to get to the root cause of your cat’s condition — but it’s likely a fish oil supplement will be part of their treatment plan.
Overall, a fish oil supplement can help your cat feel a lot less itchy and maybe fling fewer furballs around the house. And that’s a win-win!
Support heart and renal health
Just like fish oil has been known to help humans with heart and renal (AKA kidney) conditions, it can also help our feline friends.
As part of a nutritional management program, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can help cats with certain cardiac conditions by reducing inflammation and lowering triglyceride levels. The same helpful fatty acids can also help prevent blood clots!
For cats with renal disease, fish oil has been shown to have renoprotective effects — meaning it can help protect the kidneys. Think tiny guard cells floating around in your cat’s kidneys, kicking out the evil, inflammatory invaders. (Not exactly, but you get the idea.)
The Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can also help reduce kidney inflammation, which most importantly, has the potential to actually slow the progression of kidney disease. This is a huge win for cats with kidney disease. By supplementing with fish oil, owners of cats with kidney disease may be able to help their pets live a longer, more comfortable life.
While fish oil may have great benefits for cats with cardiac or renal conditions, be sure to speak to your veterinarian before starting a fish oil regimen. There are many factors involved in the treatment of these conditions, so your vet will always be best able to advise you.
Should I give fish oil to my cat?
Fish oil is one of the safest and most studied pet supplements on the market. It offers numerous benefits and can be a great way to help supplement your cat’s nutrition and support their health.
While most cats stand to benefit from taking fish oil, there are a few health conditions where it might not be appropriate. It’s always best to consult your veterinarian before giving your pet any new supplements.
Are there any side effects of fish oil for cats?
Potential side effects of fish oil for cats:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting or diarrhea)
- Oily skin
- Fishy breath
Fish oil, particularly at higher doses, can also slow wound healing and blood clotting. This is due to its natural anti-inflammatory properties. If your cat has a blood clotting disorder or will be undergoing surgery, your vet may advise discontinuing their fish oil supplement.
Is fish oil recommended by veterinarians?
Fish oil comes highly recommended by veterinarians. In fact, it’s one of the most commonly recommended supplements for inflammatory conditions like allergies and arthritis.
There are dozens of peer-reviewed veterinary studies (with more being carried out every day) that detail the efficiency of fish oils for a variety of conditions.
While vets everywhere have recommended fish oil for their patients for years, it’s always important to speak to your individual vet about your individual pet.
What’s the best type of fish oil for cats?
With so many fish oils on the market, it can be hard to decide which one to choose. Of course, you want the most high-quality product you can find for your feline friend. (After all, if she’s not a fan, she’ll probably knock it off the counter anyway.)
The best fish oil for your cat should be:
- Made from premium, wild-caught fish
- Packed with EPA and DHA fatty acids
- Independently tested for potency and purity
- Free of additives, fillers, and contaminants
- Bottled in an FDA- and GMP-compliant facility
Don’t worry, we’re not sending you on a wild goose chase… although your cat would probably love that. Paramount Pet Health premium fish oils check all these boxes and more.
We produce them with care because we’re pet parents too, and we want only the best for our four-legged friends — and yours!
Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil
Our Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is a highly potent, natural source of EPA and DHA. It contains only 100%, pure, wild-caught Alaskan Salmon oil with no fillers, binders, or additives.
Annnd….most importantly, it’s super tasty and easy to administer. One dropper added to your cat’s food bowl daily is all it takes. No fun games of pill-the-cat necessary, no battling 10 razor-sharp desperation claws, and no shoving giant capsules down Nala’s throat while she makes sounds you’ve only heard on the Nature Channel.
Support your cat’s skin, heart, brain, joint health, and more with Paramount Pet Health Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil.
Omega-3 Fish Oil
Our Omega-3 Fish Oil is a blend of wild-caught sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies. It contains only 100%, pure, wild-caught fish with no fillers, binders, or additives.
Hint: Got a finicky feline who’s not a fan of salmon? This lower-odor option is a great way to ensure you’re supporting your pet’s whole-body health.
Don’t just take our word for it…
With hundreds of 5-star reviews under our belt, we’re confident our fish oils are making a difference in the lives of pets across the country. But we don’t just want you to take our word for it — read what other pet parents have to say here!