A Guide on Fish Oil For Cats [Benefits, Types, Vet-Recommended Brands]

There’s nothing fishy about wanting to prioritize the health of your kitty – they are a furry family member after all – unless you consider how fish oil for cats can be beneficial!

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Fish oil for your kitty can help ease a number of health woes, and set them up for a healthy, long life, especially when paired with other types of cat supplements and balanced diets. 

Ready to dive into learning more about fish oil for cats? Let’s get started!

What Are Fish Oil Supplements for Cats?

Before we go any further, it’s important to understand what exactly fish oil for cats is all about, and why it’s so beneficial. 

Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, an important nutrient for cats and humans alike. They are essential to supporting the structure and function of cell membranes as well as for supplying energy to the body. The thing is, there is no way for the body to produce omega-3 fatty acids. You have to get them through food.

Fish oil for cats contains two key Omega-3s:

  1. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  2. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

You can find these oils (as you might expect) in fish including mackerel and trout that are fatty and live in cold waters, but you can also find them in some shellfish like mussels or oysters. Humans and cats alike can get the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids by consuming the fish itself or by including a daily supplement in their diet.

Fish oil for cats is often incorporated into their diets in a few common formats, as outlined in the table below.

 

Format of Fish Oil for CatsDescription
Omega 3 Fish Oil for Cats FoodSpecially formulated cat food can include extra omega-3s for a 2-in-1 solution.
Liquid Fish Oil for Cats Liquid concentration of fish oil is perfect for adding on top of dry kibble or in treats
Fish Oil Capsules for CatsCapsules offer an easy to serve, soft gel format for the fish for cats.
Fish Oil Pills for Cats Whether it’s in treat format or a firm tablet, fish oil pills for cats provide you with a pre-measured dose of fish oil for cats.

 

Fish oil for cats is one way to boost the health of your kitty. It is a great addition alongside other dietary and nutritional supplements, such as joint supplements, for your cat. 

Other popular supplements fed alongside fish oil supplements for cats include:

  • Natural supplements for cats
  • Food supplements for cats
  • Glucosamine for cats
  • Hairball supplements for cats
  • Vitamins for cats

Creating a balanced, healthy diet while adding missing vitamins and minerals for your cat may not get from their food will be a great starting point for any pet wellness enthusiast out there! 

Fish Oil for Cats Benefits

cat running in field

The benefits of fish oil liquid for cats are numerous. From inside to outside, your kitty can experience an array of benefits through a daily dose of fish oil for cats.

We’re going to focus on four primary benefits of fish oil for cats in this post:

  1. The softening, soothing effect of fish oil on the cat’s skin
  2. The boost in immunity your cat can receive by taking it
  3. The positive effect of fish oil for cats on brain function
  4. The reduction in joint disease symptoms they can experience

Fish Oil for Cats Skin 

Several nutrients are essential to maintaining the skin, including fatty acids. Besides their structural functions in cell membranes, essential fatty acids are precursors of eicosanoids (signalling molecules) like prostaglandins. They are also necessary for maintaining skin structure and function. Along with fish oil for cats, linoleic acid (another fatty acid for cats) helps keep your cat’s skin’s cutaneous water permeability barrier intact.

That’s science-speak, for fatty acids help balance out the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses in the skin cells that contribute to skin irritation and conditions and help maintain moisture in the skin for a less itchy kitty, and less inflammation on the skin.

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Dietary deficiencies of essential fatty acids are rare. Although rare, they may occasionally develop in animals fed poor quality, low fat dry foods or inappropriately prepared diets such as raw cat food diets. Cat food sitting too long or having insufficient amounts of antioxidants such as vitamin E can lead to a fatty acid deficiency. Even rarer cases of fatty acid deficiency result from liver, pancreatic, or digestive system diseases. 

Your kitty’s health may suffer within 2–3 months of not getting enough fish oil for cats and other essential fatty acids.

When your cat doesn’t get enough fish oil, it may look like:

  • Dull, dry coat
  • Fine, scaly appearance to the skin
  • Irritated, red patches all over
  • Increased scratching, rubbing, or itching 

After a long period of fish oil for cats deficiency, your feline friend may experience:

  • Alopecia
  • Painful rashes and patches on their skin
  • Greasy skin, particularly on the ears and between the toes
  • Secondary pyoderma (a bacterial infection in the upper layers of their skin)

By adding a fish oil supplement for cats to your daily routine, you can both prevent these nasty, painful symptoms in the first place and see improvements in symptoms within 3 to eight weeks, depending on the reasons for the deficiency in the first place.

Immunity Boost

No one likes getting sick, especially your cat! Avoiding an illness or other condition is every pet parent’s goal. 

Thankfully, fish oil for cats can help give your cat an added immunity boost. Researchers have reported that certain dietary ingredients, including fish oil for cats, can modulate a healthy cat’s immune system, leading to greater resistance to infection and disease.

After two weeks of fish oil supplementation in cats, blood leukocyte phagocytic activity increased significantly, as did the inflammatory response to histamine. Simply put, this means that the white blood cells that fight foreign material, such as bacteria and viruses, and are intrinsically involved in the inflammatory process are better able to do their job when you supplement with fish oil for cats.

Cognitive Enhancement

As we age, our brains change and may not be as quick as they once were. The same goes for our cats. Cats live longer thanks to improved home care, better nutrition, and advances in veterinary medicine, so they need specialized care to cope with age-related changes. The average cat can live to be 20 or 21 years old in today’s world, which is the equivalent of age 96 to 100 for humans!

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It’s not all good news, however. The onset of aging-related disorders increases as cats grow older. Their organs work less efficiently as they get older and cognitive dysfunction begins to set in. The sometimes mysterious symptoms of cognitive decline resemble those related to Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia in humans. As you’d expect, cats with cognitive decline require special attention and need to be supported through the proper diet, supplementation, and home care. 

Thankfully, fish oil for cats is part of the cognitive solution. The brain function of middle-aged and older cats can be improved by selecting a nutrient blend that includes fish oil to minimize or eliminate the risk factors associated with cognitive decline. In one study, researchers gave middle-aged cats several cognitive tests before and after taking a supplement containing antioxidants, arginine, B vitamins, and fish oil. Testing showed that those fed fish oil supplements for cats performed better on three of four tests, indicating that fish oil for cats can help slow brain degeneration. 

Common signs your kitty is getting older and may benefit from fish oil supplements for cats include:

  • Apparent disorientation and confusion
  • Wandering or going outside of their typical territory
  • Lack of playfulness and activity
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Strange sleeping cycles
  • Long periods of spacey behaviour such as staring at nothing
  • Low appetite or thirst 
  • Not using their litter box
  • Loud, random vocalizing, especially in the middle of the night

When you spot these signs, it’s time to call the vet and consider adding fish oil for cats into their diet. 

Joint Disease

grey injured cat being help by owner

As we said, ageing can impact your cat’s well-being in more than one way — from the brain and beyond. Particularly, joints seem to be impacted increasingly as cats age thanks to degenerative conditions like cat arthritis

And since we don’t want to see your cat in pain, you need to make sure you plan to have a holistic approach to preventing it.

If your cat has a degenerative joint disease, a diet high in EPA and DHA can increase blood plasma concentrations of these fatty acids and improve mobility. For example, one 10-week study found that owners saw a difference in mobility and behaviour of cats with arthritis who had been fed a fish oil supplement versus the control group who was fed a corn oil-based supplement. 

Other research found fish oil for cats to be even more beneficial when used in combination with other substances including:

  • Green-lipped mussel extract
  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Manganese

By pairing up your fish oil for cats supplement with a joint supplement like TRI-ACTA for pets, you can reap the benefits of both omega-3s and glucosamine and chondroitin.

TRI-ACTA for pets contains 100% active ingredients with no fillers and offers your pet a small but therapeutic dose of third-party batch-tested ingredients. 

TRI-ACTA for Pets

A proactive approach for developing and younger adult pets to maintain optimal joint health mobility, minimize inflammation and fend off age-related ailments.

Each of these ingredients offers your feline the power to fight cat joint pain and feel their best as they age. The table below outlines the key ingredients in TRI-ACTA and TRI-ACTA H.A. that make for the perfect companion to feeding fish oil for cats. 

 

Ingredient in TRI-ACTA Joint SupplementBenefits
GlucosamineWith two types of glucosamine, our formula helps to rebuild damaged cartilage
ChondroitinThis ingredient helps to prevent cartilage from deteriorating any further
MSMOffers your cat both antioxidant properties as well as a reduction in pain and inflammation

 

Be sure to consult your vet before starting a course of new supplements for your cat to make sure they are getting the right balance of nutrients for their unique needs. 

Fish Oil for Cats Selection Criteria

fish oil poured onto spoon

You don’t want to choose just any fish oil for cats to feed your precious feline. You need to find a high-quality option to feed them, and make sure they will actually benefit from receiving it! 

The things you need to watch for when picking a fish oil for cats include:

  1. The quality of the product itself
  2. The serving size is therapeutic yet small
  3. Offers reputable sourcing and processing

Ingredients

You should carefully read the ingredients of fish oil supplements for cats before buying them. Avoid fillers in favour of active ingredients as they diminish the effectiveness of the product. Plus, you’re paying for a bunch of extras your cat doesn’t need when the formula is packed with fillers. 

Moreover, fish oil for cats should be of high quality and sourced responsibly. Beyond noting which kind of fish the oil comes from, read the label for additional indications of quality and production standards. Ideally, high-quality fish oil products should come from a reputable company and be tested thoroughly for contaminants like heavy metals and oxidation.

You should steer clear of fish oil products containing vitamins A and D for your cat. This is common in cod liver oil sources. The fact that cats easily absorb vitamin A makes fish oil products containing this vitamin potentially toxic for cats if consumed in high quantities.

It’s not just what’s on the inside that matters. Packaging quality counts, too. Because fish oil is susceptible to contamination and oxidation, packaging can also be an indicator of quality. Aluminum and glass containers keep fish oil fresh. Just ensure the packaging is sealed and not dented or damaged before serving it to your feline. 

Serving Size

Did you know that a fifth of households with cats use supplements? That’s a lot of cat paw-rents seeking the benefits of fish oil supplements for cats, joint supplements, and other formulas that target health concerns.

Unfortunately, with an increase in popularity comes an increased risk of falling victim to a supplement that doesn’t have a therapeutic effect in its serving size, or needs to be much larger in order to be actually valuable to your cat. 

Choose a fish oil for cat supplement that has a small serving size you can easily incorporate into your kitty’s diet on a daily basis, and contains 100% active ingredients with no filler. 

Common serving size formats for fish oil for cats include:

  • 1-2 fortified treats per day
  • 1 fish oil capsule for cat per day
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid fish oil for cats

Remember, talk to your veterinarian about adding any kind of supplements to your cat’s diet first to make sure it’s right for them. 

Reputable Source & Processing

Unfortunately, not all fish oils can be considered to be on a level playing field. Some may look fine and promise you big things, but in reality, they are made from low-quality materials by low-quality companies. 

Fish oil supplements are traditionally made from wild-caught salmon. However, as predatory fish, there is a growing concern about the accumulation of toxins and heavy metals, especially mercury. This isn’t something you want your cat to ingest! That’s why it’s so important to choose a reputable, well-known brand that has your cat’s best interests in mind. 

When comparing labels of fish oil for cats, look for the key factors outlined in the table below.

 

What to Look for on Fish Oil for Cats LabelWhy it Matters
Sourced from Small FishCompared to the oil extracted from larger fish like salmon, oil extracted from smaller fish like sardines and anchovies is richer in DHA and EPA. 
Cold-pressedFish oil for cats can be damaged by high temperatures during processing. Cold-pressed fish oils for cats provide the most nutritional value.
Third-party testedA lab-tested fish oil for cats is the best choice. Third-party testing reduces the risk of manufacturers providing pet owners with toxic or fraudulent products
DistilledFish oil in its raw state may contain toxins like heavy metals. Distillation removes these harmful chemicals, as well as other impurities, so the final product is safe.

 

It is worth noting that salmon overfishing has led to an increase in farmed salmon as a source of fish oil for cats to reduce environmental harm. And while farm-raised salmon may help restore wild salmon populations, these fish are fed grains, corn, and groundfish, so they don’t get the same exposure to algae and plankton as wild salmon. As a result, farm-raised fish have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid choosing a supplement that sources its fish oil for cats from farm-raised salmon for the safest bet. 

4 Vet Recommended Fish Oil for Cats

With all of this knowledge about what fish oil can do for your cat under your belt, you’re probably wondering how you can include it in their diet, and which omega 3 fish oil for cats is going to be the best option.

We’ve rounded up four of our top picks for the best fish oil for dogs and cats out there so you can save some time researching and get right to help your kitty feel the fish oil benefits for cats. 

Nordic Naturals Fish Oil for Cats

nordic natural fish oil

Source

The Nordic Naturals Fish Oil for cats provides both felines and dogs with an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. The easy-to-serve soft gel format makes this a convenient option for travelling with your pet. 

Additionally, this brand touts its sustainability initiatives and sources its fish oil from wild anchovies and sardines in the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru. 

Priced $31.49 CAD as of April 2022

Zesty Paws Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

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Zesty Paw’s option for fish oil for cats is both very popular and highly reviewed. Containing only wild salmon oil and a source of Vitamin E, this oil is filler-free and ethically sourced. In a simple pump format, you can easily serve the amount you need for your cat, mess-free. 

Reviewers note it’s a great topper to meals, and pets love the taste, so you can disguise flavourless, powder cat supplements (like TRI-ACTA) under it with ease.

Priced $46.02 CAD (converted) as of April 2022

Pet Honesty Omega-3 Fish Oil

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PetHonesty’s Omega-3 Fish Oil is made with fish from the cold waters off the coast of Iceland, including sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and herrings. Fish high in Omega-3s yet low in mercury and toxins support your cat’s joints, heart, skin, coat, brain, and overall health. This fish oil for cats contains high levels of DHA, EPA, and Omega-3 fatty acids that will promote healthy skin and fur, and can be pumped right into their food dishes.  

Priced $38.59 CAD (converted) as of April 2022

Petpal Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

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PetPal’s fish oil for cats is made of 100% Alaskan salmon. Each batch is made up of the same, pure ingredients, as well as a diluent-free blend to ensure nutritional consistency. No salmon is fished solely for the purpose of making the oil, so you can feel good about your decision to use this fish oil for cats. It comes in several sizes, so you can try a small bottle before committing to a larger size, and is in an easy to serve pump format.  

Priced $31.14 – $56.05 CAD (converted) as of April 2022

Q&A 

Is Fish Oil Good for Cats?

Yes, fish oil is good for cats. The main component of fish oil for cats is fatty acids. These are essential to good body maintenance and cannot be produced in the body. Cats need to get them from their diet.

Fish oil for cats creates and supports healthier:

  • Skin
  • Immune systems
  • Joints and soft tissues
  • Cognitive function

Is Fish Oil Safe for Cats?

Yes, fish oil is safe for cats if it is specially formulated for pets. Do not feed your cat any human-grade fish oils or other supplements as they may contain an improper balance of ingredients and some fillers or coatings can be poisonous to cats. 

Where to Buy Fish Oil for Cats?

You can buy fish oil both online and in-store at large pet chains, as well as in wellness and vitamin stores for humans and pets. Some fish oils for cats can be prescribed or purchased from veterinarians as well. 

Fish Oil for Cats as Wellness 

You know you need to approach cat wellness with a holistic approach. Including supplements like fish oil for cats is just one way to make sure your kitty lives a longer, happier life and is able to share their fun-loving nature with you for years to come.

And another important component of cat wellness – joint supplements for cats. Joint supplements like TRI-ACTA and TRI-ACTA H.A. are perfect for pairing with fish oil for cats to create a full-body wellness routine that your cat will appreciate for years to come

Find out more about where to buy Integricare’s TRI-ACTA line of supplements and get in touch with us if you have any questions about how TRI-ACTA works. 

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.

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