Copycatting the human trend in supplements to improve general health and well-being, the selection of products for cat health continues to grow. Success, of course, depends a lot on how easy they are to administer and how their palatability overrides feline fussiness.
Heidi Nevala, founder and president of Natura Petz Organics said her company has expanded its feline product line, citing the CBD oil and Kidney Meal Topper products as the best sellers.
“Supplements are vital to the feline diet because our cats are so far removed from a truly authentic and natural species appropriate diet,” she said. “In totality, even the very best foods we feed our cats cannot mimic raw nutrition, and most cats are fed dry kibble, which cannot replicate the health benefits they would obtain from live prey, such as connective tissues and primary and secondary metabolites, all of which play a critical role in delivering truly balanced nutrition in our cats. Additionally, kibble and canned food usually contain processed meats and synthesized vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fatty acids, which do not necessarily metabolize and assimilate in our cats’ bodies appropriately. Adding in supplements helps create a stop gap and a nutritional bridge between nutritional deficiencies and unknown diseases and conditions that our cats commonly experience.
“Cats respond well to nutritional CBD PCR (Phyto-Cannabinoid Rich) Hemp Oil and it can be used as a sort of ‘catch all’ for a variety of conditional health needs,” Nevala continued. “Our oil is safe for all life stage cats and kittens and is a truly full spectrum USDA Organic CBD Oil with over 100 known cannabinoids and a 2.49 percent terpene count, the highest in the world, to help deliver full entourage health benefits. The Kidney Support Meal Topper is flavored and formulated for cats’ palates to help address conditional needs related to kidney decline and disease, and may help detoxify the kidneys when under duress.”
Helping with Mobility
According to Melissa Burrus, co-founder of New Zealand’s Best with her husband, Alan, 61 percent of cats over the age of 6 suffer from arthritis, while 90 percent of cats over the age of 12 suffer from this debilitating problem.
“Cats spend a lot of their time jumping and climbing, which means their joints are repeatedly absorbing a lot of impact, and this can lead to joint damage—particularly in larger cats or overweight cats,” she said. “But cats are mysterious and stoic. It’s often hard to know what they are feeling, and if they are in pain, they tend to suffer in silence.
“We created our Technyflex Feline made from 100 percent Green Lipped Mussel (Perna canaliculus), which is a shellfish that only grows in the pure ocean waters of New Zealand,” Burrus continued. “It’s known to help relieve the pain and inflammation caused by joint disease and arthritis safely, effectively and naturally.”
The product, in capsule form, includes a combination of omega-3 essential fatty acids which are known to be powerful inflammation fighters. Th e green lipped mussel also contains glucosamine and chondroitin which are building blocks of joint cartilage.
Food manufacturer Solid Gold Pet has a product called Solid Gold SeaMeal, designed to support common cat health issues such as skin and coat health, digestive and immune health.
“It’s a powder and can be added to wet and dry food. It can also be mixed with water to form a paste and added as a meal topper to kibble,” explained Leasa Greer, manager of nutrition at Solid Gold Pet.
SeaMeal contains seaweed, which is rich in essential vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants that are vital for skin and coat health. It is also a natural source of vitamins and minerals essential for immune health, including B vitamins, zinc, selenium, iron and magnesium.
Anna Suplik, the resident cat expert at Green Cottage Pets in Olympia, Washington, has been adding SeaMeal to her 14-year-old cats’ diet since they were kittens.
“I like to recommend products I have had personal experience with, and this multi-purpose supplement is in powder form and very easy to administer,” she said. “Because of the seaweed, it has a slightly fishy smell which definitely has feline appeal. I recommend it to customers for skin and coat issues, shedding, a boost to the immune system and it also contains digestive enzymes.”
21st Century Animal HealthCare Inc. has packaged its Essential Pets feline supplements in paste form in tubes and in soft chews in easy-to-open little tubs so that cat owners have choices for a fussy feline. Pastes can easily be applied to a paw or on the lower lip leaving the cat to “clean up” by licking off the paste.
Apart from products for hairball issues, (available in both a paste and a chew) the company produces PetEZE chews, a calmative in a popular chicken and cheese flavor that can be used during periods of high stress and anxiety. This is also available in paste form. Pet-Vite is a daily vitamin suitable for all cats, the equivalent of a human daily multi-vitamin.
“We are constantly hearing from both our distribution partners and retailers and everyday consumers about the need for more cat products and in many cases, questions relating to what types of supplements are available and can be used for cats,” said Colin Brodie, vice president of marketing for the company.
“Our best sellers are always related to the top cat issues— namely, hairball, urinary and skin and coat products,” Brodie added. “Also, we like to stay in touch with consumers by reaching out to them on our social media platforms and also from our website. Our Essential Pet Blog regularly features blogs referencing or specific to our cat followers. We also feature our cat products at trade shows where we talk to the media and bloggers about our product selections.”
L-Lysine, which also features in the Essential Pets product line is becoming a very popular over-the-counter feline supplement because of its multiple benefits. It is used to treat upper respiratory problems and also can help reduce inflammation of the eyes and conjunctivitis caused by feline herpes. While there is no cure for feline herpes, many veterinarians subscribe to the idea that continued Cat L-Lysine supplementation can help fight against the virus. It is also used to treat throat and mouth sores.
The Missing Link Original Ultimate Feline Formula is described by the manufacturers as a powdered “superfood supplement” with essential Omega fatty acids, dietary fiber and phytonutrients support a cat’s skin, coat, energy levels, weight, and digestive and immune systems.
The Missing Link Pet Kelp Formula has been formulated to give cats a boost to their digestive and immune systems by providing beneficial bacteria to the digestive tract derived from organic kelp, flaxseed, antioxidants and probiotics. It’s in powder form so that it can be sprinkled on both wet and dry food.
One way for retailers to help their cat customers and educate them about the plethora of products out there is to post articles about the benefits available from different products to their website. In-store food and supplement events on a busy weekend day is another way to introduce customers to the value of such products on the shelf.