Antioxidants have proven to be effective for both prevention and treatment of many feline diseases, including those involving the eyes, skin, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system. Diseases like cancer, diabetes, immune disorders and allergies have also been prevented and treated naturally using antioxidants for cats. Additionally, the cells are nurtured with antioxidants, protecting them from the effects of aging, toxins and more.
The main obstacle interfering with the benefits of antioxidants is the simple fact that cats are carnivores. They don’t want to eat blueberries or leafy greens and even if they did, they’re not equipped to digest them properly. If they can’t digest them, they won’t enjoy the benefits of eating them.
Top 5 Sources of Antioxidants for Cats & Other Carnivores
The following natural, whole food supplements are suitable for our feline friends and other pet carnivores. However, it’s important to consider species-specific dietary restrictions. For example, carnivorous aquarium fish benefit from fish, krill and seaweed, but they shouldn’t ingest mammal fat. To receive the most benefits from antioxidants, feed these foods raw, lightly cooked, or cold-processed.
- Krill – Astaxanthin, a carotenoide, is abundant in Krill. In fact, over 95% of the pigments present in krill are in the form of natural astaxanthin. It is a more powerful antioxidant than Lutein, Alpha-tocopherol, Lycopene, Beta-carotene, Coenzyme Q-10, Vitamin A and Vitamin E. Astaxanthin has been tied to the prevention of cancer, and studies have shown it benefits a wide range of conditions, including Diabetes. Astaxanthin has been proven to support the nervous system, immune system, muscular system and skeletal system, for starters. Krill is often suggested as the best alternative to fish because it isn’t contaminated with heavy metals, pollutants and other toxins. The antioxidants in freeze-dried krill retain their full potency due to minimal processing and no heat.
- Fish – Salmon, Mackerel, Halibut, and Herring are good sources of vitamin E. Salmon, Tilapia, Cod and Haddock are good sources of Selenium, a mineral with antioxidant properties. Salmon is a natural source of the antioxidant amino acid, Taurine (an essential nutrient for cats). Shrimp contains astaxanthin (varying amounts depending on the diet), Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Zinc, Copper and Selenium. A small amount of fish a couple of times/week is plenty for cats.
- Lean, Grass Fed Meat & Free Range Poultry – Meat and Poultry are sources of Selenium. They also facilitate the production of the antioxidant, glutathione. Grass-fed beef is a source of carotenoides.
- Eggs – In 2011, scientists at the University of Alberta found that eggs contain more antioxidant properties than previously thought. Even after cooking, they packed as many antioxidants as an apple. Eggs are known to provide Carotenoides (egg yolk), Peptides and Selenium.
- Mixed Seaweed – The amazingly high concentration of nutrients and antioxidants in seaweed guarantee your carnivore will get a healthy dose before it passes through their digestive system. Additionally, seaweed doesn’t have the binders found in terrestrial plants, making it that much more digestible. Seaweed offers cats vitamins A, C and E, a variety of flavonoids and carotenoids, copper, Zinc and Selenium. A mix of seaweed species provides a wider variety of antioxidants.
Providing Antioxidants with Cat Supplements
Manufactured supplements are also an option for cats. Since supplements are highly concentrated and often contain extracts, your cat will be able to uptake the antioxidants they contain regardless of the source. This concentration does make them more dangerous in regards to overdose, however, so use them sparingly and never exceed the recommended dosage.
An antioxidant supplement often recommended by holistic veterinarians for cats is Only Natural Pet Whole Food Antioxidant Blend. An allopathic option would be Select Full Spectrum Antioxidant Supplement Chewables.
Do you supplement your cat’s diet with Antioxidants? Please share your experience in the comments below.
Fatty acid composition and antioxidant levels in muscle tissue of different Mediterranean marine species of fish and shellfish. J Agric Food Chem. 2002.
Get Cracking. University of Alberta. 2011.
Daley, Cynthia A., et al. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition Journal. 2010.
Balch, Phyllis A. CNC. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition
Cooksley, Valerie G. RN. Seaweed: Nature’s Secret to Balancing Your Metabolism, Fighting Disease, and Revitalizing Body and Soul. 2007.
✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Natural Wonders of Krill for Pets
Natural Treatment of Feline Diabetes (With Infographic)
Natural Treatment of Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
Natural Support for Feline Chronic Kidney Disease / Renal Failure
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