How to recognize nutritional deficiencies in cats: symptoms and remedies

It is very important to learn to recognize the symptoms of nutritional deficiencies in cats in order to intervene promptly. Here’s what to know!

A healthy and balanced diet is essential for the well-being of the cat. For this it is necessary to respect, in the elaboration of its alimentary regime, the needs of the cat, giving it the food it needs. However, this is not always sufficient to avoid nutritional deficiencies in cats. Here’s how to recognize the symptoms!

The cat’s diet

Let’s start with an indisputable assumption: the cat is a carnivorous animal. Such is its nature and diet will have to be adapted to this need. Just consider that in the ideal cat diet there is almost only room for meat (even 90%).

Well the fish respecting the aforementioned percentage and fruit is fine too, which, although not part of the natural diet of the cat, is able to bring him benefits; as long as they are fruits that the cat can eat safely.

The reasons that can determine the onset of food deficiencies in cats are basically two:

  • An inadequate diet;
  • disease that does not allow the cat to take one or more substances (for example feline diabetes).

In both cases it is necessary to contact your trusted veterinarian, who will understand the causes of the cat’s nutritional deficiency and will adopt both the most appropriate therapy for a full recovery, and a diet suitable for the specific situation of the animal.

However, it is good to learn to recognize what may be the symptoms of a nutritional deficiency in cats: in reality the signs can be multiple, as they vary depending on the substance lacking in the diet.


Let’s start from the fact that there are many vitamins, and depending on the one lacking in the cat’s diet we will have different symptoms. In any case, the most common are the following:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Reduction of muscle tone
  • Dull coat
  • Drop in temperature
  • Neurological symptoms, in the most severe cases

Be careful not to overdo it in the opposite direction. An excess of vitamins is equally detrimental to your cat’s health.

The fats

It is good to check the levels of fat that our cat takes, but be careful not to overdo it. Fats, in the right measure, are necessary for the cat’s diet. The most obvious (and most serious) symptom is the cat’s weight loss. This weakens his immune system and exposes him to attack from infections and diseases.

As always, also pay attention to the hair, which is always indicative in witnessing the state of health of the cat. If it is dull or rough there is a problem, which could be, among others, attributable to nutritional deficiencies.

The proteins

Another element that cannot be missing from the cat’s diet is protein. If the deficiency occurs at an early age, the cat could have severe developmental problems. Obviously the cat will continue to need it even once it becomes an adult.

What are the symptoms that should sound the alarm bell? Just like the dog with nutritional deficiencies,  the cat also loses muscle tone and the shine of the coat. Furthermore, even in this case there is a weakening of his immune system.

Beware of taurine: it is an amino acid (basic component of proteins) and is essential for the cat’s diet.

The minerals

Minerals make up a very broad category, just like vitamins. Therefore the symptoms of a nutritional deficiency in cats due to their absence from the diet can manifest themselves differently. The most important problems are those related to muscle tone and skeleton.

A deficiency that occurs early in life could cause unremediable damage related to developmental problems. To these symptoms must always be added those relating to the appearance of the hair and the weakening of the immune system.

No to personal initiatives

As already mentioned, we avoid any personal initiative other than taking the cat to the vet. The professional will understand if a change in the diet is necessary, or if the cat needs food supplements, such as when due to a disease it is unable to absorb a certain substance.

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