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How Do Cats Get Vitamin D?

Updated: August 11, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

We all know that getting the right amount of vitamin D is essential for our health and well-being, hence we sometimes love to lay in the sun without doing much. Now you may have noticed that you have this in common with your little furry friend, who also loves to lie down in the sun. But contrary to what you might believe, your cat friend isn’t there for vitamin D, because for them it doesn’t work that way. Yeah, that fur coat of theirs prevents them for absorbing vitamin D through the skin the way we do.

So how do cats get vitamin D if not by lying in the sun like us?

The Importance of Vitamin D

Researchers state that vitamin D is important in the functioning of the immune system, it helps with recovery and reduces inflamation, aids in the absorption of calcium and is an essential element for bone growth.

On the other side, excessive amounts of vitamin D may lead to poisoning. A too high level of vitamin D can be toxic to the body, especially with cats.

How Do Cats Get Vitamin D

While for us humans is quite simple to get vitamin D by exposing ourselves to the sun, in addition to getting it from specific foods, for cats there is only one way of getting the needed level of vitamin D. That is from their diet.

You can probably guess that it’s almost impossible for cats to get vitamin D absorbed through their skin with all that fur on them. They don’t even have this mechanism we have, to synthesise vitamin D, because their bodies and skin weren’t developed for that.

In an experiment done by researchers, they’ve proved that cats cannot absorb vitamin D through their skin even if their fur is removed and the skin exposed to the UV rays of the sun, so no, don’t try to shave your cat in an attempt to help her get some vitamin D. You might just make things worse, as the fur has its reasons for being there.

Now that leaves cats with only way to get vitamin D into their bodies and that’s through the food they get.

A Vitamin D Diet

While there aren’t many foods available for us in which vitamin D is found naturally – but we don’t care since we get to stay in the sun more – there are a lot of options for cats.

Normally, the vitamin D sources include foods such as fish that has a lot of fat, egg yolks, and dairy products such as yogurt, sour cream, and cheese. Now for cats there are quite a lot of good quality foods that already contain the needed levels of vitamin D, so you shouldn’t worry too much about it. Just read the label on the foods.

While cats love treats and food supplements, you should be careful about giving them too much, because vitamin D is known to cause toxicity. Normally, it’s unlikely for your cat to eat that much amount of food, but still you should strive for a balanced diet.

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