How Much Salt Does My Cat Need?
Salt or sodium chloride is necessary in a cat's diet, just like in humans. It plays a very important role in maintaining the balance of fluids inside and outside individual cells in the body. It also helps in transferring nutrients to cells and aids in maintaining the proper acid and alkali level in the cat's body.
There are various studies conducted about the relationship of salt and cats. Although some are contradictory to each other's findings, experts still believe that too much or too little salt in a cat's diet may not be good for felines. Therefore, it is best to use salt in moderation.
A dietary deficiency of salt is a rare case nowadays because almost all cat foods contain sodium chloride. A deficiency is more likely to happen due to an excess loss from the body, such as in a cat with severe and prolonged vomiting and/or diarrhea. This condition may have the following symptoms:
A study done by a group of researchers said that a high salt intake in cats may lead to kidney disorders. But then, another study found out that a high sodium diet may have a potential benefit in the management of lowering urinary tract diseases. According to their findings, a diet high in sodium enhances the water intake in cats, causing an increase in urine output.
Salt toxicity however can happen if your pet ingests too much, just like what happened to a cat that was rushed to a veterinary clinic and died after he licked gritted salt from the ground.
Some veterinarians warn that too much salt can cause the brain to shrink and blood vessels to bleed that may result in permanent disability or even death.
Signs of salt poisoning may include and lead to the following condition:
Inability to walk
Loss of Appetite
Sources of Sodium in Pet Foods
Table salt (added to some commercial pet foods)
Balanced Salt Intake
To be on the safe side, salt should always be at a balanced level. It is better to have your cat's salt consumption at a moderate level to prevent any abnormalities.
The recommended daily intake of sodium in cats is 16.7 mg and chloride is 23.7 mg. The Association of American Feed Control Official recommends at least 0.2 percent sodium in dry cat foods to support growth and development.
Cats with certain medical conditions, such as heart, renal, kidney and liver problems, and cats with bladder abnormalities should be strictly monitored in terms of salt intake. Improper or too much sodium intake might have an adverse effect on their given condition.