Much like calcium and vitamin C, iron is among the vitamins and minerals that are absolutely essential in maintaining a healthy body. Sometimes, cats can become iron deficient due to blood loss or an underlying disease. Treatment for a low iron count or anemia is necessary to get your cat's health back on track. Her iron count can be improved by adding certain iron-rich foods to her diet, and cat food brands high in iron can be chosen instead of her existing brand.
Iron deficiency in cats
Like people, cats require a certain amount of iron to stay healthy. PetMD explains that without iron, the red blood cells created by bone marrow may be smaller than necessary and may not be able to carry oxygen or remove carbon dioxide to the lungs to be exhaled. Iron deficiency is also known as anemia and is usually caused by blood loss, often in the gastrointestinal tract. Common causes of anemia in cats include parasites like fleas and ticks, a mass inside the stomach, and urinary tract infections. If your cat is exhibiting signs of weakness, loss of appetite, is producing dark stools, or has been getting sick more easily than usual, a visit to your vet may be needed to determine which course of treatment will work best.
How to treat iron deficiency
If your cat has been diagnosed with an iron deficiency, you will need to find a course of treatment to get his iron back up to a healthy level. These treatments can range from adding iron supplements for cats to his diet to visiting his doctor for routine iron injections if the case is serious. Adding iron-rich foods to your cat's diet is one of the easiest and most effective ways to maintain a healthy iron count.
Chewy lists lean meat as a fantastic source of iron, which includes chicken, turkey, beef, and pork. Just be sure to trim the fat off of your pork products before feeding your cat because too much can lead to pancreatitis. You can either serve these treats to your cat straight up or add them to his existing diet for an added dose of iron and B vitamins. Fish also ranks high among iron-rich foods that both people and cats love and should be offered as a treat in case of high mercury levels (although sardines, salmon, and anchovies are usually free of mercury). Eggs are another iron-rich occasional treat most cats love. Just be sure to cook them well to reduce the risk of possible food poisoning.
Anemic cat home remedy
If you're looking to treat an anemic cat at home, always consult your veterinarian first. Adding iron-rich foods to your cat's diet is a healthy and low-cost way to increase her iron levels, but you should always get the go-ahead from a professional in case your cat has allergies or a more serious form of medical intervention is needed. The first thing you should do when treating an anemic cat is to shop for cat food brands high in iron or that have certain formulas or ingredients that may help reduce iron deficiency. Cat foods that feature liver, turkey, and tuna as the first ingredient listed on the label are a great choice for an iron-deficient cat.
In addition to switching up her food, adding cat-safe and iron-rich fruits and vegetables that she'll tolerate is a good way to help increase your cat's red blood cell count. Vetstreet lists green beans as an odd yet iron-rich choice when considering a cat's diet, as well as broccoli, which is also rich in vitamin C, a vitamin that aids in the absorption of iron in the body.