The short answer for “can cats eat vegetable oil?” is – yes. Some oil types have plenty of health benefits for cats.
However, vegetable oils aren’t made equal, and the long-term effects of some oils need to be studied more.
Cat food manufacturers often add vegetable oils into their products because they are high in fats that are an integral part of the feline diet.
Some vets recommend vegetable oil as a remedy for hairballs, constipation, extra weight, cardiovascular problems, and dry skin.
Oil has more benefits than drawbacks for cats, but you should be mindful of the serving size and aware of adverse reactions.
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Can Cats Eat Grapeseed Oil?
Grapeseed oil’s health benefits for humans are numerous, but what about pets? Grapeseed oil is considered safe for cats, dogs, ferrets, and other animals.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals states that they have no information indicating any risks of grapeseed oil for pets.
Pet product manufacturers often use grapeseed oil in tinctures, sprays, and food. Data suggests that grapeseed oil can be used as an anti-allergenic and anti-inflammation treatment for cats.
It promotes a shinier coat and stronger teeth and hums. Grapeseed oil doesn’t have long-term negative effects on renal, cardiovascular, or hepatic health.
While grapeseed oil’s health benefits for cats exceed the risks, you should be mindful of your cat’s reaction. Some cats might be allergic to this oil or have a gastroenteric upset.
On the same note, we should warn you that grape pulp and skin are very toxic to cats. You can give your cat a bit of grapeseed oil, but not fresh grapes.
Can Cats Eat Safflower Oil?
Safflower oil is the cheapest cooking oil you can find in stores. Fortunately, cheap doesn’t equal unhealthy.
On the opposite, many cat food manufacturers include safflower oil in their products because it’s high in fatty acids and vitamins.
About 75% of the oil is linolenic acid, a type of Omega-6 fatty acid vital for feline health. Plus, oil is rich in fats, which provide cats with the energy necessary for moving and help them digest fat-soluble vitamins.
Safflower oil helps maintain cat coat and skin health and assists with inflammatory kidney and intestinal issues.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials recommends cat food to contain at least 0.5% linolenic acid, 9% fat, and 30 IU/kg of vitamin E.
Although the guidelines don’t specify safflower oil, it is an excellent source of these elements. However, don’t incorporate safflower oil into your cat’s diet without consulting a vet.
Large amounts of safflower oil can cause diarrhea, obesity, and pancreatitis in cats, and some felines may be allergic to safflower.
Can Cats Eat Corn Oil?
Corn oil isn’t the best option to feed a cat. It’s high in Omega-6 fatty acids, which is great, but it also contains acrylamide which is harmful to cats in large amounts.
Fortunately, acrylamide only forms when corn oil is heated at temperatures exceeding 120 degrees Celsius and at low humidity. The substance is known as a carcinogen.
Your cat is unlikely to experience stomach upset or get cancer from eating food with corn oil once, but it shouldn’t be a part of your cat’s regular diet.
Can Cats Eat Flaxseed Oil?
Flaxseed oil is safe for cats. In fact, flaxseed oil is among the best fat sources for cats because it contains plenty of Omega-3, Omega-6, and arachidonic acids essential for felines.
Flaxseed oil is affordable and commonly added to cat food. Studies show that it improves digestion and cat skin health.
There are also findings that flaxseed oil benefits cats with arthritis, inflammation, blood pressure problems, and kidney diseases.
However, like any oil, it isn’t risk-free for cats. If you plan on giving your cat flaxseed oil for the first time, start with a small amount and watch your cat for any abnormalities to rule out allergies and individual intolerance.
Can Cats Eat Canola Oil?
Canola oil, also known as rapeseed oil, is among the cheapest oil types you can get for cooking. It’s usually sold in large bottles and works well for almost any dish.
But despite its versatility and other advantages for humans, it isn’t as beneficial for pets. Canola oil isn’t toxic to cats, but there has been no study regarding canola oil’s long-term effects and health benefits for animals.
Some studies suggest that excessive consumption of canola oil in cats is associated with fibrotic heart lesions, vitamin E deficiency, growth retardation, and lung cancer.
On the other hand, many homemade cat food recipes include canola oil because of its high Omega-3 and Omega-6 content. It’s also low in cholesterol and can improve cat body weight because of its saturated fatty acid content.
We still need more research to determine the effects of canola oil on cat health, but if you plan on cooking cat food with oil, grapeseed oil is a safer option.
Moderation is crucial with any food. Not many know, but the canola plant is highly toxic to humans and cats. Canola oil is made from a genetically modified version of the plant with a concentration safe for humans.
However, we don’t know whether it’s perfectly safe for cats. Plus, cats can have unique allergies or food intolerances.
Can Cats Eat Olive Oil?
Olive oil is another healthy plant-based fat source for cats. Olives are non-toxic to felines and are excellent antioxidants. They are rich in vitamin E, necessary for skin and coat health.
Because olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, it benefits cats with diabetes and cardiovascular problems. It can even help a cat normalize its weight because monounsaturated fats break down fat cells.
Olive oil is a common addition to commercially produced cat food, and you can add it into your pet’s diet if you feed it fresh food. However, consult with a vet beforehand to ensure your cat needs more fats in its diet.
Also, make sure the olive oil you give your cat is organic and doesn’t contain chemicals potentially harmful to felines. The oil should be cold-pressed because it maintains more nutrients and healthy elements.
Tuna in olive oil is an excellent treat for cats because it’s rich in fats and protein. However, choose tuna carefully because low-quality fish can contain mercury.
How Much Vegetable Oil Is Safe for Cats?
Although most vegetable oils are safe for cats, moderation is crucial. Too much oil can cause a gastroenteric upset in cats.
Veterinarian-recommended vegetable oil serving for a cat is one teaspoon or less a day. Note that this serving size is for an average 10-pound healthy adult cat.
If your cat is smaller than average, the serving should be smaller. Or, if you own a large-breed cat, it might need more oil to meet its nutritional needs.
This recommendation only refers to olive, grapeseed, safflower, and flaxseed oils considered safe for felines. Don’t give your cat corn or canola oil.
How to Help a Cat Sick from Vegetable Oil
If your cat has eaten too much oil or has individual intolerance, it might vomit or have diarrhea. Usually, the symptoms resolve on their own after a few hours, provided that the oil didn’t contain toxic add-ons.
Ensure that your cat has access to fresh water because vomiting and diarrhea cause dehydration. If your cat doesn’t feel better after eight hours, call your vet because your cat might need intravenous fluids to compensate for fluid loss.
Don’t administer your cat any over-the-counter pet medication without consulting your vet first because you can make matters worse.
Why Does My Cat Crave Vegetable Oil?
Each cat’s food preferences are unique, and some felines can’t help but love oil. A cat craving vegetable oil is perfectly normal because the feline diet should consist of at least 9% fat, and some cats might need up to 20%.
Cats lack taste buds responsible for detecting some flavors, such as sweet, but they find fats delicious. For this reason, many cats are obsessed with cheese, sour cream, or bacon.
If your cat craves oil, it either loves the taste or doesn’t get enough fats from food. If you suspect your pet’s diet is too low in fats, consult with your vet regarding incorporating more.
Does Vegetable Oil Help Against Hairballs & Constipation?
Many sources claim that vegetable oil is the best natural remedy for cat hairballs and constipation because it helps lubricate the digestive tract. This is true – oil helps hair masses pass through the gastroenteric tract without creating an obstruction.
Many commercially produced hairball formulas contain vegetable oils, and so do over-the-counter constipation medications. However, don’t rely on vegetable oil if your cat’s hairball problem or constipation is chronic.
If the problem is recurrent, you should seek its root and deal with it.
For example, if your long-haired cat often struggles to pass hairballs, you can help it with more frequent brushing because excessive oil consumption will lead to weight gain.
Or, if your cat regularly suffers from constipation, you should encourage it to drink more water and evaluate whether it eats enough fiber. Oil is only an occasional remedy.
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