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The 5 Best Fish Oils for Cats

The next best thing to branzino, omega-3s support your cat’s skin, brain, joint, and heart health.

by Avery Felman | expert review by Annette Louviere, DVM
May 22, 2022
A grey cat looking at a dish of fish
Duet Postscriptum / Stocksy

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While taking a daily shot of olive oil may have been debunked as a necessary supplement for humans, research shows that adding fats to your cat’s daily meals is more essential than ever. In fact, fats provide twice the amount of energy of protein and carbohydrates for cats, making them an important source of macronutrients. That’s why packing your cat’s diet with omega-3 fatty acids just might be the best way to keep their skin healthy, prevent heart disease, and tame inflammation. Below, everything you need to know about omega-3s and how to make sure your cat is getting enough of them.

What Are Fatty Acids Anyway?

Fatty acids are a specific type of polyunsaturated fat and can be classified into omega 3s or omega 6s. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are those that the body cannot make for itself, which are supplied through our daily diets. The essential fatty acids for cats are omega-3 and omega-6 acids, which are important to your cat’s nutrition as they aid in the absorption of vitamins by transporting fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, K, and E) into the body from the intestine. They also play a role in cell structure and function, including vision and learning abilities. Plus, they make food, manufactured or homemade, tastier and more palatable. 

The Benefits Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids For Cats

Omega-3 fatty acids are especially crucial for cats because they have a positive impact on so many aspects of their health. According to veterinarian Dr. Annette Louviere, “Omega-3s can act as anti-inflammatory agents in a large variety of clinical cases,” which helps manage chronic inflammatory disorders like colitis, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, joint pain due to arthritis, and allergic skin problems.

They also support normal neural and nervous system development, cardiovascular and immune systems, and healthy reproduction; help with stress management and cognitive function, especially in senior cats; and support skin and coat health and relieve dry, itchy skin. Fish oils can decrease triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood, and omega 3s fatty acids for cats have even been shown to slow the development and metastasis of certain cancers.

How to Max Your Cat’s Intake of Omega 3s

To make sure your cat is getting enough omega-3 fatty acids for optimal health, go beyond the kibble (go ahead, give them some salmon from your dinner plate.) Top their regular food with fish like mackerel, sardines, salmon, or tuna, or do some digging for an essential fatty acid supplement that suits your cat’s needs. 

“While available over the counter and generally considered very safe, pet parents should still use dietary supplements with guidance by their veterinarians,” Dr. Louviere cautions. “This is because there are some medications that can have interactions when given with fish oil.” Once you receive your veterinarian’s stamp of approval, further research each oil’s purity, freshness, potency, and sustainability to ensure you’re selecting the best source of omega 3s for your cat.

Purity:

The fish oil must meet international standards for heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins, and other contaminants. See the manufacturer’s Certificate of Analysis (CoA) for third-party verification. 

Freshness:

Check that they’re a guaranteed-fresh source packaged in an oxygen-free form, such as soft gel capsules that prohibit air from contacting the oil.

Potency:

The fish oil must contain DHA and EPA. DHA provides the most benefit to cats, so it should exceed the levels of EPA.

Sustainability:

Many fish oils are made from fish that are endangered. Choose products made from fish certified by organizations such as the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED).

Best Fish Oils

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

Best Overall

brilliant fish oil in pink

Brilliant Salmon Oil will support your cat’s hips and joint health, help them maintain a shiny coat, and relieve their dry and itchy skin. Bonus: this oil uses a 100 percent pure distillation process with no acid treatments, solvents or chemicals, artificial additives, preservatives, or colorings added. It’s also sustainable, which means no part of the fish is wasted in the process. Brilliant, indeed.

$25 at Amazon

Best Budget

the fish oil in orange

Sourced from Alaska, this wild-caught natural salmon oil is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA that aid your pet’s skin health. All you need is a teaspoon of this fish oil to satisfy your cat’s daily nutritional needs. Use the convenient pump feature to swirl some fishy deliciousness into your cat’s meals once or twice daily to soften their dry food or add some extra fat to their favorite wet food.

$16 at Chewy
salmon oil in white bottle with pink label

Sourced from Alaska, this wild-caught natural salmon oil is packed with Omega-3 Fatty Acids, EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), that aid your pet’s skin health. All you need is a teaspoon of this already generous portion of fish oil to satisfy your cat’s daily nutritional needs. Use the convenient pump feature to swirl some fishy deliciousness into your cat’s meals once or twice daily to soften their dry food or add some extra fat to their favorite wet food.

$20 at Walmart

Best Splurge

Best Sustainable Option

the fera fish oil in white with a blue label

Using sustainably sourced, wild-caught sardines, anchovies, herring, mackerel from Iceland, Fera Pet Organics Fish Oil is unmatched in its purity. With the highest amount of EPA and DHA compared to other leading brands, it’s no wonder this omega-3 supplement packs a punch. Fish oil supplementation may cause lowered levels of Vitamin E, so Fera Pet adds this natural antioxidant through distilled, non-GMO, and soy-free sunflowers.

$18 at Fera Pet Organics
the fera fish oil in white with a blue label

Using sustainably sourced wild Caught Sardines, Anchovies, Herring, Mackerel from the clean and pristine Atlantic waters of Iceland, Fera Pet Organics Fish Oil is unmatched in its purity. With the highest amount of EPA and DHA compared to other leading brands (EPA 900mg and DHA 600mg per teaspoon), it’s no wonder this ethically sourced omega 3 supplement packs a punch. Fish oil supplementation may cause lowered levels of Vitamin E, which is why Fera Pet Organics Fish Oil supplements this natural antioxidant through distilled sunflowers that are both non-GMO and soy-free. It’s safe to say they’ve thought of everything.

$20 at Walmart

Best Calming

the fish oil in a blue bottle with green

Honest Paws’ organic, full-spectrum hemp oil might be just what your cat needs to fully relax into their daily routine. Made with no GMOs, soy, corn, or dairy, this oil helps with stiff joints, as well as seasonal allergy relief and cognitive health. This oil is especially helpful for pets recovering from illness or undergoing treatment for diseases like cancer, kidney failure, or other painful ailments. It also benefits cats who suffer from anxiety, or tend towards behavioral issues or aggression. Let your cat fully zen out with this essential hemp oil.

$40 at Honest Paws

Avery, editor at The Wildest, and her cat, Chicken

Avery Felman

Avery is an editor at The Wildest. She has written for numerous publications, including Refinery29, BuzzFeed, and V Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her fiancé and cat, Chicken, and has high hopes that one of them will let her adopt a dog.