kitten who recieves fish oil supplement
The Health Benefits of Fish Oil in Kitten Food

The Health Benefits of Fish Oil in Kitten Food

Is anything cuter than an adorable kitten with a gorgeous, healthy coat? We don’t think so. That’s why we include fish oil in IAMS™ dry kitten food to help promote healthy skin and a healthy coat for your furry bundle of joy.

Let’s dive deeper into fish oil and meal, what it does, how it can help your kitten and why it’s an important component in all IAMS™ dry kitten foods.

illustration of a cat lunging afer a fish

Let’s dive deeper into fish oil and meal, what it does, how it can help your kitten and why it’s an important component in all IAMS™ dry kitten foods.


What Is Fish Oil?

You guessed it: Fish oil is fat or oil extracted from fish. Fish meal, which is used in IAMS™ dry kitten foods, is a good source of natural fish oil — which is a high-quality source of omega-3 fatty acids.


Now, time for a science lesson! Fatty acids, a smaller component of fat, are critical for many kitten body functions. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of fatty acid with important nutritional value for kittens. Fish oil from deep, cold-water fish contains omega-3 fatty acids including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

fish oil chemical compound structure

When a kitten eats food with fatty acids, the fatty acids are incorporated into their tissues, including the skin. (Turns out you really are what you eat!) Omega-3 fatty acids produce substances that promote healthy skin conditions, especially when balanced with omega-6 fatty acids (found in common kitten food ingredients such as chicken fat and corn oil). 


How Is Fish Oil Good for Cats and Kittens?

So what does all this mean for your kitten? Feeding a complete and balanced diet with a balanced ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is proven to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat in cats1. Studies reveal that when fed fish oil, cats show:

  • A more uniform coat
  • Increased shine
  • A softer coat

paw licking good

DHA from fish oil has also been shown to promote healthy brain and vision development in kittens — important for all the hours of play and nighttime zoomies your kitten will experience in their lifetime.


All IAMS™ dry kitten foods, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Healthy Kitten, are formulated with fish oil and an optimal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Proper nutrition as a kitten can help support your kitten’s soft and shiny coat now — and for all the years to come.


1 Data on file, The IAMS™ Company, 2000.


  • gray and white kitten licking lips ready to eat healthy cat food containing taurine
    gray and white kitten licking lips ready to eat healthy cat food containing taurine

    The Importance of Taurine in Kitten and Cat Food

    Taurine is an important component found in all IAMS™ kitten and cat foods. This important amino acid is essential for cats of all ages, and critical for healthy development, normal heart muscle function, vision and reproduction. It even aids in digestion!


    Unlike other amino acids, taurine is found as a free amino acid in body tissues, such as the heart and eyes, and is not incorporated into proteins.


    Most mammals manufacture taurine from other amino acids, but cats and kittens need more than their bodies can produce and rely on their food to make up the difference. Pet food’s animal-based protein ingredients are natural taurine sources, and the amino acid can also be added to pet food recipes on its own.


    Why Does IAMS™ Add Taurine to Kitten and Cat Food? 

    All IAMS™ kitten and cat foods are formulated with high-quality animal-based proteins that are naturally rich in taurine as their primary ingredient. So why supplement these foods with additional taurine? Two reasons: natural variability and the production process.


    IAMS™ Dry Cat Food: The Natural Variability 

    IAMS™ dry cat and kitten foods include taurine to supplement each food’s primary source of the amino acid — an animal-based protein like chicken, egg, lamb or fish. These natural sources naturally vary in their nutrient content, so adding supplemental taurine helps ensure your cat or kitten is getting enough in their diet every day.


    IAMS™ Wet Cat Food: The Production Process 

    For wet food, the canning process itself may affect the complex taurine balance of the food. That means IAMS™ wet cat foods must contain more taurine, as much as twice the taurine found in dry food, to ensure cats are getting enough.


    black kitten and white kitten laying on each other under a blanket, relaxed and full on healthy cat food containing taurine


    Symptoms of Taurine Deficiency in Cats and Kittens

    Cats and kittens need their taurine! Kittens need taurine for healthy growth and development, and adult cats that don’t get enough taurine can develop serious health conditions. Low levels of taurine put your pet at risk for preventable health conditions that can become serious over time.


    Impaired Vision and Blindness 

    Taurine is essential to the proper development and ongoing health of feline eyes, particularly the retinas. Without enough taurine, retinal cells can’t function properly and may die, which can cause impaired vision and even blindness (a process called feline central retinal degeneration).


    Heart Disease 

    Taurine plays a key role in supporting cardiovascular health, too. A lack of taurine weakens the heart muscle, which, in turn, can lead to heart failure. This condition is known as dilated cardiomyopathy and can be fatal.


    Decreased Reproductive Performance and Growth 

    Optimal reproductive health and growth also rely on taurine to complete a number of important health processes. Maintaining adequate levels during pregnancy, nursing and early growth helps ensure proper structural development for kittens and wellness for the mother.



    Feeding your pet well is an important part of taking care of them. Learning the importance of ingredients like taurine is one way you can ensure you’re giving them exactly what their body needs. By giving your kitten a healthy start and understanding  their nutritional needs, you’re giving them the best shot at a long, healthy and happy future. Your cat would thank you if they could!

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