An online survey about feline supplements has shown that 87 percent of owners would seek veterinary advice when choosing a supplement for their cat.
Currently only 30 percent of cat owners give supplements to their cat but 74 percent would be willing to try them.
Low owner confidence and knowledge surrounding feline supplementation provides vets with an ideal opportunity to offer education to their clients and improve patient welfare.
The survey, conducted by Vita Animal Health, also shed light on how owner perceptions of when and why to offer supplements differ to those of their vets.
Over 80 percent of vets believed the main reasons to be hesitant around feline supplement use were palatability and the owner’s ability to give products. Owners, however, were more varied in their responses.
Their main barriers to giving supplements were: the ease of giving the supplement (53 percent), the cost (45 percent) and being unsure of the benefits the supplement provides (39 percent).
Registered vet nurse and head of sales at Vita, Tara Evans, says: “It is interesting that the majority of vets believe that practicalities around administering oral supplements is the main drawback to giving these products, whereas only 53 percent of owners were concerned about this.
“Understanding owner concerns regarding efficacy and price could help vets support more owners to move forward with supplements for their cats.”
Both vets and owners use joint supplements most frequently.
Cat owners also showed an interest in giving supplements for general wellness (61 percent).
“This survey has shown that there is greater potential to use supplements in cats than we might have previously recognised,” says Tara. “Owners are open to supplementing for general health, as well as more specific health-related issues.
“We are here to provide supplements that both vets and owners want, and educational tools to support their use.”
The use of supplements in other species, such as dogs and horses, is commonplace. Incorporating conversations regarding the benefits of feline supplements into consultations may help owners become aware that there are products available.