Do cats need salt to live?

by Austin
(Tyler)

Do cats need salt to live?


Editor's note: The short answer Austin, is yes, in small quantities. Cats are mammals, just like humans, and share some of the same basic nutritional needs, although in different quantities, of course.

A certain amount of salt in the cat's diet is necessary. Common table salt is (mostly) sodium chloride, and both sodium and chloride are required for certain bodily functions. Sodium is an electrolyte and among other things, is responsible for proper nervous system function.

But, cats should get their salt intake from their food, and not be given extra. Too much salt in the diet is not good (for cats or people). As in humans, high salt intake can lead to high blood pressure.

Managing sodium intake may be important for cats experiencing chronic renal failure (CRF). Although there is some data that says that limiting sodium has no benefit, high blood pressure due to excess sodium is definitely a risk.

A sodium deficiency can cause anorexia and impaired growth. The AAFCO has established the nutritional requirements for cats of some nutrients, including sodium.

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