Safflower Oil for Cats

The omega-6 fatty acid in safflower oil can improve cats' health inside and out.
The omega-6 fatty acid in safflower oil can improve cats' health inside and out. (Image: Martin Poole/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Animals need fatty acids. Cats need them for supple skin and soft fur as well as healthy tissues and organs. Safflower oil is a good source of the omega-6 fatty acid known as linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is an "essential" fatty acid: Cats must get it through their diet since their bodies cannot synthesize it on their own.


Seborrhea is a skin condition that can result from inadequate fatty acids in a cat’s diet. Seborrhea comes about when a cat’s body produces abnormal amounts of skin cells and oil, known as sebum. Sebum manifests as flaky, scaly skin or excessively oily skin. According to Dr. Patricia F. Ashley of the Kansas City CVC, cats suffering from seborrhea may benefit from safflower oil supplements.

Dry Coat

If his coat lacks shine and moisture, your cat may need more fatty acids in his diet. According to, a Doctors Foster and Smith property, a cat's coat can become dull and brittle as a result of a linoleic acid deficiency in the skin. A safflower oil supplement can help to replenish the skin, restoring luster and turning a dull, unhealthy coat into a soft, shiny one.


Essential fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help your furry friend stay healthy inside. Experts at the Cold River Veterinary Center warn that a diet of overly processed food makes a cat more susceptible to gum inflammation called gingivitis. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, they recommend safflower oil as a supplement for cats with symptoms of gingivitis. Small amounts can be part of a healthy diet to help cats maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Supplementoing With Safflower

Finding the best supplement for your cat may take a few tries. Individual cats will have different responses to varying amounts of safflower oil. Consider the overall balance of supplements and fatty acids in your cat's diet. Integrative wellness veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker points out that too much omega-6 acid can disrupt cats' natural internal balance. Cats need to consume more antioxidants when taking in extra fatty acids, so safflower oil supplements fortified with antioxidants like vitamin E can ensure your cat gets everything she needs. Some vets recommend adding around half a teaspoon of safflower oil to home-cooked meals, though this requires special attention to a number of additional dietary requirements. Dr. Becker says skin problems sometimes indicate underlying health problems other than fatty acid deficiencies. Bacterial, fungal or parasitic skin infections, as well as overactive thyroid glands, can lead to flaky skin. Consult your vet before making any changes to your pet’s diet.

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