Did you know that the majority of your cat’s immune system lives in her digestive system? It’s true – her gut is home to so much of her immunity that it only makes sense to keep it as healthy as possible. Your cat’s immunity is closely linked to the health of the digestive tract, so much so that if gets thrown out of whack, their immunity may suffer…
And that can lead to everything from digestive upset – vomiting and diarrhea – to allergies to inflammation to behavioral changes.
So, how can you improve feline gut health? Probiotics are a key player. Just like in the human and dog health industries, probiotics for cats are a huge trend right now. This isn’t just some fad – it’s backed by so much science it’ll make your eyes blurry. Seriously.
So, what exactly are probiotics, and how do you pick the best one?
What are Probiotics?
Inside your cat’s gut are millions and billions of bacteria. Some of that bacteria is good, some is not so great. The thing is, you always want to maintain a healthy balance. When the gut contains too many harmful bacteria and not enough friendly bacteria, you end up with an imbalance known as dysbiosis.
What can cause this type of imbalance? A lot actually:
- Antibiotics (they kill all the bacteria – the friendly and harmful)
- Not enough physical activity – your cat’s body needs to move
Think of probiotics as that friendly bacteria the gut needs to stay healthy. By feeding a daily probiotic, you can help replenish those communities of friendlies in the digestive system, helping them to defend against enemies.
Benefits of Probiotics for Cats
Aside from the all important growth, development and maintenance of a healthy immune system, there are lots of reasons to add a probiotic to your cat’s daily regimen:
1. Better poops
Loose poops, super hard poops, runny poops, lots of poops… and who is cleaning up those poops? One of the best things about probiotics is that they’ll improve all of those things. Well, except perhaps the part about emptying the litter box… sorry about that. If your kitty always seems to be dealing with diarrhea or constipation, a probiotic supplement may just be what the veterinarian ordered (literally).
2. Improved digestion
To get the most nutrition from her food, your cat needs to be able to break down and absorb all those nutrients. Probiotics can help with that.
3. More energy
An active cat is a healthy cat – there are so many physical and mental benefits of exercise for your cat. And since probiotics can help your cat get the most from her food, they’ll also allow her to get all that energy and that’ll boost her activity level!
Your dog needs probiotics too! These foods make it easy to sneak them in!
What to Look for
Just like for humans or pups, probiotics for cats come in a variety of forms: powders, pills, and even treats.So how can you choose the one that’s best for your furry friend?
- Look for a probiotic with a high CFU (colony forming units) count.
- Find diversity in your product – you want more than just one type of bacteria. The strains that cats tend to do best with are ones from the Bifidobacterium and Enterococcus families.
- Cats are carnivores with very acidic stomachs, so look for a probiotic with an enteric-coated capsule, which will protect the bacteria inside and allow them to reach the intestines to do their job.
- Opt for human-grade, rather than veterinary grade probiotics. Human-grade probiotics are generally held to higher standards and regulations are stricter as far as correct labelling.
- Consider a prebiotic and probiotic blend. The gut needs probiotics to be healthy, and probiotics feed those probiotics. A supplement that pairs the two is a match made in gut health heaven!
This is one of our faves: Love Bugs from Adored Beast Apothecary
We now know that keeping an eye on gut health is crucial for overall health, so consider adding probiotics for cats to your pet’s daily regimen. Her gut will thank you!
The Veterinarious team is made up of pet owners, pet lovers, and pet experts from around the globe! We’ve banded together to create a community of like-minded pet people to give you the latest research and health advice for your beloved beast!