Just like humans, most of a cat’s immunity lives in its digestive tract, so keeping it balanced with a menagerie of good bacteria is a great way to make sure that your feline stays healthy. One way to do this is by supplementing its diet with probiotics. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that assist in regulating your digestive and overall health.
These microorganisms are alive and believed to treat and prevent many illnesses and diseases, especially those that have to do with the gastrointestinal system.
If the digestive tract is off, the cat’s immunity may suffer. Such disorders like inflammatory bowel disease, infections, we’re by a cat ingesting something they shouldn’t cause digestive tract upset.
Probiotics help with many conditions like inflammatory bowel disease. It is a common condition many cats can develop in their lifetime, especially during their senior and adult years.
The cause of IBD, Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The cause of inflammatory bowel disease in cats is a mystery, but some commercial pet food might play a part. Small kibbles do not exist in nature and are not know what cats should eat. If they are consistently eating something that doesn’t agree with their digestive tract there can be a problem over time. Cats start vomiting, have diarrhea, and don’t eat as well as they should. Inflammatory bowel disease is a big concern and ends up costing pet owners time and money.
Probiotics for Cats
Probiotics are also able to possibly stop diarrhea, reseeding the gut with beneficial bacteria after a course of antibiotics, improve digestion, and boost the overall immune system. Probiotics also slow and reduce the duration of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis in some cats.
Dogs and cats have very different digestive systems. Cats are carnivorous and dogs are omnivores. Cats survive off fat and protein and dogs are meant to eat more protein in meat and vegetables and fruits. Digestion starts in the mouth and if you look at the teeth of cats and dogs, the dog has molars for chopping up plants, while the cat doesn’t have these types of teeth. The differences in anatomy, physiology, and diet are why some vets think cats may benefit from probiotics more than dogs.
Veterinarians encourage pet parents to get probiotics that are specially designed for cats and not use human probiotics. The microflora in a cat’s large and small intestines are different than those of people.
There are a variety of cat probiotics. Powders, pills, and even mixed into treats are your choices. The diversity of the type of bacteria is important. You want to make sure that you have a good selection of probiotics and not just one type of bacteria.
Strains that cats do best with are those in the bifidobacterium and enterococcus families. The bifidobacterium lives in the small intestine and enterococcus lives in the colon or large intestine.
Each strain has a different function when it comes to health. The bifidobacterium is involved with digestion and the enterococcus helps with the formation of normal feces and maintaining colonic health. Veterinarians recommend that pet parents make probiotics a daily part of their cat’s routine.
Antibiotics are famous for wiping out the healthy flora in the gut. A daily dose of probiotics can combat this when a cat has been on antibiotics to help repopulate the digestive tract. Pet parents can also give probiotics at the same time when they start a dose of antibiotics.
Effects of Probiotics in Cats
To administer a dose, follow the instructions on the package. If a cat will not swallow up the capsule, owners should hide it inside a treat or pick something to be sprinkled on the cat’s food.
Bad probiotic effects are rare in cats. Cat owners need to choose their probiotic brands wisely however the supplement industry is loosely regulated and doesn’t have a governing agency requiring companies to prove their claims for amounts and strains. A company only has to respond to complaints. Human supplement manufacturers have more oversight than Veterinary ones. There is a Veterinary organization called National Animal Supplement Council that does some regulations. It is recommended that you give a cat a product that has the National Animal Supplement Council label or a product from a company that also creates human supplements and foods if you can.
At the end of the day, it comes down to what works best for your pet. So little is known about probiotic and normal flora populations in animals that there is a lot to learn. Trying different probiotics and watching the results is good common sense because no one product works for every animal.
Although we know that you wish you could take your cat everywhere, however, you know they do best at home in their familiar environment. At 2 Paws Up Inc, our cat sitters specialize in cats and know exactly how to keep them happy and purring. The next time you are heading out of town and need a cat sitter we will be there for you. Contact 2 Paws Up Inc at 770-695-3096. Visit our website for more information, www.2pawsupinc.com