All About Probiotics for Cats

by VetDepot on April 12, 2013

cat probioticsGiving bacteria to your cat may seem like a strange idea, but probiotics are actually a healthy kind of bacteria. A feline probiotic supplement has many potential benefits and a low risk of side effects, however, it’s important to always speak with a veterinarian before adding a supplement to your cat’s daily routine.

Bacterial Balance in the Digestive Tract

Your cat’s digestive tract ideally has a balanced environment of different types of helpful bacteria. These microorganisms aid in all aspects of the digestive process, help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, fight off bad bacteria that cause infections and illnesses, boost the immune system, promote dental health, and otherwise contribute to your pet’s digestive comfort and good health.

Some probiotic supplements include only one or two strains of beneficial bacteria, or are heavy on only one or two types. But balance is important; select a probiotic supplement for cats that contains a number of different live active microorganisms to prevent throwing your cat’s digestive tract further out of whack.  Probiotic strains commonly included in supplements include B. bifidum, E. faecium, L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, L. bulgaricus, and S. thermophilis.

When Probiotics Are Beneficial

While they sometimes cause a little temporary digestive discomfort at the beginning of treatment, there’s practically no risk associated with giving a cat probiotics. Because of this, many pet health experts recommend giving most cats a daily supplement, especially if there’s a strong history of digestive upset or antibiotic use.

Most cats with a digestive disorder benefit from probiotics. If your cat has irritable bowel syndrome or an irritable bowel disease, any digestive discomfort, gas or diarrhea, mild food sensitivities, a compromised immune system, allergies, or poor skin or coat condition, probiotics are worth trying. An antibiotic regimen wipes out the good bacteria along with the bad, and probiotics taken during and after treatment help restore the right bacterial balance. Cats experiencing stress are also prone to digestive problems, and a probiotic supplement can be beneficial in these cases, too.

Does It Have to Be a Supplement?

Yogurt is touted to people as a great source of probiotics, and you may have heard that feeding your cat a teaspoon or two is an adequate way to supply her with helpful bacteria. Many commercially available yogurts don’t actually contain live active cultures, though. Even if you’re careful to buy one that does, your cat won’t eat enough to gain any benefits. Plus, it’s not very healthy for cats to consume dairy products. Additionally, the process of fortifying pet foods with probiotics is imperfect. Sometimes the strains are rendered inactive or simultaneous contamination with harmful bacteria occurs. A feline probiotic supplement, like Fortiflora for cats, is the safest, most reliable way to deliver viable microorganisms to your kitty’s gut.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane April 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Hi,

I have a cat who is diabetic and hyperthyroid and has food allergies and possibly pancreatitis. I was looking for a probiotic without sugar and either without proteins or has hydro liked proteins only. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks!

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VetDepot May 13, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Hi Diane, thank you for your comment. We strongly suggest you consult with a veterinarian regarding the best probiotic for your individual pet. If you’d like to browse our selection of probiotcs, you can do so here: http://www.vetdepot.com/probiotics.html. All the best.

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