Feline probiotics provide digestive health support and offer a natural way to keep your cat’s system running smoothly.
What are Probiotics?
The word probiotic is derived from the Latin “pro” – promoting and “biotic”, meaning life.
If the name alone makes you think that the person who first classified these microorganisms was blown away by their potential health benefits, you thought right. Here’s a quick history of probiotics.
These microorganisms were first identified by Eli Metchinoff. In the early 20th century, this Nobel Prize-winning Russian scientist noticed that Bulgarian villagers who drank fermented milk daily seemed to live longer than others. This lead him to theorize that the bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus, which appears in yogurt, improved their health and promoted longevity.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria and yeasts (microorganisms). These bacteria and yeasts are everywhere, including in your cat’s gut. In the body, these microorganisms serve an important biological role: probiotics aid digestion by consuming sugars, bacteria, and yeasts, creating a healthy inner ecosystem. We often think of them as coming from fermented food products like yogurt, kombucha, and sauerkraut – like in the example of the villagers who drank a fermented yogurt drink.
Cats naturally have a particularly high concentration of these gut flora.
In the wild, cats live off of raw prey, which is apt to be rife with microorganisms that, without an adequate biological defense system, could make your cat sick. Fortunately, cats have plenty of gut bacteria that helps them to digest their food. This is why while eating raw meat would probably make us sick, it is safe for our cats to do so.
How are probiotics good for cats?
The digestive system is a primary point of contact between your cat’s internal ecosystem and the environment.
The digestive tract receives potentially harmful pathogens that can make your cat sick. It is the main pathway for beneficial substances, as well. The ingestion and digestion of foreign substances are primary sources of your cat’s first immunosensitivities and tolerances. Starting during fetal development and continuing throughout their life, your cat uses this digestive process to develop immunities.
In short, your cat’s gut flora plays a key role in their overall health.
Here’s a list of some of the ways that probiotics can benefit your cat’s general health:
- Improves immune function – fewer incidences of illness
- Helps to maintain a healthy gut flora population during antibiotic treatment
- Helps to restore bad/good bacteria balance during times of gastric disturbance
- Reduces gastrointestinal disease symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting
- Helps to “pick up the slack” in toxin elimination for cats with renal failure
What kind of probiotic is good for my cat?
While your cat can get probiotics from traditional food sources like small portions of yogurt, the most effective way to really provide a probiotic punch is through a high-quality probiotic supplement. It’s easy for inferior products to find their way to the shelves, so it’s important to analyze a probiotic supplement before you make a purchase. Here are a couple of quality guidelines that will help you make the right choice for your cat:
- Your cat should get a variety of probiotic strains in their supplement. Look for a supplement featuring 10 or more beneficial strains, rather than the one with just one or two. Variety is important! Introducing your cat to a variety of bacterial strains really helps to strengthen the immune system.
- Look for a powerful formula with high concentrations of beneficial bacteria. The best probiotic supplements will offer at least 20 million bacteria per serving.
Our high-quality probiotic picks!
Each of the below probiotics features at least 10 different strains of bacteria and over 5 billion CFU’s per scoop.