Since the digestive system houses the bulk of a cat’s immunity, keeping it balanced with a variety of helpful bacteria is an excellent method to keep your feline healthy. One approach to achieve this is to include probiotics to your cat’s diet, which are beneficial bacteria that assist in regulating digestion and overall health.
These live microorganisms are thought to aid in the treatment or prevention of a range of ailments and diseases, particularly those affecting the gastrointestinal tract.
“I’m a big fan of probiotics as a means of hopefully helping to maintain normal gut health, not only so there are less clinical signs of digestive upset like decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or stool changes but also in terms of helping to promote immune system health as well,” said Dr. Patrick Mahaney, a Los Angeles area veterinarian and certified veterinary journalist
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The health of a cat’s digestive tract is directly tied to its immunity, and when the digestive tract is thrown off, a cat’s immunity may suffer. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), infections, or a cat just swallowing something she shouldn’t can all cause digestive system discomfort.
Probiotics can aid cats with a range of ailments, including inflammatory bowel disease. IBD is a typical ailment that many cats get during their lives, especially in their mature and senior years, according to the doctor.
Commercial cat food may play a role in the development of gastrointestinal disease in cats. Kibble, for example, does not occur in nature. It’s not the type of food that cats should consume. And if they eat something that doesn’t suit with their digestive tract on a regular basis, there will be an issue over time.
Reduces chances of antibiotic related diarrhea
Antibiotic-related diarrhea is a pretty common occurrence. Antibiotics disrupt the natural equilibrium of bacteria in your intestines, causing diarrhea. This can cause intestinal irritation and raise the risk of infection from certain germs.
Probiotics are thought to be able to help stop diarrhea, reseed the gut with helpful bacteria after a course of antibiotics, and enhance the immune system in pets, in addition to treating IBD. Probiotics may also “decrease the length and slow recurrence of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis” in some feline patients, according to Richard Hill, associate professor at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Imbalances in Bacterial Populations
Dysbiosis (an imbalance of intestinal flora) can cause these regular functions to be disrupted, resulting in your cat getting ill. Many causes might be the reason for the microbiota to become unbalanced, resulting in dysbiosis.
While we usually think of dogs scavenging more than cats, certain cats can be quite greedy and will devour meals that have been left on the side, for example. Cats can be poisoned by certain diets. Other foods may not be poisonous, but their consumption can cause an abrupt change in food supply for gut bacteria; particular microbiota members may prefer the new food source, resulting in dysbiosis.
Infections, inflammations, and antibiotics can all cause bacterial imbalances and trigger digestive disorders resulting to vomiting, persistent diarrhea, and loss of appetite. A probiotic supplement can help restore balance to a cat’s digestive system.
Use of Medications for a Long Time
Antibiotics aren’t the only drug that disrupts the equilibrium of microorganisms in the GI tract. Steroids, especially when used for longer periods of time, can have the same impact.
While having a guest visit may be thrilling for the owner, the cat will notice a new fragrance, a new person, and a change in habit. New pets, new babies, renovations, construction, storms, or general changes in their routine are all typical sources of worry for cats. Stress manifests itself in a variety of ways in cats.
Stress is linked to diarrhea because it generates a tense stomach that is prone to upsets. Stress and stress-induced diarrhea episodes are more common in kittens and geriatric cats.
Change in your cat’s food
All dietary changes should be gradual and steady, as abrupt dietary changes are harmful to gut health. The transition to a new diet might be made easier by taking a probiotic supplement.
Gradually introduce the new food to your cat. This is the most successful way to ease your cat into the diet change. Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% current food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the amount of new food and decreasing the amount of current food.
Cats have a high prevalence of gastrointestinal parasitism, with prevalence rates as high as 45 percent according to Cornell Feline Health Center. The parasites can be worm-like (such as stomach worms, roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms) or single-celled (such as Isospora, Giardia, and Toxoplasma).
The signs associated with parasite infections are fairly nonspecific, such as a dull hair-coat, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, mucoid or bloody feces, loss of appetite, pale mucous membranes, or a pot-bellied appearance.
The presence of intestinal parasites disrupts the digestive tract’s homeostasis in cats. Once the worms have been removed, probiotics can be used to return the gut to its natural state.
In cats, megacolon occurs when the big intestines become bloated, causing constipation or obstipation. Megacolon is a condition in which a cat’s huge intestines produce a great amount of hard faeces, causing pain, discomfort, and dehydration.
Recent evidence has shown that a probiotic available for humans is beneficial for cats with chronic constipation and megacolon.
* Author is an animal lover who studied canine and feline nutrition to improve his pet’s diet. He has now made his passion to a full-time profession.