9 Ways to Boost Your Feline Friend’s Digestive Health

9 Ways to Boost Your Feline Friend’s Digestive Health

Is your furry companion experiencing digestive issues? From digestion to overall well-being, your cat’s digestive health plays a crucial role. The gut microbiome, a collection of microorganisms in their digestive system, is responsible for digestion and nutrient absorption. However, factors like antibiotics, medications, and food additives can disrupt the delicate balance of these gut bacteria, leading to chronic digestive disorders. So, how can you help your cat maintain a healthy gut? Here are nine ways to improve your cat’s digestive health through dietary changes, lifestyle interventions, and environmental enrichment.

#1 Optimize Their Diet

The type of food your cat consumes directly impacts the bacterial composition in their gut. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning their ideal diet should be rich in protein and low in carbohydrates. High-carb cat foods can lead to an overgrowth of carb-loving bacteria, which may contribute to inflammation and other health issues. Consider feeding your feline friend a high-quality, protein-focused diet to support their digestive health.

#2 Harness the Power of Prebiotics

Prebiotics are dietary fibers that promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. While many foods naturally contain prebiotics, you can also supplement your cat’s diet with additional prebiotics. These can help counteract inflammation caused by a high-fat diet. Start with small doses and monitor how your cat responds to the supplement.

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#3 Introduce Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that can provide additional support to your cat’s gut microbiome. However, not all probiotics are created equal. Look for a probiotic specifically designed for cats, preferably in an enteric-coated capsule that can survive the acidic environment of their stomach. Consult with your veterinarian to find the right probiotic for your furry friend.

#4 Consider Fecal Microbiota Transplant

In severe cases of gut imbalance, a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) may be an option. FMT involves transferring beneficial gut bacteria from a healthy cat to one with an unhealthy microbiome. While traditional FMT procedures can be complex and costly, there are now oral FMT capsules available that make the process more accessible. These capsules contain thousands of beneficial bacteria specifically found in a healthy cat’s gut.

#5 Use Antibiotics with Caution

Antibiotics can be necessary to treat infections in your cat. However, broad-spectrum antibiotics can disrupt the balance of bacteria in their gut, potentially affecting their digestive health. If your cat requires antibiotics, consider supporting their microbiome during and after treatment. Gut Maintenance Plus, a prebiotic and probiotic supplement, can help resolve diarrhea caused by antibiotic use.

#6 Prioritize Dental Hygiene

Neglected oral health can impact your cat’s gut health. Bacteria associated with chronic inflammation in the mouth can make their way to the gut, potentially triggering gut diseases. Regularly brushing your cat’s teeth with a feline-friendly toothpaste can reduce the abundance of oral bacteria linked to inflammation.

#7 Promote Exercise

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for your cat’s gut health. Overweight or obese cats have an increased risk of digestive diseases. Encourage physical activity by providing opportunities for exercise, such as hiding their food throughout the house or using interactive toys.

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#8 Stimulate Their Mind

Did you know that your cat’s mood can influence their gut microbiome? Stress can exacerbate digestive issues, so it’s crucial to provide mental stimulation that keeps your feline friend engaged. Offer new toys, food puzzles, or teach them tricks to keep their minds occupied.

#9 Embrace the Outdoors (Safely)

Exposure to the outdoor environment can introduce potentially beneficial bacteria to your cat’s gut. If it’s not safe for your cat to roam freely outside, consider using a cat harness or building a catio, a specially designed outdoor enclosure for cats.

By taking steps to improve your cat’s gut health, you can enhance their overall well-being. Remember to consult with your veterinarian before making any significant changes to your cat’s diet or care routine. To explore the exciting world of gut health testing and personalized recommendations, check out Karen’s Kollars and their at-home KittyBiome Gut Health Test.

Support cat gut health by making nutritional changes in your cat's diet.

Fecal transplants for cats are designed to address digestive health issues.

Cat exercise can improve gut health and reduce the risk of chronic digestive diseases.

This article was originally published on February 1, 2018, and updated on February 1, 2021.