Published: May 2021 | Updated: August 2022
If you've ever eaten yogurt, you might have taken a probiotic without even realizing it. The majority of yogurt contains live colonies of beneficial bacteria, making it a delicious way to improve our gut health.
When most people and organizations use the term "probiotic," they're referring to beneficial or "friendly" gut microbes. There are billions of them in all animals' gastrointestinal systems, which aid in food digestion, fight diseases and digestive upset, produce nutrients and vitamins, and reinforce the immune system.
The word "probiotic" is derived from the Latin word "pro" (for) and the Greek word "bio" (life). Therefore, the word itself tells us that probiotics for cats are an ideal addition for your cat’s daily life to ensure optimum health.
Why Cats Have Troubles with Digestion
If your cat is experiencing digestive problems, you probably want to know how to help them. This is a common issue among cats, and it can be uncomfortable for the animal and its owner. Luckily, there are some simple solutions that can make life easier for both of you.
One of the most common causes of cat digestive issues is an intolerance for certain foods or additives. If you notice that your cat has been eating less than usual, or seems to be having trouble digesting their food, try switching to a different brand of food until the symptoms clear up.
Another possible cause of cat digestive problems is stress or anxiety. Stress can cause gastrointestinal problems in cats because it affects their immune system and makes them more susceptible to illness. Anxious cats may also have difficulty with digestion because they have trouble focusing on chewing and swallowing. If this sounds like your cat's problem, try talking to your vet about ways you can reduce stress in their life (such as playing with them more often).
Probiotics for Cats
The correct balance of good gut bacteria, natural enzymes, and intestinal function all play a significant role in a cat's digestive health. When the gut flora population declines, other sections of the cat’s digestive system also get thrown out of whack. This could cause diarrhea in cats, constipation, kidney problems, and other severe medical problems.
Adding probiotics containing active bacterial cultures to a cat's regular diet will help restore a healthy gut microbiome. This can be a probiotic powder or liquid supplement that is applied to cat food or provided as a probiotic cat treat.
Many pet parents offer their cats probiotics, which contain a lot of live bacteria. But, bacteria residing in your cat's gut would most likely outcompete them.
As a result, these probiotic microbes are unlikely to become permanent residents of your cat's microbiome, which is why many probiotic consumers find that daily supplementation provides the most benefit.
Since cats are carnivores with extremely acidic stomachs, even more so than humans or dogs, it's critical to find a probiotic encased inside an enteric-coated capsule that will protect the bacteria inside from stomach acid and enable them to reach the intestines.
Saccharomyces Boulardii for Cats
Saccharomyces boulardii (S. boulardii) is a yeast-based probiotic, rather than the typical bacteria-based supplements. S. boulardii is not digested and absorbed in the gut, so it doesn't work systemically.
Unlike many other probiotic supplements, S. boulardii works in the lumen of the gut. During its passage through the intestine, S. boulardii mimics the physiological effects of the digestive flora, stimulating a healthy immune response and reducing inflammation.
Saccharomyces boulardii has been shown to have a beneficial impact on gastrointestinal health, and it has been shown to effectively reduce symptoms of IBD in cats such as diarrhea and vomiting.
Cat lovers say their cats are eating better, sleeping better, and seeming happier overall when taking a supplement containing this specific probiotic strain.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, S. boulardii helps protect against disease-causing pathogens by preventing them from taking up residence in the gut. Harmful microorganisms like Salmonella attach to the surface of S. boulardii cells, preventing the pathogen from binding to the intestine's surface.
The pathogenic cells and S. boulardii cells are also eliminated during the next bowel movement. In other words, after your cat has gone to the litter box, both the yeast and the harmful bacteria will be present in his feces and will be expelled from his body.
Introduce Natural Probiotics For Cats Slowly
Everything new should be addressed with your vet while dealing with cat digestive issues and compromised GI systems (IBD, pancreatitis, chronic kidney disease, etc.), and if you plan to use a probiotic, it should be implemented slowly.
Start with a lower dose and work your way up to the prescribed dose. The exception to the slow-introduction rule is if your cat has a lot of diarrhea and you're introducing S. boulardii to stop it. If the addition of S. boulardii causes diarrhea to worsen, pause, restart, and implement it slowly.
The Saccharomyces boulardii dosage for cats is different than for dogs.
It's worth noting that probiotics for cats aren't always the same as probiotics for dogs. Cats are carnivores, while dogs are omnivores, resulting in a vastly different internal environment. Cats are built to live solely on protein and fat, while dogs require a range of meats, fruits, and vegetables to thrive. As a result, their bodies are drastically different.
The digestive processes of cats and dogs are distinctly different from one another. The small intestine of a cat, for example, is much shorter than that of a dog, resulting in a faster digestion time.
A cat's cecum (the section of the intestine between the small and large intestine) is much smaller than a dog's. In addition, the gastric mucosa (the stomach's inner lining) differs between dogs and cats.
The differences between their two bodies mean they both have different requirements. Therefore, you should choose a probiotic specifically designed for cats when you are looking at implementing a new supplement.
Eliminate Feline Digestive Problems
Beneficial bacteria may seem counterintuitive, given that we've been told since childhood that all bacteria are poor. Beneficial bacteria, on the other hand, play an important role in your cat's immune system.
S. boulardii for cats, in particular, is one of the most beneficial probiotics. Remember that antibiotics can't destroy S. boulardii, which is one of the many reasons holistic veterinarians suggest it. It can also be used alongside antibiotics to protect beneficial gut bacteria and prevent antibiotic-related diarrhea.
Relieving Constipation in Cats
It can be hard to tell if your cat is constipated or not. They might just seem a little sluggish and uninterested in food, or maybe they're not using their litter box as much as usual. But sometimes, it can be more obvious—your cat could be straining to poop, or not pooping at all!
If your cat is having trouble going to the bathroom and seems uncomfortable or even in pain, then it might be time to talk to your vet about getting some help with constipation. They may recommend adding Saccharomyces boulardii to their diet.
Improve Symptoms for a Cat with FIV
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a virus that attacks the immune system of cats, making them more susceptible to other infections. Symptoms can include chronic infections, fever, anemia, and lymph node enlargement. FIV is not contagious to humans or dogs — but it can be transmitted through bites or scratches from infected animals.
In many cases, S. boullardi can aid in the treatment of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). It's important to note that S. boullardi does not cure this condition—but it does help strengthen the immune system so that cats do not experience as many symptoms from FIV infection.
Choosing an Effective Cat Probiotic
One of the best things you can do for your cat is to give them a probiotic. Probiotics are good bacteria that help to maintain the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut and can help with a range of digestive issues. S. Boullardii is a safe and effective probiotic that works well on a variety of cat digestive issues, including diarrhea and constipation, as well as helping to prevent hairballs in long-haired cats.