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5 of the Best Probiotics for Your Cat With Diarrhea

By Bridget Reed


When your feline friend is not feeling well, it affects not only them but you as well. An issue like diarrhea can be especially troubling. Diarrhea is more than just a nuisance — it can lead to dehydration and indicate deeper health issues. 

What can you do to help? The answer might surprise you. 

Along with veterinary care, adding probiotics to your cat's diet can often help manage and alleviate diarrhea symptoms. But first, let's understand what probiotics are and how they function.

What Are Probiotics?

In simple terms, probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, and in this case, your cat's health, particularly their digestive system. 

While the word 'bacteria' may conjure up images of diseases, your body, or in this case, your cat's body, is full of both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are often referred to as “good” or “friendly” bacteria because they help keep the gut healthy.

When your cat has diarrhea, there's an imbalance in their gut microbiota, a fancy term for the community of microorganisms, including bacteria, that live in the digestive tract. Probiotics support the population of good bacteria, which competes with the bad bacteria for resources, thus helping to restore a healthy balance in the cat's gut.

However, not all probiotics are the same. They come in different strains, and each strain can affect the body differently. This is why it's crucial to choose a probiotic supplement carefully. 

Why Does My Cat Have Diarrhea?

Like in humans, there can be various causes of diarrhea in cats, ranging from minor issues to more serious health conditions. Understanding these causes is important to better address the issue and provide your cat with the necessary care.

  • Dietary Changes or Indiscretions: Cats may experience diarrhea when introduced to a new diet too rapidly, or if they eat something they shouldn't — perhaps they've snuck into the garbage or eaten food that their bodies can't digest properly.
  • Food Intolerances or Allergies: Just like humans, cats can be allergic or intolerant to certain ingredients in their food. Dairy products are a common culprit, as many cats are lactose intolerant.
  • Parasites: Internal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and giardia can cause diarrhea in cats. Regular deworming and fecal tests are necessary to identify and treat these infections.
  • Infections: Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can disrupt your cat's digestive system and lead to diarrhea.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): This chronic condition causes inflammation of the intestines and can result in recurrent episodes of diarrhea.
  • Certain Medications: Some antibiotics and other medications can disturb the balance of your cat's gut bacteria, resulting in diarrhea.

Persistent diarrhea is a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary attention. While probiotics can help manage and alleviate some symptoms of diarrhea, they are not a substitute for professional veterinary care. 

If your cat suffers from diarrhea, the first step should always be to consult a vet.

Should I Take My Cat to the Vet?

While mild and infrequent diarrhea can often be managed at home, there are situations where it is essential to seek immediate veterinary attention. 

  • Prolonged Diarrhea: If your cat's diarrhea lasts for more than a day or two, it's time to contact your vet. Prolonged diarrhea can lead to dehydration and other health issues.
  • Blood in the Stool: If you notice blood or mucus in your cat's stool, this can indicate a serious issue, such as internal bleeding or a severe infection.
  • Vomiting: If your cat is also vomiting, especially if it's persistent, it could suggest a gastrointestinal issue that requires immediate attention.
  • Lethargy or Other Behavioral Changes: If your cat seems unusually tired, uninterested in play, eating less, or showing other behavioral changes, it may be a sign of a more serious health problem.
  • Weight Loss: If your cat is losing weight rapidly or without explanation, it's a signal that something may be wrong.
  • Fever: If your cat feels warm to the touch, is less active than usual, or is showing other signs of illness, it could have a fever which is a sign of an infection or other health problem.

Remember, when in doubt, it's always better to err on the side of caution and consult with your vet. They can provide expert advice and proper treatment for your cat's symptoms.

Benefits of Probiotics for Cats With Diarrhea

Probiotics are an increasingly recognized solution for addressing a variety of digestive issues, including diarrhea in cats. 

When the gut microbiota is disturbed for reasons like those mentioned earlier, replenishing the population of good bacteria can often support balance and gastrointestinal health. 

Here's how probiotics can specifically benefit cats with diarrhea:

  • Restoration of Gut Flora: Probiotics introduce beneficial bacteria into your cat's digestive system, helping to support the delicate balance of gut flora disrupted by diarrhea.
  • Immunity Boost: A significant portion of the immune system is located in the gut. By supporting gut health, probiotics indirectly maintain your cat's immune system in fighting off potential pathogens.
  • Inhibition of Harmful Bacteria: Good bacteria compete with harmful bacteria for nutrients and space in the gut, effectively limiting the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Enhancement of Nutrient Absorption: Healthy gut flora supports digestion and absorption of nutrients from food. By improving gut health, probiotics can help ensure your cat gets the most nutrition from their diet.

While the science of probiotics is still growing, numerous studies indicate their potential to soothe symptoms of diarrhea in cats. However, it's crucial to choose the right probiotic for your cat.

Choosing the right probiotic supplement involves several factors, from the strains of bacteria included to the quality of ingredients. 

How Do I Choose the Best Probiotics?

Selecting the right probiotic for your cat involves more than just picking the first one on the shelf or online. Several important factors need to be taken into consideration.

  • Specific Strains of Bacteria: Not all probiotics are the same. They come in different strains, each with different potential benefits. Look for probiotics containing strains such as Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium, which have been studied to support animal digestive health.
  • Quality of Ingredients: The ingredients used in a probiotic supplement matter significantly. The probiotics should be free from harmful additives and preservatives.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Good probiotic supplements will state the number of living organisms, often expressed in CFUs (colony-forming units), present in each serving at the time of expiration.
  • Brand Reputation: Consider choosing a reputable brand that values transparency, uses high-quality ingredients, and has good customer reviews. One such brand is Optimeal®, which prides itself on using top-quality ingredients in all pet food products.
  • Form of the Supplement: Probiotics come in various forms, like powders, capsules, and chews. Choose the one that's easiest to administer to your cat.
  • Veterinarian Recommended: If possible, consult your vet before choosing a probiotic. They can provide specific recommendations based on your cat's health history and needs.

Introducing probiotics into your cat's routine should be done gradually to avoid potential side effects like gas and bloating. If your cat shows signs of discomfort or their condition worsens, discontinue use and consult a vet.

Top Probiotic Recommendations for Cats With Diarrhea

Here are our top probiotic picks that can help manage and alleviate your cat's diarrhea. These selections are made considering the factors discussed in the previous section. 

Remember, it is always wise to consult your veterinarian before introducing new supplements to your pet's diet.

  1. Feline Digestive Health Probiotic Blend: This blend features a variety of beneficial probiotic strains to support a balanced gut microbiome. It is crafted with quality ingredients and comes in an easy-to-administer powder form that you can mix into your cat's food.
  2. Purrfect Probiotic Capsules: These capsules offer a potent dose of Lactobacillus and other beneficial bacteria. They can be opened and mixed into your cat's food for easy administration.
  3. Happy Kitty Probiotic Chews: For cats that prefer treats, these chews offer a fun and easy way to administer probiotics. Each chew contains several strains of beneficial bacteria along with added fiber for digestive health.
  4. WellCat Probiotic Sprinkle: This easy-to-use probiotic powder can be sprinkled on your cat's food. It contains both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains to help support gut bacteria.

Each of these probiotics offers a unique blend of beneficial bacteria to support your cat's digestive health. Remember, though, that what works best depends on your cat's needs and preferences. Always monitor your cat's reaction to a new probiotic and consult a vet if any issues arise.

Which Probiotic Option Should I Use?

Understanding the strengths and limitations of each probiotic can help you make an informed decision about what's best for your cat. 

Let's examine the pros and cons of each recommendation.

Feline Digestive Health Probiotic Blend

  • Pros:
    • Features a variety of beneficial probiotic strains.
  • Cons:
    • Cats may be picky about the taste.
    • Does not come in a treat form that some cats might prefer.
    • Comes as a powder, which you must add to your cat’s diet. 

Purrfect Probiotic Capsules

  • Pros:
    • Potent dose of Lactobacillus and other beneficial bacteria.
  • Cons:
    • Some cats might be averse to capsules.
    • Dosing may be tricky if your cat doesn't consume all their food in one sitting.

Happy Kitty Probiotic Chews

  • Pros:
    • Comes in a treat form, which can be used as a food topper.
    • Contains several strains of beneficial bacteria and added fiber.
  • Cons:
    • Some cats might not like the taste or texture of the chews.
    • Nutritional value may vary more than in other forms of probiotics.

WellCat Probiotic Sprinkle

  • Pros:
    • Contains both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.
  • Cons:
    • Some cats might dislike any change to the texture or flavor of their food.
    • Dosage must be measured, which could be less convenient than pre-dosed capsules or chews.

These pros and cons should provide a good starting point in your decision-making process. However, each cat is unique, and what works well for one may not work as well for another. Always observe your cat's reaction when introducing a new supplement and adjust as necessary.

Additional Tips for Managing Your Cat's Diarrhea

While probiotics are a key part of managing and preventing diarrhea in cats, they're just one piece of the puzzle. 

Here are some additional strategies that can help:

  • Dietary Management: Pay close attention to what you feed your feline friend. Some cats may have sensitivities to certain types of food that can exacerbate or cause diarrhea. Consulting with your vet to identify potential food allergies or intolerances can be valuable.
  • Hydration: Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which can cause further health complications. Make sure your cat always has access to fresh water. You can also encourage your cat to drink more by offering wet food or using a cat water fountain.
  • Regular Vet Check-ups: Regular vet visits can help identify any underlying health conditions that may be causing diarrhea. Remember, diarrhea can sometimes be a symptom of more serious health issues.
  • Stress Management: Stress can affect a cat's digestive health like humans. Try to maintain a calm, stable environment for your cat. This might involve managing loud noises, introducing new pets or people gradually, or providing your cat with safe spaces to retreat.
  • Quality Food: Feeding your cat high-quality, balanced food like Optimeal® is critical for overall health, including digestive health. Look for food that lists real meat as the first ingredient and includes a variety of whole vegetables, fruits, and grains.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity can help keep your cat's digestive system working properly. Play with your cat regularly using toys, laser pointers, or even by allowing them to explore a safe outdoor space.

Every cat is unique, and what works for one cat may not work for another. Always keep an open line of communication with your vet and adjust your approach as needed to best support your cat's health. 

What’s the Best Probiotic for My Cat?

We've covered a lot of ground in our exploration of probiotics and their role in soothing the symptoms of diarrhea in cats. 

When delivering those all-important probiotics, Optimeal® emerges as an excellent choice as it incorporates prebiotics directly into the food to feed the good gut bacteria, offering several distinct advantages.

It simplifies the process of administering probiotics to your cat. There's no need to juggle separate capsules, chews, or powders alongside your cat's usual diet. 

By feeding the good bacteria with prebiotics in food, Optimeal® ensures that your cat gets the beneficial nutrients it needs with every meal. Managing your cat's diarrhea can sometimes be complex, but it's an important part of caring for their health. What are you waiting for? Purchase the best prebiotic foods for your cat


Probiotics: What You Need To Know | NCCIH

Why is My Cat Losing Weight? Weight Loss in Cats | PetMD


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