Humarian have developed a probiotic specifically for cats although there is also a dog formula and, fresh for humans in 2023, probiotic capsules for people on the move. Although this post showcases Humarian probiotics for cats, the details apply to most good quality probiotics on the market today.
Do probiotics make a difference to cat health and wellbeing? What are the best probiotics for cats, powder or drops? These are some of the questions I got from readers. I am sharing my comprehensive review on cat probiotics, what they are and how they affect gut health and feline wellbeing.
Dash Kitten’s Probonix was supplied to us by Humarian free of charge. We only share news and products that are relevant to our readers and loved sampling Humarian’s products. We are not veterinarians, and this post does not constitute medical advice.
- Unfamiliar Terms: I am including a glossary of some of the words you might not know at the end of this post. If you need extra help email me at Dash Kitten or seek the advice of your local vet.
Table of contents
- Introducing Humarian
- Why Special Probiotics for Cats?
- What Do Feline Probiotics Do?
- Where Cat Probiotics Get to W ork
- Probiotics and the Sick Cat
- Vets and Probiotics
- Probiotics used with Antibiotics
- Veterinary Research and Cat Health
- Probiotics Didn’t Work For My Cat
- My Own Probiotics Story
- In-Depth Probiotics Q and A
- Probiotic Sources and Definitions
HOW THIS POST CAN HELP YOU
- I will introduce Humarian and how Probiotics work and what they do.
- Look at P
robonixdosing for your cat (or dog)
- The benefits probiotics can bring to your cat family. [Info. benefits dog parents too!]
- With user-friendly explanations, I will help you understand the science behind these microscopic miracles,
- and I will also tell you what probiotics can’t do.
Before I chat about probiotics, I want to introduce Humarian to you as I have met the people who represent the company personally. Their attitude is one of total and complete professional commitment to cat (and dog) health. The company care enough to invest considerable time, energy and money in developing and testing the best cat grade probiotic on the market today.
No-one has tested as extensively or as well as Humarian
Probiotics have names that can intimidate most cat people. You might be sat thinking “Lacto.. what? Entero….who?”. The names sound like something a mad scientist might throw together but they are real, and they matter.
- Try this Lactobacillus acidophilus is a probiotic bacillus, along with others it contains strains of Bacillus, Enterococcus, Bifidobacteria and Streptococcus.
Aren’t Bacteria Bad?
How many of you look at bacteria as bad things that cause problems? Do you remember seeing ads on television about evil germs and bacteria that you fight to keep at bay in your nice clean home? This is not the whole truth.
Bacteria Can Be Heroes Too
Scientists are developing more sophisticated research techniques that allow them to investigate new areas. Equipment is more sensitive and new ways of measuring are being developed. These changes means probiotics and bacteria are coming under the research microscope much more.
This is where Humarian, its investment in research, and its products are a big help. They make the science (and the bacteria) much easier to understand.
Why Special Probiotics for Cats?
Why there should be a special cat probiotic, is a good question. As a probiotic is a micro-organism introduced into the body for its beneficial qualities, and this works for both cats and humans. You might ask can I give my cat human probiotics?
Until recently this was a cat parent’s only option until genuine cat focused probiotics were developed. Humarian has improved upon the pills and powders on the market (and which some cat parents struggle to hide in their cat’s food) by developing the easy to dispense and tasty Probonix drops.
What Do Feline Probiotics Do?
Cats harbour complex communities of bacteria in their bodies, almost from the day a kitten is born. You never see them, but the difference these almost invisible bacteria make to a healthy kitten or young cat as it grows to adulthood is immense.
What do probiotics do for a cat?
- Probiotics support general gut health.
- Aid in proper digestion.
- Helps support a healthy immune system.
- Balance the bacteria in your cat’s gut.
One thing cat owners may not realise is that unlike conventional medicines prescribed by a vet, giving cats a probiotic will not show rapid transformative results. Probiotics have more profound effects on your cat’s general wellbeing, and these effects show themselves more gently.
“Bacteria are not simply random squatters, but organised communities that evolve with us and are passed down from generation to generation.”
……and What They Don’t Do
Probiotics are vital for feline health, but they are not a miracle cure-all for health issues.
They are weapons on our cat’s armoury of good health, but they will not address the circumstances that created a health problem. For that, you need veterinary care. This makes a difference to me as a pet parent hoping to care for and nourish a healthy cat.
“There are no reports of any danger in using probiotics, and many veterinarians (myself included) and pet owners report anecdotal benefits of probiotics, especially in reducing stress-related diarrhoea and in decreasing the time until resolution of clinical signs.” Arnold Plotnick, DVM, DACVM
What Can a Cat Parent Expect When Using
You will see health benefits in the form of improved digestion and nutrient absorption. Kittens and seniors need extra help in this area, and adult cats will always benefit from general digestive protection. Our Harvey simply functioned better with his Humarian drops. His digestion was great for a senior and his quality of life was better too.
Probiotics regulate the GI and help restore the health of your cat through:
- Preventing the formation of pathogens (see definition below) in the intestines.
- Providing easily absorbed energy
- Maintain the balance of the microflora in the intestines.
- Stimulating a cat’s immune system
- Regulating intestinal motility. (See definition below)
Where Cat Probiotics Get to W
To get to where they do can the most good, probiotic bacteria need to get through the stomach to the cat’s gut. As food is digested in the stomach, this is a pretty powerful part of the cat’s body. Probonix probiotics have a bacteria survival rate that is 9-11 times higher than top-rated competing products. To understand what this means, let me explain.
Humarian has developed a proprietary carrier to ensure their probiotics get through to the cats GI (Gastro-Intestinal Tract) in much larger numbers than lesser brands. The Probonix proprietary acid carrier coats the healthy bacteria and helps them adapt to the stomach’s acidity as they pass through into the GI.
This is breakthrough technology ensures that a much higher percentage survive the harsh stomach environment. While many brands may promise more probiotics per dose, Probonix gets them where they need to be to do their work.
Can I Feed my Cat Human Probiotics?
People used to. Those who are experienced in the field used to recommend human grade probiotics because of the quality of the beneficial elements in those mixtures.
Why Your Cat’s Gut Matters So Much
This is where the cat health action starts, and from here it impacts on your cats health and wellbeing.
Your cat’s gastrointestinal tract is a community of organisms, a mini eco-system that keeps the entire feline digestive system in balance. It affects the functions of the body in ways that research is only just beginning to uncover. It’s a whole world in minature, a world your cat’s health depends on.
There is a growing agreement amongst scientists that the relationship between us, our cats, and our microbes is a ‘two-way street’. Bacteria may be tiny, but they are powerful chemical factories that fundamentally affect how all bodies function. The impact of the food we feed our cats does need a more holistic approach from us as cat parents. We need to look at the ingredients of our cat food, as well as considering a probiotic like Humarian’s Probonix.
Probiotics and the Sick Cat
It is essential for you, as a pet parent, to understand that you need to refer to a veterinarian before making any decisions about probiotics for a sick cat.
If your vet does not incorporate a holistic to medicine yet, ask if you can be referred to someone who can advise on probiotics.
You can also ask locally and online for recommendations. Getting a second opinion, or further advice will help clarify your thoughts and allow you to consider if you want to use probiotics as part of your treatment.
Vets and Probiotics
Research and testing in developing areas of medicine are becoming more sophisticated as new techniques emerge. This research is ongoing by veterinary colleges and private companies.
So, while probiotics are not a cure-all for a sick cat, they are slowly becoming part of treatment protocols for issues like IBD (inflammatory bowel disease).
Science is also discovering that the symbiosis between a cat host and its bacteria is so complex and interdependent that bacteria can affect a cat in different ways:
- How a cat digests food.
- A cat’s weight.
- A cat’s immune system and how it functions.
- Oral health and cat breath
Probiotics used with Antibiotics
“Many doctors (and some veterinarians) administer probiotics to prevent antibiotic-associated side effects, i.e. diarrhoea, vomiting or poor appetite. This is a common problem in people, and most veterinarians have experienced this problem when prescribing oral clindamycin and amoxicillin to their patients. ”Dr A Plotnik DVM, DACVM Tufts
A veterinarian may prescribe probiotics to help a cat recover by improving its chances of increasing its store of positive bacteria. Probiotics fighting are for the cat from the inside out. Vets call the evidence for probiotics prescribed so far as ‘anecdotal’. This is because it does not have scientific evidence to support it at the moment.
With research proceeding rapidly on so many fronts in both the medical and holistic spheres, evidence may arrive sooner than we expect. Then probiotics will take their place in the veterinary armoury to encourage our cats’ wellbeing and general good health. The Humarian Probonix Difference
Veterinary Research and Cat Health
The concept of a healthy balance or lack of it comes into its own when you have a sick cat.
The cat microbiome (the host bacteria of a cat) is now thought to be so critical to our felines it should be considered another organ like the heart or kidneys. I believe that research into this potentially important area of cat health to clarify and enhance our current knowledge should be looked forward to by all of us as cat parents.
One of the areas where probiotics might mke a difference is pancreatitis.
Digestive enzymes are extremely important for animals with pancreatitis, as are probiotics. When the pancreas is inflamed, its ability to produce digestive enzymes — and get them to the right place — is compromised. TheyOnly Natural Pet
must,therefore, be supplemented for proper digestion.
There are no definite answers right now, but veterinarians will be the first to admit that it is early days for probiotics and the associated research. It is becoming more evident, however, that bacteria are increasingly critical to both feline and human health.
Probiotics Didn’t Work For My Cat
Some people try a probiotic and get frustrated. ‘It didn’t work,’ a cat parent might say. Nothing happened.
There are a couple of reasons why probiotics might not work.
- The right strain might not have been used or,
- the probiotic might not have enough CFU’s or ‘colony forming units’
The colony forming units are fundamental. They are part of the balance in a cat’s gut. In the cat’s GI tract, colonies form to benefit the cat and to increase the good bacteria. These are the right bacteria, the strains that can help.
How long does it take for probiotics to work in cats?
Before you believe probiotics are not working, or that they have not done their job, remember that it takes time for these bacteria time to get to work. You may see a small improvement in your cat within a few days but the full effects of a probiotic can take a week or more to become effective.
Like antibiotics, probiotics take time to stabilise the feline biome (see
My Own Probiotics Story
Our senior cat Harvey is Mr Picky when it comes to additives to his food. It’s sometimes difficult getting him to eat his renal formula, but he loves his Probonix drops and takes them daily. His poop is firm, and he is doing fine for a 14 year old cat.
The liquid is liver flavour and non-GMO. In other words, it is tasty and has not been genetically modified in any way, because I swear Harvey would know. Would your cat be the same?
The most positive thing about Probonix? I don’t have to sneak it into his food or hide it inside a treat. I don’t have to struggle to encourage him to eat his probiotics every day. Both Harvey and Jack (my other probiotic tester) accept and enjoy the Probonix drops.
Six drops each morning and a cat at is set up digestively for the day. No more stress for me as a pet parent.
From My Point of View as a Cat Parent
My probiotic research for this post revealed a lot of interesting facts and these helped me write what I hope is an informative post.
I have learned that a cat probiotic that encourages you to give three or four times the amount of the Probonix dosage (6 drops per cat per day) is not a stronger product. Probonix is proof of the quote ‘quality over quantity’.
- You can also check our post on probiotics and the senior cat
In-Depth Probiotics Q and A
Giving your cat Probonix probiotics in super simple:
- 6 probiotic drops a day for cats
- 8 probiotic drops a day for a dog
The Humarian formulation is suspended in a proprietary liquid that is super easy to dispense on to your cat’s food. There is no mixing, and your pet will not be put off by powdered probiotics on its food. Probonix is GMO-free and a tasty liver flavour which obligate carnivores like cats love.
Are there Probiotics in Cat Food?
Are there probiotics in dog food? Well, we have done some reading on the best feline probiotics and none appear in processed foods. This is because probiotics are sensitive to moisture and heat and when added to pet food or dried kibble they are virtually useless by the time your cat eats them*.
Sorry but probiotics are a major and sensitive player in your pet’s gut. We need to think of them as free spirits that cannot be contained, not a commodity that can be processed and dried.
Digestive care dog food and cat food will contain many things to alleviate a pet’s possible digestive condition. This is why several are prescription only, but they will not contain healthy active probiotics that help balance cat enzymes and encourage good gut health.
One of the things we learned was many people did not realise that probiotics can be taken by different species!
- Adult Humans
- Children (OK not a different species)
The reason I like Humarian is that they have well tested, expertly formulated probiotics for each of us. The quality of the bacteria is very important. You do not have to look for human probiotics for cats thanks to Humarian.
Are You Prepared for Stomach Upsets?
One commenter mentioned that she keeps probiotics on hand for her dog’s digestive upsets. This is a great idea. Being prepared might mean having an unopened bottle on hand. Probonix has a long shelf-life if unopened our recent order (April 2018) expires in August 2019.
With probiotics in your first aid kit, you are ready to take action if you feel your cat, dog, or even a fellow human is suffering from the following:
- Digestive Issues
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Yeast Infections
We also strongly recommend that if you have any worries about your cat’s health that consult a veterinarian immediately.
Do Probiotics need to be refrigerated?
Some do, and some don’t. Let’s spotlight our buddy the bacteria and show you it’s life cycle. This might explain why for you:
The life cycle of probiotic bacteria has four stages
- Lag phase – Bacteria mature and grow in size, but they are not yet able to divide. They adapt to their environment during this phase (remember this point for later, it’s important).
- Growth (or Exponential) phase – This is the growth period where bacteria use nutrients to replicate and build metabolic waste. Bacteria are most susceptible to harmful environmental conditions during this phase (this point is very important too).
- Static (or Stationary) phase – Bacteria enter this phase when growth and death rates are equal. It kicks in when nutrients needed for replication are depleted, or waste generated from replication blocks further growth.
- Death phase – Growth stops, and the bacteria start to die off
Bacteria need to be chilled at the growth phase on their life cycle only. You will find a helpful explanation that goes into depth about Humarian liquid probiotics, and pet probiotics generally here.
My Pet has a Delicate Stomach, can Probiotics help?
Probonix is an organic, non-GMO, and all natural supplement free from gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, eggs, fish/shellfish, and peanuts/tree nuts. This should please your veterinarian, as they look for potential allergy triggers in food.
Probonix is helping our senior boy Harvey stabilise his senior gut health in between his 6 monthly wellness checkups. When he doesn’t hide his poop outside I can verify it is healthy and solid!
- You do take your cat to the vet at least once a year – right?
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try your pet will not eat much except Brand X. Try to add some healthier raw or freeze-dried options for variety alongside the Probonix. The ‘net is full of helpful healthy eating posts for pets.
I have Celiac Disease Will Probiotics Help?
A couple of Celiac readers have commented that they were recommended probiotics as part of their daily diet. The human variety of Humarian’s probiotics is also a great way for everyone to amp up your gut health. I use the Women’s formulation and Dash Dad, Paul uses the Adult.
Taking human Probonix is simple. Just put eight drops on your tongue or in your favourite unheated drink once a day. No fussing with powders or measures.
Can I Add Probiotics to Hot Food?
Not all probiotics can survive in very hot temperatures. It is a complex issue but Humarian recommends letting hot food cool before adding Probonix for pets and suggest cool water for human probiotics. Some companies may differ in their application.
I hope we managed to cover the major questions asked by our readers but please ask if you have any questions. If I can’t answer I have friends at Humarian who are glad to help you out.
Can I give my cat probiotics every day?
There is no danger in giving your cat probiotics every day, but, if you feel they are healthy and getting a balanced diet, you could give them less frequently.
Probiotic Sources and Definitions
Gastro-Intestinal Tract: The
Gut Motility: Gastro-intestinal (GI) motility is defined by the movements of the digestive system and the transit of the contents within it. – About Motility
Colony forming units (CFU): Stands for “colony forming units” and is used to indicate how many bacteria in probiotics are capable of dividing and forming colonies (for a healthy gut). – Probiotics Guide
Symbiosis: Symbiosis is a relationship between two or more organisms that live closely together. … One organism benefits and the other is neither harmed nor helped – Genetic Science Learning Center
Microbiome: A microbiome is a microbial community (bacteria, fungi, viruses and other tiny things) occupying a discrete habitat, such as the
Probiotics and Probiotics: Outside the immediate scope of this post but helpful for cat lovers to know the difference. – PetMD
Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can create impressive cat photographs and fun movies with the camera they carry.
She is a Professional Member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.