Written by Marjorie

Probiotics for Cats, Do They Work?

Probiotics for Cats, Do They Work?

Humarian have developed a probiotic specifically for cats although there is also a dog formula and, fresh for humans in 2022, probiotic capsules for people on the move. Although this post showcases Humarian probiotics, the details apply to most good quality probiotics on the market today. Amazon has an excellent range for you to check out.

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.

  • 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.

This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission should you chose to make a purchase using my link.

HOW THIS POST WILL HELP YOU

  • I will introduce Humarian and how Probiotics work and what they do.
  • Look at Probonix dosing 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.

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. The opinions here are 100% our own, and we are responsible for the in depth researched content of this post. We are not veterinarians, and this post does not constitute medical advice. 

Introducing Humarian

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

Two bottles of pet probiotics in a lifestyle photograph
Bottles of cat and dog probiotics

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, why not give them a human probiotic?

Well, this was cat parents only option until cat probiotics were developed and now Humarian has improved upon the pills and powders currently on the market even further with Probonix drops.

This new research is bringing about significant developments in feline medicine. What once was called alternative medicine and distrusted by some is now becoming more acceptable to ordinary cat owners and veterinary practices.

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.

Probiotics for felines and ther owners
For humans and animals a few truths about all probiotics

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 So

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.

I am not sure about you, but this makes a difference to me as a pet parent aiming for 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

A graphic explaining the benefits of probonix to the reader.

What Can a Cat Parent Expect When Using Probiotics?

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 Work

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.

Probiotics for Cats Harvey 2

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.

Probiotics Image. Get Vet Advice if you need to

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.
  • Allergies.
  • A cat’s immune system and how it functions.
  • Oral health and cat breath

There is also a worldwide special offer for you to try Humarian probiotics at the end of this post.

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.

Probiotics Probonix for Cats and Dogs

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. They must, therefore, be supplemented for proper digestion.

Only Natural Pet

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 micrbiome in our list of definitions). Patience, when you are worrying about a sick cat, is not always easy to come by but take a deep breath, try to be calm, and give the probiotics time to work.

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.

Probiotics Probonix for Cats and Dogs Peanut and Marjorie at Dash Kitten

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’.

Make the Humarian Choice For Your Cat

I hope I have given you a good idea about the benefits probiotics can bring and about the positive effects they can have on your cat. A healthy cat will feel the benefit in a host of small ways, and we just know that the Humarian people are the right choice.

I have a special offer for you to see how good Probonix are for your cat, or for you. 

You will be impressed by the general increase in the wellbeing of your fur family. I am impressed with the general improvement of Harvey’s health.

IN-DEPTH PROBIOTICS Q&A

Probonix Dosing

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.

You can get 10% off your Humarian order here https://bit.ly/Humarian_10

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.

Cross-Species Goodness

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)
  • Cats
  • Dogs

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.

You can get 10% off your Humarian order here https://bit.ly/Humarian_10

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
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Allergies
  • Yeast Infections
  • Dermatitis

We also strongly recommend that if you have any worries about your cat’s health that consult a veterinarian immediately.

Probonix best feline probiotic

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

  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Probonix best feline probiotic
Harvey loves his tasty Humarian®

Probiotic Sources & Definitions

Gastro-Intestinal Tract: The gastro-intestinal tract (digestive tract, GI tract, GIT, gut, or alimentary canal) is an organ system within cats which takes in food, digests it to extract and absorb energy and nutrients. – Wikipedia

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 gastro-intestinal tract of cats. – Animal Biome. [There is a pop-up but the article is well worth your attention so click to remove it]

Probiotics and Probiotics: Outside the immediate scope of this post but helpful for cat lovers to know the difference. – PetMD

Marjorie

Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can shoot and edit wonderful pictures they love regardless of the camera they use.

She is a Professional member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.

33 thoughts on “Probiotics for Cats, Do They Work?”

  1. Excellent overview of why a pet parent may want to consider probiotics for their pets. Though I don’t think most pets need probiotics on a regular basis, I think pets with certain diseases and conditions can definitely benefit from them.

    Reply
  2. Great informative post. I did give my Huskies pre- and probiotics. My acupuncturist actually turned me on to them years ago and said it was good for pets, too. A healthy gut is so important for pets and us humans alike! Pinning to share!

    Reply
  3. These probiotics sound great! Supporting your cat’s immune system is so important. It sounds like Probonix is a leader in the field. I should really start my Manna (who will be 15 next month) on a probiotic. I will have to check these out!
    -Purrs from your friends at http://www.PlayfulKitty.net

    Reply
  4. Thorough information on probiotics for cats. I gave my cats probiotics. I give my dog, Henry probiotics and I take probiotics. I think they are a good idea. The vet has always recommended them. And the doctor as well. I’m definitely a fan.

    Reply
  5. Excellent detailed information about prebiotic for cats. I give my dog a prebiotic for dogs. Icy has a sensitive tummy and prebiotic help her.

    Reply
  6. Since what you want for a dog or cat, gut bacteria is a symbiotic relationship. I imagine that the type of diet either helps promote certain strains or suppresses others. So it would make sense to me that cats should have a probiotic that is different from the one for dogs or humans.

    Reply
  7. Really interesting post, I give Layla probiotics when she has an upset tummy, I keep them in the house for emergencies and my vet approves of this. I say if they good for us or dogs why not for cats, they deserve the same treatment.

    Reply
  8. Very informative post! I give my two dogs probiotics, and take them myself as well. It’s cool that the brand you featured here is a liquid. I’ve only ever given my dogs tablets, which can sometimes be a struggle especially for my super picky younger dog, Fenrir. These look like they’d be super easy to give even the pickiest of pets.

    Reply
  9. Minko used to get a high quality probiotic, it did help with his IBD, and the vet approved of its use, too. Maybe we need to get that for Pipo& Dalton, too.

    We ourselves use these regularly, and for sure during and after the use of antibiotics. In fact we triple the dose we take if we are on an antibiotic…it sure helps to stop the disastrous results of antibiotic runny stools…don’t ask, TMI, MOL!

    Reply
  10. Mew Mew hellos, Miss Marjorie! Wow, your post was so-o thorough! Thanks for that! Mom asks if you started Harvey and Jack out on the full dose each day or if you gradually increased it to the full dose? And did either show any signs of tummy aches or loose poo from taking it in their food? Mom has some probiotics for me in the cupboard that the V-E-T recommended. Have you tried other brands in the past? Purrs.

    Reply
  11. I think we`ve had these before. Maybe. But what we had were tablets. The peep had to grind èm up and add èm to our food (Please excuse the accents and stuff instead of apostrophes. My keyboard just went French on me. MOUSES!). Those drops look WAY easier to use. I shall have to mention this to the peep. purrs

    Reply
  12. Great informative post. I knew about probiotics for humans but didn’t even think about it for pets. I’m pinning this post. What a great quality product to benefit our furry family members.

    Reply
  13. I love probiotics. My vet has prescribed them often when Buffy or Chipper got the runs for a few days. I now keep some on hand and give them out when they start to have runny poop. It’s saved me numerous trips to the vet! I’ll have to try Humarian

    Reply
  14. Mr. N gets a regular dose of probiotics in his food. He has a bit of a delicate stomach and it helps to keep things mostly in check. He thinks liver-flavored things are yummy!

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  15. This is a really excellent, comprehensive article. I love that you give your evaluation too, and as always the graphics that make things clear. Great job!

    Reply
  16. Very thorough post about probiotics for cats and probiotics in general. Because of my Celiac Disease, the doctor has me taking probiotics daily. I was impressed with the information from Humarian people at the conference.

    Reply
  17. I agree with you probiotics are good not only for humans but also for our pets. One of my cats had issues with her bowl and probiotics have helped a lot. Can’t wait to try Humarian probiotics.

    Reply
  18. Very thorough information. I plan to try the dog version of Humarian probiotics to help my dog while he’s on anti-biotics. However, what I learned is that strength or concentration is an issue – some products are stronger than others. Instead of using the one the Vet wanted me to buy (I’ve already spent $900 there this month), I’m going to try this one.

    Reply
  19. When my dog Sophie was having trouble with her knee, she also started having diarrhea from the medication. My vet put her on probiotics and it helped her a lot! She told me that not all probiotics are created equal. It sounds like Humarian is really committed to making the best probiotic for humans, cats, and dogs!

    Reply
  20. Holy cats! What a great, all-encompassing post, with all the nitty gritty needed to understand (and choose) the best options for pets. Thanks for all the research!

    Reply
  21. When one of my dogs was a puppy he had ongoing issues with loose stool and diarrhea. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out what was causing it (grains). His system was wrecked and one of the things that helped immensely was giving him probiotics in conjunction with digestive calming medications (per the vet’s instructions). I truly believe his system benefited from those probiotics greatly.
    PS. I’ve also used probiotics to get my system back working properly after a round of antibiotics that killed too much good bacteria.

    Reply
  22. Thanks for the helpful info!! I’ve never had a reason to give any of my cats probiotics, although it seems like they could have benefited. Red takes them twice a day because she’s having a problem with gut health and pancreatitis. They make all the difference that’s for sure.

    Reply
  23. This is really thorough – great post! I am a dog person, but I genuinely appreciate how you break down the information here. Animal health care will require nutrients specific to their species. It drives me nuts how people can be so reckless about this.

    Reply
  24. At the Conference, I made the mistake of not even stopping by their booth to learn what they’re about. After this informative post, I regret that!

    Reply
  25. Excellent information indeed and that answers tons of questions. We do use probiotics here as advised by our Vet.

    Reply
  26. I have to say this is an excellent report on probiotics. I shall order some for myself in the morning. There is clearly far more science into these things than there used to be. Just shows that science plays catch up to what some folks always knew…
    Toodle pips
    ERin

    Reply

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