6 Simple Ways To Look After Yours Cats Gut Health

Your cat’s gut health has a huge impact on their overall health and happiness. That’s why it’s important to consider the following factors to help you protect your pet from potential dangers and be mindful of how lifestyle changes may affect the bacteria (microbiota) in their gut!

Take a look at the 6 common causes of digestive upsets in cats and 6 simple ways to look after your cat’s gut health!

1. Scavenging

Some greedy cats may try and steal food from your plate or gobble down any scraps left out on your kitchen surface whilst you’re not looking! Moulds and certain foods (such as onions, garlic and raisins) aretoxic to cats so great care should be taken to keep any toxic foods locked away.

How to Prevent Your Cat From Scavenging

Cats can easily gain access to kitchen worktops so be aware of any food left out on surfaces. Don’t leave out any food that may be harmful to your cats, ensure food is well covered or kept out of reach.

 

2. A Sudden Diet Change

As with scavenging, if there is a sudden change in food source that is available to the gut bacteria, it can allow certain bacteria more suited to that food source to thrive leading to a dysbiosis. By gradually changing the diet, it allows the gut bacteria to slowly adapt to the new food source and avoid overgrowth of certain types.

How to Change Your Cat’s Diets Safely

If you do need to change your cat’s diet then gradually change over the course of a 7-10 days. You can do this by mixing in 25% of the new diet into the original diet for a few days, then 50:50, then 75:25 and so on. Also try to ensure you buy the new food before running out of the old one to avoid a last minute change should your pets normal food not be available.

 

3. Certain medications (particularly antibiotics)

Your cat may require antibiotics and other medications occasionally to treat infections or for a particular condition. However, not only do antibiotics kill off harmful bacteria, they can also harm the ‘good’ bacteria living in our pets gastrointestinal tract. This can lead to a dysbiosis.

How To Support Your Cat During & After Antibiotics

Only administer antibiotics or medication if prescribed by your veterinary surgeon and follow the instructions given.

If your cat is taking a course of antibiotics, give probioticsalongside and continue them for a few days after the antibiotic course has ended. This helps to ensure the gut microbiota maintains its normal function. Make sure you leave a few hours between giving the antibiotic medication and the probiotic, otherwise the bacteria in the probiotic may be killed.

 

4. Stress

Recent research has showed extensive communication between the gut and the brain (named the gut-brain axis), with the nervous system and microbiota having important roles in this messaging. It’s not surprising that stressful situations processed by the brain can have adverse effects on the gastrointestinal system.  Cats can be very sensitive to changes in their routine or environment, and potential stressors to your cat may include: going into a cattery, travelling, a trip to the vets, a change in the home environment or fireworks.

How to Minimise Your Cats Stress

Try to minimise or avoid potential stressors where possible and introduce any changes to their routine gradually. For example, doing shorter journeys in the car before embarking on a long journey or taking them to stay at the cattery for a night before leaving them for an entire week. Probiotics given during this time may also help maintain a healthy microbiota. Other calming aids are available in the form of diffusers, capsules and sprays which your vet will be able to give you more information about.  

 

5. Life Stage

There are certain times of our pets lives where a dysbiosis may be more likely to occur, for example during weaning or in old age. This may be due to a slight alteration in how the gut functions, however sudden diet changes around these times may also contribute. As mentioned previously, if changing your cat’s diet (for example at weaning, or changing to another life stage diet) then do so slowly so the risk of developing a dysbiosis is reduced.

 

6. Underlying gut problems

If your cat has an underlying problem in the gastrointestinal system, this could alter its ability to function normally; there maybe alterations in motility (movement), secretions (substances that aid digestion) and the structure of gut wall itself, all of which may lead to a dysbiosis.

Why Does My Cat Have An Upset Stomach?

If your cat is showing gastrointestinal symptoms or is unwell then make sure to get them examined by your veterinary surgeon as soon as possible. There could be many possible reasons for your pets upset stomach, but rapid treatment will help minimise to changes to the gut microbiota and help to prevent further damage to the gastrointestinal system from occurring.

Looking After Your Cat’s Gut Health

By understanding the potential reasons for digestive upsets, you can help your cat avoid possible triggers and improve their overall gut health. Reduce any potential stressors and make sure their environment is protected and safe. One of the top contributors to digestive upset is a rapid alteration in diet, so if it is necessary to change your pets food, make sure to do so gradually over 7-10 days.

If your pet is unwell and you are concerned, we always advise you to seek professional veterinary care before purchasing at home remedies.