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Your Complete Guide to Probiotics for Cats with Diarrhea 

Katelyn Son

By

Medically reviewed by

Ivana Crnec,DVM

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Diarrhea in cats is a common issue, and depending on the underlying cause, it can be treated with an array of anti-diarrheal agents. In this article, we will talk about a particular agent – probiotics for cats

Studies show that probiotics help manage diarrhea, as they can decrease both the length and severity of the episode. They also support the cat’s gut health and help with other issues like allergies, appetite, weight management, chronic kidney disease, and immunity. 

Keep reading as we will explain everything you need to know about probiotics for cats with diarrhea – the benefits, the implementation, and special considerations. 

Do Probiotics Help with Diarrhea in Cats?

do probiotics help with diarrhea in cats

Yes, probiotics can help with diarrhea in cats. In fact, probiotics are often described as the new treatment for acute diarrhea in cats and dogs. 

Cats with diarrhea have altered fecal microbiome, emphasizing the importance of introducing new beneficial bacteria into the cat’s gut. 

It should be noted that before yielding positive results, the probiotics can make the situation look worse. However, this short-lasting effect occurs because the intestinal microbiome needs some adjustment time before returning to baseline. 

Benefits of Probiotics for Cat Diarrhea

A study investigating the “Effect of the Probiotic Enterococcus faecium SF68 on Presence of Diarrhea in Cats and Dogs Housed in an Animal Shelter” found out that this probiotic strain has a positive impact on diarrhea. In fact, cats supplemented with Enterococcus faecium had “fewer episodes of diarrhea.”

Another study reviewing the “Effects of Concurrent Ronidazole and Probiotic Therapy in Cats with Tritrichomonas Foetus-Associated Diarrhoea” established that “the addition of probiotics decreased the risk of a relapse following the end of treatment.”

These are specific bacteria strains focusing on specific diarrhea types. In general, continuous use of probiotics results in improved stool quality and decreased risk of GI tract conditions that trigger diarrhea. In cases of already developed diarrhea, probiotics help restore microbial balance in the cat’s gut leading to shorter diarrhea episodes and smoother recoveries. 

When choosing the right probiotic product for your cat’s diarrhea, it is recommended to consult with your vet as different beneficial bacteria target different types of diarrhea – stress-triggered, medication-related, and infectious. 

What Causes Diarrhea in Cats?

Diarrhea can be defined as “unformed or lose bowel movements, usually with increased amount and frequency.” It is essential to understand that diarrhea is not a disease – it is a symptom of an underlying condition. 

A large specter of underlying issues can result in diarrhea. For better understanding, we will classify these issues in different categories:

  • Food-related causes
    • Sudden food changes
    • Dietary indiscretions 
    • Food allergies 
  • Gut infections and inflammations
    • Bacterial gut infections (Salmonella)
    • Parasites (Giardia, Tritrichomonas)
    • Viral infections (FeLV, FIP)
    • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Other diarrhea causes 
    • Pancreatitis 
    • Kidney disease
    • Liver disease

Cat Diarrhea Signs & Symptoms

cat diarrhea signs and symptoms

The telltale signs and symptoms indicating your cat has diarrhea include:

  • Loose or liquid stool
  • Increased pooping frequency 
  • Straining to poo
  • Visiting the litter box too often
  • Excessive bottom licking
  • Red and sore bottom

The cat may also be vomiting, lacking appetite, lethargic, and distressed by abdominal pain depending on the underlying issue. 

How Long does it Take for Probiotics to Work for Diarrhea in Cats?

There is no straightforward answer on how long it will take for the probiotics to work for diarrhea in cats – the exact timeframe depends on the underlying diarrhea-triggering issue. 

For example, if the diarrhea is stress-related or triggered by a sudden dietary change, the probiotics will take two or three days to kick in. On the other hand, if managing diarrhea associated with a more severe issue like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), it may take a few weeks before you can see an improvement in your cat’s condition. 

The important thing is to be patient and consistent – supplement your cat continuously and monitor the situation. If you suspect the probiotic is not working right, do not hesitate to talk to your trusted veterinarian

Using Probiotics for Your Cat’s Diarrhea Treatment

The conventional diarrhea treatment in cats is based on dietary modifications (a bland diet composed of plain boiled rice and chicken meat) and antidiarrheal medications. The exact medication selection depends on the underlying cause and can include deworming drugs, antibiotics, antifungals, anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, etc. 

Probiotics are a relatively new addition to the diarrhea treatment plan. When used adequately, they can reduce or completely eliminate the need for antibiotics. However, before supplementing your cat with probiotics or deciding to give an antidiarrheal medication, consult with your trusted veterinarian. 

How to Choose the Best Probiotic for Cat Diarrhea

how to choose the best probiotics for cat diarrhea scaled

There are dozens of brands offering different probiotic products. However, not all of them are made following the same safety, quality, and efficacy standards. In fact, many probiotic supplements feature inaccurate label claims. 

Low-quality probiotics are dangerous. In addition to being inefficient, they also increase the risk of side effects. Therefore, choosing the best probiotic for cats with diarrhea is challenging. 

To make things easier, we have compiled a list of the qualities you need to consider before making the right choice. 

Different probiotic strains. The right probiotic for cat diarrhea should consist of various lactic acid beneficial bacteria and yeasts (Lactobacillus, Enterococcus, Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus, and Saccharomyces family). This is because different live microorganisms bring various benefits (manage different types of diarrhea).  

Number of CFUs. Colony Forming Units is the measurement used to quantify the number of live microorganisms in the probiotic. In general, the more CFUs in a probiotic, the better the quality. Cats with diarrhea need probiotics with a higher number of good bacteria than cats using probiotics for maintenance and general health. 

All-natural formula. Probiotic supplements must be made from natural ingredients and free from GMO products, cheap fillers (soy, wheat, corn), and potential allergens (gluten, dairy). These ingredients, in addition to being unhealthy in the long run, can trigger diarrhea, thus defeating the purpose of using probiotics in the first place. 

Added ingredients. As live microorganisms, probiotics need to feed. Probiotics thrive on prebiotics – dietary fiber. For convenience purposes, most probiotics contain added prebiotics. In fact, some probiotic supplements can contain additional health-boosting and synergistic ingredients like digestive enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids.

Probiotic Form and Flavor. Cat probiotics come in different forms (treats, capsules, powders, liquids) and pet-friendly flavors (beef, chicken, salmon). There is no rule on which combination is best – choose the probiotic form that is easy for you to give and the flavor your cat’s delicate palate finds attractive. 

Reputable and Trustworthy Brand. Last but not least, pay attention to the brand. The right probiotic brand will be transparent about the ingredients it uses and its manufacturing practices. To evaluate the brand, look at the reviews offered by previous customers and check policies like free shipping, money-back guarantees, and referral programs. 

What is the Best Probiotic for Cats with Diarrhea?

After considering the above-explained safety, efficacy, and quality factors, we have concluded that the Honest Paws Pre + Probiotic checks all boxes. The supplement is made of premium quality and natural ingredients blended in a potent mix suitable for managing cat diarrhea. 

Here is a short explanation of the different ingredients found in the probiotic:

  • Inulin – a prebiotic extracted from chicory root. The intestinal microbiota transforms the inulin into short-chain fatty acids, which help with digestion. 
  • Solarplast® – a spinach leaf extract. This nutrient helps with cellular restoration and repair. It also supports healthy aging. 
  • DE111® – DE111® is a Bacillus subtilis strain. This bacterial species promotes digestive health and helps maintain healthy gut flora. It also boosts the immune system. 
  • Bacillus coagulans – support digestion and protects the lining of the small intestine and large intestine from infections and inflammation like, for example, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  
  • Bifidobacterium animalis lactis – helps cats recover from prolonged use of antibiotics and combats inflammation within the digestive tract.  
  • Bifidobacterium longum – helps maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract and keeps the intestinal microbiota in balance. 
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus – soothes the digestive tract and improves its overall performance in terms of digestion, nutrient absorption, and vitamin synthesis.  
  • Lactobacillus plantarum – improves the GI tract function and manages various forms of diarrhea. It also supports liver health and physiology. 

The Honest Paws Pre + Probiotic supports the cats’ digestive system and offers relief from various forms of diarrhea. It comes in pre-measured sachets, and each dose features 5 billion CFUs. 

The product is simple to use – no need to open a jar and scoop a probiotic powder, just sprinkle the content of the sachet on top of your cat’s food and let it enjoy the delicious natural roasted chicken flavor. 

Our Final Thoughts on Probiotics for Cat Diarrhea

probiotics for cat diarrhea

The future of probiotics in veterinary medicine is bright and promising. Today, probiotics are considered to be an integral part of the multimodal diarrhea treatment in felines. They are natural, rarely associated with side effects, and support proper stool quality.  

The important thing is to choose the right probiotic for your cat’s diarrhea. Choosing the best probiotic will ensure fast results with minimum side effects. While on the topic of the best probiotics for cat diarrhea, check the Honest Paws Pre + Probiotic supplement. 

Sources

Article 624_Research and Cinical Experience with Probiotics.pdf (purina.es) 

The Fecal Microbiome in Cats with Diarrhea (plos.org)

Diarrhea in Cats | VCA Animal Hospital (vcahospitals.com)

Clinical/research abstracts accepted for presentation at ISFM Congress 2012, 2012 (sagepub.com) 

Probiotics: the new treatment for acute diarrhoea in cats and dogs? (vettimes.co.uk)

[PDF] Effect of the Probiotic Enterococcus faecium SF68 on Presence of Diarrhea in Cats and Dogs Housed in an Animal Shelter | Semantic Scholar