How And When To Give Your Cat Probiotics (And Which Ones), According To A Veterinarian


Probiotics are a huge trend in the wellness and skin-care categories — and they are also very big in the cat universe, with brands promising that doses of live microorganisms can help with everything from diarrhea and vomiting to scratching and shedding. While probiotics aren't a silver bullet for all the things that could ail your fur baby, there's promising research and vet approval to support that the best probiotics for cats can help out a pet's gut and general well-being.

"The biggest reason to use them is gastrointestinal issues," says Cailin Heinze, an assistant professor specializing in nutrition at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. If your cat is generally eating and acting normally but is suffering from soft stool or diarrhea caused by stress (think: adoption, visitors, new members of the household, moving, et cetera), probiotics can be especially helpful. “Anything more significant than that — losing weight, vomiting… talk to a vet," Dr. Heinze recommends.

Some pet parents give feline probiotics as a preventative measure, too, and they can be safely used longer term with most animals. “If the product is safe, the biggest issue is for your wallet," Dr. Heinze notes. She suggests supplements over cat foods with probiotics mixed in, since supplements are more stable and easier to control.

However, different formulas of probiotics can vary wildly when it comes to effect, so it's important to choose wisely. For a bottle that's strong enough to make a real impact, look for formulas with at least 100 million CFUs (colony forming units).

Dr. Heinze points out that studies show serious quality control issues with probiotics. One 2011 assessment said that only about a quarter of the products tested with "specific claims of viable organisms met or exceeded their label claim." So, it's important to do your research and not just pick up the cheapest bottle expecting it to do the job.

Whether you're looking to calm your pet's belly down or are just looking out for their general happiness, these are the best probiotics for cats on Amazon, and they're all customer-approved with a 4.4-star rating or higher.


The Overall Best Probiotic For Cats

When it comes to the Wild West world of cat probiotics, it's a good idea to stick with a brand that has years of testing and trust behind it. Purina's probiotic supplement powder is the most commonly vet-suggested brand and promises to use a special micro-encapsulated system that helps keep the microorganisms alive and stable — essential, since probiotics only work if the bacteria is still alive when your cat ingests it. With a 4.5-rating after more than 3,200 reviews, customers are happy with it, too.

The single-packet powder format is easy to sprinkle over your cat's existing food so you don't have to worry much about if he or she will approve of the taste. This contains a minimum of 100,000,000 microorganisms and added vitamins E, C, and beta-carotene for all-around health. However, this is the priciest option per serving out of the bunch.

Fans say: "I adopted a kitten recently that was thin and had diarrhea. Vet said she didn't have worms and all tests came back fine, so they suggested this for her. The first couple of days of this her stool got worse and became completely liquid. I was concerned, but the vet encouraged to keep her on it. Slowly in two weeks time her stool solidified enough to be solid at times or cow pie consistency other times. Three weeks in and she has nice, solid poop finally every time. Just bought a second batch to help her out for another month before trying to see how she does without it."


The Best Probiotic For Cats With Food Sensitivities

Formulated by the company's CEO, veterinarian Michelle Dulake, DVM, each scoop of this probiotic powder has about 5 billion CFUs in 11 different strains. The formula is vegan and free of wheat, corn, soy, gluten, and dairy, too, making it a great choice for animals with food sensitivities.

Each jar has more than 50 scoops, making this significantly cheaper than the Purina option, too. However, it's a good idea to keep the jar stored in the fridge to keep it stable. The flavorless powder is easy to add to food, especially wet food, according to reviewers. While this has the NASC quality seal, which requires the brand "submit to random product testing by an independent lab to ensure ingredients meet label claim," Fera hasn't provided third-party confirmation of the label claims and that it's free of contaminants. However, if you, or your cat, don't like it, there is a money-back guarantee.

Fans say: "Probiotics was recommended by our Veterinarian to help with our cats diarrhea problems. She said to sprinkle it over their food. We changed their cat food to a grain free one. The vet said it would help them transition to their new food. Their diarrhea is gone!!!"


The Best Budget Cat Probiotic

With 120 servings in a jar and 5 billion CFUs of microorganisms per serving in 20 different strains, Pet Ultimates's probiotic powder is super-charged but still a great price. With a 4.5-star rating after more than 1,400 reviews, it's an Amazon favorite for being cost-effective but still results-oriented. However, the brand hasn't provided third-party confirmation of the label claims and that it's free of contaminants on its site. But, if you're not happy with it, Pet Ultimates comes with a money-back guarantee. Store it in the fridge to keep it stable for longer.

Fans say: "My cat was hospitalized and diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. She had a round of hard hitting antibiotics which caused her to have bad diarrhea and gas... My vet approved it for my cat Caroline and within 2 days her diarrhea stopped and she seemed to have perked up and regained her appetite. I will continue to use it because it helps Caroline maintain a healthy digestive system and support her immune system."

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