Do you think gut bacteria are gross and can only make your cat sick? Well, think again! Just like humans, a cat’s digestive system is filled with millions of different types of bacteria and microbes, which together are known as the gut microbiome. These gut microbes can be found along the gastrointestinal tract, starting from the oral cavity, all the way to the rectum and they play an essential role in the digestive system. Briefly, these gut microbes can be categorized as beneficial or healthy and harmful or pathogenic that can significantly affect the health and well-being of your cats.
So, aside from digesting food and absorbing its nutrients, did you know that the digestive system is also involved in other important aspects of your cat's health? The digestive system and gut health play an important role to support your cat’s immune function, cognitive health, and skin health. That is why terms such as the gut-brain axis or gut-skin axis exist as a reference to the important role of gut health in other health aspects.
Why is digestion and gut health important?
Results from multiple research studies have demonstrated that gut health, more specifically the gut microbiome, is key to the overall health of cats. Microbiome helps in the breakdown of food components and the release of nutrients that are either ready to be absorbed or can be utilized for other metabolic functions. Additionally, this process leads to the production of other components such as short chain fatty acids, vitamins, or other nutrients that can further influence the immune cells or inflammatory functions in your cats.1
Benefits of a healthy gut microbiome:
- Maximized nutrition utilization
- Improved immune function
- Healthy skin and coat
So, what can happen if there are disruptions in the gut microbiome or if the composition of the microbiome is disrupted? Health problems! These health problems may or may not be related to the digestive system. Some examples are constipation, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, kidney disease, and allergies.2
How to tell if your cat may have unhealthy digestive system or disruption in their gut microbiome:
- Loose stools
- Reduced appetite
Therefore, it is very important to maintain a healthy gut microbiome and digestive system in your cat.
How to support your cat’s gut health
As pet parents, we have an important role in managing and shaping our cat’s gut microbiome by choosing the right diet for them. During kittenhood, and into adulthood, diet is one of the most important factors that highly influence your cat’s gut health. Here are some dietary inclusions that can benefit your cat’s gut health:
Prebiotics are fibres that are not digested by the host (i.e., cats) and therefore become a source of food for the gut bacteria and microbes. Prebiotics are then fermented by gut bacteria and can alter the composition or activity of these good microbes. The addition of prebiotics in cat food has been shown to support the growth of healthy gut microbes that provide beneficial effects for your cat’s health.
Probiotics are living microorganisms that are considered as beneficial or healthy bacteria. Probiotics can alter the composition of residing gut bacteria in your cat by stimulating the growth of other beneficial bacteria and control the abundance of pathogenic bacteria.
Feed them GO! SOLUTIONS DIGESTION + GUT HEALTH Salmon Recipe with Ancient Grains
This recipe is formulated with a unique blend of patented probiotic bacteria and prebiotic fibre to support your cat’s digestion and gut health. Let’s learn more about the nutritional and health benefits of this diet!
Prebiotics: from chicory root and our unique three-yeast blend to support healthy gut microbiome. Chicory root is rich in inulin and oligofructose, both are dietary fibre that are undigested by the cats but completely fermented by gut microbes to support the growth of desirable bacteria.
Patented probiotics: patented sport forming probiotic designed to efficiently survive the canine and feline digestive tract and support healthy digestion.
Ancient grains and psyllium husk: ancient grains and psyllium husks are rich in fibre that can help support healthy bowel and well-formed stool.
Antioxidants: Our GO! SOLUTIONS DIGESTION + GUT HEALTH Salmon Recipe with Ancient Grains is filled with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables that help support healthy immune system and also provide added fibre into the diet to support gut health.
Ancient-grain solutions to support healthy digestion
A healthy digestive system is essential to your cat's overall wellbeing. GO! SOLUTIONS DIGESTION + GUT HEALTH includes a unique mix of fibre-rich ancient grains, a three-yeast blend, and stable probiotics to help maintain a healthy gut and happy cat.
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Introduce food gradually
Drastic food change is not recommended for your cats as it can abruptly alter the composition and balance in the gut microbiome. Thus, it is important to introduce a new food gradually, to slowly adapt your cat to it. Read our blog on how to transition your cat to a new food.
Other than dietary intervention and feeding the right diet, gut health can also be improved through exercising or other play activities that could boost your cat’s mental and physical health. So, give your cat some extra love and keep them active throughout the day!
Nicholson, J. K., Holmes, E., Kinross, J., Burcelin, R., Gibson, G., Jia, W., et al. (2012). Host-gut microbiota metabolic interactions. Science 336, 1262–1267. doi: 10.1126/science.1223813
Wernimont, S.M., Radosevich, J., Jackson, M.I., Ephraim, E., Badri, D.V., MacLeay, J.M., Jewell, D.E. and Suchodolski, J.S., 2020. The effects of nutrition on the gastrointestinal microbiome of cats and dogs: impact on health and disease. Frontiers in Microbiology, 11, p.1266.