The Cat Gut Microbiome

What Is Your Cat’s Gut Microbiome?

Just like us, cats have trillions of tiny organisms (microbes like bacteria, fungi, and viruses) living in their gastrointestinal tracts. Collectively called the gut microbiome, those little organisms do all sorts of amazing, important things for your cat. They help digest their food, protect against disease, and maintain a beautiful coat, just to name a few.

In a healthy gut, the thousands of different kinds of microbes make up a diverse, balanced community. But when there aren’t enough beneficial microbes or there are too many harmful ones, some of that community’s important functions stop working, and your cat may develop uncomfortable symptoms like diarrhea or itchy skin. This kind of disruption in the gut microbiome can be caused by a variety of factors, including disease, age, diet, and medications—especially antibiotics.

Imbalanced Gut Microbiome

An imbalanced gut microbiome may contain only a handful of different bacterial groups. When important kinds of bacteria are missing, the gut can’t function properly, and your cat may develop uncomfortable symptoms.

Balanced Gut Microbiome

A diverse, balanced gut microbiome includes thousands of different kinds of bacteria and other microbes. This dynamic community is crucial for the proper functioning of your cat’s body.

Do Antibiotics Harm Your Cat’s Gut Microbiome?

In some situations, these powerful medications are a necessary and even life-saving treatment, but antibiotics (like metronidazole) can make radical, long-term changes to your cat’s gut microbiome. That’s because antibiotics kill a lot of beneficial bacteria along with the harmful ones they’re meant to target. But if your cat needs a course of antibiotics, there’s still a lot you can do to support their gut health during and after treatment.

How Can You Know What’s Going On in Your Cat’s Gut Microbiome?

Gut microbiome testing is a great way to learn the status of your cat’s digestive health and whether their diet is promoting the right microbes. With our easy, non-invasive, at-home KittyBiome Gut Health Test, you can find out what’s really going on with the bacteria living in your cat’s digestive system. And if an imbalanced community of bacteria in the gut microbiome is causing symptoms like diarrhea or itchy skin, we can help you restore harmony among the gut bacteria. By rebalancing the gut microbiome, you can help your cat feel better.

Find out what’s going on in your cat’s gut.

How Is Diet Involved in Your Cat’s Gut Health?

Diet is the best and most important way to manage your cat’s gut microbiome. What you feed your cat helps determine which kinds of bacteria thrive and multiply in their gut. By feeding a diet that supports the beneficial kinds of bacteria and discourages the harmful kinds, you can help your cat live a longer, happier life.

Learn how to improve your cat’s gut health.

What Can Probiotics Do for Your Cat’s Gut Health?

Probiotic supplements do contain beneficial bacteria, but even the probiotics that are marketed specifically for cats contain only a few bacterial strains, and they’re typically not the right ones for cats. These products may temporarily improve some digestive symptoms, but the microorganisms they contain won’t become permanent residents of your cat’s gut, so they can’t fix an imbalance. In fact, new research suggests that probiotics can actually interfere with the recovery of the gut microbiome after antibiotic use.

Learn more about cat probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics.