How Is a Skin & Coat Condition Connected to Your Cat’s Gut Health?

When your cat’s gut microbiome is out of balance, common skin and coat symptoms like itchy skin, redness, and hair loss—or more serious conditions like atopic dermatitis—may result. 

Skin issues and poor coat condition may be signs of an immune system problem that can occur when your cat’s gut microbiome isn’t functioning well. Because 70%–80% of immune system cells live in the gut, your cat’s skin and coat symptoms could actually be a sign that their gut microbiome is out of balance.

So what is the gut microbiome? It’s the community of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that live in your cat’s digestive tract and are essential for good health. 

How Does a Cat’s Gut Become Imbalanced?​

A gut microbiome is imbalanced when it’s missing good bacteria, has too many harmful bacteria, or doesn’t have enough diversity. Factors like disease, age, diet, and medications—especially antibiotics—can cause this kind of imbalance in your cat’s gut. 

Missing Good Bacteria

Too Many Harmful Bacteria

Not Enough Diversity

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

We recommend testing your cat’s gut microbiome with our at-home KittyBiome™ Gut Health Test.

Gut microbiome testing can give you a detailed understanding of what’s going on in your cat’s gut, revealing any imbalances that may be causing symptoms like skin issues or poor coat condition. 

You send us a small poop sample from your cat, and we do the rest. Using DNA sequencing, our scientists analyze all the types of bacteria in your cat’s poop and compare them to our healthy cat reference set to determine if an imbalance is present. We then provide an interactive online report on your cat’s gut microbiome with personalized diet and supplement recommendations to help relieve symptoms and improve your cat’s gut and overall health. 

How Can You Restore Your Cat’s Gut and Relieve Their Symptoms?

For cats who suffer from moderate to severe or chronic skin and coat issues (like atopic dermatitis), we recommend our KittyBiome™ Gut Restore Supplement.

The supplement introduces an entire community of beneficial cat-specific bacteria to add diversity and bring balance to the gut while relieving symptoms. Gut Restore is a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) in an oral capsule. FMT has been shown to improve symptoms of atopic dermatitis and other skin issues. Replenishing important missing bacterial populations can often resolve symptoms quickly by restoring a healthy balance to your cat’s gut. If possible, we still recommend testing your cat’s gut microbiome with a Gut Health Test.

For cats with occasional or mild skin and coat symptoms, we recommend our KittyBiome™ S. boulardii + FOS Powder, a probiotic plus prebiotic daily supplement.

With active ingredients Saccharomyces boulardii and Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), our  supplement designed for cats combats yeast overgrowth, promotes healthy skin, supports good digestion, and strengthens the immune system. S. boulardii is a probiotic yeast with anti-inflammatory properties, and FOS is a prebiotic fiber that good bacteria like to eat. Studies in cats have shown that supplementation with FOS improves both gut health and immune functions.

Health Tip

Feeding a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to manage your cat’s gut microbiome. If you’ve taken our Gut Health Test, follow the diet recommendations in your cat’s personalized report to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Since the microbiome is an ever-changing ecosystem that is impacted by multiple factors including diet and medications, we suggest re-testing your cat’s gut health annually or anytime symptoms arise. A well-balanced gut microbiome will help your cat live a healthier, happier life.

Learn More About Atopic Dermatitis in Cats