10 Best Probiotics for Cats

Reviewed by JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM

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The best probiotics for cats combine efficacy, quality control, and palatability. They’re made by reputable companies and grounded in the latest research. That’s why we’ve chosen Nom Nom’s full spectrum probiotic as the overall best probiotic for cats.

This product is formulated by veterinary nutrition and microbiology experts and features potent populations of six well-known probiotic species.

But with limited customer reviews and a high price, this probiotic supplement isn’t for every cat. To help you find the right probiotic for your cat, we’ve also included nine more of the best probiotics on the market.

At a Glance: Best Probiotics for Cats on the Market Today

To find the top 10 best probiotics for cats, I’ve examined product listings, consulted with experts, read customer reviews, browsed cat health forums, and dived into scientific publications and resources like the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the NIH’s in-depth report on probiotics.

And because the probiotics space is plagued by fake customer reviews, I put the reviews’ veracity to the test on FakeSpot.com.

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Overall Best Overall

Nom Nom Full Spectrum Probiotic for Cats
  • Designed by experts in veterinary nutrition and microbiology
  • Made from human-grade ingredients and independently tested
  • Contains four well-researched probiotic strains
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Overall Runner Up

Hyperbiotics PRO-Pets – A Probiotic for Dogs & Cats
  • Contains 6 well-known and effective bacteria species
  • Has a beef flavor cats love
  • 3 billion CFUs per serving
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Best Probiotic Powder for Cats

Nusentia Probiotic Miracle for Dogs and Cats
  • Synergized with prebiotics for maximum efficacy
  • Easy-to-administer powder format
  • A well-known and popular supplement
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Best Probiotic for Cats with a Loss of Appetite

Fortiflora Nutritional Supplement for Cats
  • Good for inappetent cats
  • Taurine is added
  • Comes in easy-to-serve packets of powder
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Best Budget

NOW Acidophilus 8 Billion
  • Made for humans, which usually translates to higher quality control standards
  • Contains three beneficial strains
  • One of the most affordable probiotic supplements you can buy
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Best Probiotic Gel for Cats and Kittens

Benebac Plus Probiotic Pet Gel
  • Made from high-quality meat ingredients with no fillers
  • Moisture-rich to support kidney and urinary tract health
  • Soft texture is easy to eat
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Best for Diarrhea

NOW Saccharomyces Boulardii
  • S. boulardii is one of the most well-researched probiotics
  • Ideal for cats with diarrhea
  • A human-grade probiotic, which suggests higher quality standards
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Best for Diarrhea

Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotics Dog & Cat Supplement
  • An extraordinarily high-CFU supplement
  • Easy to mix into your cat’s food
  • Almost all customer reviews are positive
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Do cats need probiotics?

Probiotics can benefit cats, but is there a historical or evolutionary precedent for feline probiotic consumption?

Like all animals, your cat’s natural prey has their own microbiome, which is the population of microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi) that live inside the body and on the skin. So, that tasty meal consisting of a fresh mouse or bird comes with a variety of both good and bad bacteria. What’s more, a bite-size pocket of fermenting plant matter and microorganisms is built into every meal.

Externally, prey animals have feathers, hair, teeth, claws, and other indigestible animal tissue. For a carnivore, this may serve a purpose similar to plant fiber. Fiber is a prebiotic, helping to promote probiotic activity in the gut and move food through the gut.

Just as humans have been eating probiotic-rich fermented foods for thousands of years, so have cats historically consumed probiotic material. This suggests that a modern-day diet lacks the beneficial organisms found in a cat’s natural prey. Unfortunately, a modern-day diet lacks the beneficial organisms found in a cat’s natural prey.

Here’s how probiotics can help.

You’ve probably heard some of the grandiose claims made by probiotic peddlers.

In reality, the microbiome and its relationship with the gastrointestinal tract, immune system, and every other part of the body, is impossibly complex. It’s logical to anticipate benefits from tossing extra bugs into the billions already populating the body, but we don’t know precisely how far those benefits go.

Given the importance of the microbiome, it’s plausible that probiotics could have an impact on emotional health, bone and muscle strength, and other aspects of general health, but these benefits are little more than hypothetical at this stage.

Researchers have only scratched the surface of the human microbiome, and we know even less about the feline microbiome.

Cats can definitely benefit from probiotic supplementation, especially if they are suffering from diarrhea or other forms of digestive distress. If your cat has inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), probiotic supplementation should be part of your treatment plan.

Probiotics for IBS, IBD, and General GI Problems

Because probiotics both promote a healthy community of microorganisms and stabilize barriers in the digestive tract, they can protect the body from inflammatory substances, help the microbiota to flourish after antibiotic therapy, and aid in recovery after digestive disturbances.

According to several controlled trials, probiotic supplementation can reduce food’s transit time through the GI tract, improve stool consistency, and increase stool frequency. This means that in addition to reducing diarrhea, probiotics can treat constipation.

Probiotics for Immune Function

Certain genes and compounds derived from probiotics mediate immunoregulatory effects, enhancing innate immunity (the body’s first line of defense against foreign invaders) and modulating inflammation. Therefore, probiotics can help cats with immune-related diseases like allergies or infections.

Probiotics for Chronic Kidney Disease

IIn chronic kidney disease (CKD), the kidneys have reduced ability to detoxify the body. Instead of being filtered out in the kidneys, bacteria and endotoxins (toxins released by bacteria) have no choice but to enter the gut. Theoretically, probiotic supplementation can perform a sort of “enteric dialysis”, doing in the gut what the kidneys can no longer do.

Cats with kidney disease are often given a synergized prebiotic and probiotic called Azodyl as part of their diet. Azodyl is marketed specifically for these cats and, according to some research, can help to move toxins and bacteria out of the gut and bloodstream, helping your cat to feel better.

Azodyl’s efficacy is unclear, but it doesn’t hurt your cat. And when they’re suffering from a chronic illness like CKD, there’s no harm in trying it out. Probiotics can increase an overall sense of wellbeing, which is definitely a good thing for CKD kitties and every cat.

Probiotics for Cats on Antibiotics

Antibiotics can wipe out both good and bad bacteria. Regular doses of a probiotic supplement help to rebuild the friendly populations destroyed during antibiotic therapy.

Probiotics and antibiotics can be friends if you give them to your cat together. You don’t have to wait until antibiotic therapy is complete. Instead, give your cat a probiotic a few hours before or after each antibiotic treatment. Your veterinarian can give you guidance on how to time giving probiotics during antibiotic treatment.

How do you choose probiotics for your cat?

Seek out bacterial species with a reputation for effectiveness.

Currently, the only way you can do this is through a fecal transplant. Because the feces are taken from a healthy animal of the same species, fecal transplants represent the full range of microbiota found in the feline gut.

Instead of expecting humans to figure out exactly what’s going on inside of your cat’s gut and replicate it, this transplant allows us to draw out what is there, named or nameless, and move it from one cat to another.

Probiotic supplements lack this sophistication.

Because we don’t know enough about the feline microbiome to create this dream supplement, most people opt for the shotgun approach and select the probiotic with the most strains.
Remember that you’re introducing living organisms to your cat’s inner ecosystem, and like any other ecosystem, your cat’s microbiome is competitive. If you attempt to colonize with too many species, competition and dilution could result. Furthermore, it’s likely that you’re getting only a small amount of each strain and therefore not getting the full therapeutic effect of each strain.

Look for probiotics made with several thoroughly-researched species and strains.

Don’t underestimate the importance of probiotic viability. Colony forming units (CFUs) are a measure of that viability, indicating the number of live and active bacteria per probiotic dose.

Remember that when you buy a probiotic supplement, you’re not buying capsules of inert white or tan powder. You’re buying a jar of tiny bugs. Unless handled with care, the rigors of storage and transport will kill them before they reach their would-be home inside your cat’s body.

When Labdoor performed microbiological testing on 37 of the United States’ best-selling probiotics, they found that:

“Total viable bacteria ranged from 0% to 308% of the products’ stated label claims.”

Dead bugs aren’t as beneficial as live ones, so you need to ensure that you’re getting well-handled, humanely treated probiotics.

Without the ability to test a probiotic supplement in a lab, that’s hard to do.

Instead, let the product’s reputation tell you part of the story.

While these factors are no guarantee of quality, human-grade products and those with the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) quality seal may be more likely to live up to the promises on the label.

It’s also important to make sure that your probiotics are stored correctly.

While some—including yeast and freeze-dried probiotics in tablets or capsules—stay fresh on the shelf, other probiotics require refrigeration to stay fresh. If you buy a probiotic that needs to be refrigerated, make sure that it’s stored under refrigeration and shipped as quickly as possible.

It’s also important to make sure that your probiotics are stored correctly.

While some—including yeast and freeze-dried probiotics in tablets or capsules—stay fresh on the shelf, other probiotics require refrigeration to stay fresh. If you buy a probiotic that needs to be refrigerated, make sure that it’s stored under refrigeration and shipped as quickly as possible.

Will the milk test tell me whether or not the probiotics are alive?

This test involves mixing a probiotic supplement with milk, letting it sit for 24 hours, and observing whether or not the milk ferments into yogurt. If the milk goes sour and creamy, the probiotics are deemed viable. If not, they’re pronounced dead.

While the test is a valuable indicator of viability in certain probiotic strains, it’s not universally reliable. Not all probiotic strains ferment milk and some non-probiotic additives do. Coatings and supplement format may also impede the bacteria’s ability to ferment milk.

You can’t always trust customer reviews.

Reviews of probiotics are generally less trustworthy than those of other products. Here’s why—charlatans love supplements.

Whether health supplements are peddled for cats or humans, their purported benefits are usually vague, making those benefits easy to exaggerate and hard to refute. And because probiotics are so little understood but so full of potential, it’s easy to make bold claims without pushback.

Gushy reviews may be a reflection of a great-quality product, but they could be deceptive.

Before adding any product to our list of top probiotics, I checked its trust score on FakeSpot to ensure that the positive reviews were trustworthy. When doing your own shopping, this is always a good idea, especially when shopping for something pushed as panacea.

Can cats use human probiotics?

Everything we know about probiotics for cats is based on our experience with humans and other animals.

Buying probiotics for pets doesn’t mean that you’re getting a mix of strains that’s targeted to the feline microbiome, because people don’t know enough about the feline microbiome to create such a supplement.

Therefore, feline-specific probiotics aren’t necessarily better for your cat than a supplement packaged for humans. In fact, human-oriented products often give you better quality for a lower price.

Cat-specific probiotics, however, have an advantage in the flavor department. This brings us to our next point.

Look for palatable, easy-to-feed probiotics.

Probiotics come in a variety of forms. You can get them in pills, powders, and liquids. Pet probiotics may be flavored with animal digest, which is made from hydrolyzed animal tissue and is incredibly tasty to cats. If you’ve ever given your cat a Temptations treat, you’ll know how much cats love this flavor additive.

Are there any side effects and how much should you give your cat?

For healthy cats, side effects are rare. If your cat has a weak system, probiotics could overwhelm them and make them feel sick or, in rare cases, develop an infection. There are no official dosing guidelines for cats, but it’s recommended that you give your cat a supplement guaranteed at between 1 billion and 5 billion CFU’s each day.

Top 10 Best Probiotics for Cats

All of the following probiotics meet our standards for safety, viability, and effectiveness.

Overall Best: Nom Nom Full Spectrum Probiotic for Cats

probiotic-cat-full-spectrum

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Overview:

  • Format: Powder
  • CFUs per Serving: 20 billion
  • Number of Strains: 4
  • Typical Cost per Day: $1.33/day

This probiotic supplement is formulated by the Nom Nom veterinary nutrition and microbiology team, which is involved in the latest cat microbiome research.

Each serving contains 20 billion CFUs of the following four probiotic strains:

  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Lactobacillus plantarum

These probiotics are among those that have shown the most promise in improving feline digestive health and controlling the immune response. They’re synergized with fructooligosaccharide (FOS), a prebiotic that enhances probiotic activity in the gut.

The supplement is made from human-grade ingredients in FDA-registered facilities. Each batch is independently tested for product integrity.

This probiotic supplement is among the priciest on the market, at $40 for a one-month supply. You can get a 25% discount if you opt into Nom Nom’s cat food subscription. Click here to read our review of Nom Nom cat food.

Pros

  • Designed by experts in veterinary nutrition and microbiology
  • Contains four well-researched probiotic strains
  • Made from human-grade ingredients and independently tested

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Doesn’t have a lot of customer reviews
  • At over $1 per day, this is one of the most expensive probiotics you can buy

Runner-Up: Hyperbiotics PRO-Pets – A Probiotic for Dogs & Cats Review

Hyperbiotics PRO-Pets - A Probiotic for Dogs & Cats - 60 Micro-Pearls - Natural Beef Flavor - 3 Billion CFUCheck Price

This is the only probiotic supplement on this market that comes in a small pearl format. The pearl is easy to hide in your cat’s food or a treat. It has a beef flavor that, according to customer reviews, cats love. Each pearl contains 3 billion CFUs.

This probiotic blend contains six bacteria species:

  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Lactobacillus reuteri

Unlike some other probiotics that contain artificial colors and sweeteners, this supplement is all-natural.

Pros

  • Contains 6 well-known and effective bacteria species
  • Has a beef flavorthat cats love
  • 3 billion CFUs per serving
  • Easy to dose and serve
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Some cats might dislike the pearl-shaped capsule

Best Probiotic Powder for Cats: Nusentia Probiotic Miracle for Dogs and Cats Review

NUSENTIA Probiotic Miracle Dog Probiotics for Dogs (Up to 360 Servings)

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This probiotic supplement contains six species of beneficial bacteria:

  • Bifidobacterium animalis lactis
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus salivarius
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus reuteri

All of these bacteria have well-documented benefits for animals, particularly dogs. Research on their benefits for cats is less extensive.

Each scoop contains 1 billion CFUs of live bacteria, and this bacteria count is guaranteed for up to one year after the date of manufacture. This date is stamped on the bottom of the jar.

To increase efficacy, the formula includes inulin, which is a prebiotic fiber that promotes probiotic activity in the gut.

Pros

  • Synergized with prebiotics for maximum efficacy
  • Easy-to-administer powder format
  • A well-known and popular supplement
  • High CFU count

Cons

  • Some may not like scooping the powder

Best Probiotic for Cats with a Loss of Appetite: Fortiflora Nutritional Supplement for Cats Review

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets FortiFlora Probiotic Cat Supplement

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This best-selling probiotic supplement is commonly recommended by veterinarians and is probably the first product people think of when discussing probiotics made for cats. Fortiflora is different from other probiotics in several respects.

First of all, it doesn’t contain the multiple strains that we typically look for. Instead, each sachet contains 100 million CFUs of a single species of bacteria—Enterococcus faecium. Because E. faecium has well-known benefits for cats and dogs suffering from digestive issues, it is recommended for cats with diarrhea or other digestive problems. It can also promote healthy immune function.

Also, this probiotic is made with hydrolyzed animal tissue, a crazy-concentrated flavor additive that drives cats wild. For this reason, Fortiflora is well-known as an appetite stimulant and widely used among cats with kidney disease and consequent loss of appetite.

Some rail against animal digest, saying that it’s made from animal ingredients of unknown quality. This is true—we don’t know what animals went into this flavor juice. There’s a chance that the animals used aren’t of the quality you’d prefer. However, you need not worry that the animal digest will irritate your cat’s allergies. Hydrolysis renders animal proteins non-allergenic, so that’s not a concern.

Pros

  • Good for inappetent cats
  • Contains a well-documented and well-researched strain of beneficial bacteria
  • A well-known product with thousands of authentic customer reviews
  • Comes in easy-to-serve packets of powder

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Contains just one probiotic species
  • Relatively low CFUs

Jarrow Formulas Pet Dophilus Powder Review

Jarrow Formulas Pet Dophilus Powder, Probiotic for Pets Intestinal Health, 70.5g

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Jarrow is one of the most well-respected names in the probiotic supplement industry. Their Pet Dophilus formula is similarly well-received. It’s made with five probiotic bacteria and comes in a powdered form, making it easy to mix into your cat’s food. Each gram or ¼ teaspoon of the powder contains 1 billion CFUs.

Pet Dophilus contains the following substrains:

  • caseiKE-0
  • faeciumPF7101
  • acidilacticiPF7103
  • acidophilusLa-14
  • animalis subsp lactisB1-04

To enhance the performance of the probiotic bacteria, the formula contains inulin. It’s also made with metabolin, a blend of metabolites and cell wall components. Metabolin also works synergistically with the five probiotic bacteria.

Pros

  • Contains five well-researched bacteria with known benefits
  • Easy-to-feed and highly-stable powder format
  • High CFU count
  • Synergized with the prebiotic inulin and metabolin

Cons

  • Some cats dislike the taste of the powder

Best Probiotic Gel for Cats and Kittens: Benebac Plus Probiotic Pet Gel Review

PetAg Bene-Bac Plus FOS & Probiotics Gel Supplement, 15g syringe

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This well-known probiotic gel contains seven beneficial microorganisms. Each gram of gel contains 20 million CFUs of viable bacteria. It’s recommended that adult cats take 1 gram for every 10 pounds of body weight.

This probiotic gel contains seven species of beneficial bacteria:

  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus fermentum
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Pediococcus acidilactici

The gel syringe is a good choice for cats who cannot or will not take probiotics in their food, like kittens who are bottle feeding. Because these kittens don’t receive an inoculation of bacteria from their mother’s milk, a probiotic supplement can help support the growth of good GI bacteria.

The gel is guaranteed viable for 1 year after the date of manufacture printed on the package.

Pros

  • Ideal for kittens
  • Dial-a-dose syringes are easy to use
  • Relatively affordable
  • Made with the prebiotic FOS
  • Well-known and respected

Cons

  • Contains artificial color
  • Some cats won’t like the syringe application
  • Relatively low CFUs

Best Budget: NOW Acidophilus 8 Billion

NOW Acidophilus 8 Billion

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Overview:

  • Format: Capsules
  • CFUs per Serving: 8 billion
  • Number of Strains: 3
  • Typical Cost per Day: $0.06/day 

If you want to get a top-quality probiotic at an affordable price, skip the pet department. Human probiotics contain the same organisms and are often more tightly-regulated than supplements for pets.

With each capsule delivering 8 billion CFUs of some of the best-known probiotic species, this supplement packs a probiotic punch.

The formula contains the following species:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Bifidobacterium lactis

Also Read: Best Cheap Cat Food: Top 5 Affordable (and Healthy!) Foods

At $14.00 for 120 capsules, this is one of the best values on the market. Most cats will only need half of a capsule per day.

Pros

  • Made for humans, which usually translates to higher quality control standards
  • One of the most affordable probiotic supplements you can buy
  • Contains three beneficial strains

Cons

  • Almost all reviews are from people using it for themselves, not giving the probiotic to their cats

Best for Diarrhea: NOW Saccharomyces boulardii

NOW Saccharomyces Boulardii

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Overview:

  • Format: Capsules
  • CFUs per Serving: 5 billion
  • Number of Strains: 1
  • Typical Cost per Day: $0.15/day

If your cat has diarrhea—whether chronic or acute—S. boulardii is the probiotic to use. This probiotic yeast has a long history of treating and preventing diarrhea in both people and cats.

This NOW probiotic is sold for people, but it’s a good solution for cats who need a concentrated dose of S. boulardii. Each capsule contains 5 billion CFUs, giving your cat a beneficial dose of the probiotic yeast.

Pros

  • S. boulardii is one of the most well-researched probiotics
  • Ideal for cats with diarrhea
  • A human-grade probiotic, which suggests higher quality standards

Cons

  • Nothing

Best Organic Probiotic: FERA Probiotics for Dogs and Cats

FERA Probiotics for Dogs and Cats

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Overview:

  • Format: Powder
  • CFUs per Serving: 5 billion
  • Number of Strains: 12
  • Typical Cost per Day: $0.33/day

In addition to being a well-rounded probiotic supplement with a diverse mix of beneficial bacteria and yeast, this supplement has a couple of certifications that set it apart from the rest. It’s USDA-certified organic and has earned the NASC’s quality seal. The formula was created by a veterinarian.

Each serving gives your cat 5 billion CFUs of the following twelve strains:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Saccharomyces boulardii
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Lactobacillus brevis
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Streptococcus thermophilus

Also Read: Best Organic Cat Food

The probiotics are synergized with prebiotics for optimal performance.

Pros

  • Contains a diverse array of probiotic strains
  • Meets the USDA’s organic standards
  • Formulated by a veterinarian
  • Synergized with the prebioticsFOS and inulin

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than some similar probiotic supplements

Best for IBD: Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotics Dog & Cat Supplement

Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotics Dog & Cat Supplement

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Overview:

  • Format: Powder
  • CFUs per Serving: 58 billion
  • Number of Strains: 14
  • Typical Cost per Day: $0.59/day

While almost any probiotic supplement can help cats with IBD and other chronic digestive issues, this one has a couple of qualities that set it apart from the rest. The first is its high CFU count. The supplement promises 58 billion CFUs per scoop, composed of fourteen different strains of bacteria and probiotic yeast.

The following species appear in the powder:

  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Saccharomyces boulardii
  • Bifidobacterium animalis
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Lactobacillus sporogenes

Also Read: Best Cat Food for IBD

Among these are some of the probiotics with the most promise for treating IBD in humans, including S. boulardii and L. rhamnosus—both seldom found in wide-spectrum probiotics for cats.

Pros

  • Contains a couple of probiotics that show particular promise in addressing IBD
  • An extraordinarily high CFU count
  • Easy to mix into your cat’s food
  • Almost all customer reviews are positive

Cons

  • Expensive
  • The use of so many probiotic species may dilute the benefits of single strains

Cultivating Healthy Gut Flora

Once you’ve chosen the best probiotic for your cat, remember that creating a healthy microbiome takes more than supplementation alone. Instead, take a holistic approach by feeding your cat a diet that promotes good bacteria growth and discourages the growth of bad bacteria.

Here are some other tips for cultivating a healthy gut flora in your cat:

  • Avoid excessive antibiotic therapy. If antibiotics are prescribed, ensure that they are appropriate for the given condition and target the culprit bacteria. Your veterinarian would need to do some extra testing to identify the culprit bacteria and determine which antibiotic would be most effective.
  • Feed a diverse diet of varied whole foods. Multiple sources of animal protein can help to encourage a varied gut flora.
  • Play with your cat and encourage them to exerciseSome studies have shown that physical activity may alter gut bacteria and improve gut health in humans.
  • Avoid cat food that contains added sugars. Sugar isn’t only unnecessary in your cat’s food— a 2012 study suggested that it can promote unhealthy gut bacteria growth.

Take your cat for regular veterinary checkups. This will help your vet keep a close watch on your cat’s overall health and monitor your cat’s specific health issues.

About the author


Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.

10 thoughts on “10 Best Probiotics for Cats

    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hi Sara,

      Any of the probiotics on this list could help your cat with IBD. You’ll probably want to go with the powdered probiotics or pearls rather than the Benebac gel, since it doesn’t sound like your cat is otherwise sick or inappetent. Other than that, they’re all good options.

      From what I’ve gathered, IBD cats benefit from eating as close to a prey model diet as possible. This may mean a raw diet, a home cooked diet, or a simple meat-based canned food.

      If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading our article on the best cat food for IBD:

      https://www.wwwallaboutcats.com/best-cat-food-for-ibd

      It goes into depth on the relationship between IBD and diet and lists our top 5 foods for cats with this condition.

      Hope this helps!

      – Mallory

      Reply
  1. AvatarKim

    My cat has idiopathic hypercalcaemia. Would taking probiotics help reduce calcium levels in her blood? If yes, which brand would be best choice?
    Thanks
    Kim

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hi Kim,

      Hypercalcemia isn’t something I’m very familiar with, but I did a little research. It doesn’t appear that probiotic supplementation can help much, though I did find a couple mentions of probiotics having the potential to promote healthy vitamin K2 synthesis. Vitamin K2 carboxylates proteins that help to bind calcium to the bone and leads it away from the blood and other unwanted areas of the body. Vitamin K2 is synthesized by the body’s intestinal flora. If that flora is imbalanced, vitamin K2 production will be impacted. A wide-spectrum probiotic might help to balance the gut flora and promote healthy vitamin K2 production. Because it has a wide variety of probiotic strains, the Hyperbiotics probiotic listed as our top pick should serve well for this purpose.

      Overall, however, probiotic supplementation doesn’t appear to be a promising treatment for hypercalcemia at this time. A veterinarian can probably give you more advice and help you to find a treatment plan that works for your cat.

      Hope this helped and that you find more answers soon!

      Best,

      Mallory

      Reply
  2. AvatarKim

    Thanks Mallory.
    What about digestive enzymes? I understand that fibre in this is better for cats than plant fibre in Metamucil or bene fibre. My vet has only recommended putting more fibre in my cat’s diet but this hasn’t helped. Then I read about animal fibre from the fur, feathers, etc. of natural prey is better for cats. Ant help you can provide would be appreciated.
    Kim

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hi Kim,

      I haven’t heard of any connection between digestive enzymes and hypercalcemia. They might help and they might not. People can’t agree on what supplemental enzymes do for digestion, much less calcium absorption.

      As you mentioned, fiber like that found in Metamucil or Benefiber isn’t a natural part of the feline diet. A cat’s natural diet is around 0.55% fiber, and almost all of it comes from the GI tracts of their prey.

      Feathers, fur, cartilage, etc approximate fiber in the sense that they’re fermentable and have some of the same effects as fermentable fiber, but they aren’t true fiber and function differently in the intestine. How, exactly, does “animal fiber” affect a carnivore’s health and how does it compare to plant fiber? Again, no one really knows! The benefits of fermentable animal tissues are exciting and interesting, but also under-researched and not very well understood.

      While some cats have success with high-fiber diets to control hypercalcemia, it’s unclear whether or not a diet containing indigestible animal tissues will produce the same results. Since your cat hasn’t benefitted from the added fiber so far, added animal-sourced fiber substitutes might not be the answer, either.

      All this being said, has your veterinarian talked to you about the acidity of your cat’s diet?

      Apparently, feline hypercalcemia wasn’t reported until 1999, after acidifiers became popular as a struvite crystal preventative.

      Commercial cat food has historically been too alkaline, meaning that cats tended to develop struvite urinary crystals. Cat food manufacturers realized this and started adding acidifiers like DL-methionine, phosphoric acid, and ammonium chloride. Struvite crystals became less common, but cases of calcium oxalate crystals—which form in an overly acidic environment—started cropping up more and more. Guess what also became more common? Hypercalcemia.

      Avoiding acidifiers may help. You might also want to control levels of vitamin D and calcium and avoid any magnesium-restricted diets. All of these special requirements may mean that you’ll need to opt for a specially-balanced homemade diet, preferably formulated by a trusted veterinary nutritionist.

      If you haven’t already, you should read this article from endocrine vet Dr. Mark E. Peterson:

      https://endocrinevet.blogspot.com/2012/11/nutritional-management-of-idiopathic.html

      The article goes over the pros and cons of several nutritional management plans and concludes with Dr. Peterson’s preferred diet plan for cats with hypercalcemia.

      Hope this was helpful! Please let us know if you have any more questions.

      Take care,

      Mallory

      Reply
  3. AvatarAnne Rettie

    Hi Mallory! Thanks for your great article! We will definitely go with your recommendations. One question I haven’t been able to get answered, though, is why the better varieties of human probiotics need to be refrigerated and those for pets don’t? I’ve always assumed the refrigeration was for improved viability, but curious as to why this doesn’t come up as a topic in animal probiotics. …Anne

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Anne, that’s a great observation.

      I had to double-check to see how the recommended brands approach the refrigeration issue. While some of the products on this list recommend refrigeration after opening (like Probiotic Miracle), the others state that it’s not necessary. Hyperbiotics even says they use “patented technology” to make refrigeration unnecessary. Interesting.

      I think there are a few factors playing into this. One is that some types of probiotic supplements don’t appear to require refrigeration. These include freeze-dried products, those in blister packs, and certain spore-forming bacteria or probiotic yeast. They’re not better or worse than any other probiotics—they just don’t need refrigeration.

      On top of that variability is the fact that people don’t yet understand exactly how probiotics affect pets and which ones might be beneficial. Pet probiotics are not standardized or well-understood and that lack of understanding means manufacturers can get away with a lot. Though it appears that all the companies making the products in this article are well aware of the importance of refrigeration for the viability of some strains, others might not be.

      At any rate, thank you for mentioning the refrigeration issue! I’ll have to address it next time I write about probiotics for cats.

      Best,

      Mallory

      Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hey Julie,

      You don’t mention what your cat is allergic to, but I’m thinking that ProGut paste should be fine. It doesn’t appear to contain any common allergens or irritants and furthermore, probiotics are a great choice for cats with allergies. They may help to soothe GI upset and improve overall health. If you still have any worries, consult your veterinarian before trying any new supplement.

      Hope this answers your question!

      Best,

      Mallory

      Reply

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