The gastrointestinal tract in cats, just like in humans, contains quite a bit of bacteria – some of it good, some of it bad, and a balance is needed between the two. When the bad bacteria start outnumbering the good, it can compromise the immune system and cause infection. To maintain the balance, probiotics can be taken on a regular basis to help prevent your cat from becoming sick, and possibly even help directly during bouts of diarrhea. And just like people often get their probiotics from yogurt, there’s FortiFlora for cats.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms, the good kind of bacteria that the gastrointestinal tract needs to continue functioning well.When the probiotics reach the digestive system, they’ll help boost the immune system, ward off germs and disease, as well as help filter out harmful environmental toxins.
When taken orally, veterinarians and researchers agree that probiotics can help with diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, malabsorption, overproduction of bad bacteria, and other digestive problems.
What is FortiFlora for Cats?
FortiFlora is a probiotic formula manufactured by Purina Veterinary Diets, but it’s also so much more. Described as a “nutritional supplement” by Purina, it’s much more than just a probiotic. One package of FortiFlora is made up of:
- 43 percent crude protein
- 12 percent minimum crude fat
- 1 percent maximum crude fiber
- 5 percent maximum moisture
- Vitamins A, C, and E, antioxidants that help boost the immune system
- Taurine, an amino acid that’s particularly important for cats
- Zinc proteinate
- Ferrous sulfate
- Copper protein
- Maganese proteinate
In addition to being a probiotic and a nutritional supplement, FortiFlora can help with a number of conditions your cat might be experiencing. Some of those conditions are:
- Digestive problems, especially those due to changes in the diet
- Loose stools in kittens
- Acute enteritis
- Diarrhea, due to a microflora imbalance, sickness, or side effects of other medications
- Stressful situations such as when boarded, changing homes, or being placed in a kennel
- Sensitive skin conditions, especially in breeds that are prone to them, such as the Sphynx
- Unusually bad odor from litter boxes
- Dull, rough fur
Cats that are given FortiFlora are also said to have a generally improved appearance, have more energy, and are overall healthier-looking than before they started taking the supplement.
While there are no known side effects of FortiFlora, it does contain animal digest as part of the ingredient list. Animal digest is a concern to some pet owners as, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials, it’s “material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue. That animals tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves, and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed.”
This means that unknown animal pieces will be in FortiFlora, a concern for those that want to know exactly what their pet is eating, or want to give their pet a vegetarian diet.
While animal digest won’t cause any issues or side effects, it is important for cat owners to know that it is found in FortiFlora.
FortiFlora comes in small packets, usually 30 to a package; each small packet contains about a half teaspoon of FortiFlora. The typical dosage calls for just one package to be sprinkled over your cat’s food, although larger cats might require more and other cats might need less. It’s for this reason that if you’re going to give your cat FortiFlora, you must speak to your vet to determine the right amount for your cat. Also, if your cat has any condition that is currently compromising your cat’s immune system, your vet may want you to stop administering FortiFlora, or wait until your cat is better to start them on it.
Some cats will eat FortiFlora along with their regular food willingly, while others may balk at the taste and smell of it. Those that mix FortiFlora in with their cat’s wet food seem to have better success administering FortiFlora than those who simply just sprinkle it over top of dry food.
Just like any probiotic, FortiFlora for cats can take some time to start working, so don’t be concerned if you don’t see changes in your pet right away. While minor improvements might be observed during the first few days, you’ll really start to see the full effects of FortiFlora after your cat has been on it for a week or two.