Why probiotics might boost the health of purebred cats

My research on the feline immune system and in writing about purebred cats over 15 years, leads me to believe that a probiotic supplement or probiotic cat food may be beneficial to the health and welfare of a purebred cat. Below I set out my reasoning for this conclusion in bullet fashion to keep the article succinct for cell phone users as most of my readers access the site on cell phones ✔️👍.

I believe that modern Siamese cats can have weakened immune systems which can shorten lifespans
I believe that modern Siamese cats can have weakened immune systems which can shorten lifespans. Image in the public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats
  1. Purebred cats are created through artificial selection which normally means controlled inbreeding. All purebred cats are inbred to a certain extent in order to fix their appearance in line with the breed standard as set out by the cat association to which they are affiliated. There is a potential downside to this glossy, distinct appearance.
  2. Inbreeding results in decreased diversity in the genes of the immune system. This can lead to a weakened immune system and higher rates of autoimmune disorders.
  3. Cat breeders refer to the downside of selective breeding as “inbreeding depression” which includes a reference to a weakened immune system in my view. It is partly why, on average, purebred cats have shorter lifespans than regular non-purebred cats.
  4. Veterinarians state that people can boost their immune system and fight colds with probiotics.
  5. This is because about 70% of a human’s immune system resides in their gut.
  6. The anatomy of the domestic cat is very similar to that of humans in this regard.
  7. Dr. Cross, DVM, states on the Purina.com websites that probiotics help support digestive health and can also support a cat’s immune health because “most of our immune system is located in the digestive tract, giving the good bacteria plenty of opportunities to interact with immune cells and support immune health”.
  8. The state of health of the gut of a domestic cat is important in their overall immune system function. The intestines contain billions of bacteria making up the microbiome. Probiotics help to improve the microbiome by improving good bacteria numbers. This can help to improve the immune system.
  9. A weakened immune system results in the greater susceptibility to illness and the kind of treatment that veterinarians prescribe when cats are ill might be antibiotics to fight bacterial infections.
  10. Antibiotics can disrupt the normal gut bacteria. This is another reason for thinking about giving a cat with a weakened immune system probiotics. They can help to restore the balance of the gut biome.
  11. In addition to probiotic supplements which are available on Amazon, for instance, a veterinarian might recommend probiotic cat foods such as Purina Pro Plan Savor dry cat food. I am not recommending that particular personally. It’s a recommendation by the veterinarian writing on the Purina website!
  12. It can take up to several weeks to see results from probiotics. Nonetheless, I think it is at least worth considering a probiotic supplement for a purebred cat which might boost their immune system and thereby improve their health and wellbeing.
  13. Note: I am not a veterinarian, but I am a good researcher, and I am thoughtful about my suggestions.
Probiotics for cats - an example. I am not recommending it.
Probiotics for cats – an example. I am not recommending it.

Below is a little bit about the cat’s immune system if it interests you

A cat might be immune to a specific pathogen because she has created antibodies that attack and destroy that pathogen before it can cause a disease. The antibodies would have been produced by the reticuloendothelial system. This includes white blood cells, lymph nodes and special cells in the bone marrow, lungs, liver and spleen. The special cells act together with antibodies and other substances in the blood to attack and destroy pathogens. Antibodies are very specific in that they target a type of pathogen which stimulated the production of antibodies.

Once a cat acquires protection against a specific pathogen, active immunity has been acquired and it is self-perpetuating as the cat continues to make antibodies long after the disease has gone.

Active immunity can also be induced by vaccination which is exposing the cat to heat-killed pathogens or live attenuated pathogens which are incapable of causing disease.

A third type of immunity is called passive immunity which is passed from one animal to another, the classic example of which is the antibodies that new-born kittens absorb from the colostrum of their mother.

A further source of passive immunity can occur with the transfusion of blood products with antibodies into a cat which is suffering from a serious infection or immune problem. This can be a lifesaver for some cats, but it is rarely prescribed as I understand it.

Below are some more pages on cats’ immune systems.

When is a cat’s immune system fully developed?

Do cats have better immune systems than dogs?

Stressed female cat with autoimmune condition urgently needs new home

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