Few pets are as beloved (or annoying) as cats, but one thing you must do for your cat is give it probiotics. They have short digestive tracts, which mean they have trouble breaking down some nutrients in their food. This can lead to health problems like constipation, diarrhea, weight gain, and irregular nutrient absorption.
If you are thinking of giving your cat probiotics, you can read and follow the mentioned tips thoroughly to make the process go smoothly.
Before You Start:
Don’t Give Pills Unless Necessary
The first thing to remember is that giving your cat an unnecessary pill or medication is not a good idea. If you are trying to hide medicine in your cat’s food, she may be reluctant to eat her food and may end up skipping meals or eating less than she should. If you are giving your cat medicine every day and she does not need it, this can be even more of a problem.
If your cat has been prescribed medicine, it should be given at the recommended dose and the least amount of time possible. For example, if she has worms and has been prescribed medication for them, the medication should only be given until all signs of worms are gone. As soon as the worms are gone, stop giving the medication.
Get Your Cat Used to Pills
If your cat is a kitten, get it used to taking pills from the start. Use something small like a baby pill that it can swallow whole. Don’t worry if it gets sick after you give it the pill; this is normal, and it will stop being sick once its body adjusts to the new medicine.
Wear Durable Clothing
The cat will likely struggle and try to scratch or bite you while you’re trying to give it a pill. Therefore, wear durable clothing that you don’t mind getting scratched.
Tips for Giving Prebiotics or Pills to Your Cats
1. Don’t Be Discouraged
First of all, don’t get discouraged if the first attempt is unsuccessful. Some cats are more stubborn than others, and depending on how many pills you’re trying to give, it could take several tries before they finally get familiar with the process and start taking them in their food.
2. Get Your Cat Used To the Idea
The next most important thing is to get your cat comfortable with the idea of pills, such as cat multivitamins. This is especially important if you’re dealing with a pill that decreases anxiety and/or stresses your feline friend, which is necessary in cases where they’re prone to over-marking their territory, scratching the furniture, or getting into fights when they see another cat.
Try leaving a few small pieces of pill-shaped treats around the house at different times of the day (before meals and bedtime are good times, though you’ll want to experiment here).
3. Hide Pills in Their Favorite Food
This one can be trickier as cats can be picky about what they eat and what they don’t. However, if you know that your cat has an affinity for certain food (and isn’t allergic), this can be a great way to sneak extra vitamins into their diet.
4. Use a Pill Shooter
These devices are designed to make giving your cat pills easier for both you and her. The pill shooter is about 4 to 5 inches long and comes with a small plastic tip that holds the pill in place until it’s time to give it to the cat.
A rubber plunger pushes on the pill and forces it down your cat’s throat when the device is aimed at the side of her mouth and squeezed firmly but gently. The whole process takes less than two seconds and is completely painless for your cat.
5. Giving Liquid Medications
For a cat who won’t take pills, try dissolving the pill in a small amount of water. Once it is dissolved in the water, try syringe-feeding it to your cat; and yes, make sure to follow up with a small treat.
6. Ask Your Vet for Other Options
If your cat is still having trouble taking pills after following all the tips, you should ask your veterinarian to prescribe a liquid medication that can be given with a syringe or dropper. Some medications are also available in transdermal form, which is a gel that can be rubbed into an area of skin with less fur, such as the inner ear. However, they are a bit more expensive than pills.
- For cats who scratch or bite when they are being held, you can use a towel to enclose the body and legs while leaving the head free.
- If your cat is stressing out, distract it by giving a few treats and petting it gently before trying again.
- If your cat is not eating its pill, ask a friend to hold it while giving the medicine.
- Cat and kitten owners should train their pets to be comfortable with having their mouths opened gently. This will help in medication administration when the cat gets older.
- Don’t shove the pill in your cat’s face, as it will only stress her out and send her running away. Instead, bring her into a room where she feels safe and secure.
- Do not point the end of the pill shooter at yourself or other people while giving the cat a pill. That device could slip and shoot the medicine into you or another person’s eye!
- If you want to give your cat a pill by hand, make sure that it will fit all of the way into her mouth and down her throat before releasing it. Otherwise, she might not swallow it fully. She might even spit it back up!
Health Benefits of Prebiotics for Cats
Some pet owners believe that prebiotics are the same as probiotics. Although there is some overlap between the two, they are not exactly the same thing. Prebiotics are nutrients that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the stomach and intestines. They’re found in foods and supplements. Some prebiotics may also be classified as probiotics, but they’re not all interchangeable.
Prebiotics help probiotics flourish in your cat’s digestive tract. Prebiotics also feed good bacteria naturally present in your cat’s gut so they can thrive more effectively. Since they are not digestible, prebiotics pass through the gastrointestinal tract unchanged until they reach the large intestine, then ferment and produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs have been shown to positively affect the intestinal cells that make up the intestinal wall.
For example, premo prebiotic for cats can help lower your cat’s risk of developing certain diseases caused by bad bacteria, such as colitis or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Want to know more? Check out these top 5 prebiotics for cats.
Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to giving your cat her medicines—what works for one cat (or even another feline friend of yours) may not work for all. However, probiotics can be given with very little effort by taking a few simple precautions and paying attention to your cat’s behavior. And with the positive impact these supplements have on your cat’s overall health, the little extra work makes giving probiotics well-worth the trouble.