By Rachel S. Geller, Ed.D.
Cats are unlike many pets. They know what they want, and they will surely let us know if we can help them obtain those desires. Overall, cats aren’t so different from us. Just like people, if a cat has an upset belly, constipation, diarrhea, or eats food with too many chemicals and additives, that cat won’t be feeling her best, and she will definitely let us know.
Cats are no different from us when it comes to the importance of good nutrition and eating food that is free from artificial ingredients. They may not have human bodies, but they need good foods rich with nutrients to help them stay healthy and happy. So, how can you tell if your cat is happy and isn’t being affected by an unhappy belly situation?
Luckily for us, cats are amazing communicators! They can communicate through body language and vocalizations, so let me help you decode your cat! Check out the 5 signs that your cat is experiencing good digestive health.
Signs Your Cat Has Good Digestive Health
When we don’t feel good, we tend to slouch, we don’t like to be around a lot of people, and we may choose to forgo conversation. When we are feeling good, these behaviors cease. Our cats have similar behaviors when it comes to good and bad digestive health. See the list below for positive traits that inform us our cats are feeling healthy and well.
1. Tail Posture:
Cats communicate a lot with their tails because a cat’s tail is easily seen when she is upright, so it’s visible above and around objects and can be spotted from far away. You will know your cat is happy and feeling well if you see her tail held high and erect. It may even be slightly curled at the tip!
2. Ear Posture:
Ears that are straight up and a little forward indicate that your cat’s mood is happy and relaxed. If they are pushed back or flattened, continue to observe the behavior, and look for any other signs of discomfort or distress.
3. Whisker Positioning:
Whiskers can provide some insight into what a cat is feeling. A cat’s whiskers will extend sideways when she is relaxed and content and often appear pressed back towards the face if she is experiencing distress.
4. Positive Play:
Cats are playful by nature, and since play simulates a hunt, daily playtime is a normal part of being a cat. A cat who engages in play on a regular basis is happy physically, mentally, and emotionally. A healthy cat will want to stalk, pounce and capture, and this exercise, along with good nutrition, will keep their body in good shape.
A cat’s body posture and position are an indicator of her mood. A happy cat will have her head up, back straight, and tail out behind her. Her fur will be relaxed and smooth against her body. If the cat is lying down, she might have her leg/legs, stretched out from her body. There is also the famous kitty loaf, when your cat has her paws and tail tucked underneath her body. Loafing is another sign that your cat is happy and feeling well!
While every cat is different, these positive behaviors will ring true in all cats if they are feeling happy and healthy, especially when it comes to digestive health, but these aren’t the only sources of communication.
Here are a few other behaviors to look out for when it comes to a cat’s digestive wellness:
• Eyes and pupils are oval in shape
• Consistent purrs, trills, and welcoming meows
• Consistent grooming routine
• Napping near you or her favorite spot(s)
• Slow blinks denoting affection
If you don’t see any of these positive behaviors and or their behavior patterns have changed, talk to your vet and see if digestive health is the issue at hand.
Which Foods Promote Good Digestive Health in Cats?
It can be overwhelming when it comes to choosing the right food products for your furry friends, especially if they have any health conditions. It’s always a good idea to speak to your vet before changing your cat’s diet, as they know the ins and outs of your pet.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to choosing the right food for your cat:
Before purchasing any food, check the ingredient list. If the product is full of fillers and artificial ingredients, keep looking for other options. These fillers can cause digestive distress and lead to long-term problems with digestive health.
When it comes to feeding, it’s important to check the label and see how much food is recommended each day. Over and under feeding can also cause problems with digestion which can lead to unhappy tummies and moods.
We love to spoil are pets, but again, we want to make sure we are taking care of their delicate tummies. Follow all directions on treat packets and ensure their treats are the same high-quality as their food.
The gut dictates how we feel and think. It’s called the second brain for a reason, and just like humans, our cats will experience the same positive or negative results based on their diets. When it comes to feeding our cats, check out the Wellness CORE Digestive Health cat food line. Made with probiotics, digestive enzymes to help break down food, and no fillers, there are numerous options for cats of all shapes, sizes, and needs!