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Digestive Health 101: All About Your Cat’s Digestive System

Dr. Danielle Bernal

By Dr. Danielle Bernal
3/30/2021

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When it comes to keeping a cat healthy and happy, focusing on their digestive health is fundamental to their wellbeing. The digestive system not only helps digest and absorb nutrients essential to their daily health, but it is also home to trillions of microorganisms, known as "beneficial" bacteria, or the microbiome. With a balanced microbiome the digestive system can help support a cat’s immune system, optimize their digestion, promote a lustrous skin and coat and support their health for a lifetime of wellbeing.

Ensuring the optimal health of your cat’s digestive system is not only beneficial to your cat’s wellbeing; it is also an attribute from a recent survey showing 78% of pet parents want that from the nutrition they feed their cat. So how should cat parents support the digestive health of their cat? What attributes of their cat’s health do they need to particularly consider?

The major difference with our felines is that cats, unlike dogs, are classified as true obligate carnivores.

Cats are unique in more ways than one and that is especially true when it comes to their nutritional requirements and digestive health. The major difference with our felines is that cats, unlike dogs, are classified as true obligate carnivores. This means cats require certain nutrients which are only found in animal tissue, such as the amino acid taurine and fatty acid arachidonic acid. To meet these specific nutritional needs your cats must consume a diet rich in meat proteins as well as receive nutrition that supports their higher total protein requirement.

Fun Facts About a Cat’s Unique Digestive System

  • Ever had your cat seem fussy when it comes to their food?  Well, it is not just them being picky, cats are actually very sensitive when it comes to the taste, smell, and palatability of their food. 
  • A cat’s intestinal length is notably shorter than a dog. This will be due to the obvious body size limitations, but it is also the fact that cats as carnivores have a shorter intestinal length to body size ratio (4:1) versus a dog (6:1).
  • Cats have just 30 permanent teeth, whereas the dog has 42.  The differences in their dentition are most evident by the lack of grinding molars in the cat, consistent with that of a true carnivore whose teeth are designed to seize and tear prey.
  • Does your cat graze all day or treat their food like a snack?  Because cats eat small, but frequent, meals they can take a very long to eat one meal (up to 3 hours) whereas a dog will eat the whole meal within minutes. If your cat is eating about 20 times a day, do not fret; this is quite normal.
  • Have trouble getting your cat to drink or understand the importance of giving them more wet food to support their hydration?  Cats have a weakness when it comes to their thirst drive and being able to respond to changes. Adding in more wet food to their meals is key consideration to how we keep them healthy.   
  • Hairballs. Not one of the nicest elements of being a cat parent. This gagging or retching that occurs as the cat expels the hairball from their stomach is one of the more common digestive upsets a cat parent may see.  Given the fact that cats groom themselves regularly, it is normal for a cat to have the occasional hairball; however, a build-up of them can be dangerous if they form an intestinal obstruction.

How to Support Your Cat’s Digestive System

Understanding the unique nutritional and digestive needs of your cat is key when considering what nutrition is best to help fuel their wellbeing from within.  The digestive system is no different to most parts of your cat’s body; it relies on them eating a high-quality diet tailored to their unique feline needs so that their digestion can be in a state of optimal health. By changing your cat to superior natural nutrition that supports their digestive health, you’re not only promoting their optimal health and happiness, but you’re also feeding them nutrition that gives them a lifetime of wellbeing.

The best tip to find the right food for your cat is to always look for a complete and balanced recipe that contains the following key ingredients.  When these ingredients are scientifically crafted into a digestive health focused recipe, it will ensure that your cat is receiving the highest quality nutrition:

  • High quality animal proteins such as chicken, turkey and salmon help support their inner carnivore, maintain strong lean muscles, promote a healthy skin and coat.
  • In addition to high quality protein ingredients, you should also look to ensure the recipe delivers a total protein content of around 38-40%.  This will provide your cat with high protein nutrition to fuel their carnivore needs.
  • Moderate amounts of healthy fats to support their energy needs and omega fatty acids for a lustrous skin and coat. 
  • Whole grains such as rice, oats and barley. These carbohydrates are gentle on a cat’s stomachs to optimize nutrient absorption and give them the energy they need to fuel their vitality. 
  • Dietary fiber to help promote the overall health of the digestive system and support the regular movement of food through the intestinal tract.
  • Prebiotics like FOS and MOS work to support the optimal balance of bacteria in the microbiome. With an increase in the number of good bacteria and the decrease of the bad bacteria you cat is less likely to suffer a digestive upset.
  • Guaranteed probiotics, when added by a probiotic coated kibble, work by adding more live and healthy microorganisms into the microbiome to further optimize the balance and help deliver inner wellbeing.

Fuel their Wellbeing with Wellness CORE Digestive Health

Knowing the importance of delivering the highest quality nutrition to optimize digestibility, Wellness CORE Digestive Health has the perfect recipe for your cat to fuel their inner wellbeing. Available in tasty wet meals and delicious dry recipes, Wellness CORE Digestive Health promotes nutrient absorption while optimizing a healthy digestive tract. With Wellness, a lifetime of wellbeing starts from within.

About This Page

Pet Type:

Cat

Topic:

Digestive Health Health & Nutrition

Date:

3/30/2021

Author:

Dr. Danielle Bernal
Dr. Danielle Bernal

Dr. Bernal has over a decade of experience in veterinary medicine, specializing in animal nutrition. In her role as on-staff veterinarian with Wellness Pet Food, she educates pet parents on the importance of natural ingredients like wholesome meats and nutrient-rich superfoods. She passionately believes that proper nutrition helps pets lead happier, healthier lives. Dr. Bernal has been featured in radio, TV and print stories in numerous countries.

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