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Sick cats, antibiotics and litter box woes: A solution

Wish I hadn't eaten that.
Wish I hadn't eaten that.
Photo by Wendy Warwick White

Kitty is prescribed antibiotics. Suddenly kitty becomes gassy and the litter box turns into a quagmire of obnoxious-smelling, loose poop. Why? Just like people, cats often get digestive issues when taking antibiotics. Antibiotics don’t discriminate between good and bad microorganisms. Antibiotics and steroids destroy the mucos lining of the gut and with it go the digestive tract’s beneficial flora that are essential for a healthy digestive system. It doesn’t stop there. Unfortunately opportunist microbes such as candida albicans will flourish once the antibiotics are discontinued. So what to do? Put the flora back.

People eat live yogurt and other food products containing probiotics to help counteract the unwanted side effects of antibiotics, so why not Kitty? Even lactose intolerant cats can usually tolerate fat-free live yogurt or goat milk yogurt often laping it up as a treat. A tablespoon twice a day may help. If you prefer not to give kitty milk products there are other ways to replace the good bacteria.

A host of probiotic supplements are now available for cats. They come in powder, liquid, capsules or treat form. Petsmart and Petco keep a limited selection in their stores as well as offering them online. Amazon lists many brands that Petsmart and Petco do not carry.

Purina Veterinary Diets FortiFlora Feline Nutritional Supplement is a good stand-by to have at hand. Sprinkled on food it is usually accepted by most kitties. A variety that appears to be enthusiastically devoured when offered is GNC Pets Ultra Mega Digestive Support Premium Formula Soft Chews for Cats. Capsules are less effective unless opened and sprinkled on food. The capsule needs to dissolve in the stomach before becoming useful therefore the upper digestive tract doesn’t benefit.

Give probiotics to your cat about two hours before or after their antibiotics. This allows the probiotics to do their work and not immediately be wiped out by the antibiotics.

Be aware. Cat food advertised as containing probiotics may not be all it is claimed to be, Supplements though should contain what they advertise.