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Best Digestive Enzymes for Cats & Their Benefits

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Digestive enzymes for cats - Dr. Axe

Is your cat struggling with digestive issues or nutrient deficiencies? We can sometimes feel powerless about ailments that affect our pets, but there is a natural and easy way to boost your cat’s health. Digestive enzymes for cats work naturally to support their digestion and immune function.

Digestive enzymes are not only beneficial for cats — they are essential. They turn complex foods into smaller compounds so they can be processed and used by the body. But sometimes, cats (and humans) don’t make enough digestive enzymes naturally, which can lead to symptoms like bloating, weight changes and weakened immune function.

Using digestive enzymes for cats can be extremely beneficial. Not only will you notice a difference in your cat’s digestive health, but its overall well-being will likely improve with the use of digestive enzymes.


Best Digestive Enzymes for Cats

They are found naturally in foods and their digestive organs, but digestive enzymes for cats are also available in supplement form. Using digestive enzyme supplements can help to improve your cat’s health in a number of ways.

There are four main types of natural digestive enzymes for cats, which include the following:

  • Protease: Protease enzymes work to break down protein molecules into peptides and then amino acids so they can be digested. Without protease enzymes, the intestinal lining wouldn’t be able to digest proteins, which can lead to some serious health issues.
  • Amylase: Amylase is responsible for helping the body break down carbohydrates into simple sugars.
  • Lipase: Lipase works to hydrolyze fats, like triglycerides, into fatty acid and glycerol molecules. By helping break down dietary fats, what’s left can be used for energy and digested easily.
  • Cellulase: Cellulase is not present in the intestines of cats (or dogs), but it helps break down a common type of fiber. It’s often included in digestive enzyme supplements.

These enzyme varieties are available in feline digestive enzyme supplements. Sometimes digestive enzyme supplements for cats also include probiotics.


Benefits of Digestive Enzymes for Cats

Cats need digestive enzymes to break down what they eat into smaller, absorbable particles that provide nutrition. When enzymes do their job, large macromolecules found in foods become small molecules that are properly absorbed by the gut, thereby supporting your cat’s gut health and ensuring your pet gets the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Normally, healthy cats produce digestive enzymes naturally. When this doesn’t happen, you may notice changes in your cat’s health. Using digestive enzymes for cats can help:

  • Improve digestion
  • Reduce digestive concerns, like gas and bloating
  • Support nutrient absorption
  • Boost immune function
  • Reduce food sensitivities
  • Boosts energy levels
  • Promote normal body weight
  • Improve skin irritations
  • Promote respiratory health
  • Support normal cell growth
  • Boost health of teeth and gums
  • Promotes the removal of toxins

Why Cats Need Digestive Enzymes

You may be wondering if your cat’s health problems can be improved with digestive enzymes. How do you know if your cat needs digestive enzymes?

Well, it’s actually pretty common for cats to need digestive enzymes because their food is over-processed and made with conventional, non-organic ingredients. Commercial pet food does not contain the digestive enzymes that are necessary for your cat to thrive.

If your cat suffers from a digestive disorder or has food sensitivities, digestive enzymes will likely improve its condition. If your cat has diarrhea or soft stools, or deals with a lot gas, these are signs of digestive issues. Older cats can also benefit from digestive enzyme supplements, as they often produce fewer enzymes naturally.

Sometimes the pancreas doesn’t produce enough digestive enzymes, which can lead to issues like bloating, constipation, food sensitivities and toxic overload. This is a condition called “exocrine pancreatic insufficiency” (EPI), and it can affect your cat’s GI system and hinder its ability to absorb nutrients properly.

If you suspect your cat suffers from EPI, try adding digestive enzymes to your pet’s food. Often, prescription-strength digestive enzymes are needed to improve EPI, so talk to your cat’s vet for more information about the proper supplement.


What to Look for in Digestive Enzymes for Cats

When you are selecting a digestive enzyme supplement for your cat, make sure it contains protease, lipase and amylase, which will work to break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Some supplements also have cellulase, which is used to break down the fiber found in grains and vegetables.

You can also find digestive enzyme supplements that have added probiotics, which will benefit your cat’s gut health and have an even bigger impact. Digestive enzymes and probiotics are not the same thing, but they do both benefit the digestive and immune systems.

Just like choosing any dietary supplement for humans, opt for a product that comes from a reputable and trustworthy company, and go organic if possible.


How to Give Cats Digestive Enzymes

The best way to use digestive enzymes for cats is to add a supplement to your pet’s diet on a daily basis. You’ll be able to find digestive enzymes as soft chews or powder that can be added to meals. If you are using powder on dry food, try adding a little water to it.

Read the product directions for the proper dosage for your cat’s health needs. Keep in mind that digestive enzymes shouldn’t be added to heated food because they will become deactivated.


Precautions

What are the side effects of digestive enzymes for cats? You may notice some digestive issues like gas, loose stools, vomiting or discomfort after meals if you give your cat an excessive amount of digestive enzymes. If you notice any of these adverse reactions, talk to your vet about the best dose and type of supplement for your cat.

Read Next: Best Digestive Enzymes for Dogs & How to Give Them to Your Pet

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