Best Cat Probiotics

Updated May 2021
Header Image
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
24 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
159 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best cat probiotics

If you have ever dealt with digestive problems, you may have thought about taking probiotics. Well, our furry friends can benefit just as much from probiotics as humans can. Similar to human probiotics, cat probiotics promote positive gut health, helping to regulate digestive function and soothe stomach sensitivity.

Before you commit to a cat probiotic, there are some factors to consider. Taste and flavor are high on the list since cats are notoriously picky about what they eat. You’ll also want to think about the sensitivity of your cat’s stomach, the form that the probiotic comes in, and any specific dietary issues your cat is dealing with.

You may be wondering if a probiotic is the right choice for your feline friend. Many cats end up benefiting from the extra bacteria in their digestive tract, including those who suffer from chronic health conditions.

Get emails you’ll love.
Learn about the products you’re wondering if you should buy and get advice on using your latest purchases.
cat probiotic1
Probiotics are suitable for kittens as well as adult cats. A number of orphaned kittens suffer from dietary problems caused by stress, infection, and dietary changes. If the kitten is still bottle feeding, you’ll need to use a syringe to administer the formula.

Key considerations

The importance of feline gut health

Gut health is vital for feline well-being. Keeping a cat’s digestive system healthy requires a proper balance of good bacteria. By supplementing with probiotics, you give your cat friendly microorganisms that can help protect them against various illnesses and diseases.

For cats, immunity is closely tied to gut health. A number of vets advocate the use of cat probiotics for this reason. Cats are notorious for their sensitive stomachs. This should come as no surprise to cat parents; chances are you have cleaned up cat vomit more than once during your relationship with your cat.

Domestic cats eat differently from their ancestors. For example, dry food doesn’t exist in the wild and is harder for cats to digest than wet food. Long-haired cats eat a lot of hair if they groom frequently, which means they’re more susceptible to hairballs. And as cats grow older, they may become more susceptible to digestive problems in general. A number of cats develop irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as seniors. 

Other probiotic-related improvements a cat owner may notice include a shinier coat, more energetic temperament, and better skin. In short, there are a multitude of reasons why a cat would benefit from probiotics.

Type

More often than not, cat probiotics are lactic acid bacteria. Some common strains are Bifidobacterium, streptococcus, Enterococcus, and Lactobacillus spp. Each strain has specific effects on gut health. Enterococcus, for example, is great for regulating digestive processes. Bifidobacterium is helpful for excrement in particular (diarrhea is a common reason for cat owners to seek probiotics). Other strains can help maintain colonic health.

Illness and digestive considerations

Certain probiotics are better suited to individual cats based on pre-existing digestive conditions the cat may have. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a fairly common digestive disorder for cats and often shows up as cats age, just like IBS does. A cat with IBD may require a prescription-strength probiotic with higher levels of microorganisms. 

On the other hand, you may want to tread cautiously if choosing a probiotic for a cat with a sensitive stomach. Some probiotics are more likely to trigger vomiting, diarrhea, and other unpleasant side effects. That’s why we recommend seeking veterinary counsel before giving probiotics to cats with sensitive stomachs and digestive illnesses.

Post-antibiotic treatment

If your cat is recovering from an infection, they may be taking antibiotics. Unfortunately, antibiotics are known to indiscriminately wipe out bacteria, including healthy bacteria in the gut. (The same rings true for humans on antibiotics.) If your cat is taking antibiotics, you can be proactive by supplementing with probiotics. Keep giving your cat the probiotics a week or two after antibiotic treatments have stopped, as it may take that long to replenish your cat’s healthy gut bacteria.

Activity level impacts the gut microbiome. Incorporate regular exercise into your cat’s daily schedule to promote a healthy feline gut.

STAFF
BestReviews

Features

Flavor

Never underestimate the importance of taste and flavor for cat probiotics. An unpleasant-tasting formula will leave your cat turning their nose up or hiding under the bed. If your cat is particularly picky, keep an eye out for probiotic formulas with a beef, chicken, or tuna flavor. Another taste that cats are known to love is that of hydrolyzed animal tissue.

Capsule, powder, or chew

Cat probiotics come in capsule, powder, and chew form. Capsules are less messy than powder, but pilling a cat is no easy feat. Powder probiotics are a bit more popular. You can easily sprinkle it on your cat’s wet or dry food, which means that theoretically, you wouldn’t have to restrain or force feed the cat their probiotic. That said, some cats will balk when they notice a new taste in their food. If you go the powder route, it’s worth looking for a probiotic powder with minimal flavor or a flavor that your cat definitely likes.

Another less-common probiotic form is the probiotic chew. These tend to be flavored with cat-friendly ingredients and appear more treat-like than pills and powders.

cat probiotics2
DID YOU KNOW?
If your cat is on medication, consider how it may impact the probiotic’s effectiveness. For example, antibiotics and antifungal medication can hamper a probiotic’s effectiveness.
STAFF
BestReviews

Cat probiotics prices

Inexpensive: All pet parents want the best for their animal friends. For this reason, we recommend spending a little more on a quality cat probiotic if you can. The $10 to $20 range will give you some decent options. These probiotics typically come in powdered form and are packaged in 5- to 10-ounce canisters. The canister should include a scoop for dosage and last one to two months.

Mid-range: The $20 to $30 range opens you up to capsule probiotics as well as those with organic certification (i.e., more regulation than other probiotics). Capsules may last for two to three months.

Expensive: Probiotics above $30 are often manufactured by veterinary labs or require a vet’s prescription. This is not a requirement for a high-quality probiotic, but having your vet’s seal of approval certainly doesn’t hurt.

If the pill method seems like more trouble than it’s worth, a powder supplement that you sprinkle on food or a probiotic chew that you give like a treat may be a better solution.

STAFF
BestReviews

Tips

  • Don’t expect to see immediate results. It may take two weeks or more before you start noticing health benefits in your cat. If you notice adverse effects after seven days, we recommend stopping the probiotic.
  • Certain probiotics must be refrigerated to maintain potency. Note, too, that probiotics have expiration dates that should be adhered to, and consuming spoiled probiotics could spell trouble for your cat. 
  • A high-quality cat probiotic shouldn’t cause too many adverse side effects. But, as all cat owners know, there’s always an adjustment period when adding something new to a cat’s diet. A cat may vomit or experience diarrhea. If unpleasant side effects continue after seven days, your cat may have an allergy to an ingredient in the probiotic.
cat probiotic3
If you’re lucky enough to have a calm and largely compliant cat, coax them into your lap and gently hold their mouth open while you place the probiotic capsule on their tongue. Hold their mouth closed until you’re sure they have swallowed. Then, open their mouth to double check.

FAQ

Q. Are cat probiotics really that different from dog probiotics?

A. Cat and dog probiotics share a number of similar ingredients, though the ingredients likely occur in different ratios. In general, we recommend buying cat-specific probiotics for cats and dog-specific probiotics for dogs unless a probiotic is marketed as safe for both.

Q. Does the FDA regulate cat probiotics?

A. Because cat probiotics aren’t defined as regulatory by FDA guidelines, they are not screened in the same way that wet and dry food are. We recommend following veterinary guidance along with thoroughly reading consumer reviews. There are probiotics with USDA certification, so you may choose to stick with those products to feel more secure.

Q. How often should I give my cat a probiotic?

A. Generally speaking, most cats benefit from a daily probiotic dose. However, you should consult your veterinarian first, and closely follow the directions and dosage indicated on the packaging.

 

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
See more
Our Top Picks