Does your cat frustrate you with loving her food one day – and hating it the next? You might be surprised to learn that the problem could be the nutritional profile of the food you are offering her to eat, not the taste. Of course, cats experience nausea when ill. But a recent study indicates our apparently healthy kitties may have a sound reason for being finicky felines after all. “Balancing macronutrient intake in a mammalian carnivore: disentangling the influences of flavour and nutrition” found that – after a period of introduction to the food textures and flavors – aroma, taste and texture of food was not as important to cats as the macronutrient content of the food.
“Macronutrient” content refers to the basic composition of the diet: protein, fats and carbohydrates. As we have discussed before, cats naturally consume a diet that is over 60% protein, about 20% fat, and has almost no carbohydrates (on a dry matter basis). As fat provides almost twice as many calories as protein, this equates to cats obtaining about 52% and 46% of their energy needs from protein and fat, respectively. (The diet they naturally consume provides just 2% of their energy from carbohydrates).
In this study, cats were introduced to three basic new foods. These were wet foods with the texture of porridge. The flavors were fish, rabbit and orange. (!!!) Each food was initially formulated with a similar protein-to-fat ratio. The cats showed a strong preference for the fish-flavored food: rabbit was “neutral,” and orange flavored food disliked. No surprise there, right?
The three different flavors of food were then formulated with three different ratios of protein and fat. On an energy basis, the three different food formulations were
When fed with those three different protein-to-fat options but offered just one flavor at a time, the protein-to-fat ratio of 70%/30% won as the favorite food, paws down.
Then the cats were offered the varying protein-to-fat ratios with a mix of flavors such that the cats would have to eat orange flavored food in order to increase the protein in their diet. The cats ate a mix that averaged out to about 50% energy from protein and about 50% from fat, in line with the profile of their natural diet and the results of the 2011 study that eliminated taste preferences – even though that meant the cats had to choose to eat orange flavored food to achieve that mix of protein and fat.
Adrien Hewson-Hughes, who led the study, told the Discovery News site, Seeker, “Cats initially selected food based on flavor preferences, but after 'learning' (due to prior exposure) about the nutritional composition of the foods, cats [subsequently] selected foods to reach a particular target balance of protein and fat regardless of added flavors.”
Take a moment to absorb that. Cats chose a nutritional composition over taste and smell.
As noted in the study discussion, “What is remarkable given the unusual nature and properties of the foods offered in these experiments — ‘porridge-like’ consistency, added flavours/aromas, different P : F [protein and fat] compositions and animal- or plant-derived protein sources — is the extent to which the balance and amounts of protein and fat intakes do converge... This indicates that macronutrient balancing is a powerful driver of food selection in cats and points to the ability to detect and respond to post-ingestive macronutrient signals that are distinct from sensory aspects contributing to the apparent palatability of foods.” (Our emphasis)
In plain English, this means cats respond not just to taste, smell or texture – their bodies prompt them to eat what they need from a nutritional standpoint! It bears repeating: cats actually ate orange-flavored food (after learning it was, in fact, food) in order to consume a diet that (from the perspective of the ratio of meat and fat in the foods) resembles their evolutionary diet. As we have discussed before, cats are a metabolically inflexible hypercarnivore, and it really should come as no surprise that the diet they naturally strive to eat is what they need. It may be surprising to some that THEY know they need this. The mechanism responsible for this is not yet known. But what is most likely surprising to most (if not all) of us is the response of their bodies to diet is so strong, in order to get the nutrition they need, cats will eat food a food with a flavor they would most likely never – under normal circumstances – elect to eat on a taste/aroma basis. The qualifier there? They need to have been introduced to the foods and learn that they ARE food.
Cats NEED to Be Introduced to New Foods
If given the opportunity – and, importantly – when properly introduced to the food – cats will choose the diet that best suits their needs. As Dr. Hewson-Hughes told Discovery News, cats display an eating characteristic called neophobia. "This means they are unwilling to try a food that is new or different to their normal food, which may make them appear fussy." If we offer our kitty new food, especially a new food format such as wet from kibble or homemade from kibble or canned, we can’t expect them to like it right away – and we may meet with quite a bit of resistance. Cats are naturally cautious eaters and when a new food looks, smells, and feels so different, it is a part of their life-saving instinct to be distrustful. This is why we have several files dedicated to assisting with the process that results in a successful transition. Cats may instinctively know what they need – but most need to go through the learning process to understand that even healthy, tasty food IS food.
Another interesting aspect of this study explains why cats, when they do take to a food if based just on taste, can so often appear to change their minds. This study indicates that every time you feed your cat, her body tells her whether she needs more or less of the nutrients in the food you’re offering her. If it has the same mid- or low-level of protein as what you were feeding; or if it has a similar carb content- she may well refuse the new food after a meal or two, despite liking the taste at first. So rather than commit to that new case of canned food, consider making your own cat food. A homemade balanced and complete cat food based on the prey model is what your cat needs – and your cat’s body knows it. With balanced and complete assurances (and the ability to use boneless raw or cooked meats) when you make your feline friend food with EZComplete fur Cats, you control the types AND cuts of meat you feed your cat. You control the mix of meat and fat. You control the texture (and temperature). If your cat doesn’t want ground food, you can feed it chunked. If your cat doesn't like gravy, add less water. Food Fur Life provides the tools you need to feed your cat the food her body wants and needs.
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Food digestibility and nutrient bioavailability are at the heart of nutrition. Digestibility is a measure of how much nutrition a food provides in a given volume. It indicates how much of the food is absorbed by the gut (intestines) into the bloodstream. It is the difference between what your cat eats and what your cat excretes.
Nutrient bioavailability is the proportion of the absorbed nutrients that are carried to target tissues and are available for use by the body. Because a highly digestible food provides a higher proportion of absorbed nutrients than a less digestible food, digestibility provides an important measure of a food’s nutritional value and quality. In general, as the quality of ingredients in the food increases, so will the food’s digestibility and nutrient bioavailability.
To understand which foods will provide the highest digestibility to our cats, we need to understand a little bit about their physiology.
We seek convenient food with our busy lifestyles. And most of us do not intuitively understand what cats need nutritionally to support their best health – they seem like little aliens. So we ask our vets. And despite the fact that 80% of cats over the age of three years have periodontal disease, many of our vets still tell us that for dental health, cats need kibble, and that to mimic their "natural" pattern of eating many small meals (being hunters of small mammals), we should leave the food out. We didn't know any better, and we trusted our vet to know what’s best for Bella.
Or we free-feed kibble to our kitties, because that’s what and how our parents fed our cats when we were growing up, and those kitties lived long, healthy lives. So 80% of us go to the store and buy a bag of kibble, come home, and pour it into a dish we keep full for Boots, and Socks, and Tigger. And yet we keep Boots and Socks and Tigger indoors exclusively, where our childhood friends were usually indoor-outdoor cats, supplementing their dry diet with healthy, freshly hunted prey. (If your kitty brought you gifts, that most certainly meant he was eating them, as research indicates that kitty only returns one in four hunted animals to present as gifts to his family.)
…except cats evolved eating high protein, moisture-rich food in the desert. Kibble:
This discrepancy between cats' needs and the dry food format has profound implications for their health, as discussed in our article Cat Food vs Cat health.
Many assume the influence of living among humans would have had an impact on what cats have the ability to eat and use for sources of energy and nutrition, as appears to the be case for dogs. Nope. Not so. Not at all.
Despite their proximity to humans for at least 10,000 years, cats retain their unique anatomic, physiologic, metabolic, and behavioral adaptations consistent with eating a strictly carnivorous diet. That is to say that cats, to this very day, remain obligate carnivores – and not just obligate carnivores, but hypercarnivores. By their genetic makeup, cats must eat the tissue of other animals in order to thrive.
If cats were in charge of the pet food industry, food instructions would read “remove mouse or rabbit from freezer, thaw and feed.” That idea makes many of us laugh and say, "My cat would never eat that!" That is only because they weren't raised eating properly (for a cat!) and usually have to learn to eat biologically appropriate fresh raw foods, having been imprinted to commercial food options, that use chemicals and flavoring to keep them eating. For cats, a highly digestible food is moisture rich, low carb, and made with fresh, high quality animal proteins.
The Digestibility of Cat Foods
Merriam-Webster defines digestibility as “the percentage of foodstuff taken into the digestive tract that is absorbed by the body.” Simply put, it is the difference between how much food your cat eats and how much is excreted in stool. What they can’t digest, they excrete.
Example: your cat eats one 5.5 ounce can of food a day. Your cat excretes 0.8 ounces of stool. That means your cat digested 4.7 ounces of the food she ate. 4.7 ounces of food absorbed divided by 5.5 ounces of food eaten = 85%. This food is 85% digestible. Yes, water is a factor, but not one we have to worry about unless comparing canned and kibble. The point is the difference between what they eat and what comes out is what is meant by “digestibility.”
Example Stool Comparison
On the left:
Food: High protein (meat by-products), low carbohydrate canned with guar gum, food coloring and "natural" flavors
Amount: 4.5 ounces per day.
Frequency of stool: Daily
On the right:
Food: Homemade raw food made with EZcomplete fur Cats using beef as the boneless muscle meat.
Amount: 4.5 ounces per day
Frequency of stool: Every-other-day
Why does this matter? What does this illustrate?
Let’s look at protein, being so important to a cat.
To determine the digestibility of protein (or any individual nutrient), the amount of the individual nutrient in the stool is determined. So if that 5.5 ounce can of food contains 19 grams of protein, and kitty excretes 3 grams of protein in the stool, kitty used, kitty absorbed, kitty metabolized 16 grams of protein. 16 grams of protein absorbed divided by the 19 grams of protein eaten = 84%. The protein in that food is 84% digestible. But different protein sources have differing digestibility due to their biological values, and different foods have varying ingredients that make the protein more or less accessible to the body.
Example: Canned foods 1 and 2 both have 12% protein as listed on the guaranteed analysis. They both have the same moisture content of 72%. This means each 5.5 ounce can of food has about 19 grams of protein.
Food 1 has a digestibility of 90%
Food 2 has a digestibility of 80%
Food 1: 19 grams x 90% = 17 grams of protein absorbed by the body
Food 2: 19 grams x 80% = 15 grams of protein absorbed by the body
Even though each can of cat food is labeled as having 12% protein and 72% moisture, and we expect they will provide the same amount of protein to our cat, they don’t. Food 1 provides more protein than Food 2.
If we presume both canned foods have the same protein as the main ingredient, how can there be such a big difference in digestibility? Digestibility is impacted by many factors apart from protein sources, though protein quality is an important factor in digestibility of the food, and bioavailability of the nutrients. Differences arise from protein source, protein quality, the macronutrient content, other ingredient differences of the foods: the presence (or lack) of fiber, gums or thickeners, particle sizes, processing techniques, the temperatures achieved in processing – and, of course, the age and health of the animal eating the food.
What Is a “High Quality” Protein?
First, we need to understand that not all proteins are created equal, especially when feeding an obligate carnivore. As Mark Peterson, DVM (renowned small animal endocrinologist) says, “The biological value of a protein is a measure of that protein's ability to supply amino acids (especially the 11 essential amino acids required by cats) and to supply these amino acids in the proper proportions. It is well-established that animal proteins (e.g., meat, meat by-products) have higher biological values than vegetable proteins (e.g., corn gluten meal, soybean meal, soy protein isolate).”
High quality protein is animal-based. High quality protein provides the 11 essential amino acids in proper proportions. The highest quality proteins come from fresh, raw human grade meats, not cooked meats, and not pet grade meats, which include diseased and downed animals in both canned and kibble cat foods.
So how do we know which foods are highly digestible and provide the most nutrition to our cats?
Kerr at al 2012. Apparent total tract energy and macronutrient digestibility and fecal fermentative end-product concentrations of domestic cats fed extruded raw, beef-based and cooked beef-based diets. J Anim Sci 2012, 90:515-522
Hamper et al 2015. Apparent nutrient digestibility of two raw diets in domestic kittens, J Feline Med Surg 2015 Sep 23
When discussing cat food, “high quality food” starts by being a food that is appropriate given the cat’s physiologic and metabolic needs. This is called “species appropriate” or “biologically appropriate” food. It refers to food that best resembles their natural diet, the evolutionary diet of the cat. This will place the least stress on their GI system, provide the most nutrition, and thus support their best long-term health. That diet is
The importance of feeding a cat a highly digestible, species appropriate diet cannot be ignored nor overstated, not only for its nutritional aspect, but also for the strain a highly processed diet puts on the digestive system of the cat, particularly on the pancreas, in trying to digest a food that is void of proper nutrients and enzymes, ultimately resulting in inflammation. Many of the top diseases our cats suffer are directly related to their diets and can easily be avoided by providing them with whole food-based nutrition.
You finally won the battle of wills with your cat, transitioned him to a raw diet, and all of the sudden you prepare his meal with a whole bunch of love and care only for him to sniff it and turn around – What a slap on your face you think! What happened? It’s the same food he was devouring yesterday!
Cats! You think… Raw food made my cat sick!... Hunger strike! You think... He’s Just super finicky, or he’s playing a game on me! Or he doesn’t like the food anymore… You are at a loss.
There are several possibilities to consider when a cat stops eating, especially when transitioning to a raw diet:
The first, and the most important thing to do is to rule out illness.
Prior to transitioning to a raw diet, most pet parents are accustomed to feeding their cats the same food meal after meal, sometimes for years, and their cats never get bored – so they naturally think it will be the same way with raw.
It is no coincidence that kitty never gets tired of kibbles. Kibbles, and many canned foods are meticulously “engineered” to keep your kitties eating them, by being coated with fat, having chemicals and flavors added to it that are both irresistible and downright addictive. If that was not the case, pets would not eat processed foods.
Transitioning your pet from kibbles or even canned to raw is the equivalent of transitioning an adult human, a lot of times even a senior citizen, who has only eaten highly processed foods from a can, package, or a bag his entire life to a healthy diet of salads, veggies, fruits and low fat meats. Not an easy task. It can take time, patience and perseverance…. But it’s absolutely the best thing you will ever do for your cat’s health, and a very rewarding experience for you too!
Keeping in mind that the beginning can be difficult, and sometimes it will seem you are taking two steps back and one forward, always remember two key things: This is not a race, it’s a journey, and to never, EVER starve a kitty into a new diet. If kitty is not eating and you must take a step back in the transition, take a deep breath, take a step back, and move forward. There is nothing wrong with it – as long as you keep moving in the right direction and don’t give up, you will get there!
With that said, now that you have taken that step, what can you do to keep your cats interested on raw?
VARIETY. Variety is key in keeping your cats eating a raw diet long term.
You should aim to have at least three proteins on your cats’ diet – that will provide them not only with a well-rounded nutritional profile, but will keep them from getting bored.
Once you transition your cat to raw, immediately start using that protein as a base using the slow transition technique to add a second protein to the kitty’s diet. You can then use both proteins as a base to slowly introduce a third protein to the diet.
When you have introduced all the proteins, you can switch them back and forth.
How often should you rotate proteins?
I personally rotate proteins at every meal – my cats never eat the same protein twice in a row. While EZComplete is considered almost a topper by most cats with the dried liver, GLM and yolk, variety is still essential in keeping my cats happy, and has yet to fail me in all these years.
You can also rotate daily, or every few days, but in my experience the more often you rotate, the more successful you will be in keeping your cats anxious for the next meal, and licking their plates clean.
Try a different texture - Many cats also get introduced to raw on ground meats, and stop eating... Then they are offed a chunk of meat and voila! That happened to our Food Fur Life Cats… Pretty much all of them! So if your cat is currently eating ground meat and no longer wants the food, try giving a little chunk of meat and see what happens. It might be time to take your kitchen scissors out of the drawer!
Offer a plain meal - Also part of our variety, is once a week they get one or two completely plain meals – yep – no supplements, nothing! Meat only. That makes them love both the meat and EZComplete even more!
Use healthy toppers - If you still have problems, and we all do from time to time, you can always rely on healthy toppers to entice your cat to eat. In my home, chicken is not a favorite for my cat Lucky, and I have to admit, she is a master manipulator (anyone here can relate to that?) – so from time to time I do rely on her favorite treat as a topper, which….. you guessed it – is Freeze Dried Chicken! I just lightly sprinkle it over her meal, and she licks her plate clean.
The Importance of a Routine
It’s also very important to note that cats are creatures of habit – that’s not a myth. Establishing a routine for them from the beginning is very important – from a feeding schedule, to their eating places, and even to their own plates. A set routine will impact your chances of success greatly.
Before feeding raw, I had the hardest time to feed even half an ounce of wet food to any of my cats – I would have to crawl under the bed for one, spoon feed another on the top of the cat tree… Let alone the food had to be made into a slurry on a blender and warmed up just so, otherwise they would not even consider it! Think I am lying? Watch the video below of me spoon-feeding Bugsy! This was mainly due to two things - feeding kibbles along with wet, and having no routine.
One of the most valuable advice I have ever gotten, and I got MANY, was to establish a routine right off the bat when transitioning to raw – I believe that was essential for my cats being the happy carnivores they are today. I can easily see how important this is when anything breaks that routine – they go off food until their routine is back into place. If your cat suddenly quit eating, consider if anything has thrown his routine off.
Last, but not least, please consider your kitties’ situation when you transitioned them to raw. Lots of pet parents make that transition due to an illness, specially IBD…
There is a reason why we recommend a slow transition – always. Especially on adult or older kitties, after years of eating an unappropriated diet, it can take time for their bodies to start digesting raw properly. EZComplete has both Enzymes and pancreas, which helps with digestion, but there are some kitties that make the transition with a digestive system already very compromised. These cats should be given an extra slow transition, always be on probiotics (we firmly believe probiotics are an essential part of the diet for all cats), and depending of the age or condition of the cat, they might have to start with a homemade cooked diet balanced with EZComplete, and slowly transitioned to raw. If you just transitioned to raw and feel your cat might have a tummy upset, your transition might have been be too fast. Take a step back, always follow your kitties pace, keeping a close eye on them.
Summarizing, if your kitty suddenly stopped eating:
Last week PetFoodIndustry.com published a blog post, "Simple, clean pet food labels: altering the discussion." The very premise of the article is quite ironic: consumer perception is the problem, not the pet foods. It's not that consumers are becoming better educated as to what provides the best promise of long term health to their animal companions. No, on the contrary, the "problem" is the failure of the pet food industry to properly educate the consumer about the existing ingredients in pet foods. After all, pet food is all about the science of nutrition. And, you know, "science is hard."
The author asks "So, what is driving this clean label trend?" and answers: "Like many things, it is consumer demand, driven by perception. In this case, it is backed by nutritionists who agree that eating a diet made up of whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits and vegetables is better for our health. So, consumers will be compelled to read the labels of processed foods, looking for something that is as close to the original state as possible, but with the convenience of a packaged food."
Consumer demand. Driven by perception. Backed by nutritionists who agree that eating a diet made up of whole, unprocessed foods is better for our health. Well, consider substituting "education" for "perception" and "Informed by" for "backed by" and see what happens. The concept then reads "Like many things, it is consumer demand, driven by education. In this case, it is informed by nutritionists who agree that eating a diet made of of whole, unprocessed foods ... is better for our health."
Is this a bad thing, pet parents wanting to provide their pets healthy, whole foods?
Well, if you are Mars, Nestlé, or Del Monte (with what has been renamed the Big Heart Pet Brands) - the largest pet food companies in the world - the knowledge that a solely processed food diet isn't healthy for us or our pets is a bad thing. As they are all also among the largest food and beverage companies in the world, of course they want to counter the notion that homemade and fresh foods are the best foods for us - and our pets.
But if it is science they want, there is a growing body of it. Just a few weeks ago, a team of Australians from the Charles Perkins Centre and School of Life and Environmental Sciences at The University of Sydney published a report, Nutrition Ecology and Human Health. The message of the report is straightforward: nutrition science is broken. In a nutshell, while focusing on micronutrients had its place in our understanding of the importance of diet in combating disease, that nutritional model that breaks down nutrition into its components is fundamentally incompatible with the "new suite of nutrition-related diseases."
"Food science" isn't failing just human health. There is - sadly - plenty of evidence the same holds true for our pets. As mentioned in our article, Cat Food vs. Cat Health, it is a relatively recent situation that approximately 60% of pet cats in the U.S. live indoor-only. This means that our little predators are not out hunting field mice, voles, rats, or rabbits. They have become completely dependent on us for their nutritional needs. What this also means is that health problems associated with the typical commercial diet are becoming ever more apparent, especially as access to veterinary care and safety from cars and predators contributes to their longer lives. Our cats are overweight, blocking from crystals in their urine, suffering dental disease, and GI disorders are rising at alarming rates, with the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis now making the "Top Ten" lists of VPI Pet Insurance. Our cats are dying primarily of kidney disease and cancer.
Surely food alone does not account for all of these problems. But at Food Fur Life we ask, how healthy would we be if all we ate was dry cereal and/or canned stew – all made with ingredients that weren’t fit for our consumption? No, Pet Food Industry, the problem is not lack of consumer education as to the "safety" of the ingredients in the diets you provide. Your problem is consumers are learning their carnivorous pets need whole, fresh, quality, species-appropriate foods for their best health, too.
This is why we created Food Fur Life - to make healthy homemade food accessible to everyone. To make it easy for the busiest of pet parents to provide their pets a fresh, truly human-grade meat-based diet based on the prey model. Blending the best of mother nature and science, whether pet parents are time constrained, and feel they don't have the time to make their own pet food all from scratch, or whether there is concern about "doing it right," we have the solution. And it really is EZ, with EZcomplete.
Most of you must recognize the word "Kefir" from the milk/yogurt aisles in the supermarket.... But do you know what Kefir is?
The word Kefir derives from the Turkish word keyif, which means "Feeling Good" , and it's believed to be original from the Caucasus Mountains.
Its history is full of legends, and can be "traced" all the way to the Prophet Mohamed and mentioned by Marco Polo!
It is also believed Kefir was used as a way to preserve milk by means of fermentation, in the absence of refrigeration and pasteurization. Kefir grains were added to milk, generally in a goat skin leather bag, and hung by the door. Everyone who went by or through the door, shook the bag with its foot. After 24 hours, the fermented milk was poured, and fresh milk was added to the grains, keeping the fermentation process constant.
But just what are the Milk Kefir Grains?
Kefir grains are microbially derived protein and polysaccharide matrices that contain cultures of bacteria and yeast that are essential to Kefir fermentation.
The bacteria found in the grains depend of several factors, including the Milk used during fermentation, the fermentation process itself, and even the region where the grains originate from.
Mainly comprised of Lactobacillus, common bacteria strains include: Ref 1, Ref 2, Ref3
Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. delbrueckii, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus keﬁranofaciens subsp. keﬁranofaciens, Lactobacillus keﬁri, Lactobacillus paracasei subsp. paracasei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus sake, Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, Lactococcus lactis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris, Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. dextranicum, Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides
Pseudomonas, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Pseudomonas putida, Streptococcus thermophilus
Candida humilis, Candida Kefyr, Kazachstania unispora, Kazachstania exigua, Kluyveromyces siamensis, Kluyveromyces lactis, Kluyveromyces marxianus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces martiniae, Saccharomyces unisporus, Debaryomyces hansenii, Dekkera anomala, Torulaspora delbrueckii, Pichia fermentans, Saccharomyces turicensis, Issatchenkia orientalis and Debaryomyces occidentalis.
Depending on what milk you use and on the quality of the Kefir grains, Kefir can contain anywhere from 1 billion to 10 billion CFU of bacterial/yeast probiotic per ml (cc). That is 5-50 billion CFU per TSP!
It is important to note that Kefir grains, unlike the name suggests, are very much alive, and as such must be taken care of.... As any alive being, it must be fed - but what does it eat? That is the beauty of it: LACTOSE!
In kefir, lactic acid bacteria are primarily responsible for the conversion of the lactose present in milk into lactic acid, which results in a pH decrease and milk preservation. Other kefir microbial constituents include lactose-fermenting yeasts that produce ethanol and CO2. Non-lactose fermenting yeast and acetic acid bacteria also participate in the process. After each fermentation "batch", the grains biomass increase in about 5-7%, which is why the bacterial/yeast composition varies according to the milk and process used for fermentation.
Unlike the original days, the methods used to produce Kefir at home today differ in several ways. Of course no one is leaving a goat skin bag full of milk by the door to be pounded at, for one!
Today Kefir is mostly made in glass jars, kept out of the sunlight to preserve the most amount of vitamins as possible. With that, comes one issue - The grains only feed what they can touch.
While some will instruct to pour the milk over the grain in a jar, loosely cover it with a cheese cloth or a plastic lid, put the jar in the cabinet and forget about it for the next 24 hours, I beg it differ. By gently mixing the Kefir every so often you are making sure the grains are evenly distributed, therefore more lactose will be consumed, achieving a more thoroughly fermentation process. This is specially important for cats, which are mostly lactose intolerant.
Another way of decreasing the amount of lactose is by doing what is called a "double fermentation" - you simply strain the Kefir after 24 hours into a clean jar, this time closing the lid, and place it into a dark cabinet for another 12-18 hours. The whey will completely separate from the curd, but a smooth texture can be achieved by using a blender.
Not only Kefir is virtually lactose free, but studies show that Kefir can actually actually improve lactose digestion and tolerance overtime.
The benefits are countless - not only Kefir is a powerful, natural, live probiotic, but it also:
In multiple studies, consumption of kefir or kefiran in an animal model has been associated with an increase in microbes thought of as beneficial, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, while simultaneously decreasing harmful microbial species such as Clostridium perfringens (1, 2), Reduces the severity of Giardia , inhibits the adherence of Salmonella typhimurium and E. coli, 1, 2, 3.
Kefir has shown a multitude of antibacterial and anti-fungal activities and has been tested in disk diffusion experiments against a wide range of pathogenic bacterial and fungal species, found to have antimicrobial activity equal to ampicillin, azithromycin, ceftriaxone, amoxicillin, and ketoconazole (Cevikbas et al., 1994; Yüksekdağ et al., 2004; Rodrigues et al., 2005; Huseini et al., 2012).
Kefir also has anti-inflammatory and healing properties, and was effective in postoperative treatments and in patients with gastrointestinal disorders.
Several studies have shown Kefir to have anti-carcinogenic effects 1, 2, 3, and can also act as an anti-oxidant.
But one of the major ways probiotic products such as kefir are able to produce health benefits is through the modulation of the gastrointestinal immune system.
Kefir has shown in studies anti-allergenic and anti-asthma properties, is capable of decreasing the levels of blood glucose, improving the symptoms of constipation, among many other health benefits.
It's important to note that the quality of traditional kefir is mainly influenced by the microorganisms present in kefir grains and kefir processing conditions. Although scientists and food companies attempted to develop a commercial “kefir-type” beverage produced by different cultures and mesophilic and thermophilic lactic acid bacteria, or even pure cultures isolated from kefir grains, their success when compared to traditional kefir is limited. It is suggested that this limitation is due to the microbial diversity present in kefir grains and their interactions, which can determine the probiotic and therapeutic properties of final product, as well as peculiarities conferred by certain minority groups present in different grains.
How do you acquire Kefir Grains?
Kefir grains are passed on from friends or family, or can also be bought online in sites such as Amazon.
When consuming Kefir, you are drinking history! Think about it - you can't just create those grains out of nowhere.... They have been passed around from one person to another, until that they got to you! And the beauty of it? Every time someone used a different milk, a different processing method, temperature, etc - the microbioma in the grain has changed!
You will notice that once you start making kefir on a regular basis, your grains will start multiplying exponentially - that's why they are passed around. What else can you do with them? You can eat them - they are just about the most potent probiotic you can get your hands on!
Feeding Kefir to your Pets:
We cannot stress enough the need to start SLOWLY. And we mean VERY slowly. Kefir is a very potent probiotic, with many substances your pet has never consumed.
Give a teaspoon to a tablespoon of kefir to small cats or small dogs a day.
Medium size dogs – 1 – 2 tbsp.
Large dogs – 2 – 3 tbsp.
***Cats specially: Start with 1/8 tsp, and increase every FEW days by doubling the amounts. Give your cat only 1/2 of the dosage for at least one to two weeks before increasing to 3/4 and so on.
If your cat has any reactions to Kefir, you can try two things:
1- Do a double fermentation - still reacted?
2- Change the milk for goat milk - still reacted?
Stop giving it.
I personally had a cat react to kefir, to both Regular Cow's milk and Raw goat milk. I am giving him a break and will try a very slow introduction later on.
My other cat seemed to react when I increased the kefir to 1/2 tsp per meal, however the problem was solved with a slower introduction, and a double fermentation. She is also ok with Goat Milk Kefir.
I have substituted my cats', mine and my dog's store bought probiotic for Kefir, and everyone is doing terrific!
Kefir has been the perfect addition to the kitties' EZComplete diet - how would it not be with so many wonderful properties?
YES! Pork is a wonderful meat for cats. Most cats both love pork and do very well with it. At Food Fur Life and in our Raw Feeding for IBD Cats group we often recommend pork loin as a starter meat when introducing raw food to cats. For many it is essentially a “novel” protein. Of course it should be introduced properly and slowly as with any new food or new protein in a raw diet. An excellent source of taurine, pork is a healthy addition to any homemade food protein rotation (though we'd like to note the more electrically active muscles will always have much higher concentrations, e.g. tongue, lung, heart and the dark meats - in pork, being the shoulder).
The most maligned meat, many of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the feeding of raw pork are simply outright misinformation; others are outdated health concerns. Let’s address those myths and fears. They are:
Of course, when we say pork is a wonderful raw meat for cats, we do not mean bacon or ham. Salted or smoked meats should never be fed to any pet, due to the sodium content, smoke flavoring chemicals, nitrates and potentially preservatives. But cuts of pork meat: loin, boneless rib meat, butt, shoulder – these are all excellent sources of protein and should be welcomed in any healthy meat rotation in a raw diet. With moderate fat, and low in saturated fats compared to other red meats, pork truly is “the other white meat.” So put your fears aside, and let your kitty enjoy this nutritious protein in its natural state.
Let’s face it - very few humans would intentionally choose to eat only dry cereal or only canned stew, even if they were designed to meet all of our daily nutritional requirements. No matter what flavorings were added, most of us would, at some point, crave an apple, a fresh juicy peach or pear, or a cold, crisp salad. Many of us badger ourselves to eat better, and we strive to eat more fresh foods - or at least just not eat as many convenience foods. And if we don’t? Our doctors encourage us to eat more fresh food.
We know the more fresh food we include in our diet, the healthier we are, the more energy we have, and the better we feel. We also know that even if we had a power bar for breakfast and fast food for lunch, if we have an apple as a snack, it is better than not eating that apple at all.
The same holds true for our cats. Some fresh meat is better than none!
Kibble and canned food for cats is convenient. That's what it is for. Our convenience. Just like bagged or canned foods for humans are called "convenience foods." And convenience foods are not the healthiest food choices for us. Just as convenience foods are not the healthiest choices for our cats. But we lead busy lives, and convenience foods make feeding our pets quick and easy; even though it's not what is best for them. And we know this. But when considering a healthier diet for our cats, most of us got – or get – overwhelmed. It is…
And some of us get to the point of almost hyperventilating by the time we’re wondering things like
What meat do I buy?
Where do I buy it?
How do I store it?
Do I need more freezer space?
How do I make sure I get it right?
Am I going to harm my cat?????????
But you know what? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. At least at first. You don’t have to commit to feeding your cat only homemade food right off the bat. ANY amount of fresh meat you add to your cat's diet is better than none. No need to fret at all. You can start really small. Baby steps! (Even just a slice of apple is better for you than none at all!)
If you’re not a vegetarian, and you make meat-based dishes for your family, you’ve already got everything you need to start. Next time you make a meal with meat, just slice off a little bit before you season it. That’s all there is to it to get started! It really IS that simple. You’re holding a tasty, healthy treat for your kitty.
When is plain meat is no longer a treat? When the amount you’re giving your cat approaches 10% of the total diet. When it's more than 2 or 3 bits of meat treat a day. Yes, at that point you need to balance that meat to make it a nutritionally complete food. You might want to consider Food Fur Life as a solution for that. EZcomplete fur Cats makes that part quick, easy, and worry-free, allowing you to prepare balanced and complete homemade raw meals in a few simple steps.
But please know that even if you’ve moved to balancing the meat, you still don’t have to commit to feeding it full time right away. One meal a week? Two? Three? In fact, we expect that no matter how much you’re able to incorporate, you’ll want to find ways to include more. You’ll see the difference. No matter how little or how much, fresh food will benefit your cat. At that point, feeding more homemade food won't seem so overwhelming. And with the ability to use the supplement with chunks or ground, and to make the food with more water for gravy – or with just a bit of water to make it stick to the meat – your complete and balanced nutritionally complete food made with EZcomplete is actually ideal for snack-style or intermittent feeding.
If you’ve been considering ways to improve your kitty’s diet, there’s no reason not to just jump right in. No logistics needed.
As Dr. Lisa Pierson’s Andy says on catinfo.org …
Happy Independence Day!
Independence Day is a time for celebration, for family and friends gathering, for barbecues, and of course for fireworks!
While for us it is a very fun day, for our pets that means unfamiliar faces and smells and lots of loud noises... They can become very fearful and disoriented.
MORE PETS GET LOST ON 4TH OF JULY THAN ANY OTHER DAY OF THE YEAR.
Follow these steps to keep your pets safe on Independence Day:
Don't panic! Just as with people, healthy cats can suffer an “upset stomach” from time-to-time. We may not know the cause, and it doesn’t necessarily mean a trip to the vet is in order. After all, we don’t always run to the doctor immediately if we or one of our children has a bout of diarrhea. The key is to observe your cat’s behavior both in and out of the litter box. This is at the heart of the distinction between heading to the vet now and taking steps at home to help your kitty get over this quickly.
Where do I start?
When do I take care of this at home?
How do I know if I need to take my cat to see the vet?
Put the pumpkin away. Don’t reach for the rice. Head to a health food store, vitamin shop, Whole Foods, pharmacy or chemist and purchase a probiotic called Saccharomyces boulardii, “S boulardii.” It’s OK – even better – if it has L acidophilus, Bifidobacterium, or other bacterial strains of probiotic in it. It is usually sold without other probiotics as 5 billion CFU or 250mg capsules. This is perfect. We’ll tell you how to use it.
Pick up some chicken breast (if kitty has a chicken sensitivity or allergy, buy turkey breast or pork loin instead). Check the sodium level to make sure the meat isn’t “enhanced” (soaked in a salt solution). If the meat has less than 100mg of sodium per 4oz serving, it is safe to feed your cat. (This is typically a problem only in the U.S.). We’ll explain how to use this after we discuss when it is safe to care for kitty at home and when you need to get your cat to the vet.
First, let’s talk about poop.
Acute Diarrhea vs. Chronic Diarrhea vs. Soft Stools
Acute diarrhea is the abrupt onset of frequent loose or watery stools, more often than normal. Think stomach cramps and lots of trips to the bathroom. It is the body’s method of removing something it wants to be rid of. The most common causes are medicines, a sudden food change, eating something they shouldn’t have, eating too much, a virus, parasites, vaccinations, and stress and/or anxiety. It comes on and lasts for one to three days on average. Acute diarrhea is usually a large bowel problem, and kitty goes to the litter box frequently but may not pass much stool at each visit. There may be fresh blood or mucous in the stool.
Chronic diarrhea is usually either a symptom of a medical condition, or due to an irritant to which kitty is constantly or frequently exposed. Poor quality food, grains, poor quality fats, too much fat, food allergies/sensitivities, untreated parasites, gut dysbiosis, inflammatory bowel disease, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, hyperthyroid, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), liver or kidney disease, etc. are often at the root of chronic diarrhea. Chronic diarrhea does not come-and-go (though if your cat has frequent recurring bouts of soft stool or watery stool, that may be an indication of an underlying problem). Chronic diarrhea is usually associated with the small intestine, where poop volume is normal to more-than-usual, and frequency is normal to slightly increased. There is not usually mucous in the poop.
Soft stool is not diarrhea. We may never know what caused it, but it is not at all unusual for a cat, on occasion, to have a bowel movement that isn’t normal. The primary difference is kitty is not in the box frequently. It’s just a “not normal” stool texture/consistency being passed when your cat goes to the bathroom. It often only lasts for one or two bowel movements, unless a food change has caused it.
Extremely watery stool with straining can be an indication of impacted feces or some type of obstruction in the bowel that only liquid can get around. The straining may cause vomiting. If the problem is due to impacted feces, the issue is actually constipation and the condition is called obstipation. Whatever the cause of the obstruction, a vet visit is required. X-rays are needed to rule obstruction (whether an ingested foreign object, a stuck hairball, or a growth in the intestines) in-or-out, and if the problem is impacted feces, kitty most likely needs an enema.
What about Mucus and Blood?
Seeing blood in or on your cat’s stool is distressing for anyone. But fresh blood and/or mucous due to irritation is not unusual. Mucus has a jelly-like quality and its function is to coat and protect our gastrointestinal tract from mouth to … the other end. Mucus coats the lining, providing lubrication and protection to the underlying tissues. An immune response can cause inflammation, and the body produces excess mucus to help protect and heal. Lining disruption due to inflammation can also, at times, lead to little burst vessels that cause some fresh blood to be present in or on stool. Slippery elm bark powder should be used when there is blood/and or mucus in the stool. See below for instructions.
Do I Need to Run to the Vet?
That is based on the age, prior health status, and behavior of your pet. Diarrhea in the young, the old, and those whose health is already compromised are at high risk for experiencing complications from diarrhea. Diarrhea can quickly cause dehydration for these cats, putting them in serious danger. Do not attempt to care for them at home without vet guidance.
If you have an adult cat otherwise in good health (or with known chronic illness under management), you may just need to take a few steps to help the diarrhea resolve in a few days or less.
In ANY cat, head to the vet if:
Your kitty’s eating and behavior patterns are very important. If your cat has diarrhea or soft stool, even if there is a little blood or mucus present, but your cat is otherwise behaving basically normally (though maybe her appetite is a little off), this isn’t an emergency and you can take steps to manage the problem at home. Lethargy or weakness should be considered an emergency.
The Importance of Proper Hydration
Dehydration is the condition diarrhea can cause that makes it potentially life threatening. To check for dehydration, gently pull up on the skin at the back of the neck between the shoulder blades. When released after “tenting” that loose skin a bit, it should pop back into place quickly. If the skin droops back into place slowly, kitty is dehydrated and you should get to the vet quickly, as severe dehydration can be life-threatening.
To prevent dehydration:
Managing the Diarrhea
First, remove ALL regular food and feed a bland diet. Do NOT feed your kitty her normal food. With the diarrhea, the food is just rushing through her not providing much in the way of nutrition anyway. The bland diet removes any possible dietary sources of upset, and is very easy for your cat to digest. Use the (unenhanced) chicken or turkey breast or pork loin (trimmed of excess fat) to make a bland, simple, low-fat food. Poach the meat in enough water to cook the meat and make a bit of broth. When cooked, either shred the meat, cut or chop it finely, or put it in a food processor or blender with the water used to poach it.
Do not include rice. Many vets recommend a “bland diet” of chicken and rice. Rice can ferment in the GI tract, create gas, and make the diarrhea worse.
No Pumpkin? No. While fiber can slow down transit time which helps kitty obtain nutrition and hydration in the face of diarrhea, slippery elm bark powder is a better choice, discussed below.
Feed this plain bland food to your pet in small amounts, 4 to 8 times a day, depending on how much they’ll eat at a time. You can feed this unbalanced, plain food for the few days it should take the diarrhea to subside/resolve.
In addition to the bland diet of just poached meat and broth, the next, most important – in fact, critical – aspect of addressing your kitty’s diarrhea is giving your kitty one of the most studied probiotics in the world, Saccharomyces boulardii.
The Probiotic – S boulardii
S boulardii, a yeast (in fact, a close cousin to brewer’s yeast with vastly different properties) is a time-tested and proven probiotic strain with many supporting studies including clinical trials indicating its efficacy in the treatment of intestinal infections, the maintenance of inflammatory bowel disease, and the resolution of diarrhea from just about any cause. It is indicated for use with “Travelers Diarrhea,” where e coli, shigella and salmonella account for about 80% of acute diarrhea. (Zanello 2009). It is safe for use in children – and pets. Research published in the past decade has explored and discovered its direct anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulatory activities as well. Please see Saccharomyces Boulardii: Scientific Studies in GI Disease.
The many studies of S boulardii indicate it is a very effective anti-diarrheal, and its use “decreases significantly the duration and frequency of diarrhea.” (Zanello 2009). It has been used in the treatment of antibiotic-resistant clostridium difficile infections in cats at U.C. Davis. Clearly the benefits of S boulardii in humans applies equally to cats. This should come as no surprise, as one of the lead researchers in the cat microbiome, Dr. Jan Suchodolski of Texas A&M, indicates “pet specific” probiotics are unnecessary – in fact, the use of researched strains is important as probiotics confer benefit across mammalian species.
How does it work? Very simply, S boulardii is not digested or metabolized: it is not absorbed in the gut. It does not act systemically. S boulardii acts locally in the lumen of the intestines. During its passage through the intestines, it mimics the physiological effects of the digestive flora, stimulating healthy immune response, reducing inflammation, and promoting restoration and growth of healthy normal gut flora. “During the intestinal transit, S boulardii interacts with resident microflora and intestinal mucosa. Moreover, experimental studies displayed that S boulardii induces a protection against enteric pathogens, modulates the host immune response, decreases inflammation and hydroelectrolytic secretions, inhibits bacterial toxins, and enhances trophic factors such as brush border membrane enzymes and nutrient transporters.” (Zanello 2009).
Thus S boulardii, unlike bacterial probiotics, does not colonize the gut. With dosages discussed in published studies, S boulardii takes about three days to achieve “steady-state” concentrations. When administration is stopped, the yeast is cleared from the colon in about 36 hours. Thus the use discussed here for “emergency treatment” of diarrhea is designed to literally flush the system with S boulardii, enabling it to get to work faster than with twice-a-day dosing.
“Emergency Stop Diarrhea” S boulardii Administration for Cats with Severe Diarrhea
Probiotics are typically sold in measures of “CFU.” CFU = colony forming units. S boulardii is the exception, it is often sold in mg. Note that 250mg of S boulardii is the same dose as 5 billion CFU.
Traditional dosing for therapeutic treatment of diarrhea in adult cats as provided by U.C. Davis is one-half of a 250mg capsule (5 billion CFU) given twice daily. Treatment for kittens is half of the adult dose. It can be given with food; it does not have to be. This is usually sufficient for loose stools of normal frequency. For the “emergency stop diarrhea” approach, we find more frequent dosing of smaller amounts of the probiotic, providing a higher total CFU the first day or two, resolves diarrhea much more quickly.
For adult cats (defined here as 9 months of age and older):
Give one-quarter of the 250mg / 5 billion CFU capsule every two hours or so. Many cats accept it when mixed into finely ground poached chicken breast / turkey breast / pork loin or meat-only baby food. (Beech Nut, Goya, and Gerber list “meat” and broth or gravy as ingredients. These are fine, they are referring to the water used to cook the meat, and they contain no spices). If your cat does not like the taste of the probiotic, you can syringe after mixing with water. If you are not experienced syringing liquids into your cat, you can use empty #3 gel capsules. Simply fill 10 to 20 of these by transferring the S boulardii from the larger capsules into the smaller ones. These are a size easy to pill your cat. Pill your cat with one #3 capsule filled with S boulardii every two hours or so. For pilling instructions, see How to Pill (Your Cat).
This frequent dosing method usually stops diarrhea within 24 – 48 hours, other than when diarrhea is caused by another disease that requires treatment (low B12, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, hyperthyroidism, as examples). This “loading dose” can be continued for longer if necessary, up to three to four days – but if you do not see substantial improvement in the diarrhea on day 3, it is best to follow-up with your veterinarian. It is NOT necessary to use this approach, it can be given at “therapeutic” doses as discussed above twice a day (and doubled if you see improvement in stool but diarrhea or soft cow patty stools have not resolved).
When the diarrhea has substantially resolved with use of the emergency stop treatment protocol, begin use of S. boulardii at the therapeutic dose level (2.5 billion CFU twice daily) and continue for at least one week. If stools soften, resume use of S. boulardii at the therapeutic dose as needed. Given its role in improving performance of bacterial probiotics and its anti-inflammatory properties, the use of S boulardii at maintenance levels (anywhere from 500 million CFU to a total of 2.5 billion CFU daily) can be continued indefinitely along with a bacterial probiotic. It confers many health and GI protective benefits, and we use it along with bacterial strains in all of our cats, all the time.
For kittens under nine months old, follow the same instructions as for adults, just use half the amount.
Please Note: If diarrhea becomes worse with S boulardii administration, stop use immediately. There can be several reasons for this reaction, however. We have seen cats do poorly with a brand of S boulardii that contains lactose, and switching to a brand like Jarrow without it, the product works quite well. This is most common. We have also seen what is most likely bacterial die-off with the S boulardii. Again, stop administration for 24 hours, and reintroduce it (while continuing to feed the bland diet) slowly. Do not follow the "emergency stop diarrhea" instructions. Use it just twice a day, but at 1/4 of the recommended amount the first day, and 1/2 the recommended amount the second day if kitty did not react to the lower dose. If you do not begin to see improvement even with this slower method of introduction, stop the S boulardii, best to see the vet.
Brands of S boulardii:
In the U.S. Jarrow is one of the most widely available. It is combined with MOS (mannanoligosaccharides) which improve its efficacy. Florastor is available in many large chain stores, but it contains lactose, which may exacerbate diarrhea in some cats due to the common lactose intolerance.
Walmart has a store brand very similar to Florastor, called Equate but without the lactose. Renew Life, carried by most Whole Foods stores, has two S boulardii products, one with larch arabinogalactan. Buy the one WITHOUT this ingredient. There are many brands of S boulardii available online: anything with just plan S boulardii in capsules of 3 billion CFU to 5 billion CFU will do.
You can click on the pictures to purchase the probiotics from amazon U.S.
In the U.K. and some other countries in Europe, Bioglan is widely available. This contains S boulardii and several bacterial probiotics. The capsules contain 2.5 billion CFU of S boulardii. If you are using Bioglan, be aware that you need to provide twice the dose if following instructions for giving 5 billion CFU capsules.
In Australia, Candex is the name of the S boulardii product widely available. This contains lactose.
Even if you need to see your vet, and your cat is put on antibiotics, S boulardii is a wonderful probiotic to administer to your cat as it also helps prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea. As yeast, not a bacteria, antibiotics do not kill it, and it remains effective.
Slippery Elm Bark Powder (“SEB”)
While the S boulardii alone will likely resolve the diarrhea in your cat, if kitty is in discomfort, if there is some blood and/or mucus in the stool, or if kitty is nauseous, slippery elm should be given to your kitty along with the plain diet and S boulardii. The can be given concurrently. SEB both manages nausea and is very soothing and healing to the entire GI tract. This also details why we prefer using slippery elm bark powder over pumpkin when managing diarrhea in our cats.
As discussed at Dr. Jean Hofve’s LittleBigCat and in a 2011 review piece, Appalachian Plant Monographs: Ulmus rubra, slippery elm bark powder contains many healing properties:
In fact, slippery elm doesn’t just help restore normal intestinal function, it reduces inflammation, controls nausea, heals ulcers and gastric lesions, acts as a prebiotic to help manage gut dysbiosis, and it triggers stimulation of nerve endings in the GI tract, which promotes increased mucus secretion to protect and heal the underlying tissues. It lubricates, soothes, and heals, making kitty feel better.
Slippery elm bark powder directions: mix one-quarter teaspoon of loose powder with one-half teaspoon water. Stir until all the powder is mixed with the water. Let it sit for a minute or so. You will see it becomes thick and gelatinous. You can add this to kitty’s plain meat and broth if she’s eating when you are using it to treat diarrhea. If she’s a bit nauseous or inappetent, give it to her about half an hour before a meal, just swipe a little bit at a time into her mouth with your finger (allow her to swallow before swiping in a bit more to get it all (or most of it) into her). You can also add a bit more water as necessary in order to use a food syringe to gently assist-feed your kitty the slippery elm bark/water mixture. During a bout of diarrhea, you can use this mixture three times a day.
Please note, the gelatinous mixture can slow the absorption of any drugs your kitty may be taking. Please separate administration of slippery elm bark powder and any medications by two hours.
Most cats will experience the infrequent bout of diarrhea, often with no identified cause. This is not unusual, and can usually be treated at home. Because the antibiotic most often prescribed for general “diarrhea” in cats (Flagyl, generic metronidazole) is toxic to their systems, using the bland diet, Saccharomyces boulardii (and if you feel a fiber is needed, or if there is some blood and/or mucus present in the diarrhea or kitty is nauseous, then also including slippery elm bark powder) is a gentle, safe, non-toxic, yet generally very effective approach. Given its roles in managing GI inflammation and immune modulation, we encourage you to give S boulardii to your cat along with an L acidophilus- based bacterial probiotic to help maintain a healthy GI tract on a daily basis. At Food Fur Life, we consider daily probiotic administration an important aspect of cat health. And if you are not feeding your cat fresh, minimally processed food, please read up on the benefits, and consider transitioning your kitty to homemade food. Of course, making your own with EZcomplete fur Cats is … easy!