Support Your Cat’s Immune System

boost_your_cat's_immune_system

The immune system is an intricate system of biological processes and structures that protects the body against disease. A healthy immune system is able to recognize and fend off invaders such as viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Keeping your cat’s immune system strong will help prevent health problems and protect her against disease.

In order to protect and boost your cat’s immune system, consider the following:

Feed a species-appropriate, minimally processed diet

Ideally, this means a raw or homecooked diet, with a grain-free canned diet being the next best choice. Highly processed foods, especially dry food, create a constant state of inflammation in the body that may well be at the root of all feline illness.

Consider adding supplements

If you are feeding a variety of quality canned grain-free or raw food,
and your cat is young and healthy, you probably don’t need supplements. If you  have an older cat, or one with health challenges, supplements may contribute to better health and improved well-being. It’s always a good idea to check with your cat’s veterinarian before giving supplements.

Minimize vaccinations

Compelling evidence implicates vaccines in triggering various immune-mediated and other chronic disorders (vaccinosis). Occasionally, aggressive tumors called fibrosarcomas can appear at the site of vaccination. Work with a veterinarian who will agree to a limited vaccination schedule and/or titer testing.

Don’t use chemical flea treatments

Many of the flea and tick treatments available today contain toxic chemicals that can be hazardous to pets and to people.  Even when these products are used according to the manufacturer’s directions, these chemicals are not safe for pets or humans. There are effective ways to control fleas without chemicals.

Limit exposure to toxic chemicals in your cat’s environment

Day-to-day exposure to environmental toxins, both indoors and outdoors, such as polluted indoor air, chemical cleaning products, VOC’s from paint and carpeting, pesticides, and fertilizers, can cause allergic reactions ranging from itchy skin, runny eyes, and even asthma to vomiting, diarrhea and other intestinal issues. Lower your cat’s toxic load as much as possible.

Avoid overuse of steroids and antibiotics

While these drugs may be necessary in some cases, they are often overused. Repeated rounds of these drugs, especially for chronic conditions, may do more harm than good and may damage the immune system without addressing the issue they were prescribed for in the first place.  Consider working with a holistic veterinarian who is familiar with modalities that can support your cat’s system in its own healing process.

Provide a stimulating environment

Bored cats who don’t get any playtime or exercise are going to be unhappy and stressed cats, and stress lowers immunity. Catify your home with  cat trees, scratching posts, and window perches, and make time for regular structured play sessions with your cat.

Keep your cat at a healthy weight

Obesity is the number one health challenge for cats. It can lead to serious health problems, including diabetes, arthritis, heart and respiratory problems, gastro-interstinal and digestive problems, and acompromised immune system.

Minimize stress

Stress, whether physiological or emotional, is the root cause of illness for humans as well as pets. Try to limit stress in your cat’s environment as much as possible – and that includes your own stress. Cats and their humans often mirror each others’ physical and emotional states, and your stress can actually make your cats sick.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

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11 Comments on Support Your Cat’s Immune System

  1. Courtney kress
    April 12, 2016 at 12:27 am (1 year ago)

    My poor baby is only one and a half years old and has been to the vet over 2 dozen times by now for her skin conditions and rodent ulcers on her mouth. The vet seems very educated and caring and she gives her treatments with steroids and antibiotics.. This worked well the first time but her condition always persists and now the medicines do nothing. She has torn out large patches of fur from itching and I am concerned that long term effects could persist. I have had her on a select food diet for the past three weeks and I am waiting for the six week point to see if any changes happen. She has an intense flea allergy but has not had fleas since she was very young. If anyone could give me any advice I would be so thankful.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 12, 2016 at 5:25 am (1 year ago)

      I would consider working with a holistic vet, Courtney, if the elimination diet doesn’t work for your kitty.

      Reply
    • Mary Argo
      February 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm (6 months ago)

      I agree with Ingrid, a holistic vet is the way to go. My kiddo was only 9 months with rodent ulcers and allergies and my vet recommended Manuka Honey (one with Aloe called Wound Honey) and it cleared up his ulcers right away and some Chinese herbs to build his immune system helped stop all the scratching and now he’s a big lovable 16 lb cat that you wouldn’t know had anything wrong with him. He still loves honey to this day and I give it to him as a treat and it helps to keep his mouth clear of ulcers and it reduces swelling in his gums.

      Reply
  2. Bernadette
    November 13, 2012 at 11:01 pm (5 years ago)

    Environmental toxins and processed foods, new to our society in the past few decades, have done a number on humans and animals. If these things affect humans at the rate they do with cancers and immune disorders, imagine what they do to our pets.

    Reply
  3. sally
    November 13, 2012 at 9:41 am (5 years ago)

    I rescued a sick kitten with Fekine Leukemia and she lived a happy, healthy and playful life for 12 years. I was told she would not live long, so I gave her all my love and dog friends for play.
    I design Healing Jewelry for Pets and used Amethyst in her water. It strengthens the the immune system and cleanses the blood.

    Maybe this is due to her long life. I thank God that we had 12 years.

    Reply
  4. Nicole
    November 13, 2012 at 1:59 am (5 years ago)

    This post was super informative. I am all about having healthy kitty’s. I have lost some of my best furry friends in the past, unexpectedly, so I actually am pretty nutty about them and their health. So again I thank you for this info.

    Nicole

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 13, 2012 at 7:35 am (5 years ago)

      I’m glad the post was helpful, Nicole.

      Reply
  5. Rykerz Boyz 'n' Allie
    November 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm (5 years ago)

    Wonderful post – thanks for all the information and helpful links to even more specific information on each topic. We agree – staying healthy is a multivariable issue.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm (5 years ago)

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Here’s to good health for you and the kitties!

      Reply
  6. Marg
    November 12, 2012 at 10:50 am (5 years ago)

    The stress is such a factor in one’s health and in a cat’s health too. I can attest to that because I know the I got cancer because I was stressed to the max. For one year, I was stressed from moving away from my home of 30 years and from all my friends. I am fine now with all these cats to keep me from being stressed again. But I truly believe that stress is such a factor and some of my friends think the same thing. Great post.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 12, 2012 at 9:05 pm (5 years ago)

      I’m so glad you’re okay now, Marg.

      Reply

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