Benefits of Digestive Enzymes for Cats

benefits_of_digestive_enzymes_for_cats

Enzymes are tiny protein molecules that are found in every living cell. They are responsible for vital chemical reactions in your cat’s body, including proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. A lack of enzymes in your cat’s system will result in digestive upsets and a less than optimal immune system.

Benefits of Enzymes

  • Aid in the digestion and absorption of the vitamins and minerals in the cat’s diet
  • Promote normal body weight
  • Support healthy cell growth
  • Reduce bloating and constipation
  • Increase energy due to better absorption of nutrients
  • Support immune system health
  • Help remove toxins
  • Help reduce food sensitivities and allergies
  • Can help cats who suffer from chronic hairballs

Digestive Enzymes and Their Function

There are four main digestive enzymes. They work in the stomach and intestines to break down nutrients for easier absorption.

  • Protease breaks down and digests protein
  • Amlase breaks down/digests carbohydrates and starches
  • Lipase breaks down and digests fa
  • Cellulase breaks down and digests fiber (not to be confused with cellulose, a common ingredient used in low end pet foods which is extremely harsh on the intestinal tract)

Where Do Digestive Enzymes Come From?

Enzymes come from two sources: your cat’s food, and her body. Unfortunately, only raw, fresh food contains enzymes. Enzymes are fragile, and are easily destroyed by heat, pesticides, herbicides, food preservatives, additives, artificial colorings, and flavor enhancers. Enzymes in your cat’s body are easily depleted by exposure to environmental toxins, air pollutants, and medications.

Adding Digestive Enzymes to Your Cat’s Diet

The only way a food maintains all its natural enzymes is if it’s uncooked, unpasteurized, non-irradiated and not processed with any source of heat. Not many commercial cat foods qualify, which is why supplementation of digestive enzymes is a good practice. Even manufacturers of commercial prey model diets don’t add fur, entrails and glands to their diets.

Adding a good digestive enzyme supplement to your cat’s diet on a daily basis, even if you feed a high end premium diet, ensures that your cat can extract all the nutrients from her food, and supports optimal cellular function.

I recommend and use Dr. Goodpet’s Feline Digestive Enzymes for Allegra and Ruby. This brand contains Protease, Amylase, Lipase and Cellulase, as well as a nice concentration of Lactobacillus, a probiotic. I recommend daily supplementation with a probiotic for all cats, and I like that this product provides both. I add this unflavored powder to their food twice a day.

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19 Comments on Benefits of Digestive Enzymes for Cats

  1. Julie
    July 14, 2017 at 9:48 am (1 week ago)

    Thanks for the great info – a couple of quick questions – I have a foster kitty with EPI. He is getting prescription enzymes before each meal, via syringe since they are so potent and bitter. Can I add probiotics to the syringe?
    And can I give him 1/8 of a capsule of my human probiotic? I take an amazing gut-healing probiotic called VSL #3 that I would love to give him, but know our needs are different and I want to be safe. I know products designed for cats are *best – but would the human version be harmful?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 14, 2017 at 9:54 am (1 week ago)

      You can add the probiotics to the syringe, but since most probiotics are flavorless, you may be able to mix them with his food without any problems. Human probiotics with no other ingredients should be okay to give.

      Reply
  2. Angels
    April 10, 2017 at 1:42 pm (3 months ago)

    I agree with supplementing digestive enzymes and pre/probiotics for healthy digestion. I use Tummy Works, as it has a great blend of enzymes and biotics in good dossages at a good price. My cats like it and have no trouble eating it mixed in their wet food. It helped my kitty, Dax, with his chronic cholitis before we lost him last week.

    Reply
  3. onyxmom
    March 9, 2017 at 6:43 pm (4 months ago)

    I started giving my 6 month old kitten the Dr. Goodpet powder twice a day with his wet food. I noticed he poops bigger and more often now than before I introduced this to his diet. I’ve read that cats usually poop less on a wet-food only diet, so I’m slightly concerned about the frequency and size. He seems healthy otherwise, though!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 10, 2017 at 5:56 am (4 months ago)

      That’s unusual, as the digestive enzymes in the Dr. Goodpet product should actually help him absorb more nutrients, which should reduce the size of his stool rather than increase it. As long as he’s healthy otherwise, it’s probably not a concern. You may want to change to a different brand food to see if that changes anything.

      Reply
  4. jody
    January 26, 2017 at 10:36 pm (6 months ago)

    I regret to say that I took this advice and started giving it to my cat. Now she is scratching more (not a single flea in site, and on regular flea meds) has constant goop in her eyes and her lip is drooping! never had this problem with Purina. She eats her am food no problem but this I give her at night. Amazon won’t return it and now I am left with a once healthy cat reluctant to eat (and she is already bordering underweight).

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 27, 2017 at 6:17 am (6 months ago)

      I suspect that there may be something else going on, Jody. If you haven’t already taken your cat to the vet since she’s had this reaction, I’d urge you to do so as soon as possible.

      Reply
  5. Pam J
    March 5, 2016 at 10:54 am (1 year ago)

    I ordered digestive enzymes for my cat whose stool has not returned to normal since he had some kind of GI infection (we still don’t know what caused it). It’s too early to see any changes quite yet, but I was wondering how long I should give it to him? Indefinitely? Or stop after his stool returns to normal? I feed him a high quality, high protein canned food. We were feeding him raw, and I am reluctant to go back to it since we do not know what cause his GI crisis to begin with. I am also give him a probiotic.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 5, 2016 at 1:22 pm (1 year ago)

      I recommend probiotics as a daily supplement, and I would give the enzymes at least until the stools return to normal and his GI tract has healed completely.

      Reply
      • Maria
        April 23, 2017 at 8:00 am (3 months ago)

        I had the same problem with my cat about a 1.5 years ago. I was loosing her. She lost a considerable amount of weight and could not take any food, everything went out almost immediately. Though she was on the best commercial food at the time with no additives and no carbs, she still deteriorated. I switched her diet to home made with supplements that I ordered from Dr. Andrew Jones (Ultimate Feline Supplements), and force fed her for 2 month. She was gaining weight and her vomiting episodes were almost gone. Have to emphasize that I started her on one novel protein *(meat she never had before, like rabbit or turkey) which is very important. I also put her food bowl higher, level with her neck just in case she has acid reflux that causes her to vomit. Also, gradually I tried to decrease the time of cooking but she could not take it easily yet. It needs time for GI cats to introduce them to the raw, their stomach and intestines need to heal. But It is the best food and it should be aim to finally introduce them to the raw food. I did one more thing just a week ago, and added digestive enzymes to her and my other cat food. I ordered it from Dr Mercola and have to say that my cat did not vomit a single time even though I gave her half-cooked meat (she had occasional episodes from time to time, especially when she quickly gulps her food. Have to mention that after those initial 2 month of force feeding she started eating by herself with a great appetite). I also plan to add probiotics slowly later as this might further help improve digestion and health overall.

        Reply
  6. Thais
    October 13, 2014 at 7:47 am (3 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid! Thanks for the info! I have rescued a little kitten and she has had a persistent digestive problem for months, even thought she had been treated for worms and giardia (she was ridden with flees, had persistent otites, skin fungus, and was anemic) . Under your recommendation (actually, because of this post), I bought Dr. Goodpet enzymes and have been feeding it to all my cats (the sickly one and the healthy ones) for a couple of months now. I’m glad to say she has improved wonderfully! She hasn’t had any digestive problems and her coat looks incredible! So thank you!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 13, 2014 at 4:35 pm (3 years ago)

      I’m so glad your kitten is doing so well, Thais! Thanks for letting me know!

      Reply
  7. Jeanne
    August 10, 2014 at 10:32 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m wondering if probiotics will help an FIV+ cat I’ve recently rescued. He has chronic diarrhea. He’s otherwise pretty healthy and looks much better since I’ve brought him inside (i.e. Flea dermatitis has cleared up -his coat is full and scabs are almost gone). Thanks!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 11, 2014 at 6:28 am (3 years ago)

      I would definitely add probiotics to your recent rescue’s diet, Jeanne. They may help clear the diarrhea, and they also help boost the immune system, which is important for FIV+ cats.

      Reply
  8. Brandy Simkins
    June 26, 2014 at 2:10 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid, thanks for this info…. do you suggest adding the digestive enzymes even if I feed
    my cats commercial raw food? (frozen Primal and dehydrated Stella & Chewys)

    thanks again for your invaluable information!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm (3 years ago)

      I think it’s still a good idea, Brandy. Even though commercial raw food is minimally processed, it still looses some of its natural enzymes during the freezing or dehydration process.

      Reply
  9. The Island Cats
    October 28, 2013 at 5:20 pm (4 years ago)

    Thanks for this info. I bought some Dr. Goodpet and am giving it to my crew.

    Island Cat Mom

    Reply
  10. Ingrid
    October 28, 2013 at 4:35 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you for your kind words, Linda! You made my day!

    Reply
  11. Linda
    October 28, 2013 at 7:39 am (4 years ago)

    Great info Ingrid! I’ve just started supplementing with a probiotic, and the enzyme depletion from tin food is what has been nagging me. Thank you for the product info. I am so VERY glad I found your site, it’s the best most practical, enjoyable way to get excellent information. I’m spreading the word about you as best I can. You’re wonderful, thank you, and on behalf of me and my kittykat 🙂 Much love.
    We’re so glad you do what you do, and it shows – literally.

    Reply

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