This post is sponsored by NomNomNow and contains affiliate links*
Last week, we featured an article about the importance of the microbiome to the overall health of your cats. This week, I’m reviewing the NomNomNow Microbiome Testing Kit, a test that sequences and analyzes the microbes living in your cat’s intestinal tract.
What is the microbiome?
The microbiome is a community of bacteria and other microbes that inhabit living organisms and impact a spectacular portion of daily life. While we generally think about the types of bacteria that make us sick, the microbiome is home to trillions of beneficial bacteria that help digest food, shape immune systems and maintain a healthy weight. Our pet’s gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of organisms that can be affected by many factors—including diet, the underlying biology of the pet, the development of the pet’s microbiome (i.e. the environment the pet grew up in and the diet they grew up eating), and other environmental factors. For this reason, there can be a lot of diversity between pets.
NomNomNow Microbiome Testing Kit
The NomNomNow Insights Microbiome Kit will test for the microbes that are present in your cat’s gut at the time the sample is taken. Once they sequence your cat’s sample, you will receive an in-depth report describing the specific types and amounts of bacteria that colonize your cat’s gut and how that compares to an average cat. The information in the report will expand as more research data from other samples becomes available.
Sample collection is easy
The steps to follow to get a sample from your cat are included in easy to follow instructions.
You start by collecting a fresh stool sample out of your cat’s litter box. Then you use the swab provided with the kit to collect a small amount from your sample. Insert the swab into the collection tube and push down on the top of the swab to immerse it in the liquid inside the vial. Cap the vial and shake. Place the vial in the included bag, apply the bar code sticker from the test kit to the vial, place the vial in the shipping envelope, seal it, and mail it back to NomNomNow. That’s it!
You will need to register your sample on NomNomNow’s website – and before you grumble about data collection and not wanting to provide your information, remember that by submitting your sample, you not only get valuable information about your own cat, you also help other cats. The more samples are submitted, the more data will be available for future research into how to keep cats healthy.
The microbiome results
Both Allegra and Ruby’s results fell mostly within the average range. Ruby took exception with being average, until I explained to her that in this case, that’s a good thing!
The report is incredibly detailed and provides lots of information about all of the microbes living in Allegra and Ruby’s gut.
Some of Allegra’s values that were outside of the reference range were on the high side. Dr. Ryan Honaker, NomNomNow’s Director of Microbiology, also known as their “Poop Czar,” explained that in this case, “high is good. ”
For example, Allegra has higher amounts of Lachnospiracea, a bacteria commonly found in animal guts, although more so in plant eaters versus meat eaters. They can break complex carbohydrates down into smaller molecules called short chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as butyrate, which can be used for energy. Some studies suggest that the butyratealso helps decrease gut inflammation and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Cats with irritable bowel syndrome may have lower amounts of this group. In addition, Lachnospiracea have been reported to be low in sick cats. “So having more of them than the reference range does not seem to be a negative thing, and could in fact be beneficial in some ways,” said Dr. Honaker. “However because of the individuality of microbiomes we don’t like to over-interpret any values.”
I ran the test results by Dr. Andrea Tasi, a feline veterinarian and owner of Just Cats, Naturally. “I think gathering this sort of data may prove useful over time as we better begin to understand what is normal what is abnormal and how the results actually equate to what we observe in individual cats,” she told me. “As veterinarians, we don’t have enough education and experience with these tests yet, and we don’t really don’t know what to do with the results especially in a clinically ‘normal’ cat.”
I believe that Dr. Tasi’s view supports the importance of submitting as many samples as possible so that this important research can continue.
For more information about the Microbiome Testing Kit and to purchase, visit NomNomNow.com.
Formulated by Dr. Justin Shmalberg, Clinical Associate Professor and Service Chief, Integrative Medicine, at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, all of NomNomNow’s formulas contain only fresh ingredients.
- All food is human grade
- Vitamins are all natural
- All recipes meet AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) requirements
- Recipes are made from only a handful of ingredients: meat, vegetables, healthy oils, and a vitamin and nutrient blend.
- No additives, no artificial ingredients
- Individually portioned meals to suit your cat’s caloric needs
- Easy open pouch: simply tear open.
And best of all, it’s delivered fresh to your front door.
Read our review of NomNomNow here.
For more information about NomNomNow, and to order, please visit https://www.nomnomnow.com/fresh-cat-food-recipes.
*FTC Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, which means that I was compensated to feature this content. Regardless of payment received, you will only see products or services featured on this site that I believe are of interest to our readers. The Conscious Cat is a participant in NomNomNow’s affiliate program. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission.