Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: July 3, 2023 by Crystal Uys
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 in Cats
- 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 in Cats
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.
Featured Image Credit: Andrew Rafalsky, Shutterstock
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.