Updated: Jun 16, 2021
Understanding Our Microbiome is Key to Optimal Health and Disease Prevention
We have a beautiful, multifaceted, symbiotic relationship with our microbiome. The gut microbiome is the microbial population living in the intestine. It is comprised of billions of bacteria.
Each species has a unique microbiota. The microbiome of your feline family member is different from the human microbiome.
We provide food as substrates for these bacteria, as well as a temperature and an oxygen regulated environment for them to thrive. In exchange, the GI microbiome helps break down food, and produces metabolites, such as short chain fatty acids, secondary bile acids, vitamins, and nutrients. Bacteria play a role in regulating our weight, influencing immune cells and inflammatory functions, as well as our mood and anxiety.
Microbiome = microbial population living in the intestine
What Is The Microbiome?
The Microbiome plays a profound role in health – not only for us, but for our pets – and we are only skimming the surface of our understanding of it.
Microbiome is traditionally defined as “the aggregate genetic material of all microorganisms living in, or on, a defined habitat” (Lederberg and McCray, 2001; The NIH HMP Working Group 2009). In this context, we are the habitat and home to trillions of microorganisms. Our microbiome is finally getting the recognition it is has deserved all along, with Scientists now acknowledging it as our last “organ.” 
It is no wonder the field of microbiome research is exploding. The great news is that research in pets is also showing the significant impact good bacteria have on their health. If you are feeding raw, you have already taken a great step toward ramping up your cat’s exposure to healthy bacteria. We have taken it a step further by including feline-specific probiotics in our Chicken and Beef complete meals for Cats.
What Does “Species-Specific Probiotics” Mean?
The probiotics we add to our meals and base products have been isolated from their host species and tested to optimize their contribution to overall animal health.
What Probiotics Do We Add To Our Cat Meals?
Lactobacillus reuteri F9-3®
Lactobacillus paracasei F9-4®
Pediococcus acidilactici F9-7®
Choosing the most effective probiotics for cats and dogs is not an easy task - that is why we have left it up to the experts. Since 2018 we have partnered with CanBiocin, a Canadian company on the leading edge of researching species-specific probiotics. They isolate and validate the efficacy of probiotics in their respective species, and have patented these 100% natural strains of probiotics. Our probiotic supplier is also AAFCO certified.
How Many Probiotics Are Added to Our Cat Meals?
33,000,000 CFU per 0.3 lb cat food
What Are The Benefits Of Feline-Specific Probiotics?
Proven tolerance to gastric acid, bile, and digestive enzymes pepsin and pancreatin, allowing the probiotics to safely passage to the large intestine where they provide their benefits.
Proven adherence to feline intestinal epithelial cells - allows colonization and proliferation. Species-specificity means that these probiotics are the most biologically appropriate for cats.
Proven ability to produce bacteriocins to inhibit pathogens including E. coli, Salmonella enterica, Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium perfringens. Reduces the risk of intestinal upsets.
Proven ability to positively impact the immune system (cell mediated and humoral immunity). The immune system is better supported to fight off infection and disease.
How Do Probiotics Survive Our Manufacturing Process and Freezer Temperatures?
If the probiotics survive the gastrointestinal tract of cats, how do they survive the manufacturing and freezing temperatures? We confirmed the viability of CanBiocin’s probiotics prior to adding them to our meals to ensure they would survive our processing and freezing steps. There is a high survival rate of the probiotics in our products throughout their shelf life, and we continue to validate this through periodic analysis.
What's The Difference Between Our Probiotics and Other Brands?
Some pet food companies add probiotics as a marketing tool, with no guarantee that the probiotics are live and viable, which means there is no guarantee that your pet is receiving any benefit to their health. Susan Thixton wrote a great article to address this concern:
Probiotics Instead of Antibiotics - An Excellent Choice for You and Your Pet's
Species-specific probiotics are an investment in your pet’s overall health and well-being. When you factor in the role healthy bacteria play in preventing diseases such as pathogen infections, diarrhea, IBS, allergies, diabetes and cancer, the cost is easily justified. Farmers are catching on to this with many now choosing to use probiotics instead of antibiotics to successfully raise healthy livestock and mitigate the risk of pathogens and disease.
This is totally in line with our vision of a world where medicine is based on prevention, and not reaction to disease. So the next time you are at the store, pick up a bottle of probiotics for yourself, and grab a Chicken Complete and/or Beef Complete as part of your cat’s regular rotation of proteins. Your cat will be purring with gratitude and you will both reap the benefits of a healthy dose of bacteria!
1. Baquero F. Nombela C. The microbiome as a human organ. Clin Micobiol Infect.