To take care of your health, you probably do lots of things, from eating well to sleeping enough each night to exercising a few times a week. All of these things work to strengthen your immune system, which fights off pathogens that threaten your health. But what do you do to ensure your cat’s immune system is strengthened in the same way?
Our feline friends don’t have as much agency as we do when it comes to bolstering their own health. It’s up to us as pet parents to give them things that can strengthen their immune systems and keep them healthy throughout their lives. Fortunately, improving your cat’s immunity isn’t that difficult.
An investment in your cat’s immunity is an investment in their life-long health and happiness. Cats with strong immune systems get fewer illnesses or infections, recover from sickness faster, are more active and playful and have a lower chance of developing significant health problems later in life. Not only do all these things save you money on vet visits and medications, but it ensures your cat’s comfort and gives them the happiest life possible.
And, even if your cat has already developed a major disease or another health problem, immune-boosting methods can make it easier for their already weakened immune system to stave off additional infections or illnesses.
All in all, to give your pet the healthiest, longest life possible, you need to focus on strengthening their army of tiny fighter cells that target and destroy harmful invaders. Here are five easy ways to help:
- Healthy diet: The most important thing you can do for your pet day in and day out is feed them a healthy, nutritious diet. Not all pet foods are made equal—in fact, many types of food contain potentially harmful ingredients like fillers, by-products and chemical preservatives. By feeding your pet a low-quality diet, you could be depriving them of essential ingredients their body needs, which can weaken the immune system and make them more vulnerable to disease. Choosing a pet food that’s rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and a healthy dose of macronutrients (specifically protein, which contains immune-healthy amino acids) will give your kitty the energy they need alongside a suite of nutrients that strengthen all parts of their body, including the immune system.
- Probiotics: Did you know that a majority of your cat’s immune system is fueled by a complex network of bacteria and yeasts in their small intestine? The system, often called the gut microbiome, is easily disrupted by stress, antibiotic use and a poor diet. Imbalances in this microbiome can not only cause digestive problems like excessive gas and diarrhea, but they can also hamper the immune system. Feeding your cat a probiotic supplement can introduce beneficial bacteria back into the gut, promoting balance, good digestion and better health.
- Exercise: Exercise does much more for your feline friend than help them shed weight and stay entertained throughout the day. It also helps strengthen immunity! Running around and playing helps reduce stress in cats. Since stress is known to hamper the immune system in more ways than one, this can have a preventative effect on immune health. Exercise also helps improve immunity in more direct ways by building a strong body and preventing obesity, which is linked to reduced immune health.
- Herbal supplements: In the same way you might reach for a vitamin C supplement or zinc tablet when you feel a cold coming on, you can bolster your cat’s immunity by giving them similar nutrients that are beneficial to the immune system. Specially formulated immune supplements combine herbal ingredients packed with vitamins and minerals that feed the immune system while providing antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-parasite properties. These types of supplements are great for providing a better quality of life to cats who are already sick, but they can also be used to bolster a weakened immune system at the start of a minor illness or after your pet is recovering.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: One of the leading causes of major health problems in pets is inflammation. Despite being a natural response by the immune system, prolonged inflammation can do significant damage to the body over time and is often an indicator of poor immune health. To combat inflammation and prevent severe ailments, you can give your cat a supplement or food formulated with omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids work to combat inflammation within the body for a more stable immune response.
Helping your cat build a strong immune system can keep them from succumbing to serious illnesses and give them a happier, healthier life. Focus on providing your cat with the right nutrients, daily exercise and lots of love to ensure they are the healthiest they can be!