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Probiotics for stinky stools?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I have an 18 pound cat (11 years old) that I switched from eating Friskies dry to Natural Balance dry over the past two months. I recently (past two weeks) started feeding her the low-calorie blend of Natural Balance, and her stools have gotten VERY stinky! They are firm and appear normal and she doesn't look sick.


Also I have a 13 pound kitty (10 years old) that looks like she just doesn't feel good after eating (this is after eating Friskies wet food; I have yet to find a healthier canned food that they will eat). She has been checked by the vet and there is apparently nothing wrong.


I am wondering if a probiotic might help both of these issues. From what I understand, probiotics can be used for smelly gas in humans but I am unsure if it would help the smelly stools Emily is making.


I have a local pet store that sells kitty probiotics and they are inexpensive; my main question is if these (or something else) might help the horrendous smell of Emily's stools and Ashley's sick feeling after eating; also if probiotics can be used on a regular basis in cats without repercussions.


Thank you!

post #2 of 4

Well, I would certainly think the probiotics wouldn't hurt, that's for sure!  But you might want to check the "strength" of the probiotic sold at the health food store to make sure it's a decent one.  Some times the ones sold for pets don't really have much in them.  Many people here use ones they would take themselves.  We did, for awhile, then bought the Mercola Pet Probiotics, and the furkids don't like them, so once we finally use them up, will be going back to the human ones! 


BTW, I'm thinking that one reason for the excess stink is that the lower calorie food is probably full of carbs.  Lots of lower calorie cat food is, and since cats aren't made to process grains, it causes gastric issues.  Our Vet advised us to put our tubby kitty on the Catkins diet...high protein, low carb.  It's difficult to find dry food that fits the bill, but not impossible.  Evo and Wysong are a couple I can think of.  But you need very little, so definitely cannot free feed with them! 

post #3 of 4
Congrats on wanting to feed your kitty a better diet! hugs.gif

When navigating feline food, it can be really difficult, and our vets often aren't able to help us much. Most of them have little nutritional training, and the information out there is just overwhelming. laughing02.gif

A place to begin is learning a little bit about what's good and bad for cats. Cats are obligate carnivores. I never thought about what this meant, and I fed my cats a prescription kibble diet for many years. But when we rescued a kitty that was a health mess, we had to start learning, because the stuff we were doing - and that our vets advised - wasn't working.

And I found out what it meant that cats are obligate carnivores. This means they need to get most of their nutrition from meat and fat - animal sources of food. agree.gif

I don't know which Friskies you were feeding, but they all look pretty similar.

Friskies Indoor Delights Dry ingredients:

Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, meat and bone meal, soybean meal, beef tallow preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), turkey by-product meal, powdered cellulose, animal liver flavor, soybean hulls, malt extract, phosphoric acid, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, dried cheese powder, added color (Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 2 and other color), parsley flakes, taurine, calcium phosphate, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, manganese sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite. D-6002

Reduced Calorie Natural balance dry ingredients:

Chicken Meal, Chicken, Brown Rice, Dried Potatoes, Oats, Pearled Barley, Pea Fiber, Pea Protein, Alfalfa Meal, Salmon Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with natural mixed tocopherols), Lamb Meal, Beet Pulp, Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Carrots, Potatoes, Duck, Dried Egg, Brewers Dried Yeast, Salmon Oil, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid), Minerals (zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous sulfate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), Taurine, Flaxseed Meal, Choline Chloride, Yucca Schidigera Extract, L-Carnitine, DL-Methionine, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Kelp Meal, Cranberries, Dried Parsley, L-Lysine, Dried Spinach.

The ingredients in bold are all ingredients that cats don't need, don't utilize very well (as obligate carnivores), are actually bad for them, or are just filler.

On a dry matter basis, the Reduced calorie Natural Balance has 33% carbs and 9% fiber.
On a dry matter basis, the Friskies Indoor Delights has 42% carbs and 5% fiber.

Both foods are VERY high in carbohydrates. The problem with carbohydrates in cat foods is that cats have no dietary requirement for them. Not only this, but they do not digest them very well, and they are not easily accessible sources of energy. Cats use meat-based protein and fat for energy, and process them efficiently. When eating carbs, it just goes to fat on them, because they don't "use" the energy from carbohydrates. The problem is that it leaves them feeling hungry, so they eat more food - and they end up eating more calories than they need to in order to get enough energy from meat-based sources of protein and fat.

Human nutrition and diet requirements are VERY different than a cat's. A high fiber diet will help a person lose weight, but not a cat. Here's an article you may find interesting on the subject: "Why feeding high fiber kibble to cats defies logic"

I think to resolve your kitty's stool, you may want to consider, as mrsgreenjeans suggested, looking for a kibble that's high protein, low-carb. There aren't many of them.

In fact, if you can afford it, and your lifestyle allows for it, you may want to consider switching your kitties - at least your fat kitty - to a wet food only diet. Here is information on that:

There was a study published comparing cats feed dry food and wet food. The dry food provided was the EXACT same food as the wet food, just dehydrated. The cats eating the wet food naturally ate fewer calories. This is why when someone has a kitty that needs to lose weight, so many of the first suggestions you see are to switch the kitty to wet food. Especially a grain-free low carb wet food. Even Fancy Feast (classic style only) and Friskies (pate style only) fit this bill. Those aren't very high quality foods, but they're still superior foods for your kitty than the kibble, and will probably help your big girl lose weight better than trying to fix the smell of her poop on the food she's eating.

When I have stinky poop, I can usually figure out it's from something I ate. Stinky poop is not a natural condition for a cat either. That stinky poop is a sign that her food doesn't agree with her. frown.gif I think starting with a grain-free food - whether kibble or canned - would be a good start and may agree with her better. (Not all grain free foods are low carb though. And kibble, by it's very nature, is usually high carb). The two Sally listed are about the only two that are high protein, low carb dry foods.

I recommend probiotics for ALL kitties (and people LOL). I use Natural Factors double-factor Acidophilus+Bifidus for the cats and my husband and my self. I just sprinkle the capsule on their food - they like it and eat it right up. smile.gif I don't know if it will help clear up the smell. But it's good for them. smile.gif
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the very informational replies!


A bit more background- I was feeding Natural Balance alone for awhile (not the low-calorie one) and Emily's fur improved greatly. Her fur had been very oily near her low back, and when I asked the vet she said it was because Emily couldn't clean herself back there (Emily is the 18-pounder). I had fed her Natural Balance in the past, and it was one of the only dry foods healthier than Friskies that she would eat. I think a vet initially recommended it.


Within two weeks, her fur became very soft, silky, and the oiliness went away! I was so impressed that I decided to mix it with a low-calorie food (that I'd been told would be good for her as well) because of her weight issues.. The one I found that she seemed to like was Wellness.


Now that I've switched to the low-cal Natural Balance (I switched just for half the time because I thought she was getting tired of the others and wanted to give her variety), I've noticed the stinky stools. Her fur is starting to get a little oily again. I know that the regular Natural Balance has some carbs in it too though.


What I am going to do is go back to the regular Natural Balance, and then when I have some more $ I will switch her to a higher protein food. It's too bad these foods are so expensive! But she's worth it. smile.gif

Another problem I have here is that I cannot get her to eat wet food. Due to health issues, the vet said a wet-only diet would be best for her. Ashley (the 13-pounder) will only eat dry.


To add to this problem, my mom has a 20-year-old very thin cat who she free-feeds Friskies dry. Emily sneaks in and eats his food!


I am trying to coordinate all of this but it's difficult with the three all having special needs and tastes. I feel confident I can get this down and I will feed my kitties the premium food and try to get my mom to switch over as well (we all live with my mom because she is disabled and I am her caregiver).


One last thing- I noticed Emily REALLY likes the low-cal Natural Balance, and she has a major "sweet tooth" (I don't think I should mention how I know that; but part of it was feeding her bits of Yoplait when she was very ill a long time ago). paranoid.gif  I think the low-cal version must have a sweet taste, because she loves the stuff. And I do feel like I'm defeating the purpose of a low-cal food when she wants to eat twice as much as she's supposed to!


I know this is all so complicated and I thank you for reading and your thoughtful replies. I think I'm on the right track; this will just take time. And I am definitely going to get both of them the probiotics mentioned, especially since Ashley looks like she feels bad after she eats. And I definitely will move them to a higher protein food when I get the cash to buy another bag!


Thank you again!

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