While your kitty spends her days snoozing in her favorite sun spots, her immune system is hard at work. Like humans, cats need a healthy immune system during each stage of their lives—it’s their body’s first line of defense against toxins, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and more.
Simply put, a stronger immune system means a healthier, more playful cat. A strong immune system fights off a variety of illnesses; if your kitty does get sick, she should be able to bounce back relatively quickly.
Your cat may be sufficiently independent, but she still needs your help… whether she likes it or not. As a pet owner, there are several steps you can take to boost your cat’s immune system so she can live her nine lives to the fullest!
Immune Deficiency in Cats
If your kitty’s immune system isn’t working properly, it means she has an immune deficiency. As a result, she’ll have a harder time fighting off harmful germs and substances, or antigens.
Signs that your cat may have an immune deficiency include:
- Recurring illnesses
- Respiratory issues
- Eye and/or nose discharge
- Stunted growth
- Unintentional weight changes
- Changes in eating and litter box habits
- Poor coat quality
As a general rule of paw, you should visit your vet anytime you notice changes in your cat’s appearance or behavior. The earlier you can address a potentially serious health issue, the better!
How to Boost Your Cat’s Immune System
As any pet parent knows, it’s important to schedule regular vet visits to rule out underlying health issues, stay up-to-date on immunizations, and ask any questions you have about your kitty’s health.
That said, there’s plenty you can do on a day-to-day basis to keep your kitty as healthy and happy as possible.
Some important ways to naturally boost your cat’s immune system include:
As the adage goes, you are what you eat! The healthier the diet, the healthier the cat. Give your cat’s immune system a natural boost with a balanced, nutrient-rich diet free of harmful fillers and preservatives.
Cats are carnivores, so make sure your kitty is getting plenty of high-quality animal protein sources. Some pet parents prefer to feed their cats a raw diet; others stick with standard dry food and/or canned wet food.
As long as your cat’s diet is vet-approved and filled with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and protein (not to mention water), you’re already doing a great job of strengthening her immune system.
Constant stress and anxiety can take a serious toll on mental and physical health alike. Stress can be both a cause and an effect of several health issues, so it’s important to keep your kitty’s living environment as peaceful as possible.
Keep your schedule and home environment as calm and consistent as possible. Provide food at the same time each day, and make sure your cat has plenty of cat-friendly safe spaces to retreat to when she needs some personal space.
Both physical and mental exercise can boost your cat’s immune system; in addition to shedding weight, staying active can help to strengthen the body and reduce stress.
Provide your kitty with some sturdy scratchers to use as a form of exercise, self-grooming, entertainment, and even as an emotional outlet.
Of course, you’ll also want to dedicate time to playing with your furry friend, too! Try to dedicate at least two 15-minute blocks to playing with interactive toys such as wands and lasers; you’ll also want to invest in some enriching cat puzzle toys so she can keep herself entertained when you’re not around.
Unlike their canine counterparts, cats don’t need to take regular baths. That said, there are a few situations where your kitty may need a sudsy soak: perhaps she got into something exceptionally dirty or sticky; perhaps she’s dealing with some pesky pests, or has some allergy-related skin problems.
For the most part, though, cats are pretty self-sufficient when it comes to grooming. If your cat is overweight or has mobility issues, she may need your help cleaning some of those hard-to-reach areas with occasional brushing.
Keep your home clean, too–regularly wash your kitty’s toys and bedding to get rid of any germs, pests, and allergens that could negatively impact her health.
Keep in mind that if you have an outdoor cat, she’s inevitably exposed to more creatures and germs than if she were strictly an indoor cat.
In addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle, nutritional supplements can make a world of difference between a strong and weak immune system.
There are a variety of immune-boosting supplements to choose from, with some of our favorites being:
- Antioxidants such as quercetin
- Amino acids such as L-lysine
PetHonesty’s Lysine-Immune Health+ For Cats is a tasty, vet-recommended powder designed to help strengthen your cat’s immune system, soothe seasonal allergies, and promote eye and respiratory health.
With a blend of natural ingredients, this meal-topping powder is a natural source of omega-3s, L-lysine, and quercetin. Simply top your kitty’s meal with 1-2 scoops to keep her looking and feeling her best!