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Boosting Your Cat’s Immune System

Boosting your cats immune system

Photo credit: Luna the Himalayan Cat, misslunaball on Instagram

Have you ever wondered why some cats have a tendency to develop illnesses or diseases more frequently than others?  Or why some cats live to be 20 years old when the average age may be around 15?  Genetics and environment can certainly play roles in these outcomes, but you can’t overlook the immune system.  Keeping your cat’s immune system strong and working optimally will increase her likelihood of fending off illnesses and living a long, healthy life.  When it comes to our cats’ health and wellbeing, prevention can be worth its weight in gold.  Therefore, boosting your cat’s immune system in order to keep your kitty as healthy as possible is a great place to start.

How does your cat’s immune system work?

The immune system is what allows the body to protect itself from foreign invaders.  It’s a fascinating, complex network of systems that has an intelligence and the ability to communicate down to the cellular level.  Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, states

The immune system is comprised of a diffuse, complex network of interacting cells, cell products, and cell-forming tissues that protect the body from pathogens and other foreign substances, destroy infected and malignant cells, and remove cellular debris.

[It] includes the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes and lymph tissue, stem cells, white blood cells, antibodies, and lymphokines. Lymphokines are a subset of cytokines produced by a type of immune cell called a lymphocyte.

The job of the immune system is to respond appropriately to infectious agents from the outside world. An appropriate response is when the immune system mounts a defense against an outside challenge without destroying the body.

Ways to support your cat’s immune system 

Given the important role of your cat’s immune system, you can understand why keeping it strong and avoiding things that weaken it are vital.  There are several easy ways to support and boost your cat’s immune system.  Fortunately, they are not difficult.  Nor do they have to be very expensive.  Doing every little thing that you can will reduce the chance of having to make a trip to the vet.

Examine your cat’s diet

Because 80% of the immune system is in the “gut” or “microbiome,” that’s the first place I like to start.  Therefore, it really does matter what you feed your cat.

Feeding your cat a species appropriate, carnivore diet is essential.  Consider that cats in the wild eat a fresh, raw, prey diet, and it provides all the nutrients they need.  Find creative ways to add fresh, raw, homemade, or freeze-dried food to your cat’s diet.  While this may not be financially affordable for every meal, do as much as you can afford.  At the very least, feeding a wet diet is a must.  Dry food contains way too many carbohydrates, even the grain-free kind.  Too many carbohydrates can cause inflammation and digestive problems that lead to vomiting, pancreatitis, IBD, diarrhea, leaky gut, skin allergies, food sensitivities, diabetes, and even cancer.

In some cases it may be helpful to add immune-building supplements like colostrum, superfoods, and antioxidant/vitamin support.  This can be especially beneficial if your cat only eats dry food or lower quality wet food sold in many grocery stores. 

Probiotics for cats

Enhance gut flora

If your cat has any kind of illness or disease or suffers from symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and seasonal allergies, start adding a high quality probiotic to your cat’s food once a day.  I have found this extremely useful in my own cat Rocket’s struggle with pollen sensitivities.  Even though using tools like homeopathy, colloidal silver, energy medicine and raw diets have been very effective in removing symptoms, I decided it was time to boost his immune system from the inside out.  Adding a daily dose of whole food probiotics is making a huge difference.  To learn more about how important probiotics are to the microbiome check out this article.

colloidal silver

The power of colloidal silver

I love using natural remedies whenever I can, and colloidal silver is one of my favorites.  It naturally boosts the immune system by targeting and destroying foreign invaders in the body including bad bacteria, viruses and even yeast.  Essentially water with silver hydrosol molecules in it, it has no taste or nasty side effects.  

Colloidal silver can be very effective in treating infections, scrapes and cuts, MRSA, ringworm, feline Herpes, and more.  To learn more about how it works and all its uses check out this article. By scavenging all the nasty invaders wreaking havoc on your cat’s body colloidal silver boosts your cat’s immune system allowing it to function optimally.  I have used it with several of my own cats as well as many clients with amazing results!

Your cat’s immune system–things to avoid

Conversely, there are also many things that can weaken your cat’s immune system.  One of the most important things to avoid is giving unnecessary vaccines. 

The role of a vaccine is to provide immunity from dangerous, life-threatening diseases.  Unfortunately, these vaccines are not risk-free.  Vaccines are manufactured using adjuvants and ingredients that over-stimulate the immune system in order to create an immune response.  By injecting them directly into the blood stream the body’s first line of defense is unnaturally impaired.  As a result the chances of adverse reactions may present themselves in the form of redness, swelling, itching, convulsions, anaphylactic shock and even death. 

It’s important to note that re-vaccinating your cat repeatedly for the same disease will NOT provide additional immunity.  In fact, the risk of adverse reactions only increases.  For this reason I encourage you to ask your vet for a titer test first to determine if antibodies are still present.  If so, there is no need to revaccinate.  Jump over to learn more about this and gain some life-saving knowledge in this article by Dr. Becker.  

Secondly, avoid using steroids whenever possible.  To use a steroid to counter symptoms of inflammation, redness, swelling, diarrhea, etc, inhibits the immune system and masks the symptoms.  Long-term use can essentially weaken the immune system to the point where it no longer functions.  

Thirdly, use caution when opting for antibiotics.  These drugs will indiscriminately kill all bacteria–both good and bad–rendering the microbiome weak and defenseless.  Therefore, if your cat must have an antibiotic be sure to add a high quality multi-strain probiotic to her diet.  

Lastly, limit or avoid exposure to toxic chemicals and products, including medications, flea and tick products, household cleaning items, outdoor and lawn chemicals, and even fire retardant products in carpet and furniture.  Toxins are absorbed through the paw pads, by licking skin/fur and inhalation.  Explore non-toxic alternatives instead.  Your kitty may also benefit from an annual detox using milk thistle for 10-21 days to support the liver as it filters the sludge of toxic buildup out through the excretory system.  

Final thoughts

To round out ways to boost your cat’s immune system don’t forget how important it is to exercise, provide mental and physical stimulation and access to clean drinking water. 

Partnering with a veterinarian who takes a proactive, holistic approach to addressing all your kitty’s health and wellness needs can be challenging.  Often times vets seem more interested in profits than listening to your concerns and questions.  Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions or say no if something they recommend doesn’t feel right.  Learning to muscle test products and treatment options can be invaluable because it saves the guesswork and hones in on exactly what your cat needs or doesn’t need. 

Building your cat’s immune system and reducing its toxic load are equally important.  Ultimately a healthy immune system is the foundation to achieving a long life together for you and your cat.

 

 

 



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