Tag Archives: probiotics

Chris’s Microbiome Report


Recently I was given microbiome test kits, called Insights, from the company NomNomNow in exchange for an honest review. The first test kit I sent back was for Chris and I just received his results. If you would like you can go back and read my first and second post about this subject.

As I said before, the microbiome is a collection of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live inside our gut and are essential for human and animal life. The composition and quantity of these microbes determines gut health and gut health is largely responsible for our overall health.

According to the NomNomNow website, the microbiome of humans has been studied much more intensively than that of cats and dogs. Nevertheless, I would assume that we are similar but not exactly the same.

I would like to go through this report and give you my thoughts but it is fairly long so if you need to use the bathroom, go now. I’ll wait.

Are you ready? Here we go.

When you send in the sample you can enter your pet’s description on their website and connect it with the sample number. When you get your report, it is personalized for your pet.

I must say that these first numbers are a bit unclear to me, even after reading the report. For instance, I don’t know what the number 17 represents. Chris has 9 out of 17 what? Chris has 2 out of 3 what? I suppose I should be content knowing he is in the average range but I do like specific details probably more than the average person.

This next section is the meat and potatoes of the report.

This shows that Chris has an over abundance of one type of bacteria. If we click on the green section we get more information.

According to the report, Chris has an abundance of Bacteroides, which I will discuss later. The rest of his microbiome seems relatively normal but because there are too many of one bacteria, the rest are equally diminished, with some exceptions.

The report lists the main groups of microbes followed by sub-groups. Below it talks about Firmicutes.

Chris is in the normal range for this group but at the lower end of normal for all of them.

Actinobacteria is the next group.

It says that “Increased abundances have also been associated with weight loss.” Since Chris is overweight, I wonder if his decreased amount of these bacteria is partly to blame.

Next up is Fusobacteria.

Chris’s level of this one is high although there seems to be little information about it. Wikipedia classifies it as a pathogen but that is for humans and it seems to be more related to oral health. Plus, there are different strains so there seems to be no point in speculating about this without more information.

Bacteroidetes are next and one in the group Chris has collected like a squirrel collects nuts.

The description says that “some members of this group metabolize sources of complex carbohydrates.” This may be elevated because Chris is a dry food junkie. In some ways this could be a good thing. Since Chris is so stubborn about eating his wet food, this bacteria may be necessary to help him digest the dry food, which has more carbohydrates. Of course, this is just speculation.

The last one is Proteobacteria.

No report was given for Chris on this microbe. I don’t know if that is because Chris does not have it in his system or if they don’t test for it at this time. It could also be a flaw in the reporting software. I don’t know.

I went through the bar graph at the top, one at a time, looking for Proteobacteria but couldn’t find it. That probably means it is not tested for but it does bring up a problem with the way the report is presented. The upper bars become very small and it is difficult to click on every one. I understand they want to present the information in an easy to understand way but they should also provide something like a spreadsheet that lists all the results in a format that is easy to see.

The report then shows Chris’s Microbiome Diversity.

The diversity is how many different types of bacteria are present. Generally, a diverse variety is a good thing and Chris is about average here although his evenness score is a bit off, probably because of the too many Bacteroides in his system. The good news is his overall diversity is in the normal range.

I am generally encouraged by the report but since I want the best health possible for Chris and all my cats I need to change a few things.

First, I need to somehow get Chris to eat more wet food. It’s not easy. Sometimes I have to scoop up his food in my finger and let him lick it off. This sometimes works but usually only for a few fingers full. It also falls apart when Frankie sees what I am doing and comes over to investigate.

Second, I should feed them more vegetables. Not much, though, Since cats are carnivores there natural diet would only consists of the vegetables found in the stomachs of their prey. Even so, I give them a raw meat diet that only has meat and a pre-mix supplement. I was feeding them both the raw and the NomNomNow meals which contain vegetables but stopped when they suddenly became bored with it. I might start up again and give it to them once every two or three days to keep them interested. I also started adding pumpkin to their raw food. This is a good source of fiber (as are most vegetables) and fiber feeds the good bacteria. This bacteria food is also known as a prebiotic.

Third, I plan on purchasing a probiotic that I can add to their food. I did this in the past and want to start giving it to them again. This time I think I will buy the NomNomNow brand. They seem like a good, trustworthy company and I like that their probiotics are specifically for cats or dogs, not both. I always wondered how effective a one size fits all probiotic could be.

I know it is a lot of information to digest but what do you think? Would you consider testing your pets microbiome?

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More Health Issues for Chris


Chris will be ten in a few months and up until recently, he never went to the vet for a health issue. I think the first time was from an eye infection that Floki passed on to Frankie and Chris when we adopted Floki a couple of years ago. The next visit was a couple of weeks ago after The Catfight of the Century. Last week I reported that Chris had a cold. By the end of the week the sneezing and sniffling had mostly ended but then the vomiting started. All weekend Chris ate very little but threw up a lot. I called the vet first thing Monday morning and made an appointment for him that afternoon.

When we arrived there was a women there with a small dog that looked somewhat like a Pomeranian but not exactly. This dog was a major barker. She barked at me when we came in and then she discovered Chris in his carrier and started barking at him. I was annoyed so I can imagine how Chris felt. She did bring the dog outside for a couple of minutes but then brought her back in and the barking continued. Thankfully, we got ushered into an exam room before too long.

I immediately opened the door and let Chris out.

The vet tech then came in and asked several questions about Chris and then weighed him. He weighed 17.3 pounds. Down from 18 pounds two weeks ago.

The vet came in and asked several of the same questions and examined Chris. He couldn’t immediately tell what was causing the vomiting but he did point out that Chris’s teeth were inflamed and he would need to have his teeth cleaned and probably some would need to be extracted. He also said he had an ear infection. This was a different vet than the last one who also saw the problem with Chris’s ears. That vet cleaned his ears but she didn’t offer a plan to get rid of the problem.

I vaguely remember shortly after we adopted Chris a vet told us some cats are prone to these ear polyps and indicated there wasn’t much that could be done about them but gave us a cleaner for them. Since then we have been cleaning Chris’s ears periodically. I told the vet that the other vet said that it couldn’t be cured but this vet said that wasn’t true. I did just look it up and the first thing I read said it could only be cured with surgery so perhaps Chris has something different.

The vet wanted to do the same blood test over again and a couple of other tests along with a test on his ear bugs. I didn’t understand everything he was saying but I do remember one test was related to his pancreas. He left the room to work up a plan, so we waited.

After a while someone came in with a plan and I decided against paying for more blood tests that we just took. I did agree to the other tests and I said it was okay to give him a shot for nausea but I did not want to bring home pills for that. I have personally experienced cats going downhill after starting medication so I like to keep that to what is absolutely necessary. I did get a medication for Chris’s ears. If the vet is right and this could cure him then I think it is worth a try.

I asked if they could clean his ears and give him the first round of ear drops while they were doing their tests and they agreed. They took Chris away and it wasn’t long before I heard loud sounds of a cat in distress coming from the other room. The tech came back in with Chris a minute or two later and said they were only able to clean one ear and didn’t put in the medication because Chris was resisting too much. They sad they would clean his ears when he came in for the teeth cleaning.

We waited around for a little longer, for what, I don’t know.

We were then cleared to send the vet’s kids to college pay our bill. I did that and brought Chris home. I forgot to make an appointment for his teeth so I called and made it for next Wednesday.

When I got home I let Chris out of his carrier outside. I figured I would do something good for him after what he went through.

Rose was upset that I didn’t make an appointment for his teeth this week but the vet wanted to give him time to feel better. Plus all the test results are not back yet. Despite that, Chris has eaten almost nothing since returning yesterday so Rose called the vet to try to get him in as soon as possible. We are waiting for a call back from the vet who is probably in surgery this morning.

Rose’s sister, Felice, works for a vet and the two of them talked about Chris last night. Felice said that at ten years old Chris would be considered a geriatric cat and these teeth issues are quite common in older cats. I thought it was not uncommon for cats to live fifteen years or more so geriatric seems a bit premature to me. At least I hope it is. I do understand why these teeth issues are common though.

Some people believe that dry food is good for a cat’s teeth. Even the vet said so when I said I would need to try harder to get Chris off the dry food after his teeth are gone. He said dry food is good for their teeth. I don’t believe that. I think what is good for a cat’s teeth is what nature intended, chewing on bone. Unfortunately, since our cats don’t eat live mice, their opportunity to chew on bones is virtually non-existent. I suppose I could give them raw chicken wings (cooked bones are dangerous) but they have become such dainty eaters that I don’t think they could handle it.

I won’t lie, I am worried about Chris. I know anytime you give someone anesthesia there is a risk. I also know he will be given antibiotics which will kill off his good bacteria and cause problems down the road. I did order probiotics for cats so hopefully that will help when the time comes. In the meantime, I will try to look on the bright side and hope this is the beginning of Chris getting better, not worse.

More Problems With Poop


I thought that Chris had finally broken the habit of pooping on the floor. He was so good these last few months. Only on rare occasions did he have an “accident.” All of a sudden this last week or two he is back to his old ways. About once a day, sometimes twice, I find a poop on the floor, right in front of the box under the stairs.

This time is a little different though because he is now always pooping in the same spot. I had a small rug next to the box to protect the carpet but when I had it in the wash I put down an old towel in its place. I then replaced that towel with another when I needed to wash it and have rotated towels for the last week.

I started mixing in the frozen raw food with their canned food again last weekend. I ran out of that food over a month ago and for some reason I never bothered to buy more. I also ordered the Purina Fortiflora probiotics from Amazon and started putting it in their food when it arrived on Tuesday. Chris seems like he is pooping more than usual which is part of the problem. I tried something similar a few years ago but only had a two-week supply and I gave up when I didn’t see his problem getting any better. This time I am going to give it at least two months to see if he improves.

When I came home to poop on the towel Friday evening I decided to put the rug back where I had it, even though it is harder to clean. Since then he has not pooped anywhere but the boxes. It could be that the towel was a better substitute for a litter box then the rug was. It could also be that the probiotics are starting to work or maybe it is just that it is the weekend and the boxes get scooped more often.

I guess I will know more next week. Wish me luck.