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How to Boost Your Cat’s Immune System: 8 Vet-Reviewed Tips

Written by: Adam Mann

Last Updated on July 2, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

female veterinarian carrying a white cat

How to Boost Your Cat’s Immune System: 8 Vet-Reviewed Tips

VET APPROVED

Dr. Amanda Charles Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Amanda Charles

BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Nobody wants to deal with a sick cat all the time, and the last thing your cat wants, is to be sick regularly. It’s part of your job as a responsible pet owner to do what you can to keep your cat as healthy as possible, and there are a few ways to help boost your cat’s immune system and keep them in tip-top shape.

We’ve highlighted eight tips you can follow to give your feline friend’s immune system a boost, but keep in mind that every cat is going to be different, so find what works best for your cat and stick to it. However, if you’re ever concerned about your cat’s health, the first step is to take them to the vet for a check-up.

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The 8 Tips on How to Boost Your Cat’s Immune System

1. Regular Vet Check-Ups

Regular veterinary visits allow your vet to assess your cat’s general health and well being so they can pick up any health concerns and treat them earlier. They can also advise you on the best vaccination schedule for your cat. Vaccinations bolster your cat’s immune system against serious infectious diseases. Your vet can help you decide which supplements and dietary choices are most beneficial for your cat based on their life stage and any underlying health concerns they may have. For example, L-lysine can hinder a virus’s growth before signs of an upper respiratory infection appear, thus aiding your cat’s immune system.

A cat having a check up at a small animal vet clinic
Image Credit: Tyler Olson, Shutterstock

2. Get Them Moving

Exercise has tons of benefits for both us and our feline pets. It promotes blood circulation and strengthens the cardiovascular system, which contributes to a stronger immune system. The problem can be getting them to move as much as they should, though, because just like many of us, some of our cats like to live the life of a couch potato.

Different ways to get your cat moving include playing with them with their favorite wand toy or incentivizing them with puzzle feeders. Providing cat trees and scratching posts are also important. So, if you can get them moving more, it will have numerous health benefits for them, including boosting their immune health.


3. A High-Quality Diet

What you put into your cat’s body makes a big difference in their overall health, and their immune health is no exception. Cats are obligate carnivores and require specific nutrients found in meat, such as taurine, to stay healthy. If their diet has nutritional deficiencies, it can make them unwell and suppress their immune health. Meanwhile, a high-quality complete and balanced diet can actively boost their immune system and keep them fit and healthy.

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4. Reduce Stress

A stressed-out cat is a cat that’s more likely to get sick. There are various ways you can help keep your cat calm and stress-free, starting with how you are feeling. Cats can pick up on our emotions, so if you’re feeling stressed, it may leave your cat feeling stressed as well.

Make sure all your cat’s needs are met to help keep them happy and relaxed. This means ready access to water and enough beds, scratching posts and litter trays. In multicat households make sure there are enough resources, the general rule is one of each per cat plus one spare. If any changes to your cat’s routine or environment are needed, try to introduce these slowly. If you are aware that something might cause your cat stress, such as a house move or new baby, try a calming pheromone diffuser in advance.


5. Keep Them Clean

A dirty environment is more likely to make your cat sick, and even if it doesn’t make them sick right away, it could be taxing to their immune system. Over time, this extra work takes its toll and may make your cat ill.

Keep the air clean and avoid smoking around your cat, studies have shown that cats that live with people who smoke more than a pack of cigarettes a day have three times the risk of developing lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. Keep your cat’s litter box clean (daily scooping and weekly cleanings are usually ideal), ensure they’re not staying dirty if they get into something and remove any uneaten wet food after it’s sat out for an hour or more.

Combating tough cat litter smells is an ongoing battle for pet parents but luckily, there are products out there designed to help! Two products that significantly reduce odors are the Hepper Litter Additive and the Hepper Enzyme Spray. Find out which is better suit to your needs with our breakdown of each product below. 

Hepper Enzyme Spray - New Label Hepper Litter additive
Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Cat Litter Deodorizer Powder
Eliminates smells
Eliminates smells:
Eliminates smells:
Removes stains
Removes stains:
Removes stains:
Unscented
Unscented:
Unscented:
Light fresh scent
Light fresh scent:
Light fresh scent:
Works on multiple surfaces
Works on multiple surfaces:
Works on multiple surfaces:
Neutralizes odor within cat litter
Neutralizes odor within cat litter:
Neutralizes odor within cat litter:

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6. Dietary Supplements

Your cat should be getting all their nutritional requirements from a high quality balanced cat food. However, in certain situations there are supplements that can help boost their immune system. We already mentioned L-lysine, other immune boosting supplements include probiotics, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. If you plan on starting a supplement, it’s essential to find the right one and get it approved by your vet before using it.


7. Keep Them at a Healthy Weight

Related to exercise and their diet, it is also important to keep your cat at a healthy weight. Obesity shortens a cat’s life expectancy, is a risk factor for developing several diseases such as diabetes, and has been linked to impaired immunity. Keeping your cat at a healthy weight and body condition score will help keep their immune system strong.

Cute tabby cat on a digital weighing scale
Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

8. Keep Them Happy

A happy cat is a healthy cat! At least, that’s the premise of this tip, and it often holds true. A cat in a happy and loving home stays active, has lower stress levels, and is more likely to eat the right amount of food. This is another indirect way to boost their immune system, and there’s no denying how effective it can be.

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Conclusion

You want your cat to stay as healthy as possible, and the more tips and tricks you follow from our list, the happier and healthier your cat should be. We know it can all get overwhelming at times, but if you are concerned your cat needs an immunity boost, get them in to see your vet for a checkover and advice, and eliminate any stress that could worsen the problem.


Featured Image Credit: 4 PM production, Shutterstock

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