2021‘s Best Cat Food For Constipation: Gut Health-Focused Nutrition
Seeing kitty struggling to poop can be even more nerve-racking to cat owners.
It’s hard to see when a cat suffers, especially that they let you know about their awkward situation in a big way through yowling or loud cries.
It surely is very stressful for them. A constipated cat is no happy kitty.
Indoor cats normally poop at least once every 24 to 36 hours. If the kitty doesn’t visit the litter box within this period, strains when trying to poop, or leaves no poop after attempting to defecate, it’s probably due to constipation.
Cat constipation is pretty common, but it can be easily managed. However, in prolonged cases (over 48 hours without bowel movement), it may be advisable to visit the vet.
Some cases may indicate more serious health issues in cats. It may also intensify when left untreated.
This review is intended to suggest the best cat food for constipation.
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- What is Constipation?
- What Causes Cat Constipation?
- The Best Cat Food for Constipation
- 5 Best Wet Cat Foods for Constipation
- 5 Best Dry Cat Foods for Constipation
- How can Constipation be Treated?
- How can Constipation be Avoided?
- How to Check for Constipation?
- Can a Raw Diet Cause Constipation?
- Is cat constipation an emergency?
- What can I give my cat if she's constipated?
- How long can a cat safely go without pooping?
- Can massage help constipation in cats?
What is Constipation?
Constipation is the abnormal accumulation of feces in the colon resulting in effortful bowel movements. This usually causes lesser defecation, or even no defecation, which results in discomfort in cats.
The feces accumulate in the large intestines or colon and become hard and dry. Constipated cats tend to force to defecate and end up hurting their tummies.
What Causes Cat Constipation?
There are many causes for a cat's constipation. It’s more common in adult cats, especially senior and middle-aged cats, but it's possible to experience it in any life stage. Here are the most common factors that makes a cat constipated:
- Hairballs (especially with long-haired felines)
- Lack of activity and exercise
- Kidney and problems
- Ingestion of foreign objects that block the digestive tract, such as bones
- Feline megacolon
- Not enough fibers in the diet
- Spine and pelvic issues or deformities
- Anal issues and inflammation
- Nerve problems
- Stress or anxiety
The Best Cat Food for Constipation
Instinct Original Pate Real Chicken Recipe
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Rachael Ray Nutrish Tuna Purrfection
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Blue Buffalo True Solutions Blissful Belly
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Whole Earth Farms Real Chicken & Salmon Pate Recipe
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Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe
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Diamond Care Weight Management Formula
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Solid Gold Fit as a Fiddle Weight Control
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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Chicken Recipe
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Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care
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Lotus Low-Fat Chicken Recipe
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A shift to a suitable cat food for constipation may just be what the doctor ordered. If your feline friend is prone to mild constipation, a diet with more fiber and moisture is preferable.
Fiber can boost the digestive system – keeping food moving through the gut and pushing waste out of the body. Fiber also protects the lining of your cat’s intestinal tract.
Wet or canned meals can help because of the extra hydration they offer. Pate meals or those with extra gravy or soup can help loosen the cat's stool.
But it’s not enough to serve just any high-fiber diet. The meal must also have enough protein and essential nutrients that kitties will need to live a healthy life.
To decide which the best cat food for constipation is, it's crucial to review the contents of the diet altogether.
Below are our recommended brands for the best cat food for constipation.
- Instinct Original Pate Real Chicken Recipe
- Rachael Ray Nutrish Tuna Purrfection
- Blue Buffalo True Solutions Blissful Belly
- Whole Earth Farms Real Chicken & Salmon Pate Recipe
- Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe
- Diamond Care Weight Management Formula
- Solid Gold Fit as a Fiddle Weight Control
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Chicken Recipe
- Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care
- Lotus Low-Fat Chicken Recipe
5 Best Wet Cat Foods for Constipation
1. Instinct Original Pate Real Chicken Recipe
First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Ground Flaxseed
On top of our list of best cat food and kitten food suited for constipated cats is Instinct Original Pate Real Chicken Recipe, simply because of its outstanding ingredients that include real meat from free-range chicken and turkey.
This recipe is packed with lean animal proteins, 95% of which come from high-quality and cage-free chicken and turkey meat and organs.
The remaining 5% is derived from wholesome fruits and veggies like artichokes, cranberries, pumpkin, tomato, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, kale, and parsley.
This meal also has ground flaxseeds as the fifth ingredient. Flaxseeds are known for improving digestive health and relieving constipation even for humans. They can also aid in lowering total blood cholesterol.
Peas and carrots are also inside the top ten ingredients. Both vegetables are rich in fiber and other highly beneficial nutrients.
Peas have a high concentration of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that enhance eye health and the immune system.
Carrots are wealthy with antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamins C and K, and calcium. They’re also high in fiber, which is why it’s a recommended snack for constipated humans. The fibers in carrots help maintain blood sugar levels too.
It also has a small amount of pumpkin, which is a popular natural remedy for constipation. It’s packed with nutrients but with less than 50 calories per cup (245 grams), which makes it a nutrient-dense cat's food. It’s also a good source of fiber.
This product contains no grains, which are common food allergens, by-product meals, or artificial ingredients.
Moreover, this wet cat food presents a 3% max crude fiber, which is higher than most canned cat meals, and also 10% minimum crude protein and 7.5% minimum crude fat.
2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Tuna Purrfection
First 5 ingredients: Tuna, Water, Vegetable Oil, Powdered Cellulose, Tricalcium Phosphate
This wet cat food recipe from celebrity cook Rachael Ray lands a second spot on our recommended list to ease a cat's constipation.
This gourmet-inspired canned cat food is made of real tuna flakes simmered in Ray’s specially-made sauce that your kitties will likely adore.
As for the constipation relief purpose, this delish and “nutrish” chow is mixed with powdered cellulose and guar gum, both providing sufficient fibers to the formula.
Cellulose is commonly used in cat meals for hairball control. Studies have shown that supplemental dietary cellulose reduces hairball symptoms and increases fecal hair excretion in cats.
The natural grooming ways of cats lead to fur ingestion. This non-digestible hair passes through the gastrointestinal tract and exits the body with feces.
But an estimated 10% of the hair in short-haired felines (and twice in long-haired cats) remains in the stomach and forms the hairballs that are eventually vomited out of the system.
Some hairballs however can cause constipation. The fibers from cellulose are believed to cause the hairs to exit with the bowels, instead of being vomited.
Guar gum is a fiber that can help soften stools, thus relieving constipation.
Rachael Rey Nutrish Tuna Purrfection has none of the unpleasant ingredients typically found in cheap pet foods like grains, glutens, animal by-products, cheap fillers, and artificial ingredients.
As for its fiber content, this wet food has a generous max crude fiber of 3.5% to even top our No. 1 recommendation.
It’s certainly one of the very few brands among wet cat meals to have this much fiber content, which benefits greatly the digestive tract.
The only reason why this product took a back seat to the Instinct brand is because of its slightly lesser protein and nutrients. It has 9% min crude protein and 3% min crude fat.
But another great feature of this cat food is its surprisingly affordable price, which will surely benefit the average-income cat parent. For this reason, we’re more convinced that this cat's food must be on the high priority list.
3. Blue Buffalo True Solutions Blissful Belly Digestive Care Formula
First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Potatoes, Chicken Liver, Whitefish
Our third top choice for best cat food for constipation is Blue Buffalo’s True Solutions Blissful Belly Digestive Care Formula, which is concocted by this reputable company’s team of veterinarians and animal nutritionists.
Like our top two picks, this admirable cat diet in pate form uses real meat and other natural ingredients, plus essential nutrients. Without question, this formula is in the premium meals category.
To promote digestive health, and help relieve constipation, this recipe is bolstered with prebiotic fibers from various natural sources including beet pulp, brown rice, flaxseed, and guar gum.
Beet pulp is the by-product of sugar beets used in making sugar, but is rich in fiber and is also a good source of carbohydrates. Beet pulp fiber is easily digested, which is why it’s a popular ingredient in a horse’s diet.
Brown rice is another wealthy source of fiber to help relieve constipation. It is raw rice grains with the husk, bran, and germ still intact that can help induce bowel movement. Flaxseeds and guar gum, as mentioned in the previous review, are teeming with fiber.
This canned food is free of animal by-products, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial ingredients, which makes it excellent for sensitive cats.
And like the first two brands, this recipe has a high fiber content for wet food, with 3%, along with a minimum 8.5% crude protein and 3% crude fat.
4. Whole Earth Farms Real Chicken & Salmon Pate Recipe
First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Beef, Salmon, Chicken Liver
Another formula that we highly recommend for your constipated kitties is the Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Chicken & Salmon Pate Recipe.
This pate is made of chicken and salmon meat, plus beef and chicken liver, all sourced from the USA, for a highly nutritious and delectable cat meal.
It’s also boosted with various vital nutrients like zinc, iron, manganese, copper, potassium, and vitamins E, B12, and A for a balanced diet for felines of all ages.
This fiber-rich diet derives its fibers from natural ingredients like organic alfalfa meal, guar gum, and flaxseeds.
Alfalfa is a type of seed sprout that contains higher amounts of insoluble fiber, which can ease digestion and help prevent constipation.
Guar gum is a type of soluble fiber that improves digestive health by promoting good bacteria in your cat’s gut.
These bacteria can reduce inflammation and bolster immunity in your cat’s body. Good gut bacteria are also important for optimal nutrient absorption.
Flaxseeds are also fiber-heavy and can boost the cat's digestive system and even help control cholesterol levels.
This grain-free cat wet food also brags of a high 3% max fiber, with 9% crude protein and 4% crude fat.
As mentioned earlier, not too many canned pates have a fiber content of more than 2%. Amazingly, this product is also one of the few budget-friendly premiere wet foods you can ever find.
5. Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe
First 5 ingredients: Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Broth, Organic Chicken Liver, Organic Pea Protein, Organic Pea Flour
Rounding up the best five wet cat food for constipation in our opinion is Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe.
We have such high regard for Tender & True recipes because they use mostly organic and humanely-raised ingredients.
Apart from the organic components, the recipes are also enhanced with organic sunflower seed oil and salmon oil for essential omega fatty acids, as well as other important nutrients for your cat's health.
This single-animal protein pate is made of USDA-certified organic chicken from US farms that are all humanely bred. This assures us the chickens are of the finest quality.
Organic pea protein and organic pea flour are the fourth and fifth ingredients respectively in this recipe.
Peas are sweet legumes that are high in healthful vitamins and antioxidants such as vitamins K and C, and folate.
They’re also rich in manganese and fiber. The ample supply of fiber in peas aids in digestive health as it bulks up the stool and encourages better bowel movement.
Guided by pet nutritionists, this formula is free of grain, GMOs, corn, soy, wheat, or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
The guaranteed analysis for this canned food shows a min crude protein and fat of 8.5% and 5.5% respectively, and a considerably high fiber load of 2.25%. Although a premium brand, this wet food is quite reasonably priced.
5 Best Dry Cat Foods for Constipation
1. Diamond Care Weight Management Formula
First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas, Lentils
Diamond Care Weight Management Formula could be the best cat food for constipation in kibble form. When we talk about fibers in dry cat meals, this recipe is surely the boss.
With chicken and turkey providing a great supply of lean animal protein and healthy fats, this kibble is specifically created for overweight cats.
But the abundant supply of fiber in this dry food, plus the low caloric content, make it also ideal for a constipated cat.
Many ingredients in this formula provide the fibers, especially chickpeas, lentils, peas, and flaxseeds, which are all fiber-rich plant-based ingredients.
They also offer added proteins, vitamins, and minerals that are all part of a cat's nutritional requirements. Some studies even suggest that these are superfoods.
This grain-free diet boasts of a high 10% fiber, one of the highest among dry kibbles. It’s also generous with crude protein and crude fat at 32% and 9% respectively.
Made by long-time pet food manufacturer Diamond Pet Food, this product is in the middle price category.
2. Solid Gold Fit as a Fiddle Weight Control
First 5 ingredients: Pollock, Turkey Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Chickpeas
Our next favorite cat food for constipation is Solid Gold’s Fit as a Fiddle Weight Control recipe, a premium kibble designed for weight control in cats.
This dry chow features a prime animal protein ingredient in wild-caught Alaskan Pollock, which is ultra-rich in essential omega fatty acids.
Powered further with a great mixture of highly nutritious veggies and fruits including carrots, blueberries, and cranberries, this formula offers complete and balanced nutrition for your feline friends.
For constipation relief, this recipe contains natural high-quality ingredients that are bounteous with insoluble fibers like peas, chickpeas, pea protein, and pumpkin.
Pumpkin is a well-known natural remedy for constipation, aside from the other rich nutrients it brings to the table. The high 9% natural fiber load in this formula is surely beneficial to your cat’s gut health.
Other than helping constipated cats, this meal also has methionine—an amino acid that prevents bacteria from sticking to urinary tract cells, hence beneficial to urinary tract health.
Although a little bit on the premium price class, this cat dry food is free of GMOs, grain, cheap fillers, by-products, and artificial components. It also has a respectable 31% crude protein and 9% crude fat volume.
3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Chicken Recipe
First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Tapioca Starch, Pea Protein, Peas
Here’s another great dry cat food for constipation. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Chicken Recipe is a premium meal made of real deboned chicken intended to deal with hairball and weight issues in felines.
It has an interesting fusion of natural ingredients that guarantees an explosion of essential nutrients for your furry loves, including Menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, carrots, cranberries, blueberries, barley grass, parsley, Yucca Schidigera extract, dried kelp, and turmeric.
This grain-free diet collected its prevalent fiber supply from a number of natural sources such as peas, pea fiber, flaxseeds, cellulose, psyllium seed husks, alfalfa meal, and dried chicory roots, to pack a remarkable 7.2% max fiber.
Most of these fiber-rich ingredients have been discussed in this article. But there’s more. Psyllium is fiber from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds.
It’s known as a bulk-forming laxative, which is why it’s a great addition to the formula. This means it soaks up water in the gut, makes bowel movements, and softens stool. It’s also beneficial to the heart and the pancreas.
Chicory root is another fiber-heavy ingredient that acts as a prebiotic, feeding good bacteria in the gut. Due to its inulin content, chicory root fiber may also aid in easing constipation and increasing stool frequency.
This kibble offers 36% min crude protein and 12% min crude fat. As a premium brand, it’s also slightly on the swanky side of the pet food trade.
4. Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care
First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Grits, Corn Gluten Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn
If you’re looking for high-fiber cat food that’s easy on the pocketbook to help ease her constipation, then you might want to check out Iams Proactive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care.
While this diet is intended to solve weight and hairball issues in cats, the high fiber content can also help alleviate constipation and promote healthy digestion.
This formula has an outstanding 8.3% max fiber, even more than our and 3rd pick in this list. It’s also fortified with L-carnitine, which helps burn fats and other healthy nutrients like vitamins E, A, D3, and various B’s.
For the fiber blend of this recipe, the notable sources include dried plain beet pulp and cellulose.
Fiber from beet pulp has the benefits of adding bulk and moisture to animal stools while providing an energy source that can improve the health of the colon. This is why beet pulp is a favorite fiber source for pet foods.
Cellulose is a component of plant foods that is a type of insoluble fiber. It helps food move through the digestive system more quickly, preventing constipation in the process.
This kibble is also packed with a minimum 30% crude protein and 11% crude fat.
While the ingredients of this formula are not as glorious as the ones in the other brands on the list, we believe it will serve the purpose of fixing your kitty’s constipation issue.
It’s also one of the few special-purpose diets that fall in the marked-down price class. This cat food is surely a great alternative to the more pricey high-fiber cat food.
5. Lotus Low-Fat Chicken Recipe
First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Lentils, Chickpeas, Tapioca Flour
From the most economical option, we go to the most upscale. Lotus Low-Fat Chicken Recipe is, without a doubt, a premium kibble that your pet will likely be wild about.
This low-fat, grain-free, and oven-baked diet parades an exceptional lineup of natural and high-quality ingredients, with real chicken as the headliner, and wholesome veggies and fruits like apples, sweet potatoes, blueberries, spinach, and carrots as supplements.
This low-fat meal also has white fish, dried egg product, clams, salmon oil, and New Zealand green mussels for a balanced diet suitable for felines of all ages, but especially made for obese and elderly cats.
The fiber load for this kibble is 7%, which is on the high side for regular cat diets, derived mostly from lentils, chickpeas, pea fiber, and ground flaxseed – all amazing plant-based ingredients that also carry numerous healthy components.
It also has pumpkin, which is not just a popular fruit for Halloween but also a universally accepted natural remedy for constipation.
Pumpkin has a myriad of vitamins and minerals but is low in calories. It’s also a great source of beta-carotene, a carotenoid that the body converts into vitamin A.
Loaded with 30% crude protein and 9% crude fat, this cat food should be ideal for kitties that need to shed a little weight, and also for older felines that may be better off with a low-fat diet.
And if your cat is constipated, it may offer some relief. If there’s any red mark to this dry food, it has to be the stiff price tag.
How can Constipation be Treated?
The treatment of cat constipation depends on the cause of constipation. In mild cases or short-lived symptoms, a simple change in your cat's diet may do the trick.
Cat meals with higher fiber content can be recommended to promote normal bowel movement. Too much fiber however may cause diarrhea.
So choosing the best cat food for constipation can be very helpful. You may also serve her a fiber supplement.
Hydration is also necessary to encourage defecation. Other ways to soften feces include the use of lubricating laxatives and stool softeners. It also helps to have a clean and accessible litter box.
For more difficult cases, medication and manual extraction of the feces by a veterinarian from the digestive tract properly may be needed.
In more severe cases, or when there are obstructions in the intestinal tract such as tumors, surgery may be required.
How can Constipation be Avoided?
There are several ways to prevent constipation in cats or minimize its recurrence. Some of the easy home remedies to ease constipation in your cats are:
- Make sure they are well hydrated. Always maintain a bowl of fresh, clean water near their meal bowl.
- Keep your cats active through added playtime, or with cat toys. Not only will your cats get the needed exercise but also eliminate stress or anxiety, which is also a cause for constipation.
- Maintain a healthy weight in your cats.
- Always maintain a clean and easily accessible litter box to encourage defecation.
- Regular grooming, especially for long-haired felines, can help reduce hair ingestion.
- Give them hairball diets occasionally.
- Give them some probiotics supplements.
- Give them fiber-rich treats.
- Try a diet change to leaner protein and limited ingredient food for constipation, preferably with higher fiber content. Or add a fiber supplement.
How to Check for Constipation?
Regularly check the litter box, at least twice a week. The easiest way to determine if there’s constipation is to see the texture of the kitty’s poop.
If the poop is hard and dry, she’s probably constipated. Check also the frequency of her visit to the toilet. If she doesn’t visit at a normal frequency, she could be constipated. If she strains or cries when trying to poop, constipation may be the reason.
Can a Raw Diet Cause Constipation?
Raw cat foods are not the best food for constipation. It's possible for exclusive raw feeding to cause constipation because most clean raw food lacks the indigestible matter that helps stool retain water and move through the GI tract. Raw feeding with excessive bones could also lead to dry feces and constipation.
You can try to change the protein source to one with lesser bones, like from chicken to grass-fed lamb. Or instead of bony parts, feed organs like turkey liver along with turkey broth.
Both the turkey liver and turkey broth will help hydrate your cat. You may also add insoluble fiber like wheat bran to the fresh food to help your constipated cats.
Constipation in cats may be more prevalent than in other pets. Although there are various culprits, one of the regular causes for mild feline constipation is the ingestion of hair as a result of the cat's natural grooming behavior.
For this reason, many pet food brands offer a special high fiber diet for cats to address the periodic hairball issue.
The fibers in the meal tend to bind the hairs with the feces so they are eventually pushed out of the digestive tract by pooping. So if your furball is prone to constipation, better do away with low residue cat food.
In the list of best cat food for constipation, we selected diets that not only have enough fiber load to help relieve constipation but also contain the finest ingredients to support your cat’s overall wellness.
We suggest that you also read the reviews for each brand to help you choose the best cat food for your feline companion.
Dehydration is another main cause of constipation in cats. Wet canned food like pates may help provide the extra fluid to soften the cat's stool. But there’s no better substitute than a bowl of fresh and clean water for kitty.
An important reminder for all cat owners, if constipation persists or if unsure about your cat's condition, it's still best to seek veterinary advice.
Is cat constipation an emergency?
If it happens infrequently, there's no need to worry, but you should contact your vet if it becomes a common problem or if it's been more than 48 to 72 hours since she's had a bowel movement. Constipation can sometimes be a sign of serious health issues, not to mention be uncomfortable (and severe in some cases).
What can I give my cat if she's constipated?
Try feeding a canned diet and/or adding fiber to the diet. Fiber can help waste move through the digestive system easily and quickly. Try adding pumpkin or natural bran cereal to our cats food. Fiber supplements increase fiber in the diet as well.
How long can a cat safely go without pooping?
In general, healthy cats should defecate at least once a day. Cats that stop eating for any reason will obviously have less in their digestive tracts, so they may go less often. But if four to five days go by without evidence in the litter box, it's time to be concerned.
Can massage help constipation in cats?
Though some pet parents might think that a belly massage could help break up a blockage, Dr. Sarah Wallace, a veterinarian based in Washington, D.C., says that this is not the case and a cat constipation massage should never be attempted.