Is your cat getting enough fiber in her diet? With all the questions you've no doubt asked yourself about getting fiber, you might have wondered if Kitty needs more fiber. Since you are the one cleaning out the litter box, this question might have crossed your mind: What are some high fiber cat foods?
While lots of human foods like to tout themselves as high in fiber, do remember that what is good for you isn't necessarily what's good for your cat. You and your cat are two very different organisms. You have very different nutritional needs. When thinking about your cat's food, there is one thing you must remember above anything else….
Cats are obligate carnivores
This means cats absolutely must have meat to survive. The one nutrient your cat needs most is protein. She will also need taurine, which is found in meat products. However, man does not live by bread alone; neither do cats live by meat alone. A few vegetable products will not hurt your cat and may even give her a few extra vitamins, though it should no means be a meal substitute.
And, yes, your cat does need fiber in her diet. However, it is the kind of fiber you need to be on the lookout for. You also have to ask yourself why you think your cat needs more fiber. In some cats, you may have good reason to look for more fiber.
High Fiber Cat Foods Comparison
BLUE Wilderness High Protein Dry Food
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Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Rabbit Formula
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Wellness CORE Natural Original Formula
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Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe
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Natural Balance Ultra Dry Cat Food
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The Top 5 Best Fiber Rich Foods Reviewed:
- BLUE Wilderness High Protein Dry Food
- Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Rabbit Formula
- Wellness CORE Natural Original Formula
- Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe
- Natural Balance Ultra Dry Cat Food
1. BLUE Wilderness High Protein Dry Food
The Pros: Deboned chicken is the first ingredient. This food is high in protein at 40% and it should be nice and moist with a moisture level of 10%. There's no corn, wheat or soy nor does it have artificial coloring, flavors or preservatives.
It is made with antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables like sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, apples, cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, spinach and pumpkin.
The important nutrient taurine is included as is iron, vitamin E, folic acid, various B vitamins including biotin, calcium and zinc. The pieces are bite sized and manageable for most cats.
The Cons: “Powdered cellulose” (read: ground up wood chips) is ingredient number seven. Chicken meal is the second ingredient. Turkey meal is also used instead of whole turkey.
The eggs are dried rather than fresh. Would be more helpful if it came with useful feeding instructions. The added caramel seems unnecessary. It is a bit high on the carbs and the crude fiber is a bit over what is ideal at 4%.
2. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Rabbit Formula
The Pros: This cat food has a limited number of ingredients, making it a good source of nourishment for cats with food allergies or sensitivities. It is gluten free and grain free. The crude fiber content is just right at 3%.
It is a wet cat food consisting of fresh rabbit and rabbit liver, a good source of protein. The fiber source is green peas, which are also rich in protein. It is also rather low in fat. Mineral supplements make this food easy to digest and absorb.
The Cons: If your cat has never had rabbit before, she may be reluctant to try it. Gradually add it to her regular food until she becomes more accustomed to it.
The rabbit bits are small enough to get stuck in teeth and the overall formula might overdo it a bit on the peas. It has some synthetic vitamins added, but that is not always a bad thing.
3. Wellness CORE Natural Original Formula
The Pros: This is a grain free food made with high protein ingredients such as whitefish, herring, turkey and chicken with no by products or fillers. There are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Everything in this food is all natural. The first two ingredients are deboned turkey and deboned chicken.
The food also contains cranberries as well as vegetables like potatoes, tomato pomace, flaxseed, peas and kelp. It has that healthy 10% moisture content. The taurine and biotin are here as is Vitamin A, Vitamin C, all necessary B vitamins and Riboflavin. The fatty acids come from salmon oil.
The Cons: This food is better suited for adult cats rather than kittens or females that are pregnant or nursing. The third, fourth and fifth ingredients are chicken Meal, Whitefish Meal and Herring Meal. Whole fish would be preferable.
It is a little lighter on the fruits and vegetables than some of the other cat foods on this list. Some cats might not like the pellet shape. The crude fiber content is really high at 5%.
4. Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe
The Pros: It is completely grain free, made with only whole chicken and chicken liver (no “meat meal” or “chicken byproduct”) plus eggs and non GMO fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, blueberries, zucchini, apples, peas and carrots.
There are no artificial flavors, preservatives or colors. It contains fatty acids vitamin E to make a Dream Coat formula for soft and shiny fur. It also contains biotin, inulin, folic acid, vitamin A, zinc and that all important taurine that your cat needs.
The Cons: This is more suited for indoor cats that need to watch their weight, so it is probably not suited for very young kittens that are trying to put on weight.
Some Halo products are known to contain garlic powder, which really isn't good for cats. It doesn't look like garlic powder is listed among the ingredients in this particular brand. The most common complaint seems to be changes in formula. Don't fix what isn't broken, Halo!
5. Natural Balance Ultra Dry Cat Food
The Pros: The balanced nutrition in this food is suitable for all ages and breeds. It is gluten free with multiple types of fiber. The unique blend of antioxidant ingredients aids in strengthening a healthy immune system. For a dry food, it's very moist at a 10% moisture.
It also has a fairly high protein level at 34% and the fiber is just right at 3%. The formula includes taurine as well as calcium, vitamin E, Vitamin C, biotin, folic acid and phosphorous. The price is very reasonable.
The Cons: It uses chicken meal and salmon meal rather than whole meats. Brown rice is the second ingredient, so it's not grain free. Yeast is also listed as an ingredient, making the gluten free label questionable. The bag is not resealable, so you'll have to find another way to keep it fresh.
Reasons to feed a high fiber cat food
Let's explore a few reasons cat owners might have for considering adding more fiber to their cat's diet.
High Fiber For Weight Loss
If you think your cat needs to lose weight, consult a veterinarian on the proper way to get your cat to a healthy weight. While fiber helps dogs and people lose weight by making them feel full, it does not seem to work very well on cats.
Cats tend to store carbs from fiber and may just gain even more weight. Generally, the best way to help a cat lose weight is to increase their protein intake and decrease their carbohydrate intake. Some low calorie cat foods have very low nutritional value at all. It bears repeating; consult your veterinarian.
High Fiber For Constipation
If kitty has been spending a lot of time in the litter box, straining or making painful yowls, she may be constipated. If Kitty is constipated, fiber may be a good short term solution. You may also want to ask yourself if she's getting enough moisture in her diet.
Your cat should always have fresh water available. You may also want to consider switching to a canned food diet to help her get more moisture.
High Fiber For Diabetes
Ideally, your cat's diet should be high protein, low carb, and high moisture. If your cat has health issues, this kind of diet may be something to consider. Foods rich in fiber can prevent the metabolization of glucose and fat by slowing the absorption.
In this way, your cat's blood glucose level won't experience a glycemic high and may even lose some weight. This would require complex carbs to work. At any rate, consult a veterinarian before making any changes to your cat's diet.
Admit it, no one likes cleaning up hairballs! This chore may even be worse than cleaning out the liter box. It's not exactly a picnic for your cat either. The three main causes of a hairball problem are not enough moisture, gastro-intestinal issues and excessive swallowed hair.
If the problem is too much ingested hair, a little extra fiber might help by moving it through the digestive system. The problem of not enough moisture is easily solved by providing your cat with more water. If it seems that the problem is something else, you should consult a veterinarian.
Has Kitty been literally dragging her butt around? Every cat, male or female, has two sacs near the anus used for marking territory. Sometimes, these glands get infected and this can be very painful for your poor cat.
Doing something to bulk up your cat's stool might put pressure on the glands to at least temporarily keep them from being a quite literal pain in the you-know-where. This is a serious situation that needs to be handled by a veterinarian.
What you should know about fiber in cat food
What you need to ask yourself before feeding your cat a fiber-rich food is whether this food contains crude fiber or dietary fiber. Crude fiber is indigestible carbohydrates, the kind of thing you need to keep far away from Kitty. The kind of fiber your cat needs is the dietary fiber.
Some cheap cat foods have crude fiber from wheat, corn or even wood chips! (You have a cat, not a beaver!) Even a cat food that bills itself as being for weight loss might cut corners and use cheap fiber sources that do more harm than good. Read that label!
Before you feed your cat a fiber rich diet, you need to educate yourself. What exactly is fiber and does it need to play a role in your cat's diet? What kind of fibers are there? What would happen if my cat got too much fiber?
Fiber is a kind of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest.
That's not to say it isn't important! Fiber provides the bulk needed to move the food through your cat's system. Ideally, the fiber is broken down by bacteria thus creating short-chain fatty acids that provide energy to the cells in the intestinal tract.
Keep in mind that plants are not the only source of dietary fiber. Cartilage, bones, fur, ligaments and tendons are all meat based sources of fiber.
Fiber plays an important role in your pet’s food
Due to their short digestive tract, cats normally don’t need much fiber. However, if you have a strictly indoor cat, fiber could have an important role. Indoor cats aren’t catching prey with fiber in the indigestible parts.
Indoor cats also sleep and groom more and are less active than outdoor cats so they need their weight and hairball levels monitored more closely. So, an indoor cat may need a little extra fiber in her diet.
A vital characteristic of fiber is how well it can be broken down by bacteria in the intestine, a process known as fermentability. Dissolution of fiber by natural bacteria produces short-chain fatty acids and these provide energy to the intestines. Fiber tends to in fermentability.
Fiber sources used in pet foods include the poorly fermentable cellulose, somewhat more fermentable beet pulp and highly fermentable gums and pectin.
According to thorough research, moderate levels of moderately fermentable fiber, such as the aforementioned beet pulp, supply the advantages of bulk and energy for the intestinal lining, without the unwanted effects of excessive bowel movements or flatulence. This should give you a good idea of what to look for when selecting a fiber-rich cat food.
There are two kinds of fiber in pet foods:
The fiber in cat food is either fermentable or non-fermentable. The fiber types are also known as soluble fiber and insoluble fiber because it must be dissolved by the bacteria in your cat's intestines.
– Soluble fiber
This is the kind of fiber you want. It can be broken down easily by the enzymes and bacteria in your cat's body, thus allowing the nutrients to be absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract.
– Insoluble fiber
You do not want this kind of fiber. It does not break down easily and only serves to create large masses in the intestine, often leading to constipation. It does not help to absorb nutrients and only causes pain and difficulty for your cat.
Problems with fiber-rich foods
The main problem with this kind of diet is the source of the fiber. Plant based fibers are not the best for your cat. While it may not be feasible to feed your cat whole animals with bones, fur and ligaments, there are safe ways to boost your cat's fiber intake or solve their problem without making a major diet change.
One good way is to mix up a teaspoon of canned pumpkin in your cat's food. It must be nothing but pureed pumpkin and not pie filling, which has a lot of sugar and nutmeg that aren't good for your cat. You can urge your cat to drink more water by serving her drinking water in her own little fountain.
If the problem is hairball control, the old fashioned petroleum jelly trick is a good stand by. Dose her with one teaspoon a day at least two hours either before or after a meal.
Identifying high quality high fiber cat food
There are ways to identify whether this kind of food is really good for your cat or not. Read that label! Look at what's listed in the ingredients. Check out the crude fiber content. If your cat will eat it, you are strongly urged to opt for wet cat food. If you do use dry kibble, the guaranteed analysis should promise a moisture level of at least 10%.
- Avoid food that only contains non-fermentable fiber
Anything with corn or wheat products is next to useless and if the ingredient list includes “powdered cellulose” like in fiber response food (A fancy way of saying “ground up wood chips”), chuck it out immediately.
- Look for foods that have high quality fiber sources
Some of the high quality products will get the fiber from fresh vegetables like peas and potatoes, but even they can have too high of a crude fiber content. Peas, oats, potatoes and flaxseed are good, safe sources of fiber, but keep an eye on that percentage of fiber content.
- Avoid foods with way too much fiber content
If you feed your cat dry kibble, the crude fiber should not exceed 3%. Wet food is generally better for your pet but make sure the fiber sources come from where they should.
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