Best Cat Food for Constipation (Top 5 for Constipated Cats)
Noticing that your cat is having some trouble taking a poop? It’s probably a bad case of constipation. But just as you might find it a little unsettling to squat with no returns, your cat might feel unhappy and uncomfortable when put in the same situation. Plus, chronic constipation in cats may point to other problems that might make you out to be a poor pet parent.
But before you jump to conclusions and beat yourself up over the issue, it’s important to point out that there are easy solutions against kitty constipation. For starters, giving him the right food might help ease the potty problems and make it easier to respond to each rising bowel movement.
Hoping to help your cat with those litter box visits? Find out everything you need to know about choosing the best cat food for constipation with this complete buying guide and our reviews.
What Causes Constipation in Cats?
First things first – what exactly causes constipation in cats? Well, the possible reasons are vast and varied. But for the most part, you can probably narrow it down to one of these:
Cats that eat the wrong type of food will often develop constipation. For instance, food that saps their system of hydration can make their feces very hard, lacking the ideal consistency that should make it easy to pass through their system. For the most part, foods that absorb moisture once inside your cat’s body are the culprit. More often than not, we can point our fingers at dry kibble which works almost like a sponge, especially when it’s high in sodium.
But beware – even wet food can cause constipation. Wet food – or any food for that matter – can cause constipation when the formulation is too rich. How so? Too many micronutrients, too many different kinds of proteins, too many carbohydrates that exceed your cat’s daily dietary needs will simply be flushed out of the system. With that, feces can become concentrated and hard, making them much more difficult to pass.
Cats groom themselves to clean their skin, maintain their fur, and manage their stress. Domesticated cats spend much more time grooming themselves compared to wild cats because they don’t have as much time or space for physical activity like hunting and play. While grooming up to 50% of the day might be normal, excessive grooming could cause a cat to ingest more hair than their bodies can manage.
With an excess of hair in their digestive system, it becomes easier for clumps to form and harden their feces. Because most hair is pushed out through the back end along with other waste matter, too much hair could cause constipation especially when clumps become too big.
Ingesting Non-Food Items
Curiosity constipated the cat. As naturally inquisitive and exploratory creatures, cats will eat almost anything as their way of discovering the world around them. So it’s no surprise that some cats will eat things like string, rocks, and other small objects. Sometimes, they end up eating these non-food objects because they think it's food.
In some cases, cats might also eat bones from their food, especially if its owner chooses to serve fresh and raw meat. Unfortunately, there are quite a lot of pet owners who think it’s okay to serve cats chicken or beef with the bones still in it. These objects, when ingested, can’t be digested. So they can cause blockages that make it difficult for cats to pass anything during a bowel movement.
Recent studies suggest that there might be a link between feline obesity and constipation. Poor eating habits in cats – such as eating more than necessary – could cause significant weight gain. When your cat becomes accustomed to ‘binge eating’ practices, it becomes easier for them to eat more food than their body needs.
Aside from the fact that the excess simply clogs up the system on its way out of the back end, these cats may also experience anatomical changes. Excess fat can press against their internal organs, causing blockages in certain areas. Keeping your cat healthy and lean should help reduce the possibility of these types of problems.
What are Treatment Options for Cats with Constipation?
The first and most obvious solution for a bad case of constipation would be a change in your cat’s diet. But because it’s known that a sudden dietary change can upset your cat’s tummy (especially those with a sensitive stomach), many pet owners end up asking – can changing cat food cause constipation or perhaps, worsen it?
The trick here is making the change gradual. Slowly incorporate the new cat food in with the old, and increase the amount of new food as each new day comes. Keep doing this for a week until you can serve a whole bowl of the new food to your cat.
In terms of food quality, it’s recommended that you serve your cat high fiber dry cat food for constipation, or wet food that’s formulated for the same purpose. This can help encourage the intestines to churn out its contents and thus flush out whatever blockage may have developed in your cat.
Ground Pumpkin Seeds
A natural remedy that you might want to try involves sneaking in some ground pumpkin seeds into your cat’s food. As much as a table spoon per serving of food can be good enough to encourage its digestive tract to flush out clogged up waste material.
Supplements, Stool Softeners, or Laxatives
You might need your vet’s prescription to get your hands on any one of these remedies, except the supplement of course. But they do help. The challenge is getting your cat to take a dosage, especially because cats don’t necessarily like being forced to take things like medication.
It’s also important to make sure to keep an eye on your cat because of the possible side effects that these products might cause. For that reason, it’s the least recommended solution, often being taken as a last resort.
How Can the Right Cat Food Help with Constipation?
If your cat is constantly constipated, or if you want to lower the risk of your pet developing constipation in the first place, it’s best that you start him off on a high fiber diet. Fiber can’t be digested, which is why you might notice some leafy greens in your stool after you chow down on a salad.
In the same way, using fiber for cats with constipation can help clear out their stomach and digestive tract. The basic idea behind this is that fiber works almost like a broom, brushing away blockages and other waste material that refuses to leave your cat’s system. The bulk of fiber can also promote more aggressive peristalsis – the movement of the digestive tract – in order to encourage regular bowel movements.
Another question that pet owners seem to always ask is – does grain free cat food cause constipation? The short answer is no. Cat food that tends to cause the most constipation are those that contain too many different types of protein, micronutrients, or added ingredients that concentrate in the waste material.
A diet that contains more fiber can easily ease your cat out of that episode of constipation. Be careful though – foods that contain too much fiber can cause dehydration in the long run. So it’s best to use this specific type of cat food only on certain days, interchanging it with your cat’s typical food throughout the week.
The Top 5 Best Foods for Constipated Cats
A simple tip to help your search for the right food for your constipated cat is to look for weight management formulations. These foods often contain a higher amount of fiber which can give your cat the feeling of fullness without causing weight gain. It’s also this high fiber content that helps with constipation.
On our list, the best high fiber wet cat food has to be the Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Overweight Management Cat Food. This unique formulation incorporates low fat and low calories, but packs a punch with high fiber and high protein. So it gives your cat everything he needs to improve his lean muscle mass, while allowing him to lose those few extra pounds.
On top of that, this food recipe can help ease an episode of constipation, giving your cat substantial amounts of fiber to sweep through his system and clear out any blockages and hard stool.
The Royal Canin Calorie Control High Fiber Canned Cat Food definitely isn’t cheap, but if you’ve got the extra penny to spare, it definitely makes a smart investment for your cat’s digestive health. Aside from curtailing the amount of calories your cat gets with each meal, the recipe is packed with lots of fiber to clean out any waste material throughout the digestive system.
What we particularly like about this specific food choice is that it’s a wet food formulation. As one of the best high fiber wet cat foods we’ve found, it doesn’t only resolve constipation, but guarantees optimal hydration levels to prevent kidney disease.
For pet owners looking for an all-natural and organic food choice for their favorite feline, the Blue Buffalo for Cats Natural Adult Dry Cat Food for Hairball & Weight Control makes an excellent choice. Packed with fiber, this specific formulation doesn’t only help your cat get rid of waste, but also improves the management of hairballs so they’re pushed out the back end instead of thrown up all over your floor.
Of course, what’s a list for specific health needs without an entry from Hill’s Prescription Diet? Their Weight Reduction formulation is a premium choice that promises reliable results for your constipated cat. The recipe incorporates an appealing chicken flavor that really works well with a variety of house cats with different preferences, so you can be sure each serving won’t go to waste.
Developed to help with easy, gentle, and hassle-free digestion, the Wholehearted Healthy Digestion Chicken Egg Product Recipe Dry Cat Food is a choice that we can highly recommend. Made with premium forms of dietary fiber, this cat food aids the digestive process by packing each bite with the right ingredients that are easily digested and pushed through the system in order to produce healthy and gentle bowel movements. So for cats with sensitive stomachs and constipation, we find that this food makes the most suitable choice.
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Overweight Management Cat Food makes the top spot on our list of the best cat food for constipation. But don’t settle just because we said so! Based on what we’ve learned through extensive research, the four other choices we’ve listed in our review also make suitable choices for cats and pet owners of different preferences and standards, so be sure to read up on those as well to guide you on making the right choice for your beloved feline.