The Best High Fiber Cat Food (And What You Need to Know)
Ever notice your cat chowing down on grass? That’s its body’s way of telling it that it needs more fiber in its diet. Cats can’t digest plant fiber, so they will throw up after eating some amount of grass. The purpose in their doing this is to clear their digestive system irritants and parasites.
The topic of dietary fiber for cats is often debated because many suggest that felines don’t need any sort of dietary fiber at all. But there’s a lot of viable information out there that would suggest otherwise. Want to separate fact from fiction? Keep on reading as we spill the beans on dietary fiber for cats and the best high fiber cat foods on offer.
Our Top 4 Picks of Cat Foods High in Fiber
A very palatable choice
Good for assisting with diarrhea
Great affordable option
Why Your Cat Needs Dietary Fiber
1. Digestive Health
In the wild, cats have been observed to eat their entire prey except for its digestive system. Why? Because cats mostly prey on herbivorous animals like birds, they avoid the stomach and digestive tract because it contains plant fiber – a substance that cats’ systems can’t digest.
Despite avoiding dietary fiber though, wild cats consume bones, feathers, and hair off of their prey, which ultimately works the same way to help optimize digestive functioning and get rid of waste. So, even if they can’t digest dietary fiber, they do have a substitute for it in order to keep normal functioning intact.
Unfortunately, household cats have drastically different diets from their wild counterparts. So they don’t eat bones and feathers, unless you feed them live prey. With that, household cats are prone to digestive problems, which is why some of them resort to eating plant fiber like grass in order to help relieve their stomachs of the irritation.
Fiber gives cats a feeling of satiation after each meal. So they’re less likely to binge on food. This is particularly important for household cats that stay indoors most of the time because the lack of physical activity makes them prone to weight gain.
Adding fiber to your house cat’s diet can help them address hunger without the danger of gaining more weight than necessary. Cats that are already overweight can also benefit from high fiber diets to help reduce on fat.
3. Hairball Management
Studies have found that household cats tend to groom much more than their wild counterparts. This is because they’re more frequently inactive, without physical exercise, so they have more time to spend licking their fur.
Hair balls stuck in the digestive system can give rise to blockages in the digestive system, which can either cause constipation or a chocked up hair ball on your floor – depending on how far along it is in the digestive tract.
Giving your cat more fiber can help move the clump of hair through the digestive system so it’s easier to push out through the back end.
Soluble vs Insoluble Fiber in Cat Food
There are two main types of fiber – soluble and insoluble fiber. The difference is that soluble fiber can be dissolved by water, while insoluble can’t. So soluble fiber’s main purpose is to absorb fluid to prevent diarrhea.
On the contrary, insoluble fiber works to ‘build-up’ waste material from other components of food so that it becomes a substantial segment of fecal matter that can promote the natural peristaltic movements inside the digestive tract. This helps clear the entire system of waste, which effectively prevents constipation.
For cats, it’s always best to look for cat food that doesn’t contain a lot of soluble fiber. Why? Cats are particularly prone to dehydration, which easily results to a lot of renal problems. Adding ingredients that sap them of moisture could increase the risk for these types of conditions.
Good Ingredients to Look For
Not all fibers are good for a cat’s diet. So if you’re planning to purchase fiber-rich cat food for your feline, it’s important to make sure it includes only fiber sources that will sit well with your cat’s digestive system.
- Fruit extracts
These fibers are easily digested by cats and won’t interfere with hydration. They also don’t cause any stomach upset, so it’s less likely that these ingredients will result to vomiting.
Bad Ingredients to Avoid
So, what ingredients should you watch out for when it comes to fiber in cat food? Well, for the most part, it’s important to avoid plant-based fibers, such as those that come from green leafy vegetables. Grains, wheat, and corn are also contraindicated for cats because they absorb quite a lot of moisture, thus causing dehydration in most cats.
- Leafy green vegetables
Important Points to Remember When Feeding Your Cat Fiber
1. Keep It At a Minimum
While it does have benefits for household cats, fiber is still not a major part of a feline’s diet. So it’s important to keep a tight hold on the amount you provide your cat to ensure proper digestive health. Most cat foods only contain around 2-9% of fiber. Anything that contains more than that might be contraindicated for your cat.
Be sure to ask your vet first before adding any extra fiber from other sources, or before administering cat food with more than 6% fiber.
2. Watch Out for Poor Tolerance
Each cat is different. So although some might not fuss too much about having fiber in their food, other won’t take too quickly to the added ingredient. Watch out for vomiting, difficulty urinating, lethargy, and other signs and symptoms of poor tolerance for fiber. To avoid all of these, it would be best to consult with your vet first before starting the change in diet.
3. Observe the Benefits
If you’re planning on giving your cat fiber to resolve either diarrhea or constipation, be sure to observe whether or not the fiber diet works for him. If your cat still struggles with bowel movements after 2-3 days of an increase of fiber intake, there might be a different problem underneath the surface. Seek the advice of a veterinary professional immediately to provide your pet prompt and appropriate treatment.
Want to Learn More About Fiber for Cats?
Dr. Karen Becker does an awesome job explaining the dietary fiber requirements for cats in this short 7 minute video.
The 4 Best High Fiber Cat Food Choices on the Market
More often than not, if a specific cat food says ‘hairball control’, it probably contains slightly more fiber than other choices. That’s why in this specific category, we crown the Hill’s Scient Diet Urinary & Hairball Control Cat Food the best high fiber canned cat food.
This specific formulation contains natural fiber that helps reduce and manage hairballs so that they get pushed out through the digestive system instead of through your cat’s mouth and on your kitchen floor. Despite containing fiber though, it doesn’t dry out your cat, still aiding in proper urinary health as per the product’s claims. So it’s also easily the best high fiber cat food for constipation.
Specialists recommend giving Science Diet Urinary and Hairball Control Cat Food 2-3 times a week, alternating with your cat’s usual diet of kibble. This helps guarantee that your cat’s system isn’t satiated with fiber that might cause more problems later on.
Made from a blend of real salmon and tuna, the Purina Pro Plan PRIME PLUS Classic Entrée Wet Cat Food makes a great pick if you’re looking to get a little extra fiber in your cat’s diet. This Purina wet food formulation contains prebiotic fiber from chicory root that aids in proper digestive health without causing upset in your cat’s system.
This cat food also contains a blend of other necessary micronutrients such as omega-3 and omega-6 which are said to be essential for proper overall health in cats ages 7 and over. Other than that, this wet cat food from Purina has often been said to be a palatable choice for most cats, so your feline will most likely finish up a serving with no fuss.
In the dry food department, we highly recommend the Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food. This kibble contains no grains, so you don’t have to worry about your cat’s urinary health. What it does contain is 5% of dietary fiber derived from vegetables like peas, so it helps optimize bowel movement to prevent constipation and to clear the digestive system of hairballs.
What’s nice about Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food is that it’s great for cats with sensitive stomachs. So if you’ve noticed that your cat might experience digestive distress after you change their diet, this specific kibble might help you curb the problem. What’s more, the kibble form helps it absorb just enough moisture without dehydrating your cat, so it’s a good high fiber cat food for diarrhea as well.
If you’re looking for an all-naturall, all real kibble that doesn’t incorporate any preservatives, additives, coloring, or other unnecessary ingredients, then the Diamond Naturals Real Meat Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food could be a good pick. It was a tough choice between this brand and Royal Canin High Fiber Cat Food, but this pick won by a few minor upsides.
Firstly, it uses all natural ingredients and contains highly digestible prebiotic fiber that aids in your cat’s bowel movements. This formula also comes in three varieties – active cat, indoor cat, and kitten. With that, you can give your feline friend optimal nutrition that meets the needs for his specific activity level and age. Plus, the kibble is pretty affordable. At just a little over 10 USD for a 6 pound bag, it’s easily one of the cheapest choices on the list.
Based on our research, it seems the Hill’s Science Diet Urinary and Hairball Control Cat Food makes the best pick if you’re out to find the best high fiber cat food on the market. Mostly, it’s because of the fact that Hill’s Science Diet is one of the most reliable brands out there today, and their formulations are very precisely developed in order to meet your pet’s needs.
If you want to check your choices first before making a purchase, we suggest that you look through the other three picks we listed. Not only are they safe, but they’re also effective formulations that are guaranteed to help your cat achieve optimal digestive health and wellness