Is your indoor cat is suffering from constipation/ diarrhea? Or your furball has become a big ball?
Whenever I get any cat patient with constipation or obesity always asked their parents, ”what kind of diet do you give to your cat” to which most of them reply,” an adequate amount of carbohydrate, protein, and fat” but no one takes the name of fiber. This reminds me of a time when I newly adopted my Persian male feline Jack and was a student then.
I observed that Jack is constipated and ignore it, thinking he will manage somehow. But I was wrong, things get worse day by day and I had to take him to his Vet. And then I learned a lesson like human beings cat needs fiber too. It’s a very important component of their diet.
High Fiber Cat Food:
Of course, that food that has a high amount of fiber is high fiber cat food. But what actually fiber is?
Fiber is a form of carbohydrate that is derived from the floras. Fibers are not meant for digestion, they do not break down rather they change the composition of stool inside the intestinal tract. They swell up to increase the bulk of stool, secondly, they retain more water thereby causing easy movement of stool throughout the cat’s intestinal tract.
TYPES OF FIBER:
As I mentioned earlier that body can’t digest fibers, it means the body cannot break down the fibers into its smaller units. But there are certain bacteria in the large intestine that are responsible to break down fiber into small chain fatty acids which are responsible to provide energy to the intestine. This process is known as fermentation.
For your kind information there are two types of fibers:
- Soluble Fiber: The type of fiber which can be easily soluble in water is called soluble fiber. It also allows other nutrients to get absorb easily inside the GI passage of the cat. The biggest benefit of soluble fiber for a diabetic cat, it slows the digestion of sugar.
But it has one disadvantage. Soluble fiber causes softening of the stool of the cat, which is not right in every scenario.
Well, there are certain soluble fibers that can be fermented easily by the intestinal flora. The majority of the soluble fibers are fermented fibers. Soluble fibers can be obtained from Psyllium, lentils, oatmeals, fruits and different vegetables.
- Insoluble Fiber: One which does not dissolve into water is called insoluble fiber. It does not help to absorb nutrients from the intestinal tract. It causes a bit of difficulty for your cat. It creates large masses of poop in the intestine. But it aids a lot in the movement of waste produced throughout the digestive tract.
Insoluble fiber has one drawback, it hardens the poop of cat. So again, it cannot be used in every type of digestive problem.
You can say insoluble fibers are non-fermented fibers because they cannot be broken down easily by the normal flora of the colon. Insoluble fibers can be obtained from the skins of fruits and vegetables, leafy vegetables, whole grains, barley, and brown rice.
Why feed High Fiber Diet to Cat?
Actually, cats have a short intestinal tract, they do not need much fiber in general. But if you have a strictly indoor cat, like me, then you have to add fiber in her diet. In this case, fiber plays an important role, because indoor cats don’t catch prey with fiber in the indigestible parts.
Jenny, my female feline, loves to groom herself. Excessive grooming causes hair balls formation. Fiber helps a lot in the elimination of hair balls.
Above all, we should not forget the fact that indoor cats sleep more and are less active as compared to outdoor cats. This causes an increase in weight. High fiber diet is the most recommended diet for obese cats.
So in such conditions, an indoor cat should need a pampered high fiber diet. Otherwise, get yourself ready for a frequent visit to the vet.
A high fiber diet is ideal for the management of diarrhea, constipation and colon cancer in cats. I and my other vet friends have always recommended a rich fiber diet to a cat with anal gland disease and/or a diabetic cat.
High Fiber Cat Food For Weight Loss:
First of all, let me tell you one thing very clearly. You can manage your cat’s weight with a fiber-rich diet but you cannot make your cat lose weight with fibers.
Well, fibers are supposed to lose weight of cats by making them feel fuller so that the catty will consume few calories. This logic of losing weight with fibers is quite successful in humans and dogs. But it totally flops when it comes to shedding pounds of cats.
Because cats store carbohydrates from fibers in the food and this way they will gain more weight.
So the best way to make your cat shed some pounds is to bring her on a complete protein diet only along with some fiber-rich diet. So that she may fulfill her carbohydrate requirement from fibers.
This is how obese Persian cat Jenny sheds some pounds may. But still, she is on a high protein diet with some high fiber diet.
High Fiber Cat Food For Constipation:
Constipation is one of the prevailing digestive problems among cats. Fibers play a great role in getting rid of constipation. How?
Well, fiber-containing foods provide an adequate amount of moisture to the waste product in the cat’s intestinal tract, so that it moves efficiently along the tract.
High rich fiber diet for constipation is a temporary solution. If you often find your cat yowling in the litter pot, then you should carefully check her diet. Give her an adequate amount of freshwater.
High Fiber Cat Food For Diabetes:
It has been observed that obese cats are diabetic too. Thank God, my jenny is only obese not diabetic. It’s a metabolic disorder that invites other diseases too. It’s a disorder that cannot be eliminated completely.
Fibers facilitate a lot in the management of Diabetes. Excessive fibers may prevent the metabolization of glucose and fats. So this is how your cat will not going to have a high glycemic level and she will lose some weight too.
Besides this, cat parents should look after the amount of food cat is consuming. Everything is good within limits. Ideally, a kitty should have low carbohydrates and high protein along with high fibers in her diet. Make sure to consult with your vet before making any changes in your diabetic cat’s diet.
High Fiber Cat Food For Diarrhea:
More than 4 watery stools per day is an alarming situation for your cat. It means your kitty is suffering from diarrhea which has to be treated as soon as possible otherwise there will be electrolytes imbalance in her body which can lead to fatal problems.
Well, fermented fibers or you can say soluble fibers play a major role in getting rid of diarrhea. Soluble fiber on contact with waters forms a gel-like the viscous solution which results in the solidification of the watery stool of pet. This way these innocent creatures can get rid of diarrhea.
It has been also studied that fermented fibers reduce the digestion process of cats this way it adds more bulk to the stool. It is advisable to feed your cat with enough amount of fiber otherwise it will worsen the condition.
High Fiber Cat Food For Hairballs:
Hairball formation is the most common problem of indoor cats. This not only creates a problem for the cat but for its parent too. As they have to clean their cat’s spitting frequently. This is so awful.
The best way to get rid of hairball formation is to add adequate moisture in her diet. This can be done by introducing high fiber cat food. Fiber helps in easy movement of hair balls throughout the digestive tract. Once your cat has easily passed hair ball in poop, then you don’t have to worry about the further mess in your home.
High Fiber Cat Food For Anal Gland Disease:
Both male and female cats can have anal gland disease, which is the infection of anal glands and the glands fail to expel fluid properly. The build-up of fluid causes swelling of the glands and its hurts a lot when the cat passes a hard stool.
In this condition, the cat’s stool should be soft not too hard. Otherwise, it may cause damage to anal glands. So high fiber diet assists a lot in anal gland disease by softening the stool.
What Should Be The Appropriate Amount Of Fiber In Cat Diet?
Dietary fibers are extremely very essential for your feline friend to stay active, healthy and fit. It is recommended to have 3.6 percent of the fiber in the cat’s normal diet. Most of the cat food contains 1.5 to 3.6% of fibers. According to the National Research Council, high fiber cat food can safely contain up to 12% of fiber.
PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH HIGH FIBER CAT FOOD:
Well, with so many benefits of fiber rich cat food, there are some disadvantages too. I should not name it as disadvantage. These are actually the problems that are associated with a high fiber cat diet. But they are not big problems; they can be neglected if your cat is having more benefits from fiber diet.
The first one is, cat foods that contain high fiber content are somewhat tasteless. You can say that your feline will not like the taste of the food if she is a picky eater. Like my obese cat Jenny, she never likes to eat a high fiber diet because of unappealing taste. But maybe your cat likes the taste of fiber food. It all depends upon the liking of your fur ball. In short, if your kitty is a picky eater, then you have to have a very tough time feeding her.
Besides this, your fur balls have frequent urge to poop. The reason behind this is, fiber diet have increased the bulk of waste product in her intestine that is the reason she visits her litter pot frequently. This could be cumbersome for lazy cats who don’t want to move from their rest zone.
Moreover, these diets contain lots and lots of fiber than the normal diet; this may lead to flatulence in the cat or production of excessive gas. In fact, you will find your cat farting also. Sounds hilarious but trust me your cat will gonna get rid of all sorts of digestive problems if she is on a high fiber diet.
Things To Know About High Fiber Cat Food:
One of the most important things that you should know before choosing any high fiber diet is to check the source of fibers. Fibers can be crude fiber or dietary fiber. The former one is indigestible carbohydrate which is not at all good for your kitty, whereas the later one is best for your feline friend.
So read the label loud and clear before getting your hands onto any fiber-rich cat food. Crude fibers can be obtained from wood chips or wheat corn. They can upset your cat’s stomach.
Wet cat foods have a much higher amount of fibers as compared to dry cat food. So it’s ideal to choose a wet cat food that should have a minimum of 10% fiber content.
Do not look for too much fiber content in cat food. It may cause unnecessary side effects in your cat.
With the help of a high fiber diet that I have introduced in my cat’s diet, Jack is no more constipated but Jenny still needs to lose some pounds. I have seen an immense difference in my feline’s health and activity after I have introduced a high fiber diet with a high protein diet.
If you really want your feline buddy to be healthy, happy and active, then increase the dose of love and care with some increase in fiber content.