High Fiber Cat Food




Many cat owners are unsure of giving their cat high fiber cat food. This is because excess fiber can cause many problems in cats and that has been well documented.

Still, high fiber cat food can be a good thing.

First thing is first; please refer to the cats and fiber post for more information regarding the fiber itself and the types of fiber.

When you see ‘Crude Fiber’ on the guarantee analysis section of the cat food label, it refers to the measurement of the indigestible carbohydrates in the food.

Essentially, at the core, that’s what fiber is: indigestible carbohydrates.

What you need to focus on is the ‘dietary fiber.’ This is the fiber that cats get the most out of.

The key with finding a good quality high fiber cat food is to find one that focuses on giving the cat the right balance of fiber in the right amount.

If you find a high fiber diet, and a lot of the fiber is coming from wood chips (aka powdered cellulose) or wheat or corn then you have a problem. This is because these ingredients are filler and poorly fermented (the Royal Canin food posted below is a good example).

A lot of high fiber cat food is marketed for diets, weight loss, and weight control. This is because moderately fermentable fiber can give the cat a ‘full’ feeling for quite some time. This makes the cat eat less.

Many of the cat foods out there that specialize in weight loss, high fiber diets cut corners and load it with cheap fiber sources, not moderately fermentable fiber. This is actually more harmful than helpful to an overweight cat.


So what is good high fiber cat food?

It’s tough to give a straight out answer to this question, as every cat species is different with different activity levels, reaction times, etc.

In dry cat food, the normal crude fiber maximum is around 3%. Dry food tends to be in poorer quality over wet food anyways, but if you like to feed dry food, 3% is a highly thought of number. Anything higher and you should really examine the sources.

Wet food is a little easier to manage because it’s naturally healthier for your cat. Just make sure that the fiber sources come from the ‘good’ sources, and not the ‘bad’ sources like cellulose or grain fillers. This is easy to write: wet food is better for fiber than dry food.

Overall though, foods marketed as ‘high fiber cat food’ are just a gimmick. Choose foods that have good quality ingredients with protein dominating the formula, and the cat should be good.

TIP:
If you need additional fiber all you can do is keep feeding your regular canned food, and add pure canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling) to the food (about 1 teaspoon). It can be as simple as that.

Having said all that, if your cat is experiencing issues and you think it has to do with fiber, consulting a vet before looking for more information on the internet is the best thing you can do.

Dry Foods:

Wellness:

Blue Buffalo:

Wet Foods:

by Nature:

Royal Canin:


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  1. My cat has constipation issues and is only making one stool in 24 hours. Using dry food and wet. Grain free. Should I add pumpkin or maybe vegetable oil? I’m 27 and I have never had a cat before and no money for vet. Please any advice

    1. Hello,

      If possible, I would stay away from the dry food completely. See if that helps first and foremost.

      You can try those options:

      I’ve heard the added pumpkin has helped many cat owners with their cat’s constipation issues.

      In an earlier post of mine I mentioned that people also had success with a little olive oil (less than a tablespoon) and slippery elm bark powder.

      Ground flaxseed, and psyllium husk powder are fiber sources that may assist in the aid of constipation. All these are available in supplementation form.

      If your cat looks to be in serious distress or pain, I’d advise you to ‘bite the bullet’ and go to the vet before something serious occurs.

    2. I had an older male cat that occassinally had constipation, even with giving “high fiber” dry food along with wet. The Vet prescribed “Generic Lactalose” and I easily mixed about 1/2 teaspoon (tasteless/odorless) with his wet pate food. It works better than any “home remedy I was ever told. It’s merely a stool softener and really helps!

  2. hi, how are you
    My cat is about 7yrs old Female sterilized when she was 1yr old. she weights about 8kg now and growing slowly despite eating little. She is also bigger cat about knee height. She has smelly glands on the back and doctor suggested more fiber in the food, but I don’t want to feed her grain. She doesn’t suffer any other health problems as far as we know. I live in Ireland and we are very limited in proper cat food, could you be so kind and tell me is any of these foods will be good for her?
    http://www.zooplus.ie/shop/cats/dry_cat_food/happy_cat/fit_and_well/506912
    http://www.zooplus.ie/shop/cats/dry_cat_food/sanabelle/sanabelle_special_nutrition/126972
    http://www.zooplus.ie/esearch.htm#q%3Dhigh%2520fiber%26cats%3D1Cat%26catl%3D2%26p%3D1%26ci%3Dtype_food%253D1%253ADry%2520Food%26type_food%3DDry%2520Food

    or http://www.zooplus.ie/shop/cats/dry_cat_food/burns/burns_original/527715

    Please advise

    Kind Regards
    Anita

    1. Hello, thanks for your question. I can certainly offer my opinion on these foods, but it is just that: my opinion. So take it for what it is worth 🙂

      In your post you specify that you do not want to feed your cat any grains. All the foods you linked have grain in them, so just be aware of that. In the Happy Cat Adult Sterilised Dry Food, corn meal is present, which is a grain source. Sanabelle Light contains rice and sorghum. Burns Original Cat also contains corn as well as whole grain (as the main ingredient).

      So all of these foods do not exactly rely on a meat source as the main protein source. Grains are also present in larger quantities. Based on the ingredients the site states and the guaranteed analysis of the food, they would all end up with a rating between 2-3 paw print on this site.

      Its hard to say exactly if any of the foods will be good or bad for your cat. Every cat reacts differently.

      Out of the three, I personally prefer Sanabelle Light the most. That food would get the 2.5 paw print here.

      Thanks again, hope I was of some help.

  3. Lorraine Goudreault

    My cat has anal gland problems…..I have taken him to the vet to get them expressed but then 2 weeks later it was bad again. I would take him in again but I don’t drive so I have to taxi there and back which is costly and Smokey is a very timid and scared cat. After we got back from the vet he hid under the bed for 2 days and wouldn’t come out…..I felt so bad for doing that to him…..is there a food I can give him for this….someone told me about pumpkin so I tried it….1tbsp a day with wet food…..but that is not helping……please help if you can

    1. Sorry to hear this,

      It looks like you’ve done a lot already to try to help your cat, which is great. In terms of nutrition, the goal is to make sure the stool is firm so that each time your cat has a bowel movement, the glands get expressed naturally that way. People have had success with the pumpkin, but as you mentioned, that hasn’t help for you. Psyllium husk and Metamucil have also been known to bulk up the stool.

      It could also be as simple as changing foods until you find one that your cat agrees with. There is no correct answer as to what particular food is the best. All cats react differently to different foods. Try to stay away from ingredients such as corn and grains, as these ingredients are troublesome for cats to digest.

      Unfortunately, another possibility is that your cat is just prone to anal gland issues regardless of diet. Either way, I hope you find success in helping your cat 🙂

    2. Hi Lorraine, I’m having anal gland issues with my female cat. She is semi feral, but 100% inside now that I’ve adopted her but I can’t even handle her to take her to the vet. I’m trying to figure out if there is a food available that helps with this problem. I may try the pumpkin now that I see that listed. Did you find anything that works for your kitty?

      Robyn

  4. Our older cat (12 years) is having problems with constipation. We really can’t afford the high-end foods, and she won’t go near any pumpkin products. Suggestions? Does Purina make something with “good” fiber in it? Thanks.

    1. Hello, thank you for the comment.

      While I can only offer some friendly advice, my first would be to seek a vet out to ensure it’s not something more serious such as megacolon.

      In terms of adding ingredients to canned food (dry food shouldn’t be given at all) people have had success adding olive oil (very little, less than a tablespoon), slippery elm bark powder, ground flaxseed, or psyllium husk powder. The latter two being fiber sources that may assist in the reduction of constipation. The key here is to not load the food with additional fiber sources, just enough to see if it will make a difference. Water should be available at all times.

      I know it’s easy for many sites to list a very expensive cat food and say ‘here, this is the best food and will fix everything’ but the truth is the majority of us are on a budget. You don’t necessarily need a high end cat food. The main bulk of the main protein source should always be from an animal. Even the lower end foods have many options where meat is the main ingredient, not vegetable/plant protein. Try added a bit of one of those ingredients above to the food you are already providing your cat, and wait and see if you notice any improvement.

      Fancy Feast is on the low end of the spectrum but if you compare the ingredients used to even Royal Canin, they really are quite comparable and one is a fraction of the cost.

      Hope I was at least some help to you 🙂

    2. see my post above, it should help….it did for my older cat. They are just like Seniors and often need a stool softener along with good diet–LOL.

  5. We have three Persian cats and one of them has mega colon. They will not eat canned food. We feed Royal Canin Fiber Response (at $50.00 us per 8.8 pound bag. We feed to all three. I am looking for a more natural high fiber dry food that all can eat. We have tried to go off of the Rx food and it has led to problems with constipation.

    Can you help with some recommendations?

    1. I’d suggest the dry cat foods listed on this page:

      http://bestcatfoodforcats.com/best-grain-free-dry-cat-food

      These dry cat foods are not loaded with unhealthy ingredients normally found in commercial dry cat food.

      The problem with “high fiber” cat food is that while it is high in fiber, the fiber sources are usually plant-based, which cats don’t need.

      For me personally, I’d much rather go with the dry food that is grain free, but not loaded with substitutes such as vegetables, than a dry food marked as ‘grain free’ yet is loaded with unhealthy ingredients. If your cats are doing well on the vet diet even if it is expensive, if it works, it works.

      Hope that helps, even if a little bit 🙂

      1. (P.S. Obviously my first instinct was to say switch to wet cat food, but I completely understand that some cats just don’t like canned cat food)

    2. Again, the only positive thing that I’ve found to help with older constipation AND mega-colon cats is….RX generic lactolose…any drug store about $10 per bottle and can mix in food about 2 units, or mix with wet foods. Your Vet should be willing to write this script for you. It really works as a stool softener and makes your cat go regular each day.

  6. Typo tendency to get crystals

    1. Thank you for your question 🙂

      Dry food is a major culprit in the formation of crystals, more so than canned food so your situation is rather unique.

      There’s two main types of crystals: struvite and calcium oxalate.

      Struvite crystals are made mostly from magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate. These crystals love an alkaline environment.

      Calcium oxalate crystals are the opposite, they love an acidic environment. So the challenge is finding a cat food that is somewhere in the middle.

      Grains in cat food are a major cause of calcium oxalate crystals. A simple diet change of eliminating grains completely will help.

      So to answer your question, the high fiber cat food itself may not be helpful or harmful just on the fiber content alone. If the meat and fiber sources are quality sources, and not cheap filler, then it certainly shouldn’t hurt. No grains will help as well.

      If your cat has struvite crystals, they are more difficult to eliminate completely on diet alone.

      If you have found a dry food that doesn’t cause crystals for your cat, I’d just stick with what works. One of the most important aspects here though is to ensure that your cats have water readily available at all times. This is very important if not already done so.

      Hope this was even somewhat helpful 🙂

  7. I have 2 cats. Vet says both over weight. Captain kitty and princess squishy are always fed at the same time for wet food at 8pm every night. She has a tendencynto get crystals in hernurine. Finally found a dry food she can eat that doesn’t cause them. Would I run into same problem with high fiber dry food?

  8. Sorry typo. meant to write “can’t afford really high end cat food”. Thank you for whatever help you can give me. He is really a great cat. The best.

    1. Hello there,

      If the vet recommended high fiber dry cat food, look for one where a single (or two) protein source is available. Stay away from additives or flavourings. Every cat is different but brands such as Blue Buffalo, Innova, Wellness, Nutrience, Nutro are highly thought of.

      I feed my cat Nutrience at $25 (CDN) for a 2.5kg bag. I’m not sure what the budget is but it will run you cheaper than some of the vet prescribed stuff or doing something like going raw or organic. But it will be more expensive than grocery store brands. Grocery stores, or no name brands, are usually not beneficial at all, even if it is for the budget.

      If the brands listed above are still a little too expensive, look at lower tiered brands like Royal Canin, Iams, or Purina.
      It’s a double edged sword because cat food cost usually = quality. But when it’s not in the budget, we gotta do what we gotta do.

      Also, make sure water is available at all times (if not already so). Diarrhea makes one dehydrated, so having water available is just an extra precaution to ensure your cat is getting enough water and is not dehydrated.

      In addition, for a situation such as diarrhea, it is important to not change the food often (in terms of different Brands/types). Constant adjustment to new foods certainly won’t help with the diarrhea. Pick a food and stick with it for a period of time so your cat can adjust.
      Finally, I’m not suggesting you do this, but search ‘pumpkin pie filling’ in relation to cat nutrition. It may really help but always ask your vet before doing something you are not comfortable with.

      Good luck to you and I hope the kitty will be okay!

      P.S. If more helpful comments get posted, I’ll be sure to approve them so you get more information.

    2. My mistake. Canned pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling.

  9. Can you give me some brand names for high fiber dry cat food? I can’t really high end food but my vet says this is what my cat needs for his diarrhea. He is old and I might have to put him down because of it. Please help!

    1. For diarrhea, Gerber’s plain (organic preferred) puréed chicken or turkey (no gravy) flavored worked great for my 18 year old cat. Just put it in a dish and heat in microwave for 30 seconds before serving to your cat. Just make sure you touch it before serving to make sure it is not hot; it should just be “luke warm”. 🙂

      1. Correction: Gerber’s **baby food**

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