Cat’s gastrointestinal systems cannot digest the carbohydrates in the food yet it is important for maintaining cat health by facilitating faster movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract. Despite remaining undigested, some types of fibers trigger fragmentation in the cat’s intestine with the help of good bacteria present in the intestine. The good bacteria in the gut facilitate the formation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) that produce and supply energy to the cells that form the lining of the intestinal tract. Feeding your cat with the best high fiber wet cat food is a must if your cat is facing gastrointestinal issues. Fibers in cat food help indirectly in digestion and improve the stool quality that helps to maintain clear bowels and aid good health. High fiber food is good for cats with constipation, diabetes, diarrhea, and even obesity.
The Best Fiber Cat Food
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they must eat meat to meet their nutritional needs. Therefore, it is important for cat owners to ensure that the food given to their cats contains all the necessary nutrients. Fiber is not an essential nutrient; however, it has been found to be an essential nutrient for cats. Fibers are indigestible carbohydrates that help improve the quality of your cat’s stools. Fiber will also decrease the time it takes for food to pass through their system, which helps stimulate a healthy digestive tract.
There are different types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is able to dissolve in water which results in the formation of a viscous solution. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. Both types of fibers are equally important for cat health because they aid in digestion by bulking up the stool and easing defecation
It is important for cat owners to understand that fibers will not add extra calories or nutrients. Fiber simply makes the stool bulkier and easier to pass out of the body. So, if your cat is overweight, they may actually lose weight when you begin feeding them a high fiber food
Fibers promote healthy gut
Fibers used in cat foods are a combination of soluble and insoluble fibers that improve stool quality and digestion and support good health. Some of the fibers are prebiotics or fermentable fibers that encourage the growth of good bacteria in the intestinal tract and facilitate better digestion by breaking down the food items into small particles that are easy to digest. High fiber cat foods liberate a good number of useful bacteria and help in maintaining the right balance of the microbiome. Several digestive conditions can cause an imbalance in the bacterial count and lower is the count of good bacteria; higher are the chances of diseases like colitis, diarrhea, and constipation.
A high-fiber diet can help in controlling the intake of food for diabetic cats. Fiber has a slow absorption rate and helps maintain it for a longer period of time which does not raise blood sugar levels quickly or efficiently leading to better control over food intake.
Fiber is essential for good digestion
A lack of Fiber in cat food can lead to constipation, poor nutrient absorption, loss of appetite, and poor stool quality. Fiber stimulates the digestive system which cannot be achieved from fat or protein.
A high fiber diet is beneficial for cats with certain gastrointestinal conditions such as excessive chewing, hairballs, or vomiting. It has been observed that a high fiber diet can increase the amount of saliva in the mouth which helps to prevent hairballs by lubricating them and making it easier for your cat to cough them up.
Fiber levels aid digestion
Despite fibers remaining undigested, it plays an important role in the better digestion of cat foods, and the standard level of fiber in healthy cats ranges between 1.4% and 3.5%. Maintaining the level of fiber within the range maximizes the rate of breaking down the nutrients. Fibers trigger the process of fermentation in the intestine which helps in breaking down the food particles with help from bacteria. The process of breaking down the food items generates energy that is useful for the intestine. The level of fermentation achieved by fibers can vary. Cellulose is a fiber used in cat foods that trigger low fermentation, beet pulp triggers moderate fermentation and a high rate of fermentation occurs from gum and pectin. Moderate fermentation generated by beet pulp is best for cat health as it provides energy to the intestinal tract lining and provides bulk with minimal side effects like excessive gas or stool.
Choosing the right type of fiber
There are different types of fibers used in cat foods, each with specific levels. Here is a brief summary of the three most common types of fiber used in cat foods:
This is one of the cheapest sources used to add fiber to food items. It is not digestible by the intestinal tract and is also known as “roughage.” Cellulose fiber increases the bulk of stool, reduces the transit time of food items through the gut, and provides energy to the cells lining the intestine.
Cellulose Isolate Fiber
This is manufactured by treating cellulose with acid or enzymes to remove the indigestible components. The treatment makes it easy for cats to digest this type of fiber
These are fermentable fibers added in cat foods that support digestive health and promote high fermentation. These fibers expand and become gel-like in the stomach and small intestine to help stimulate digestive enzymes, bile production, and motility.
Oat Fiber – Oat cellulose is a natural fiber that helps with digestion as well as helps control blood sugar levels because of its high beta-glucan content.
Other health benefits
Diabetic cats that have a tendency of putting on weight and turn obese can benefit from a low-carbohydrate, high protein diet that contains high fiber as it is beneficial for cats with some GI conditions. Some fibers slow the rate of absorption of nutrients and help in stabilizing the blood sugar levels. Cats that are prone to adding weight can benefit from high fiber that gives a feeling of fullness after meals and lowers the craving for food.
It paves the way for weight loss that helps in better management of diabetes. Fibers regulate motility and benefits cats that suffer from some GI conditions.