There is a bit of a controversy regarding high fiber cat food. Many believe a high fiber diet is not good for your cat. Many believe it is. The truth is both arguments are correct. A high fiber diet that is full of bad fiber sources can be more harmful than good. Bad fiber is a fiber that cannot be fermented by a cat. Bad fiber sources include corn and wheat. In contrast, a high fiber diet full of good fiber sources can be very beneficial. This fiber is fermentable and can come from oats and rye.
It is important to know that a diet marked as high-fiber can be misleading. Most would assume that it means it is healthy and is promoting well-being. This may not be the case. As mentioned above, a high-fiber diet can be loaded with corn gluten meal and wheat sources. This is especially true for dry food. Does it mean it is healthy for the cat? Absolutely not. The ideal fiber percentage is around 3%. If you come across food that has a high percentage, looking at the ingredients is a must.
What are the benefits of fiber?
Fiber is widely associated with weight loss diets. This is because the fermentable fiber remains in the stomach and intestines for quite a while. This gives the cat a full feeling for a longer time, thus reducing the number of carbohydrates the cat is eating.
Another important aspect of fiber can help out with is ensuring a healthy digestive tract. Good fiber actually lubricates the digestive tract. When cats lick their hair, it’s natural that they ingest some of it. This lubricating action ensures that the hair moves swiftly through the digestive tract. This reduces the number of hairballs a cat may have. It also reduces constipation because cat hair sitting in the digestive tract is known to cause constipation.
So what does bad fiber do for a cat?
Bad fiber can do a lot of damage. First and foremost, when the bad fiber is ingested, it basically just sits there. It doesn’t become fermented like good fiber. This can prevent the cat from absorbing important proteins, vitamins, and minerals from food. Fiber is known to prevent the body from absorbing these elements. On the same note, fiber built up in the digestive tract will cause bloating and flatulence.
This type of fiber can aid in constipation. Because this fiber is not fermentable, it is bulkier. This actually makes stool dry and harder for a cat to pass. This can lead to constipation. Take the fact that it is not a lubricating agent into consideration, there is more cat fur sitting in the digestive tract. This also can lead to constipation.
When switching to a high fiber cat food, it is important to know what brands are the good ones and which ones are not so good. The high-fiber label can be misleading at times so it is important to do some research before you commit to a particular brand. It is also important to note that you should seek assistance from a vet to ensure that your cat switches over without any complications.