ou know that fiber is an important part of your diet, but what about your cat?
We humans are advised to consume it to: lose weight, when you are constipated, to prevent diabetes.
Your cat trusts that you will make the necessary decisions to maintain its health, including food that provides the proper balance of nutrition.
Does your cat need a high fiber cat food? The answer is not easy, it depends on your cat’s health, lifestyle and diet.
- What is fiber?
- Fiber types
- Cats and fiber
- Does a cat need a high fiber food?
- Fiber in the management of feline obesity
- Fiber in controlling diarrhea and constipation
- Role of fiber in the control of diabetes mellitus
- Fiber and cats conclusion
What is fiber?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate , which is not digested or broken down like other carbohydrates. These break down into sugar molecules; instead, fiber passes through our digestive system almost completely.
Some of the most common fibers are cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and lignin.
Fiber that is not digested pushes through the intestine, “cleaning” what it encounters along the way.
You can think of dietary fiber as a small intestinal “broom” that cleanses your colon.
If we completely eliminate fiber in our diet, the waste material would accumulate and constipation would develop.
In both you and your pets, constipation if persistent causes an intestinal obstruction.
When it comes to dietary fiber, there are two types:
The soluble fiber is dissolved in water and becomes a gelatinous substance that helps to delay the digestive process. This is very useful for losing weight.
The insoluble fiber repels water. However, it adds bulk to the stool helping to relieve constipation and other gastrointestinal problems.
Cats and fiber
Cats are obligate carnivores. In other words, they are only adapted to digest meat. From animal proteins they get all the energy and nutrition they need.
As carnivores, their intestinal tract is shorter than, for example, that of dogs, which are omnivores.
Plant-based diets take longer to break down and digest than meat, so cats don’t have time to do so.
Therefore, cats have adapted so that vegetable fiber is not necessary to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Cats obtain their fiber by other means.
Wild cats that hunt obtain fiber from the hair, tendons, cartilage, and stomach contents of their prey. By instinct, wild and outdoor cats avoid most plant fibers.
A diet without it makes your stools small, almost odorless. This makes them easy to bury, and helps keep them safe from predators.
Indoor and outdoor cats also groom themselves a lot, causing them to swallow their hair. Believe it or not, cat hair is also a good source of fiber.
Does a cat need a high fiber food?
A healthy cat will get all the fiber it needs from a high-quality, high-protein, high-fat diet.
But occasionally the vet may suggest a high fiber diet as part of treatment for a sick cat.
For example, sometimes a cat food with high fiber content is part of a treatment plan against diarrhea, the constipation chronic , recurring problems with hairballs or diabetes .
Fiber in the management of feline obesity
One of the most common uses for fiber in cat food is to control obesity in cats.
Adding extra fiber to the diet can be helpful in reducing and preventing obesity in your cat.
Fiber added to weight loss diets helps bulk up and creates a feeling of fullness without adding calories.
The cat eats a meal that is filling, but consumes fewer calories and therefore loses weight.
Fiber in controlling diarrhea and constipation
It’s funny to think that fiber can be used for two such different problems: diarrhea and constipation. But once the fiber’s function is known, it all starts to make sense.
The fiber will absorb moisture in cases of diarrhea and add it for cases of constipation . In addition to its water-absorbing properties, the fiber’s binding and gelling properties help in the treatment of diarrhea.
Role of fiber in the control of diabetes mellitus
The diabetes mellitus is a common metabolic disease in cats.
In the past, feeding a high fiber diet to diabetic cats was a way to aid in the treatment of many diabetic felines.
Recent studies have shown that for many cats, diets high in protein and fat help control diabetes mellitus in the diet more than diets high in fiber.
Fiber and cats conclusion
The answer to the question of whether cats need fiber in their diet is not simple. The way of life and health of the cat should be analyzed.
Cats that spend a lot of time outdoors should get the fiber needs of the small prey they hunt. Any fiber intake is ruled out.
On the contrary, indoor cats, in certain cases, will need a fiber supplement or eat cat food with high fiber content. In any case, the advice of a veterinarian is advisable.
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