The Benefits of Feeding Your Cat Fiber

Feeding your cat fiber has a lot of health benefits, starting from a good digestion to prevention and management of obesity. All commercial cat food has fiber content, and sometimes fiber supplements are also recommended to treat certain medical conditions.

Fibers and Sources

Fibers are made up by carbohydrates. There are two types of carbohydrates: easily digestible carbs such as starch, and insoluble carbs that are typically referred to as fibers. Fibers are not dissolved in the small intestine during the enzymatic digestion.

Fibers have different rates of fermentation: slow and rapid. If the cat has no health issues, his diet needs both slowly and rapidly fermented fibers.

Some of the most well known fibers are cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin and resistant starches.

Fibers may be found in grains, rice hulls, corn, soybeans, bran or nut hulls.

Fibers don't provide energy for cats, but have many health benefits.

Colon Health

Fibers promote digestion and this is beneficial for colon health. A high fiber diet will increase the amount of bulk and water in the intestines and will prevent both constipation and diarrhea. Fibers may absorb the water from the feces in case of diarrhea, but may also add wetness, when the cat is constipated.

A normal digestion and bowel movement is beneficial for the colon.

When broken down, fibers result in essential fatty acids that will fight harmful bacteria, preventing yeast infections and other infections that are common in cats. In addition, these fatty acids help in preventing colon cancer.

Preventing and Fighting Obesity

A diet that is rich in fibers may also prevent weight gain. The most beneficial fibers in weight loss are the fibers that have a low fermentation rate. These fibers reside in the stomach and intestines of the cat for a long time, and make the cat feel full. A diet high in fibers may decrease the cat's need to eat in excess, and will also reduce the calorie intake.

Make sure you notify your vet if you notice that your cat has diarrhea or excessive gas; the intake of fibers with a rapid fermentation rate will be altered.

Controlling Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease caused by the insufficient production of insulin in the body, or by inadequate response to insulin. Diet is essential in controlling diabetes. A high fiber diet will control the glucose levels in the blood of your pet and will reduce the effects of insulin deficiency. A vet might prescribe supplements of fibers to pets with diabetes.

A high fiber diet may also prevent the occurrence of diabetes in two ways:

  • Reducing obesity, as obese cats are more prone to diabetes
  • Regularizing the glucose levels

Even if cats can live on a diet that contains no fibers, the many benefits of are incontestable. Fibers prevent and manage a lot of health issues. Talk to your vet to see if the fiber intake of your cat is sufficient, and if fiber supplements are recommended.