So there is a stigma related to giving cats high fiber cat food. This is because excess fiber can cause many problems in cats.
High fiber cat food can be a good thing. Fiber has benefits and chances are you’ve heard of the benefits, or are interested in knowing about them, because you are here! Refer to cats and fiber for more information regarding fiber.
First thing is first, 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, but it doesn’t refer to the sources. Essentially, at the core, that’s what fiber is: indigestible carbohydrates.
If you read the blog post (link above), you’d have read that cats don’t digest these carbohydrates, they ferment them. So when I refer to ‘good’ fiber, I am referring to fiber that is slowly ferment-able. The ‘bad’ fiber is quickly fermented.
So the thing would be to find a diet high in fiber, but has a good amount of the ‘good’ fiber in it. Good fiber sources include soybeans, oats, and rye. However, too much ‘good’ fiber can be bad too. See? What a pain huh?
If you find a high fiber diet, and a lot of the fiber is coming from wood chips (aka powdered cellulose), then you have a problem.
A lot of the high fiber cat food is marketed for diet food, weight loss, weight control, etc. This is because the slowly ferment-able fiber can give the cat a ‘full’ feeling for quite some time. This makes the cat eat less.
However, many of the cat foods out there that specialize in these weight loss, high fiber diets use the ‘bad’ fiber sources. This causes problems for the cat; again refer to the blog post.
So what is good high fiber cat food?
It’s tough to give a straight out answer to this question, as every cat 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 its naturally healthier for your cat. Just make sure that the carb sources come from the ‘good’ sources listed below, and not the ‘bad’ sources like corn gluten meal, etc. 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.
Sources that include soybeans or other beans, oats, rye, and barley are the ‘good’ sources. If you find a high fiber food that contains a lot of these sources, that’s a good sign.
Quickly fermenting fiber can be found in whole grains, wheat, corn, and flax seeds. So the best overall food is a good combination of both kinds of sources.
If you are determined to have actual brand names, I’ll oblige: