The most common advice given to cat owners when choosing a food is to choose one that’s high in protein. What’s not heard as often is to feed one high in fiber. While we often don’t think about feeding out cats large volumes of fruit and vegetables, it’s important too. There are many good reasons to feed your cat high-fiber cat food, including regulating their bowel habits, helping with weight loss, and preventing hairballs. It can also help cats with illnesses like diabetes or anal gland disease and help to prevent colon cancer.
To help you find the best high-fiber cat food, we’ve reviewed some of the best ones available.
A Glance at Our Top Picks (2023 Update)
The 11 Best High Fiber Cat Foods
1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription – Best Overall
Smalls is the overall best high fiber cat food. Smalls is an independent cat food brand that claims it is made from ingredients so good that people could technically eat it. We don’t recommend eating it because it’s cat food, but Smalls contains high-quality ingredients like grocery-store quality chicken and plenty of fruits and vegetables. It comes in several high-protein fresh formulas to replace your cat’s regular food.
Reviewers claim this cat food improved their cat’s coats. They also report less litter box odor and fresher breath. Because this cat food is made from quality ingredients, it’s a bit pricier than grocery store brands. You also can’t find it in your average grocery store or pet store. It’s best to order online.
Purina Beyond Indoor Grain-Free Chicken Recipe is available at a more affordable price than a lot of other high-fiber cat foods, making it our recommendation if you’re on a tight budget. It is an excellent source of protein in a mixture designed for indoor cats.
The sources of fiber found in Purina Beyond are carrots, cellulose, and guar gum, adding up to a total of 11% fiber. This makes it one of the highest-fiber foods on our list. It still has 16.8% carbohydrates, so it might not be a good choice for the long-term feeding of cats prone to obesity.
The majority of cat foods that are marketed for indoor cats are manufactured on the premise that indoor cats are prone to obesity, hairballs, and constipation. This assumption means that most indoor cat foods are high in fiber.
The Wellness CORE recipe provides multiple protein sources while remaining low in carbohydrates. This food contains pea fiber, flaxseed, and a variety of gums to increase its fiber content. While they are not the most appetizing foods globally, they do a great job of improving digestion as these are rich in soluble fiber.
Prebiotic fibers are added to this food in the form of chicory root extract. This helps to support your cat’s healthy gut bacteria and supports digestive health. This food is about 9% fiber overall.
The downside is that this food is quite expensive compared to some other high-fiber foods.
Natural Balance Original balances high-protein chicken with a good variety of fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The fiber content is listed at 3%, but it is provided through multiple sources to provide your cat with extra help with digestion. Since this food provides adequate nutrition for all life stages, you can feed it to your kitten as well.
This food contains no artificial colors or flavors and has carefully balanced calcium and phosphorous levels to help grow and maintain strong bones and teeth.
Made from freeze-dried duck meat, Primal Duck Formula Nuggets provide your kitty with all the benefits of feeding raw food without the mess and preparation. With duck as the primary protein source, these nuggets are great for sensitive stomachs. To serve, you simply add water and feed.
Unlike a lot of other freeze-dried food options, this one actually promotes healthy digestion. Fibrous ingredients in these nuggets include squash, carrots, broccoli, and pumpkin seeds. The total fiber content is about 4%. If you’re looking for more natural fiber sources to feed your cat, this is a good choice, and the overall fiber content is average for high-fiber foods.
As an added bonus, Primal Duck Formula Nuggets have added Omega-3 fatty acids to promote skin and coat health and relieve inflammation that can lead to digestive issues.
Another great high fiber cat food is Weruva Cats in the Kitchen. This food is rich in animal protein, low in carbohydrates, and made from high-quality, human-grade ingredients.
The extra fiber in this cat food comes from the addition of pumpkin, sweet potato, xanthan gum, and carrots. While it does contain a lot of plant matter, it still has 72% protein, making it appropriate for cats. The high-protein and high fiber content is a rare quality in cat food and makes it perfect for cats with constipation or digestive issues.
Royal Canin foods are prescription foods, and you will require a prescription from your veterinarian to buy them. For cats with serious digestion issues, it may be worth it.
This food has 34% fewer calories than Royal Canin’s high-energy version, making it an ideal choice for cats who need to achieve weight loss. The proteins are easily digested, and it also contains prebiotic fiber to promote healthy gut bacteria and digestive function. Omega-3 fatty acids are also included to reduce inflammation.
Customer reviews for Royal Canin Gastrointestinal report significant improvement in allergies, diarrhea, pancreatitis, and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
The downside is that this food contains a significant amount of corn starch and corn flour, making it high in carbohydrates. This fact alone makes it a short-term solution and not a food you’d want to feed your cat long-term.
8. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Dry Cat Food
This kibble from Wellness CORE has 38% protein and 5% fiber. It contains only natural sources of fiber and is designed for indoor cats with less active lifestyles. The protein sources are high-quality deboned chicken and turkey.
What’s great about this food is that it contains no fillers, grains, byproducts, or artificial additives. It contains 20% less fat than standard commercial cat food, which is great for cats with weight issues.
This dry cat food from Blue Buffalo has based on a wild Lynx diet. The fiber content is 7.4%, and it’s 100% grain-free. Deboned chicken, chicken, and fish meals are the primary protein sources, with carbohydrates coming from peas, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
This food is specially formulated by veterinarians to combat weight gain and hairball formation. Added cellulose and psyllium seeds accomplish this task well, along with plenty of vitamins and minerals to support overall health.
Merrick Limited Ingredient food is available in duck, chicken, and salmon flavors. This food’s ingredients are very limited, making it easy to control exactly what your cat is eating. If you’re dealing with sensitive stomach or gastrointestinal issues, this is a great feature.
This wet food is easy to digest and has a good amount of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to promote skin and coat health.
Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Rabbit Formula is made with high-quality ingredients and a single source of animal protein. This particular variety contains rabbit as its protein source. This is a novel protein source for cats, but it’s what makes this food great. If you are dealing with food allergies, sensitivities, or complex digestive issues, a novel source of protein may be exactly what you need.
This food contains about 45% protein and 14% fiber content. This is an extremely high level of fiber compared to most cat foods.
The only real downside to this food is the flavor. Since it’s primarily composed of rabbit protein, some cats may not like it.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best High Fiber Cat Food
How Fiber Helps Your Cat
Fiber is an important carbohydrate in a cat’s diet. In the wild, cats would get fiber from their prey, but domestic cats who don’t hunt for their food have to get it in their cat food. Fiber is broken down differently than fats and proteins. Cats don’t store fiber, but it passes through their digestive tract whole from top to bottom.
Fiber is essential because it keeps other food moving through your cat’s intestines at a reasonable rate. It helps form stool that’s not too hard and not too soft, making bathroom trips more comfortable for your kitty. By doing this, fiber prevents both constipation and diarrhea, which is why high-fiber foods are used to fix these problems.
Weight management issues often arise in domestic cats because they are less active than their outdoor and wild counterparts. They sleep longer, groom themselves more, and don’t have to expend energy finding their food. So, while outdoor cats probably don’t need extra fiber in their diet, your indoor cats are likely to benefit from it.
- Want to know how various cat foods stack up against one another? Read the Best Cat Foods (Updated)
Reasons to Feed a High-Fiber Food
There are many options for cat food that are formulated specifically for the needs of indoor cats. Here is a list of some specific conditions high-fiber food can help with:
Domestic cats tend to groom themselves a lot because they have more time on their hands to do so. As they lick their fur, they inevitably ingest some of the hair. Most of it gets passed through the intestines in the same way as food, but sometimes it can clump up in the stomach like a hairball.
Ridding themselves of hairballs is nasty business. Cats will heave until they vomit it up. Then you’re left with picking it up off the floor. Hairballs are more common in older cats and cats with long hair.
If your cat is able to vomit up the hairball, all will be well. In some cases, however, these hairballs can become lodged and cause issues. High-fiber diets can help prevent these problems by reducing the number of hairballs your cat forms. Special hairball formula foods cut down on shedding and help the hair they do ingest move efficiently through the intestine.
High-quality cat food is an important part of fostering a long and healthy life for your cat but the right cat food and water dish will promote good posture, offer whisker relief, and aid in good digestion. The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite bowl since it offers all of the above and is beautifully crafted to meet modern home stylings. The wide tray design catches any food and water spills and the entire setup is dishwasher safe. Learn more about the Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl here.
At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
Indoor cats are prone to weight issues and obesity simply because they take in more calories than they burn. In the wild, cats can go for several days without a meal, and they put on a lot of miles during that time. Our house cats get multiple meals a day and spend a good chunk of time lying around or sleeping. These factors lead to weight gain.
A high-fiber diet can aid in weight loss and weight management because it helps your cat to feel fuller for longer. They eat less food and need to eat less often. Because fiber passes through your cat’s digestive tract unabsorbed, it doesn’t increase their overall caloric intake.
Constipation and diarrhea
Both of these conditions are uncomfortable for your kitty. With the first, the stool is too dry and moves too slowly to be comfortable to pass. With the latter, it moves too fast and comes out runny. Both are signs that your cat’s digestive tract isn’t running smoothly.
Fiber plays a significant role in forming a healthy stool. It draws water into the intestines to soften hard stool and slows down the passage of runny stool by taking water out of it. Beet pulp and pumpkin are two excellent fiber sources that do a good job of fixing stool problems in cats.
Different Types of Fiber
Fiber can come from an animal-based source or a plant-based source. Cats can digest both, but they work differently.
Drawbacks of High Fiber Food
High-fiber diets for a cat aren’t without their downside. For this reason, you should always consult with your vet before switching your cat’s food. Sometimes, excess fiber can get stored as fat, making it more difficult to manage your cat’s weight. It’s also important to pay attention to the ratio of proteins and carbohydrates that your cat is eating. Without enough protein, cats will lose muscle mass that’s important for their overall health.
Choosing a high-fiber cat food doesn’t have to be hard. We recommend Smalls Fresh Cat Food as the best overall high-fiber cat food. For a more budget-friendly option, we recommend Purina Beyond. With a good variety of wet and dry food options, these reviews are sure to help you find the best high-fiber food for your cat. The features in our buyer’s guide will help you know what to look for when you shop, so you can get your kitty back to feeling their best.
- What to read next: 6 Great Sources Of Fiber For Cats (& How Much They Need Daily)
Featured Image Credit: aleg baranau, Shutterstock