Amongst the most common health problems in cats, constipation happens to be one of the most frequent ones and is caused by a myriad of reasons. Before we provide our top choices for the best cat food for constipation, let’s talk about the issue itself and what causes it in the first place.
As in humans, constipation is caused by blockages in the gastrointestinal tract (GI) which leads to infrequent bowel movements which can be very unpleasant and right out dangerous for the health of your cat. When you notice that your cat has not had a bowel movement for longer than 36 hours you should begin paying closer attention. This can be a beginning of problems with your cat’s GI, considering that a normal frequency for cats is to go at least once every 24-48 hours.
What Causes Constipation in Cats
There are many reasons why your cat might be experiencing constipation, however, the ones outlined below are the most common ones. Once you know why your cat is constipated, you can prevent it from happening again, or at least decrease the chances.
According to PetMD, cats can become dehydrated for various reasons, therefore in order to help them you might need to adjust their diet from dry to canned food and make sure that he/she always has access to water. Sometimes you might need to change the way your pet intakes water and to allow access to a proper water fountain, as some cats prefer running water as opposed to stale.
Fibre Poor Diet
Fiber feeds the good bacteria and helps promote normal movement in the intestines. It can also help keep more water in the intestines, which helps treat and prevent constipation. If your cat is not consuming enough of fibre, it can lead to constipation.
Ingesting Foreign Objects or Fur Balls
Considering the love for self-cleaning in cats, sometimes overdoing it can lead to excessive amounts of hair in the system which in return can lead to blockages in the digestive system and result in constipation.
If your cat swallows a piece of clothing or a string this can too lead to a blockage of the small intestine and colon.
Anxiety or Stress
If a cat’s routine is compromised they can get easily stressed and experience health concerns such as constipation. Examples could be a move to a new house, new dog barking in the neighborhood, an addition of a new pet to the household, and many others. Sometimes it will take a certain amount of time for a cat to adjust and the problem will go away, but you might need to experiment with calming pheromones, supplements, herbs or medication to speed the process along.
The most basic change you can make to help your feline friends is to ensure they have access to clean and comfortable litter boxes at all times. Cats could protest a dirty and unkept litter box by not defecating. For that not to happen, ensure that the litter box is cleaned on a consistent basis. You can also offer them more than one option if you live in the house (you might need to put one on each floor of the house), and experiment with different types of boxes and litter to find what suits your cat.
More Potential Reasons
If the issue isn’t one of those listed already, it could be a whole variety of other potential causes such as neurological or physiological damages, obesity, side effects of medication, tumors and hernia are some of the common ones.
Some of the Common Signs That Your Little Furry Friend is Constipated
Challenging and Strenuous Defecation:
If you see your car struggling to poop small amounts out or nothing at all it could be the first sign. This should never be a strenuous activity and if you hear your cat crying out in pain while trying to go, you can be sure that something is wrong.
Hard and Dry Stool:
The usual stool is brown and somewhat moist, however, if you see dark, dry and very hard stool, this can also be a sign that your cat is constipated. It could also be covered in mucous or blood, and be much smaller than usual.
Loss of Appetite:
A cat with constipation issues is likely to avoid food due to stomach and intestine discomforts that car range from mild to severe.
Several other symptoms of constipation are:
- excessive laziness and lethargy
- weight loss
- vomiting and nausea
- difficulty jumping
- walking stiffly
Considering several of these symptoms could be signs of other health issues, advice from a veterinarian is always advisable.
What is the Best Cat Food for Constipation and What to Give Cats for Constipation?
The choices are endless as there is good availability of both canned/wet and dry food that can help your cat with constipation problems. Let’s look at both categories in more detail.
Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet GI Gastrointestinal Support Canned Cat Food
The beauty of this product lies in the high quality of its ingredients and lack of non-essential products such as wheat, soy and corn. It contains highly digestible proteins, complex carbohydrates, flaxseeds, and berries.
- Veterinary diet recipe made with prebiotic fibers to help balance and support your little buddy’s healthy microflora for overall Gl health.
- Contains vitamins C, E, and plenty of antioxidant-rich ingredients such as blueberries and cranberries to support a healthy immune system.
- Grain-free, prescription-only food making it great for sensitive stomachs.
- A wholesome, natural diet that contains a mix of chicken, chicken liver, white fish, pumpkin and berries.
Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet GI Gastrointestinal Support Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
In addition to the high quality of ingredients and a perfect mix of proteins, flax seeds, complex carbohydrates, and vitamins we really like the the way the product is manufactured. The bits are cold-pressed which reduces the amount of heat used during the manufacturing process, which in turn minimizes the amount of nutrition loss.
Same as the wet version of the meal, Blue Natural Veterinary Diet doesn’t include any chicken or poultry by-products, soy, wheat, or corn, as well as no preservatives and artificial flavours, making it one of the best cat food for constipation.
IAMS Proactive Health
If you noticed that your cat constantly suffers from overt formation of hairballs (very common problem of constipation), this IAMS product is something you should try as it contains a proprietary fibre blend as well as beet pulp to reduce their formation. Furthermore, it includes probiotics for maintenance of a healthy digestive system.
If you have a long-hair feline friend, this could be the perfect product for them to help keep those annoying hair balls to the minimum. This food isn’t cheap, but is highly recommended and can make all the difference in the quality of life of your cat.
ZiwiPeak Lamb Recipe Dry Food For Cats
This is one of our favourite products because of the quality of its ingredients and lack of cheap feelers like corn, starches, rice, soy, and gluten. The most plentiful ingredient listed is lamb, which is a high quality protein source. Further, the meat is sourced from 100% ethical farming and exceeds extremely strict New Zealand’s standards.
Moreover, all of the meals are prepared with an air-drying approach which naturally preserves the meats and the nutritional value of the ingredients with it’s slow and gentle approach. This approach makes this cat food a perfect option for those owners who would prefer to feed their cats a raw diet but cannot dedicate the funds and the time needed to do so. Finally, the lamb is raised without the use of growth hormones or steroids so you can rest assured that you are feeding your cat one of the best meal options out there.
HomeoPets Drops for Digestive Upsets
Even though this homeopathic remedy isn’t a food, we couldn’t leave it out of our list as it is an easy and fast acting herbal complex that can soothe your cat’s stomach and ease the discomfort that is caused by constipation.
You can add it to the water your cat drinks or apply directly on the tongue as it is safe and gentle enough to be used directly. This is very useful in situations when your pet is unlikely to switch to a new diet easily and has symptoms that need to be dealt with immediately.
The remedy goes to work very quickly and helps with an array of other gastro-intestinal discomforts. However, be sure to talk to your veterinarian before using any remedies to ensure that you aren’t doing more harm by masking symptoms without healing the issue.
Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate
Why we like the Instinct brand is because the company’s philosophy stands for making food that matches animals original evolutionary diets as closely as possible. Sticking on the subject of cats, and them being natural carnivores, having raw meat diets has been a norm for ages (hunting mice for example), and the Instinct products deliver just that.
The company’s five Golden Rules are: Lead with raw, Keep it real, Make it simple, Do it together, and Make it better.
Besides real meat, which is by far a major ingredient, there are added fruits and vegetables for a complete and balanced meal. It also contains guaranteed levels of natural omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, probiotics for digestion, and antioxidants for immunity. This formula contains no grain, potatoes, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, artificial colors, or preservatives, making it one of the best cat food for constipation.
The only drawback that we were able to find is that this cat food is not made for cats with hyperthyroidism.
Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Cat Food For Constipation
Royal Canin is one of the most well-known cat food brands in the world and has been one of the top recommended brands by veterinarians. You still might find this to truly work for your furry friend with a sensitive stomach, however, like with most products from this immensely popular brand, ingredients leave a bit to be desired.
Despite some cheap fillers like wheat, gum, and soy, many cat owners stand by this food and come back again and again. Make your own decision by studying the ingredients and decide whether or not your cat should eat them, however, it does come highly recommended by many veterinarians as a cat constipation food.
NomNom Chicken Cuisine
This is a great product to help your cat with digestive issues. It is formulated by their top chef who is also a doctor and one of the 100 board certified veterinary nutritionists in the US, Dr. Justin Shmalberg.
The meal is full of proteins steaming from chicken thighs, liver and breast, combined with nutritionally valuable ingredients such as asparagus, spinach, carrots and cantaloupe. This recipe also includes a carefully crafted NomNom Nutrient Mix, which is a blend of essential vitamins, minerals, and supplements.
Pride by Instinct Grain-Free Champ’s Chicken Recipe
Instinct takes great pride in what goes into their products, which is why this cat meal makes our top ten list. This cat food is perfect for a constipated cat as it contains a lot of moisture and healthy-for-the-digestive system vegetables and berries such as carrots, spinach and cranberries. Pride by Instinct doesn’t contain any soy, wheat, grain, potato or corn, as well as no artificial colours and preservatives.
The meal isn’t a very high protein option, but has below average amount of carbohydrates and above average amount of fat and fibres. This makes this blend a great choice for constipation relief for cats.
Raw Paws Organic Pumpkin Powder for Cats
Last but not least, we round out our Top 10 with the Raw Paws Organic Pumpkin Powders for cats. This is a must try additive to your cat’s diet if you notice your little furry friend is struggling to go for #2 or is experiencing diarrhea.
It is made in the USA from 100% organically and naturally grown pumpkin and is also non-GMO, containing no preservatives. It is also gentle enough for kittens. This is a great meal topper and should add to the taste experience of your cat without going through the hassle of switching from one food brand to another while your kitty is constipated. All of the benefits listed above make it a great addition to the diet and food for a constipated cat.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Cat Food for Constipation
Q: Should I add olive oil for cat constipation or if not, which oil to add to cat food for constipation?
A: Coconut oil can be helpful for your cat to pass stool as it softens it up and smoothes the process. However, you have to make sure that your fluffy friend doesn’t have any intestinal blockages first. Mineral oil and olive oil are not recommended due to the danger of inhaling mineral oil and the high dose of fat in olive oil causing digestive upset.
Q: How much pumpkin to add to wet cat food for constipation?
A: Mix between one and four teaspoons of canned pumpkin with cat food one to two times a day. Your veterinarian can advise the specific quantity of pumpkin to serve, depending on your cat’s condition. Do not feed them real pumpkin, and make sure it is pureed and does not contain added sugar or spices.
Q: What other additives or natural remedies for constipation in cats to consider?
A: You can also try adding the following to your cats diet in order to help him or her with the bowel movement
- Psyllium husks
- Chia seeds
- Ground flaxseeds
- Powdered cellulose
- Green beans
- Cat grass
- A laxative such as Miralax
- Promotility drugs
Q: Who makes a prescription cat food for constipation?
A: Royal Canin has a full line up of prescription food as well as Blue Buffalo brand
Q: What is a good brand name cat food for constipation?
A: The products and brands we have highlighted in our top ten list are all very reputable and highly respected and recommended cat foods.
Q: What is best grain free dry cat food for constipation?
A: We really like ZiwiPeak Lamb Recipe dry food but we have more grain-free options on our list if your cat prefers a different taste.
Q: What is the best wet cat food for cats with constipation?
A: Pride by Instinct, NomNom Chicken Cuisine, Instinct Original are all great options
Our Final Thoughts About the Best Cat Food for Constipation
The foods reviewed in this article can make a world of difference for your purring friend, but also, make sure to make good use of the coconut oil and canned pumpkin to help your cat’s stool and digestion on top of that.
You will have to see what works best for your particular cat as all animals are different and have unique needs and tastes, and as always, if in doubt, talk to your vet and get his advice as he knows your particular pet the most.