Fiber diets for cats, is it all hype, or is there any actual benefits.
Fiber has never officially been documented to be a necessity in any cat’s diet, but yet it is listed as one of the nutrients on any bag of commercial cat food.
For it to be listed there must be something relatively important about having fiber in your cats food.
Fiber provides no energy to your cat, however, there is a lot more to fiber than just providing energy.
Fiber diets for cats, contrary to some varying opinions, do provide your cat with several health benefits, and as such, it is very helpful to understand exactly what fiber is.
It is also helpful to understand that there are different types of fibers and each kind can play a very important role in your cats overall health.
Fiber diets for cats are made up of several various compounds, but each of these compounds is considered carbohydrates. They are broken down into two groupings: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble carbohydrates are those that are very easy for your cat to digest such as starch, while the insoluble forms are just the opposite, as they do not digest easily in your cat as it resists enzymatic digestion in their small intestines.
The major role of fiber in your cat’s diet is to increase both the bulk and waters that are found in the intestines, as well as providing several other benefits.
Fiber helps to shorten the intestinal transit time if your cat has a fast system, and it speeds up the transit time if your cat has a slow system.
This is extremely important to your cat for several reasons.
In most cases, the digestive process as well as the absorption of the nutrients occurs within the first 12 hours after they consume their food.
The slower the transit time is, the longer the spent toxic waste matter sits in their bowel.
When it sets, it starts to both putrefying and ferment.
The bowel of your cat is a semi-permeable membrane, meaning the toxins can cause illness to develop in their bowel, or they can be reabsorbed back into other tissues and then go into their bloodstream.
Once it hit the bloodstream, it is distributed equally in their body which can lead to several potential infections.
For these reasons, fiber diets for cats is absolutely critical for their bowels overall health.
But it provides other functions as well with the bowel process, as it can help to regulate both diarrhea as well as constipation in your cat.
It helps to absorb extra water that causes diarrhea, and it also helps to hold water, preventing constipation.
Some forms of fiber also break down into fatty acids in your cat intestine and this process is also extremely important as it helps to prevent harmful bacteria from overgrowing in the intestine.
With fiber diets for cats, the first inclination is for an owner to be concerned about the quality of the fiber that they are providing for their pet.
This is important; however, the actual rate of fermentation is much more important. So what exactly is fermentation in your cat?
Fermentation is a group of chemical reactions that breaks down a substance into smaller and simpler substances, making it much easier for your cat to digest them.
For this reason, the rate of fermentation actually dictates how beneficial the fiber will actually be in providing health benefits.
The rate of the fermentation affects their water holding capacity and the overall bulk of your cats stool.
Slow fermenting fibers are more effective as bulking agents as they maintain their structure much longer, and as a result, hold more water.
If you feed your cat a large amount of rapid fermenting fiber, it can actually produce a laxative effect. For this reason, unless a diet is designed to treat a specific need, the mix should be equal.
Fiber diets for cats have numerous health benefits, but the most obvious is in the control of diarrhea or constipation and the control of the balance of water in their stool.
Because of the affect that it has on the overall health of your cat’s colon, the fatty acids that are released not only help in fighting bacterial infections, but also yeast infections.
Another benefit of fiber diets for cats is concerning the colon is the function that it plays with anal gland disease as well as anal gland impactions.
Fiber is essential in keeping your cat’s colon clean as well as operating properly. Because of this, it also helps in preventing colon cancer.
The next health benefit with fiber diets for cats is the prevention of obesity.
The slow fermenting fibers work especially well in both reducing and preventing obesity as they to increase bulk and promote a sense of fullness in your cat without providing the extra calorie intake.
Your cat will eat a very comfortable meal, but in consuming fewer calories, it will prevent a weight gain or help takeoff weight if your cat is already overweight.
However, there is one drawback to too much slow fermenting fiber; it can cause loose stools as well as excessive gas in your cat.
If this does occur, you will simply have to modify the diet with some additional fast fermenting fiber.
Another health benefit is in the effects that high fiber has with Diabetes mellitus.
However, it does have some controversy, as there are several medical professionals that believe that a high fiber diet helps to control the glucose levels in your cat’s blood.
As a result, it helps to reduce the effects of the insulin deficiency in your pet.
With this form of control, you will need to consult with your veterinarian as most of them will recommend a fiber supplement in addition to food sources.
The other side of this discussion believes that fiber diet work very effectively for dogs in fighting diabetes, but not as well with cats.
This side feels that diets high in protein and fat are more effective in fighting diabetes.
However, there is one thing that both sides do agree to; high fiber diets help to control your cat’s weight.
Since obesity is the most common cause of diabetes, high fiber diets are very hard to argue against.
Fiber diets for cats can provide several benefits, but not if you do not know what to look for. Soluble fiber is very easy for your cat to digest, while insoluble fiber is more difficult to digest.
Soluble fiber is found in soybeans and other beans, as well as oats, rye, and barely, which are common additives in commercial cat food.
Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains, wheat, corn, as well as flax seeds, also common additives in commercial food.
The best overall fiber for your cat will be a well-blended mix between the two kinds.
Check you commercial food very closely for this mix, and if your cat is having any of these problems, consult with your veterinarian on the best course of action in utilizing fiber.