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Try low residue wet cat food to clear up constipation.
This can help make poos small and easy to pass. A psyllium supplement helps loosen things up.
Here’s out 3 best cat food for constipation:
- Fancy Feast Creamy Delights | Best Overall
- Tiki Cat After Dark | Best Quality
- Wellness Core Tiny Tasters | Picky Cats
Constipation is common in middle-aged and older cats.
Untreated, it leads to nasty problems like megacolon which require surgery.
60% of constipation cases in cats are idiopathic. This means your vet won’t find a cause.
Adjusting your cats diet helps treat idiopathic constipation, giving your cat relief.
In this article I’ll help you with a buying guide to know what to look for. Then, I’ll run through my top choices and why I picked them.
Finally, I’ll go through frequently asked questions on the topic.
I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet for any further questions. This article is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.
Treating constipation is a process of elimination.
First, see a vet.
They’ll look for clues, including:
- Change in behavior (e.g. litter box avoidance)
- Stress (e.g. change in routine)
Older cats are at a higher risk of constipation.
Stress also increases risk.
5.6% of UK rehoming shelter cats had constipation in a 2019 study, possibly related to stress.
Other risk factors related to diet include:
- Kidney disease
The goal of a constipation diet is to stimulate the bowel by adding bulk or moisture.
Food sensitivities also impact bowel function. Grains and fillers may irritate digestion.
If undiagnosed, it’s called idiopathic constipation (lingo for ‘we don’t know’). There’s not many trials in this area.
So this results in trial and error.
Here’s what to try:
Use Wet Cat Food to Loosen up Poos
Dehydration can cause constipation.
Senior cats are at risk. As are cats on a dry cat food only diet.
Wet food offers moisture to loosen things up. It also cuts the risk of urinary stones.
Try a Low Residue Diet
A low residue diet is a low fiber diet.
A low fiber diet (<10%) helps make passing feces easier.
What about fiber type?
There’s two types:
Insoluble fiber adds bulk and soluble fiber adds moisture.
Whilst soluble fiber helps with lubrication, insoluble fiber dries feces.
Why use a low residue diet?
- Less bulky poo
- Helps motility
- Better results with enema
A low residue diet is a short term fix.
Clear up bulk and get back to normal.
What to look for?
Choose cat food with less than 10% fiber dry matter basis.
Most wet cat foods achieve this.
Add Psyllium to Loosen Things Up
Add 1-4 tsp psyllium to soften poo.
As we’ve mentioned, it helps with lubrication.
Soluble fiber also ferments to short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). These fatty acids aid smooth muscle function of the bowel (i.e. stimulate movement).
A one month trial of psyllium helped treat constipation in 14 cats. The dosage was between 1-4 tsp of psyllium per 3 ounce can of cat food.
Other sources of soluble fiber include:
- Beet pulp
- Guar gum
Some wet cat foods contain these ingredients, which can benefit constipation.
So either look for wet cat food with either of those ingredients or add psyllium.
>> Find psyllium powder here.
Try an Elimination Diet
7-10% of cats have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Constipation is one side effect of IBS (called IBS-C).
The cause of IBS is unclear. Food intolerance is one possible cause.
Elimination diets help isolate the problem food that irritates digestion.
To start, you need to use a novel protein cat food. This is anything not found in most cat foods (e.g. venison, rabbit).
Another alternative is a hydrolyzed formula.
Choose novel protein food that meets the needs as a complete meal per AAFCO’s guidelines on cat nutrition.
More on elimination diets here. This one’s best talked over with a vet.
Treat the Underlying Cause
Here’s what increases constipation risk:
- Weight gain
- Kidney disease
- Electrolyte imbalance
Keep your cat at a healthy weight.
That’s a 5 on the body condition score chart. See here.
A study found corn gluten meal decreased fecal moisture compared to fish meal.
Speak with a vet about managing health problems.
3 Best Cat Food for Constipation Choices
1. Fancy Feast Creamy Delights
Best Cat Food for Constipation Overall
Pros and Cons
Fancy Feast is an easy choice most of the time.
For constipation it fits the bill as a low residue cat food (7% fiber). Great taste and affordable to boot.
Quality doesn’t look the best though, but cats don’t seem to mind.
It has one flavor (chicken with a touch of milk) that suits all life stages. Could use more flavor options for all ages.
- Fussy eaters
- Easy digestion
Where to find Fancy Feast Creamy Delights?
2. Tiki Cat After Dark
Best Quality Cat Food for Constipation
Pros and Cons
Tiki Cat After Dark is free from fiber.
It’ll help lighten the load if your cat has constipation.
It’s low in fat and high protein. That will help with weight control.
You get authentic shreds, and a fresh appearance. Our cat enjoyed trying Tiki Cat After Dark.
Main downside is the price here.
- Healthy weight
- Quality choice
- Diabetic cats
Where to find Tiki Cat After Dark?
3. Wellness Core Tiny Tasters
Best Fussy Cat Food for Constipation
Pros and Cons
A healthy choice that’s low residue and easy on digestion.
That’s what Wellness Core offers. It’s meat rich. Grain-free.
Our cats enjoyed this one.
It has added gums (soluble fiber source) which can help loosen up poos.
It is pricey though!
- Picky cats
- Easy digestion
Where to find Wellness Core Tiny Tasters?
How Did I Choose These Products?
I’ve analyzed over 50 popular cat foods. Many tested with my cat team.
I sorted cat foods based on:
We use a qualitative and quantitative scoring system.
I picked out options that best help with constipation. I’ve went for wet cat food under 10% fiber.
I’ve excluded dry cat food since this won’t be the best choice for constipated cats. Whilst I’m not saying you can’t give your cat dry food, it’s less preferable.
Here’s a full list of the 10 best cat foods for constipation:
|Fancy Feast Creamy Delights||Pate||All#||6.8%||1,340||$$||8.5||Good all round cat food, has added gums|
|Instinct Original||Pate||All||6.8%||944||$$||8.5||Has added flaxseed, a bulking fiber|
|Sheba Perfect Portions||Gravy||Adult (1-7 yrs)||9.4%||783||$$||8.5||Added gums which can loosen poos|
|Tiki Cat After Dark||Shreds||All||0.0%||751||$$$||8.5||Fiber free cat food to help reduce size|
|Wellness Core Tiny Tasters||Pate||Adult (1-7 yrs)||0.4%||1,291||$$$||8||As above, great for picky cats|
|Nulo Freestyle||Pate||All||0.4%||1,225||$||8||Another good choice that’s fiber free|
|Friskies Pate||Pate||Adult (1-7 yrs)||4.5%||1,117||$||8||Affordable choice|
|Feline Natural||Pate||All||0.5%||895||$$$||8||Premium pick, with no fillers|
|Ziwi Peak Venison||Pate||All||4.2%||1,200||$$$||8||Another premium choice, with added chickpeas. Novel protein|
|Avo Derm Tuna & Crab||Gravy||All||5.6%||829||$$||8||Great for picky cats, but don’t overfeed tuna|
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Constipation in Cats?
This problem leads to a lot of pain and discomfort.
How Do I Know if My Cat Has Constipation?
- Small hard feces
- Hard and distended abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy (tiredness)
Notice a change in frequency and consistency? Speak with a vet.
Why Do Cats Get Constipated?
Possible causes include:
- Foreign material obstruction (e.g. chewed cloth)
- Litter box changes (e.g. change in location or type of litter)
- Joint pain (i.e. hard to access litter box)
- Lack of exercise
However, senior cats over 11 aren’t at a greater risk compared to middle-aged cats (7-11 years).
Stress can cause constipation.
Cat’s get stressed when moved as they are territorial animals. Consider if your cat has recently experienced a lifestyle or routine change.
What Should I Avoid Feeding a Constipated Cat?
Avoid dry cat food.
It’s low moisture and high in insoluble fiber. This creates large and hard feces that are hard to pass.
It depends on amount. Too much of anything is bad.
High insoluble fiber ingredients include:
- Wheat bran
Insoluble fiber also impairs nutrient digestion.
What Can I Do to Help a Constipated Cat?
Try boost water intake.
- Keep food and drink away from litter
- Keep bowls clean
- Use a large shallow bowl
- Add more water bowls
Consider a water fountain. Some cats prefer it.
Can Wet Food Make Cats Constipated?
Constipation has many possible causes.
Medication. Stress. Underlying health problems.
See a vet to rule out other causes.
Is There Any Natural Remedy for Constipation?
Use 1-4 tsp of psyllium. It helps loosen up poos.
Is Constipation Dangerous for Cats?
Constipation is a problem if it persists as it impacts feces.
This can end up needing surgical intervention and intravenous fluid treatment to relieve the intestinal tract.
Be aware of any symptoms (e.g. straining) and changes in litter box routine.
Other symptoms include:
- Pain upon touching the abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Watery diarrhea
Older cats (especially overweight) have a higher risk of constipation.
Can I Give My Cat a Laxative?
Speak with a vet.
They will help decide if a laxative is needed and what to use.
There’s stimulants and bulking agent laxatives.
Stimulants lubricate and soften feces. Makes them easier to pass.
Bulking agents increase size. Can help stimulate bowel motions.
Always call a vet first if you suspect constipation.
Since there’s a wide variety of causes, it’s hard to pin down yourself.
If they can’t find the cause (idiopathic constipation) try adjusting diet. Wet low residue cat food with added psyllium can help.
Our top picks: