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5 Best Cat Food for Constipation Choices

Choosing the best cat food for constipation is not as easy as it sounds.

A high moisture wet canned cat food with a lot of animal protein is the best choice for constipation. Kidney disease and dehydration may lead to constipation, as well as eating plant protein food sources.


Constipation in cats is a problem that often occurs in middle-aged cats. The condition involves hard and difficult to pass feces.

A constipated cat may produce a hard mass when using the litter tray. Some symptoms of cat constipation include loss of appetite, vomiting, tender abdomen, and aversion to the litter box.

There are so many different kinds of cat foods out there that each one claims to be the best choice for your cats. And, if you’re like me, you don’t know where to start and what type of diet your cat needs and which types of food will help with their constipation.

In this article, we’ll discuss how diet can help with feline constipation issues, but also we’ll go over some other things that might be causing this issue.

My name is Derrick, and I write for Simply Cat Care. Our goal is to provide the best advice to improve your cat’s health. I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet before continuing.

Let’s get into it:


Product Review: The Best Cat Food for Constipation

Best Cat Food for Constipation Overall: Nulo Freestyle Minced Salmon & Turkey in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat

Nulo Freestyle Minced Salmon & Turkey in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat & Kitten Food, 3 oz-, case of 24

High moisture (82%) for easy digestion

No cellulose to keep stool moist

No grains or carrageenan to reduce irritation

94% approval on Chewy

Suitable for cats of all life stages

Pricey

Some cats may not tolerate the vegetables

SUMMARY

Nulo is one of my favorite cat food brands because of its versatility.

I like that this product is a high moisture food, with a hefty 82% in the can. In addition, the food has a robust mixture of meat-based ingredients and is high in protein (54.5%). Animal-based meat sources are better than plant-based proteins such as corn gluten meal for reducing the risk of constipation.

Most of the Nulo products have added carrots, peas, and pumpkin. These foods might provide additional fiber to improve motility (movement of feces through the colon) and help bulk up stools. Although the jury is out on how effective these foods are, the mixture of small amounts of these foods plus the moisture is a great all-around mix for constipated cats. The food is a little pricey which is something worth considering.

INGREDIENTS

Salmon, Salmon Broth, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Turkey, Dried Egg Whites, Carrots, Dried Ground Peas, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Ground Flaxseed, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Chicken Fat, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Blueberries, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Inulin, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, D-calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid

CALORIC CONTENT: 887 kcal/kg or 75 kcal/can


Best Cat Food for Constipation Runner Up: Weruva Paw Lickin’ Chicken in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Weruva Paw Lickin' Chicken in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food, 3-oz, case of 24

High moisture (85%) for easy digestion

High in premium chicken for tolerability

Low calories to help with weight control

No grains or carrageenan to reduce irritation

It may not suit active cats

SUMMARY

Weruva is a cat food brand dedicated to moist wet cat food.

I like that this chicken recipe grain-free option is high in animal protein for easy digestion. The moisture content from chicken broth tops out at 85% which is superb for hydration.

The lower fat content is a good or bad point depending on your cat. If you have an overweight cat, it might help get your cat to lose excess weight. However, active cats may need a higher calorie choice to keep up with their needs. Lower fat choices may be less palatable than moderate fat options.

INGREDIENTS

Chicken (Boneless, Skinless Breast), Chicken Broth, Potato Starch, Sunflower Seed Oil, Calcium Lactate, Xanthan Gum, Tricalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenite, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement

CALORIC CONTENT: 57 kcal/3-oz can, 105 kcal/5.5-oz can, 192 kcal/10-oz can


Best Cat Food for Constipation Meaty Broth: Nulo FreeStyle Chicken, Yellowfin Tuna & Duck in Broth Cat Food Topper

Nulo FreeStyle Chicken, Yellowfin Tuna & Duck in Broth Cat Food Topper, 2.8-oz, case of 6

High moisture (85%) for easy digestion

No grain or vegetables for easy digestion

Delicious meaty taste for tolerability

No powdered cellulose to keep stool moist

Pricey

Too low in fat for a sole source of nutrition

SUMMARY

Helping your cat get more moisture in their diets is key to prevent constipation. Like humans, drinking plain water isn’t the most exciting thing for cats. Unlike humans, cats don’t like sweet water, but due to their love of meat enjoy meaty broths.

That’s where Nulo’s Freestyle Chicken, Yellowfin Tuna & Duck in Broth comes in.

I like broth-based product since it provides a delicious meaty broth with lots of moisture (85%) to help boost hydration. There are no added nasties, grains, or fillers to help with sensitive stomachs.

The main downside of this product is the cost, which is a little higher. It’s intended as a topper, due to the low-fat content. Either boost the moisture of an existing wet food on the plate or serve a tasty side drink.

INGREDIENTS

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Tuna Broth, Yellowfin Tuna, Duck

CALORIC CONTENT (ME calculated): 575 kcal/kg, 46 kcal/pouch


Best Cat Food for Constipation Premium: Feline Natural Grain-Free Chicken & Lamb Feast

Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast Grain-Free Wet Cat Food, 3-oz pouch, case of 12

High moisture (82%) for easy digestion

Added flaxseed flakes to relieve constipation

Omega 3 from mussels for digestive health

Premium grass-fed meats for optimal health

Pricey

Mixed taste reviews

SUMMARY

Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb uses high protein formula high in premium New Zealand meats.

Aside from the excellent nutrition, the food is high in moisture (82.5%) for top digestion. Mussels provide omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin which are great for keeping an aging cat’s joints healthy. Lack of movement may impair an aging cat’s use of the litter tray and increase the risk of constipation.

Added flaxseed flakes are high in fiber which increases a cat’s stool size which may help movement.

The main downside of this product is the premium price and mixed taste reviews. The taste may be due to not giving adult cats enough time to adjust to the high-protein food.

INGREDIENTS

Chicken, Lamb Heart, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Liver, Lamb Blood, Flaxseed Flakes, New Zealand Green Mussel, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid

CALORIC CONTENT: 895 kcal/kg


Best Cat Food for Constipation Variety Pack: Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Pate Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Pate Variety Pack Canned Cat Food, 3-oz, case of 12

High moisture (78%) for constipation relief

Moderate fat (28% dry matter) for taste

Grain-free to reduce constipation risk

4 flavor choices to reduce boredom

Affordable

No fiber supplement digestive aids

SUMMARY

Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals has everything we like to see in cat food – simple authentic animal-based foods, lots of vitamins and minerals, and moisture. It’s not too much to ask for.

For cats with digestive system problems like constipation, it is important to consume food high in animal-based foods. These foods give your cat the moisture it needs to loosen stool. Plant-based proteins such as corn gluten meal absorb moisture and harden feces, increasing the risk of constipation. Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals ticks all the right boxes here.

There’s not much to dislike here. The fat content is perfect for wet cat food at 27.8% which cats love because it makes their food tastier and more palatable. There aren’t any other digestive aids in this product though, which doesn’t give your cat any additional boost it may need.

INGREDIENTS

Salmon Recipe: Salmon, Chicken, Liver, Fish Broth, Natural Flavors, Minerals [Potassium Chloride, Mono And Dicalcium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide], Guar Gum, Taurine, Salt, Choline Chloride, Vitamins [Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Vitamin A Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin D-3 Supplement]

Beef Recipe: Beef, Meat Broth, Liver, Chicken, Fish, Natural Flavors, Minerals [Potassium Chloride, Mono And Dicalcium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide], Guar Gum, Taurine, Salt, Choline Chloride, Vitamins [Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Vitamin A Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin D-3 Supplement]

Chicken Recipe: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Liver, Turkey, Fish, Natural Flavors, Minerals [Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Mono And Dicalcium Phosphate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide], Guar Gum, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Vitamins [Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Vitamin A Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin D-3 Supplement]

Trout & Tuna Recipe: Trout, Chicken, Fish Broth, Liver, Tuna, Natural Flavors, Minerals [Potassium Chloride, Mono And Dicalcium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide], Guar Gum, Salt, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Vitamins [Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Vitamin A Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin D-3 Supplement]

CALORIC CONTENT

Wild Alaskan Salmon Recipe: 1,157 kcal/kg, 98 kcal/can

Trout & Tuna Recipe: 1,174 kcal/kg, 100 kcal/can

White Meat Chicken Recipe: 1,091 kcal/kg, 93 kcal/can

Beef Recipe: 1,165 kcal/kg, 99 kcal/can


Buying Guide: How to Find the Best Cat Food for Constipation

Do you have a cat that is constipated?

Constipation in cats can be caused by many things, including dietary factors. If your cat has constipation, it’s important to find the right food for them. I will help you understand what causes constipation and how to choose the best food for your cat.

You’ll learn about different types of diets that are helpful for cats with constipation as well as some foods to avoid.

Once you’ve found the right diet, make sure to keep up with regular veterinary checkups so your vet can monitor their progress.

What is constipation?

Constipation is a problem where feces are difficult to pass.

The prevalence of constipation is about 5.6% based on an analysis of cats in United Kingdom shelters [1]. The problem leads to a lot of pain and discomfort. There are many components to a cat’s digestive system that influence the consistency of feces.

It is important to pass feces throughout the week. Let’s look at the symptoms of constipation.

Best cat food for constipation

How do I know my cat has constipation?

There are a few signs that show your cat has constipation. Here are a few symptoms to look for:

  • Small hard feces in the litter box
  • Hard abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy (tiredness)
  • Vomiting [2]

Most cats should have one bowel movement per day. If you notice a change in the frequency and consistency of bowel movements, speak with a vet.

Why do cats get constipated?

There are many causes of constipation in cats. Due to this, it is important you get the help of a vet if the problem persists.

Serious medical issues such as intestinal obstruction may lead to constipation. These conditions need medical intervention.

  • Aging
  • Foreign material obstruction (e.g. chewed cloth)
  • Stress
  • Litter box changes (e.g. change in location or type of litter)
  • Joint pain (i.e. hard to access litter box)
  • Lack of exercise
  • Dehydration
  • Medicine

Based on data from cat shelters, the risk of constipation increases with age [1]. This mimics the reduced digestive system function in humans and may be due to metabolic-related problems associated with aging.

Senior cats over the age of 11 years aren’t at a greater risk of constipation compared to middle-aged cats [1].

Stress is another cause of constipation.

Cat’s experience stress when moved as they are territorial animals [1]. They want to feel like they have a consistent home base. If you have moved recently, this may lead to an increase in stress and a runaway cat (cat tries to go back to its territorial home).

What food is best for cats with constipation?

There is a limited amount of published research into dietary constipation treatment for cats. Let’s review some current options.

Animal Protein

Giving your cat animal protein may reduce constipation risk.

In a 2001 study, researchers tested dietary protein sources on six cats. The cats ate a diet of corn gluten meal (grain-based source of protein) or fish meal as the main protein source [3].

The study lasted three weeks in a cross-over design trial. Fecal moisture decreased by 10% eating corn gluten meal, and the risk of constipation also increased [3]. It is not known why cats experienced more constipation with the grain-based protein corn gluten meal.

Beet Pulp

Cat food with added beet pulp may help reduce constipation risk.

The research found beet pulp increases osmosis in the colon, increasing the water content of fecal matter [4]. The soluble fiber from beet forms a gel in the digestive system which provides relief in constipated cats.

Low Residue Diet

Some indigestible fibers seem to impair the passing of feces.

Cellulose decreases the water content of feces and induces mild constipation [4]. Reducing the level of fiber and cellulose provides relief from constipation [4]. Fiber is a bulking agent, which may not help relieve constipation despite increasing fecal volume.

Some cats experience mixed results. A diet high in crude fiber may increase the size of the fecal matter, improving motility [4].

The variation in results may be due to the key ingredient of moisture. If cats have a large hardened stool, it may be hard to pass compared to a small hard stool. A high moisture diet may produce an easy-to-pass soft larger stool.

Dry food that is high in crude fiber is the least preferable choice.

Canned Wet Cat Food and Meaty Broths

As expected, high moisture foods help relieve constipation [4]. Canned cat food with high moisture contents will be the best choice for constipated cats. Flavored meaty broths are one way to increase fluid intake [5].

What should I avoid feeding a constipated cat?

Avoid giving a constipated cat dry cat food, especially with corn gluten meal as the main ingredient.

Dry food is low in moisture and doesn’t support creating soft easy-to-pass feces. Also, steer clear of cellulose and other sources of fiber. These foods increase bulk but decrease the water content of feces drying and making the feces harder to pass.

Dry food is low in moisture and high in fiber. Overconsumption may lead to constipation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What else can I do to help a constipated cat?

  • Keep food bowls away from the cat litter box
  • Keep food bowls clean
  • Add a small amount of psyllium to wet cat food (1-4 teaspoons)
  • Use a large shallow water bowl to reduce whisker friction
  • If your cat has arthritis, use a larger litter box with low sides for easy access [5].

Psyllium appears to be well tolerated and helps to increase the frequency of bowel movements [6].

Changing your cat’s bowl might help improve water intake. Some cats prefer drinking from a water fountain.

Check out my article on the best cat water fountain for more.

Can wet food make cats constipated?

Wet canned cat food helps increase water intake so should help improve bowel movement frequency.

Since wet cat canned cat food is lower in insoluble fiber compared to dry food, expect smaller feces. This is because the feces contains less indigestible bulk (volume).

Grain-free canned cat food (particularly avoiding corn gluten meal) is a better choice for cats.

Is there any natural remedy for constipation?

There are a lot of speculative home remedies for constipated cats including ground flaxseed, pumpkin, and other high fiber content supplements.

Some cat food choices with these ingredients may stimulate bowel movements. Science hasn’t proven any of these treatments.

I recommend speaking with your vet before attempting alternative solutions. Often prescribed medicines such as laxatives or enemas have more efficacy in constipation treatment than home remedies.

Is constipation dangerous for cats?

Yes, constipation is a serious problem if it persists.

Older overweight cats with chronic kidney disease are at more risk of constipation [7]. Cat’s with impacted feces may require surgical intervention and intravenous fluid treatment to relieve the intestinal tract [7]. If your cat is straining in the litter box, it may also be a sign of a blocked urethra which is another serious issue that needs vet attention [8].

If your cat continues to have trouble with passing a stool, has pain upon touching the abdomen, and has a loss of appetite visit the vet and get a prompt checkup.

Can I give my cat a laxative?

Consult with a vet before attempting the use of a laxative.

Laxatives are stimulants or bulking agents. Stimulants help to lubricate feces and make them easier to pass through the intestinal tract. Bulking agents increase the size of the feces.


Conclusion: The Best Cat Food for Constipation (Final Thoughts)

In this article, I talked about the best food for constipation.

Aging cats experience constipation more often than young cats and kittens. Cat’s should use their litter box to pass feces about once a day. If you notice a reduction in the frequency of litter box usage, constipation may be the cause. Other signs of constipation include harder feces, loss of appetite, vomiting, and a tender abdomen.

There are many causes of constipation. Age-related diseases (e.g. kidney disease) and other medical-related problems contribute to constipation risk. Consult a vet to diagnose the cause of constipation.

Dietary change may help relieve constipation.

Increasing your cat’s intake of fluid helps soften stools. Wet food is better than dry cat food to increase hydration. Grain-based protein (e.g. corn gluten meal) produces a drier fecal mass, which worsens constipation. Some plant-based foods (e.g. pumpkin, psyllium, beet pulp) may help increase fecal water and help improve digestion.

I’ve recommended my top cat food choices to help with constipation. I focused on high moisture canned food high in nutrients to keep your cat healthy.

If problems persist, seek out veterinary support without delay.


Our Top Pick: The Best Cat Food for Constipation Overall

Nulo Freestyle Minced Salmon & Turkey in Gravy Grain-Free

This product is a great all-around high moisture choice to relieve constipation. It’s highly digestible and full of good quality animal foods in a delicious gravy texture to encourage hydration.

It is suitable for cats of all life stages, including senior cats.

Nulo Freestyle Minced Salmon & Turkey in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat & Kitten Food, 3 oz-, case of 24

High moisture (82%) for easy digestion

No cellulose to keep stool moist

No grains or carrageenan to reduce irritation

94% approval on Chewy

Suitable for cats of all life stages

Pricey

Some cats may not tolerate the vegetables

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