If your cat is suffering from constipation, you might need to add some low-residue cat food to its diet.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about this type of food and feline constipation. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
Here’s a Summary of Our Top Picks:
|Royal Canin Digest Sensitive Canned Cat Food
|Royal Canin Veterinary G.I. Fiber Response Dry Cat Food
|Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Cat Food
Top 3 Low Residue Cat Food on The Market
In the following section, we’ll have a closer look at the best 3 low residue cat food that you can out there.
Royal Canin Digest Sensitive Canned Cat Food – Best Overall Option
Let’s start with one of the best overall products that are available on the market. It contains thin slices in gravy that your cat will love to eat.
The best part about it is that it contains excellent-quality protein. This protein content is highly digestible, which promotes easy absorption, less smelly stool, and prevents constipation.
Since low-residue food has a tiny amount of insoluble by-products, it’s much easier to pass while producing a minimal amount of waste.
In addition to the low residue, this type of cat food has different ingredients that help in keeping the stool soft, which makes it easier to pass.
This includes a balanced formula of minerals and vitamins to keep your cat’s health in optimum condition.
What We Liked
- Highly digestible proteins with low residue content
- Helps in maintaining the cat weight
- Tasty formula to most cats love
What We Didn’t Like
- A bit pricey
The Veterinary Diet gastrointestinal fiber response is also a great option if you’re looking for low residue cat dry cat food.
It contains excellent-quality proteins that are highly digestible and leaves minimal residue. This makes it ideal for cats with stomach problems.
Moreover, Royal Canin added a natural blend of probiotics that promotes a healthy gut flora, which promotes better food absorption and less constipation.
The reason it’s not our top recommendation is that it’s a dry food formula. That’s why it’s important to provide your cat with fresh drinking water with it to keep its hydration level controlled at all times.
What We Liked
- Rich with low residue proteins
- Supports urinary health too
- Rich in soluble fibers that soften the stool and insoluble one the keeps it one bulk
What We Didn’t Like
- Dry food formula means more hydration monitoring
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Cat Food – Best Budget Choice
As you know, specialized cat food can be a bit pricey. If your cat is suffering from constipation this one is an excellent choice if you’re on a budget.
Unlike many flavored brands on the market, Blue Buffalo’s formula contains real meat and grain-free carbohydrates.
This means that it’s rich in both insoluble and soluble fibers, which prompts a solid yet soft stool, which helps in alleviating constipation.
What’s great about this formula is that it has low residue protein all the while maintaining all the needed vitamins and minerals.
What We Liked
- An ideal choice for buyers on a budget
- Helps in different stomach upsets
- Fortified with LifeSource bits, so it has all the needed minerals and vitamins
What We Didn’t Like
- Since it’s non-specialized diet cat food, it contains more residue than specialized options
What Is Low Residue Cat Food?
Low-residue cat food is a specialized type of food that helps in alleviating constipation in cats.
Similar to humans, constipation in cats is caused by the abnormal buildup of feces in the cat’s intestine. This can be rather painful and problematic for your cat.
Low-residue cat food is characterized by being highly digestible and causes the least trouble among food types.
How to Tell That Your Cat is Constipated?
When cats are constipated, they start to show visible symptoms and signs that aren’t easy to miss. However, you need to make sure that they’re suffering from constipation before starting to change their diet and force them to drink more.
Here are some of the most common symptoms that a cat shows while being constipated.
The Litterbox is Noticeably Empty
It goes without saying that you’ll notice that the cat isn’t visiting the litter box as much. To call it constipation, a cat needs to go for about 48 hours without pooping. On the other hand, a healthy cat is able to defecate more than once a day.
You’ll also notice that your cat might poop outside the litterbox, which is one of the most obvious signs that something is wrong with your cat.
The Stool Shape is Different
Even if the cat managed to pass the stool out, it’ll look quite different. Normally, a healthy cat’s poop is usually a bit soft but firm with a slight smell that’s not too pungent. You can easily notice that it’s moist because litter sticks to it.
On the other hand, constipated cat poop is much harder and smaller than a healthy one. Also, litter doesn’t stick to it, as it’s too dry, which is a sign of dehydration.
Other Visible Symptoms
A healthy cat doesn’t show visible signs of struggle while doing the business. On the other hand, a constipated cat will strain to pass stool out. In severe cases, the poor kitty might start crying while trying.
This can affect the cat’s psychological health. So, your cat might show some signs of depression, such as decreased water intake and appetite.
What Causes Constipation in Cats?
There’s a wide variety of reasons that can eventually lead to a constipated cat. Let’s have a quick look at them.
Low Fiber Intake
Fibers are extremely healthy food ingredients that are essential to keep the bowel system healthy.
However, many cats only eat a raw diet without adding any vegetable content to their diet. This can cause serious constipation, especially when paired with low hydration.
Low Water Intake
This takes us to the second most popular reason for constipation for both humans and cats. Since cats have a low thirst drive, they can go for a long time without drinking. This can easily cause constipation for cats.
Changes to the Cat Habits
This includes getting a new litter box and replacing the old one immediately. Such behavior can drive the cat to avoid defecating, which piles up the stool until it’s too difficult to pass.
Also, many cat parents noticed that placing the drinking bowl near the litter box discourages cats from drinking. That’s why you need to make sure that they’re far apart.
Ingredients to Look for While Shopping for a Low Residue Cat Food
Here are some of the most important dietary ingredients that you should check in low residue cat food.
Highly Digestive Ingredients
This includes high fibrous content, which is essential for enhancing bowel health and reducing the incidence of constipation.
Stool Softeners Ingredients
Some low-residue cat food will also have some ingredients that help in keeping the stool soft for longer. This is a sugary syrup called “lactulose”, which holds more water in the stool.
There are also other ingredients such as sodium docusate, which is also a stool softener that your vet can prescribe along with the low-residue cat food.
Healthy Doses of Other Ingredients
In addition to their ingredients, the food should have a healthy amount of proteins and fats.
A healthy cat diet should be at least 40% protein, so make sure it contains high-quality protein to meet the healthy daily intake.
Best Low Residue Cat Food Brands
Low-residue cat food is high in fiber and quite easy to digest. Here are some of the best brands that produce low-residue cat food.
Blue Buffalo has 5 different product lines that offer various types of cat food. With the Original, Freedom, Basics, Wilderness, and Natural lines, you’ll definitely find the right food that suits your cat’s dietary needs.
This brand focuses on excellent-grade protein-based formulas without any protein by-products, fillers, or additives that can affect your cat’s health. In some cases, the recipe would contain additional minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. This brand also offers various types of dog food.
Blue Buffalo focuses on providing your pet with high-quality proteins from turkey, chicken, lamb, fish, and beef. This means that a picky eater would still find a formula that works.
The food was recalled several times, in 2007 and 2010 due to some errors with the formula. Still, Blue Buffalo is considered to be one of the top brands in the world of feline food.
With more than 200 formulas, Royal Canin is considered one of the most versatile brands on the market. There are several cat and dog food formulas that you can shop to keep your pet in excellent health. The formulas are designed for different life stages, health issues, breeds, and lifestyles.
The brand is known for offering medical-grade formulas that are approved by vets to treat several health conditions. These formulas are usually pricey compared to other cat food on the market. However, for regular feeding, you can find more affordable dry and wet food recipes that you can pick for your cat.
This brand doesn’t share information about where the protein is sourced. The formulas are made in several company-owned manufacturing facilities around the globe. Food has been recalled 3 times in 2006 and 2007. The formulas had inadequate levels of vitamins, but there have been no problems reported ever since then.
Nature’s Variety Instinct
Nature’s Variety Instinct offers high-quality cat food based on raw meat-based ingredients. Most of the protein is sourced from the USA, although there are certain types sourced from Australia, New Zealand, France, and Italy. It offers various kinds of cat and dog food.
Offering both wet and dry food formulas, the company provides recipes that contains at least 70% proteins. There are 5 different lines, so you will definitely find the right one for your cat.
The Limited formulas contain no grains, so they’re easy to digest and will suit your cat at different stages of life. The recipes are specifically made for cats that suffer from food allergies. The formula would probably have a single animal ingredient and a single vegetable ingredient to promote healthy digestion.
The Ultimate Protein contains 90% more proteins than other brands. The Raw Boost line contains frozen raw pieces of meat, while the Raw Signature line includes frozen bites and medallions made from rabbit and chicken. The Raw line offers a single recipe made from chicken.
Ever since the company’s creation in 2002, the formulas have been recalled 4 times due to possible salmonella contamination. In one incident, dry food had an off smell. However, the brand is considered one of the best brands that offer high-quality pet food.
What is the right amount of fiber that a cat needs daily?
A healthy cat’s diet should contain fibers. Ideally, the right amount should be too much or too little.
In fact, quality fibers in healthy amounts can help in enhancing the cat’s bowel health by nourishing the natural bacteria in their digestive tract.
However, a low residue cat food must have a lower amount of fibers in general. Yet, it shouldn’t be without it altogether.
The lower fiber content helps in alleviating constipation. Once your cat is past the constipation problem, the fibers can be reintroduced to their diet once the vet gives you the green light.
What is Considered a Healthy Defcating Interval?
A normal healthy cat can poop daily and up to three times a day. Anything beyond that may count as mild diarrhea.
On the other hand, a cat might go for as long as one or two days without pooping. However, anything beyond that is a cause for concern whether it’s accompanied by other symptoms or not.
Is constipation dangerous?
Constipation in itself isn’t a dangerous case and it’s easy to treat. However, the complications of leaving constipation untreated can be rather serious.
This complication is known as “obstipation”, in which the hard stool accumulates in the colon of the cat, causing hard stretching of the colon, also known as “megacolon”.
When this happens, the bacteria from the feces can get into the bloodstream, causing serious illness that can lead to death. So, in short, constipation itself isn’t dangerous and easily managed, but the complications are much more difficult to handle.
What if the cat stays constipated after adequate feeding and hydration?
In the majority of cases, maintaining a healthy diet with low residues with hydration and the right amount of fibers will solve the constipation problem in a few weeks.
However, if the problem persists, you need to pay a visit to the vet immediately, as this might be a case of intestinal or colon cancer.
What is the best food for a cat with megacolon?
According to many experts, feeding your cat canned food rather than dry food would help if it suffers from megacolon. With about 78% water, canned food is recommended for this situation.
Low-residue cat food should contain highly digestive ingredients with quality proteins. For that reason, we recommend Royal Canin Digest Sensitive Canned Cat Food as the best overall option for constipated cats.
It has excellent-quality protein as well as highly digestible fibers that make the digestive process much easier.
However, if you’re on a budget, you can go for Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Cat Food.
For a price that won’t poke a hole in your wallet, your cat will enjoy tasty yet healthy food that’s rich in easily digestible fibers and quality proteins. Click here to find out more about it!
I’ve been living with cats since 2008 and I can confidently say I have more feline friends than humans lol. I currently live with 5 cats in different life stages; two of them are less than one year old, one is 2-ish years old and the oldest two are 9-ish years old. I’ve developed a strong bond with cats over the years and I’m eager to share my experience through this blog. You can learn more about my cats here.