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10 Best Cat Foods For Constipation in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

cat food

Cats with constipation benefit from a high fiber, moisture-rich food that contains a good source of probiotics. Typically, this means feeding wet food to get things moving again, but there are hundreds of cat foods on the market. The food also needs to be palatable, otherwise, it will sit in the bowl until you empty it and find an alternative.

Below, we have included reviews of ten of the best cat foods for constipation, including food for cats at different life stages, owners on any budget, and some dry foods for those felines that can’t stomach wet food. Choose the one that best meets your needs or read our buyer’s guide for tips on what you should be looking for.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Weruva Cats In The Kitchen Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Weruva Cats In The Kitchen Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Primary ingredients are meat proteins
  • 85% moisture
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Grain-Free Wet Cat Food Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Grain-Free Wet Cat Food
  • 5% fiber
  • Contains added taurine
  • Free from grains, by-products, and artificial ingredients
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Lotus Duck Pate Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Lotus Duck Pate Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
  • 4% fiber
  • Plenty of meat ingredients
  • No grains or artificial ingredients
  • Best for Kittens
    Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Healthy Kitten Recipe Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Healthy Kitten Recipe
  • 3% fiber
  • Primary ingredients are meat-proteins
  • Manufactured in US human-grade kitchens
  • Best for Seniors
    Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature Grain-Free Cat Food Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature Grain-Free Cat Food
  • Primary ingredients are chicken-based
  • Flaxseed and broth include omega-3 fatty acids
  • Inexpensive
  • The 10 Best Cat Foods for Constipation – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. Weruva Cats In The Kitchen Grain-Free Canned Cat Food – Best Overall

    Fiber: 0.5%
    Protein: 10%
    Moisture: 87%
    Food Type: Wet Food
    Primary Ingredients: Chicken Broth, Chicken, Tuna

    Weruva Cats In The Kitchen Grain-Free is wet cat food. Wet food is preferred for cats because of its high moisture content, and this is especially true when trying to help relieve constipation. It comes in a range of flavors, all of which have meat as the primary ingredient and more than 85% moisture levels.

    It is a grain-free recipe. Not only is grain-free considered the best option for cats, in general, but if your cat suffers from grain sensitivity, this could be the cause of its constipation.

    Although not the most expensive on the list, it is quite pricey compared to the budget options, and it does contain tapioca starch and xanthan gum, both of which are considered acceptable at these levels but can cause stomach upset.

    With its lack of artificial ingredients; its appealing flavor and texture; as well as its high moisture content, Weruva Cats In The Kitchen Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is our pick as the best overall cat food for constipation.

    Pros
    • No artificial ingredients
    • Primary ingredients are meat proteins
    • 85% moisture

    Cons

    • Quite pricey
    • Some controversial ingredients


    2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Grain-Free Wet Cat Food – Best Value

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Ocean Lovers Variety Pack Natural Grain-Free Wet Cat Food

    Fiber: 3.5%
    Protein: 9%
    Moisture: 79%
    Food Type: Wet Food
    Primary Ingredients:  Tuna, Water, Vegetable Oil

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Grain-Free Wet Cat Food is a grain-free recipe that is high in moisture and fiber. All the recipes have meat protein as their primary ingredient and, as well as being free from grain, these wet food trays contain no artificial ingredients or meat by-products. Nutrish foods are good for cats with allergies and sensitivities. They are priced very well compared to other foods, making them the best cat food for constipation for the money.

    Added vitamins and minerals, including taurine which is sadly lacking in a lot of cat foods, promote good health in your cat.

    This food is high in fiber, for wet food, and it has a reasonable protein level. Some cats struggle with the rich food, causing diarrhea, so you should introduce it gradually otherwise you will go from one extreme to the other. The food is not popular with all cats, so you may need to look elsewhere if your cat is a particularly picky eater.

    Pros
    • 5% fiber
    • Contains added taurine
    • Free from grains, by-products, and artificial ingredients
    • Cheap

    Cons

    • Can be too rich for some cats
    • Not popular with picky eaters


    3. Lotus Duck Pate Grain-Free Canned Cat Food – Premium Choice

    Lotus Duck Pate Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Fiber: 4%
    Protein: 9%
    Moisture: 78%
    Food Type: Wet Food
    Primary Ingredients: Duck, Duck Broth, Pork Liver

    Lotus Duck Pate is grain-free canned cat food. It has good quality ingredients, with plenty of meat-based proteins, listed as its top ingredients, and it contains added taurine, vitamins, and chelated minerals. 4% fiber means that, after introducing the food gradually and allowing a few days for the dietary changes to take effect, it should help shift gut blockages.

    Taurine is considered a beneficial additive in cat food because it maintains vision but it improves digestion, which is another possible cause of constipation in cats. Flaxseed, fish oils, and other ingredients provide omega fatty acids while blueberries serve as powerful antioxidants.

    This grain-free recipe contains a broth mix designed to appeal to a cat’s palate, although the food has a strong smell and some felines will turn their nose up at the pate texture. The food is on the expensive side but it is free from grain and GMO and is considered a limited ingredient food.

    Pros
    • 4% fiber
    • Plenty of meat ingredients
    • No grains or artificial ingredients

    Cons

    • Pricey
    • Quite rich
    • Not all cats like pate texture


    4. Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Healthy Kitten Recipe – Best for Kittens

    Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Healthy Kitten Recipe Canned Cat Food

    Fiber: 3%
    Protein: 9%
    Moisture: 78%
    Food Type: Wet Food
    Primary Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver

    Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Healthy Kitten Recipe is a grain-free wet food formula with 3% fiber and 9% protein. Because it is wet food, it also contains 78% moisture, helping to move any constipation caused by dehydration. It is a pate, which means that it is dryer than some other wet foods, and not all cats appreciate the texture. Its primary ingredients are chicken, chicken broth, and chicken liver, giving it flavor and aroma as well as a good source of meat protein.

    The ingredients are natural and the food manufactured in the US, but the formula does include several thickening gums including guar gum and xanthan gum. Although the food is reasonably high in fiber, this helps move any blockages in your cat’s bowel. If your kitten has already established a feeding regimen with different wet food, transition slowly over a week to help minimize the risk of an upset stomach and diarrhea.

    Pros
    • 3% fiber
    • Primary ingredients are meat-proteins
    • Manufactured in US human-grade kitchens

    Cons

    • Contains several thickening gums
    • Pate may not be popular with your kittens


    5. Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature Grain-Free Cat Food – Best For Seniors

    Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Fiber: 2.5%
    Protein: 7%
    Moisture: 78%
    Food Type: Wet Food
    Primary Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver

    Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature Grain-Free Cat Food is designed for senior cats: specifically for those that spend all of their time indoors. It has a pate texture and is a little dryer than other foods, but it uses chicken, chicken broth, and chicken liver as its main ingredients.

    As well as being nutritionally beneficial for cats, chicken liver is used as a natural flavoring, while chicken broth contains omega-3 acids that are essential for feline maintenance. The food is cheaper than most and free from grains and artificial flavors and preservatives.

    With a (deserved) reputation for being picky eaters, some cats do not take to this particular food, and it does contain carrageenan, which has been linked to toxicity in cats but is used in small portions as a binding agent. Blue Buffalo’s price and mostly decent ingredients mean that it could benefit your constipated cat, and you.

    Pros
    • Primary ingredients are chicken-based
    • Flaxseed and broth include omega-3 fatty acids
    • Inexpensive

    Cons

    • Contains carrageenan
    • Pate isn’t popular with all cats


    6. Diamond Care Weight Management Formula Adult Grain-Free Dry Cat Food – Best Dry Food

    Diamond Care Weight Management Formula Adult Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Fiber: 10%
    Protein: 32%
    Moisture: 10%
    Food Type: Dry Food
    Primary Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal

    There aren’t many dry foods in our list of the best food for cats with constipation. Cats, like all pets, need to get plenty of water in their diet, and this is especially true if yours has constipation because it can help get things moving through the digestive system. Despite this, it is notoriously difficult to convince cats to drink water from a bowl, in most cases. However, there are a lot of cats and owners that prefer to feed dry food. It keeps longer, can be left down for several hours to allow graze feeding, and tends to be less expensive than wet food.

    Diamond Care Weight Management Formula Adult Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is a dry kibble but its 10% moisture ratio is higher than most other dry foods. It also lists chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal as its primary ingredients, all of which are good sources of meat protein and in good volume. The fiber level of this food is 10%, which is arguably a little high but it also includes natural probiotics to fight bad gut flora. The food does have lower protein than is ideal, at 32% and higher-than-ideal 50% carbohydrates.

    Pros
    • High fiber helps combat constipation
    • Primary ingredients are meat-proteins
    • Decent moisture for dry food

    Cons

    • Dry food has less moisture than wet food
    • 32% protein is low
    • 50% carbohydrates


    7. Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Canned Cat & Kitten Food

    Nulo Freestyle Minced Turkey & Duck in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat & Kitten Food

    Fiber: 1%
    Protein: 10%
    Moisture: 82%
    Food Type: Wet Food
    Primary Ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Duck Broth

    Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Canned Cat & Kitten Food is a wet food with the consistency of meat chunks surrounded by gravy. Its primary ingredients are meat-based protein sources and it is moderately priced. As well as being grain-free, the formula is packed with extra vitamins and minerals and is free from artificial flavorings and preservatives.

    Although the food has quite low fiber, at just 1%, its 10% protein is good for wet food, and with 82% moisture, it will provide much-needed hydration for your feline friends. The food also contains biotin as well as other proteins to improve coat and skin health.

    Flaky skin and poor coat condition are among the symptoms of prolonged constipation and they can linger even when the constipation is shifted so these proteins continue to help your cat recover even after its stools return to normal. Although the food is well priced and has proven popular with cats, its fiber content is quite low for combating constipation.

    Pros
    • 10% protein
    • Plenty of meat-based proteins

    Cons

    • 1% fiber could be higher


    8. Natural Balance Fat Cats Dry Cat Food

    Natural Balance Fat Cats with Chicken Meal, Salmon Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Peas & Oatmeal Dry Cat Food

    Fiber: 9%
    Protein: 35%
    Moisture: 10%
    Food Type: Dry Food
    Primary Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Salmon Meal, Pea Protein

    Natural Balance Fat Cats Dry Cat Food is a dry kibble formula that is aimed at overweight cats but with 9% fiber and 35% protein, it is a beneficial food source that can help with digestive blockages.

    Its primary ingredients are chicken meal and salmon meal. In dry food, a meat meal is used in place of pure meat because it has a higher protein concentration and is considered a more beneficial source of protein. The third ingredient listed is pea protein. While this is another source of protein for cats, it is considered lower quality than a meat source and is not species-appropriate because cats would not eat it in their natural diet.

    The 10% moisture level in this food is reasonable for dry kibble but will need supplementing with fresh drinking water or another means of hydration for your cat.

    Pros
    • 9% fiber
    • Primary ingredients are chicken meal and salmon meal

    Cons

    • 10% moisture
    • 35% protein could be a little higher


    9. IAMS Proactive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food

    Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food

    Fiber: 8.3%
    Protein: 30%
    Moisture: 10%
    Food Type: Dry Kibble
    Primary Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Grits

    IAMS Proactive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care is a dry cat food formula with over 8% fiber and 10% moisture.

    Its primary ingredients are chicken, chicken by-product meal, and corn grits. Although chicken sounds like a good ingredient, once it has been dried and prepared for the food, its weight is diminished and this means that it accounts for less of the total ingredients. It would likely feature lower in the ingredient list. The second listed ingredient is chicken by-product meal and while the chicken meal is considered more nutritionally beneficial than chicken, by-products are the bits that are left over after the ingredient has been prepared for other meals so its exact origin is unknown.

    Corn grits are the grits that are left after grinding and contain very little fiber or bran: cats struggle to digest corn properly, too, which means that corn-based ingredients could exacerbate constipation, rather than cure it.  Overall, although this food is reasonably priced, it has lower protein than ideal and contains a lot of filler ingredients.

    Pros
    • Decent price
    • 3% fiber is reasonable

    Cons

    • Contains a lot of cheap fillers
    • 30% protein could be higher


    10. Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate

    Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Chicken Recipe Wet Canned Cat Food

    Fiber: 3%
    Protein: 10%
    Moisture: 78%
    Food Type: Wet Food
    Primary Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Liver

    Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate is a grain-free wet food. While it is described as a pate, it has a looser texture that may not appeal to all cats. It does use chicken, turkey, and chicken liver as its three main ingredients, and these are considered nutritionally beneficial sources of meat protein.

    Slightly further down the ingredient list, though, are peas and carrots which are high in carbohydrates and are not as nutritionally beneficial. Wet food is typically more expensive than dry, and while Instinct Original isn’t the most expensive food available, it does cost more than most other foods on this list.

    Pros
    • Primary ingredients are chicken, turkey, and chicken liver
    • 10% protein

    Cons

    • Uses peas and carrots
    • Pricey
    • Pate isn’t always popular


    Buyer’s Guide

    Constipation is a common problem in cats. As well as being a specific illness itself, it could be the symptom of another problem and can lead to more serious issues. Fortunately, its symptoms are usually quite easy to spot, and there are myriad ways in which you can try to treat your feline friend and get him going again. Below, we look at some of the causes, symptoms, and cures for constipation, before looking at which features you should look for when exploring a dietary solution to the problem.

    What Is Constipation?

    Although it depends on diet, stage of life, and other factors, most cats will poop roughly every 24 hours. It should be firm, rather than runny, and it should be easy to pass. Constipated cats may produce stools less often or struggle to pass them at all.

    sick grey cat
    Image Credit: one photo, Shutterstock

    Symptoms Of Cat Constipation

    If your cat is spending a lot of time at the litter tray but not producing, this could be a sign of constipation. The most common symptoms of constipation include:

    • Straining – A cat with a good, that is well hydrated, and that has healthy stools, should be able to easily pass them. If your cat is straining and seemingly struggling to produce, they could be constipated. However, it can be difficult to tell whether they are struggling to poop or urinate.
    • Painful passing – If your cat is meowing or making other noises while passing, they could be suffering pain, which is indicative of constipation. Watch while they are in the tray, ideally from a distance, for signs of pain.
    • Decreased Defecation – A cat will usually poop every 24 hours, although it can be as long as 36 hours between visits. Clear the tray every day and look for poop. If it has been 48 hours without any signs, it could be a symptom. If it reaches 72 hours, you should consult a vet because it could be a serious problem.
    • Hard Feces – Cat feces should be firm without being bullet-like and should look segmented with clear creases. It should not leave excessive marks on the tray when cleaned up. If your cat’s poop is hardy and dry, you will need to take action. You can use the Bristol Stool Chart to see what the feces should look like and whether there is cause for concern.
    • Unproductive Litter Tray Visits – If your cat is making regular visits to the tray without producing any stools, it could be struggling. However, environmental changes like moving the litter tray or a new tray user could also cause this.
    • Liquid Feces – Most often associated with diarrhea, the liquid fecal matter could be a sign of constipation. The fecal matter that gets stuck causes a blockage and irritates the stomach lining, leading to liquid poop.

    Causes

    Constipation can be an illness itself but it can also be the symptom of an underlying problem. Possible causes include:

    • Environmental Causes – Cats can be somewhat picky about where and when they poop. A dirty litter tray, a change in the litter you use, and new competition for tray time can all cause your cat to feel like it can’t use the litter tray in comfort. Try to stick to a routine and use a litter and tray that you know your cat likes. Consider putting an additional tray somewhere else in the house to ensure that they have enough.
    • Physical Pain – As well as pain caused by trying to pass when constipated, other forms of pain could prevent a successful bowel movement. For example, arthritis might make it painful to get in and out of the tray or to get in the squatting position. If your cat is struggling to get in the tray, use one with a lowered side for easier access.
    • Dehydration – Dehydration is a big problem in cats. Many refuse to drink from a water bowl, and if your cat is fed dry kibble, it won’t be getting the required level of moisture from its food, either. Try a water fountain, switch to or include wet food in their diet, and always ensure that there is a fresh supply of drinking water available.
    • Illnesses – Megacolon and a deformed pelvis are two possible physiological causes of cat constipation. Some may affect the colon directly, while others might lead to constipation as a symptom of the disease.

    Cures

    Identifying the cause of constipation will identify the best possible cure, but you can try the following steps before consulting a vet:

    • Ensure Good Hydration – Even if you don’t see your cat drinking from a water bowl, ensure that there is one down for them at all times. Try a different water bowl to prevent sensitive whiskers, or get a cat water fountain.
    • Maintain The Litter Tray – Understandably, some cats struggle to pass stools unless they are comfortable and happy in their litter tray. Don’t change litters unless you have to and ensure that they like the new product. Provide one tray per cat, plus one tray extra, and ensure that there is nothing like radiators or other objects impeding access to the tray.
    • Laxatives – Laxatives are a type of drug that can encourage defecation, but few are available specifically for feline use. Ensure that any drugs you administer to your cat are safe. If in doubt, consult your vet.
    • Change Their Diet – Constipation can be directly linked to diet. If you only feed dry food or you feed something that your cat is sensitive to, this could be the root of the problem. In any case, gradually introducing a new food could help your cat toilet more easily.

    Choosing The Best Food for Cats With Constipation

    Certain types of food are better suited to constipated cats than others and changing to the right food could be enough to remedy the problem.

    Dry vs Wet

    A constant debate with cat owners is whether dry or wet food is best. Dry keeps longer, costs less, and can be left down all day. Wet food is more palatable, tends to be more nutritious, and is around 75% moisture, ensuring that your cat stays hydrated. Changing to wet food could be the constipation cure you’re looking for.

    Fiber

    Fiber is important because it softens stools while reducing their size and making them easier to pass. As well as ensuring that the food you buy has a decent level of fiber, you can also look for those that get their food from beneficial fiber sources like beet pulp and rice bran.

    Moisture

    Dehydration is probably the biggest cause of constipation and if your cat is one of the many that refuse to drink from a water bowl, no matter how fresh the water supply, wet food is the solution because a large proportion of the food is moisture.

    Probiotics

    Probiotics increase the production of short-chain fatty acids which stimulate fecal production. Although they aren’t listed as probiotics, look for foods that contain ingredients like brewer’s yeast and pork liver.

    Allergen-Free

    If your cat is allergic to certain ingredients, it can cause diarrhea but it can also cause constipation. Look for grain-free foods and those that are free of common allergens like seafood and egg.

    hepper cat paw divider

    Conclusion

    Constipation can be a major problem for cats, and its most common cause is dehydration, although other causes do exist. We hope our guide and reviews have helped you find food to encourage healthier stools from your cat. Try swapping to wet food that is high in dietary fiber and rich in moisture.

    We found Weruva Cats In The Kitchen has a high moisture level because it is a wet food and it uses meat as its primary ingredient making it the best food for cats with constipation. Rachel Ray Nutrish Grain-Free is also a wet food with decent moisture and a low price, making it the best value food on the list.


    Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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