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What is Crude Fiber?

1 min read

Crude fiber is an essential component of dry cat food, contributing to digestive health and overall well-being. Crude fiber refers to the indigestible portion of plant material in the food. It is composed primarily of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. The term “crude” indicates that the measurement includes all types of indigestible fibers without distinguishing between different sources or types.


  • A bag of dry cat food may list “crude fiber: 3%.” This percentage represents the total fiber content in the food derived from various plant ingredients.

Importance of Fiber for Cats #

Fiber plays several crucial roles in a cat’s diet:

  • Digestive Health: Fiber aids in regulating bowel movements and helps prevent constipation.
  • Weight Management: Fiber can contribute to a feeling of fullness, helping to manage weight by reducing overeating.
  • Hairball Control: Fiber helps hair pass through the digestive tract, reducing the formation of hairballs.
  • Gut Health: Fiber supports a healthy gut microbiome, promoting beneficial bacteria in the intestines.


  • For a cat prone to hairballs, food containing 3-4% crude fiber can help manage and reduce hairball formation.

Sources of Crude Fiber #

The quality and effectiveness of crude fiber depend on its source. High-quality fibers typically come from natural plant sources that provide both soluble and insoluble fiber.

  • Natural Plant Sources: Beet pulp, pumpkin, psyllium husk, cellulose, and chicory root.
  • Grain-based Sources: Rice hulls, wheat bran, corn bran.


  • A premium dry cat food might list beet pulp or pumpkin as fiber sources, which are beneficial for digestive health.

Interpreting Crude Fiber in Dry Cat Food #

Understanding the percentage of crude fiber on a pet food label is important, but it’s also crucial to consider the source and type of that fiber.

  • High-Quality Fibers: Look for specific named plant fibers that are known to aid in digestion.
  • Lower-Quality Fibers: Be cautious of generic terms like “plant fiber” or grain-based fibers listed high in the ingredient list.


  • Food A: “Beet pulp, cellulose” – High-quality sources of fiber.
  • Food B: “Rice hulls, wheat bran” – Lower-quality grain-based fibers.

Dry Matter Basis Comparison #

To accurately compare the fiber content of different foods, it’s important to convert the “as fed” values to a dry matter basis, which excludes moisture content.

The formula for Calculating Dry Matter #

The dry matter amount (A) in percentage is calculated using the following formula:

Dry matter % = (“As fed” nutrient % / (100% – Moisture %)) x 100%

For example, if a dry food contains 3% fiber and 10% moisture on an “as fed” basis, the dry matter fiber would be:

Dry matter fiber % = (3% / (100% – 10%)) x 100% = 3.3%

Bottom Line #

  • Read Labels Carefully: Look beyond the crude fiber percentage and examine the sources.
  • Prefer Natural Plant Fibers: Choose foods with high-quality, natural plant-based fibers listed first.
  • Balance Fiber Levels: Ensure the fiber content is appropriate for your cat’s digestive health and specific needs.
  • Consult a Vet: Regular dietary reviews with a veterinarian can help ensure your cat’s fiber intake is optimal.
Updated on June 12, 2024
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How the score is calculated?

The actual calculation of the score is based on sophisticated and advanced algorithm that takes into account multiple parameters.

To simplify the explanation, the calculation is based on three main criteria:

(1) Amount of protein (more is better)

(2) Amount of carbohydrates (less is better)

(3) Quality and source of ingredients.

Based on that 3 main criteria, 9 score calculation rules are used to compare the different foods.

One major assumption is that the closer an ingredient is to the top of the ingredient list, the greater its relative weight and contribution to the food.

In general, cat food is composed of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins, and minerals.

Protein is the most important component in a cat’s diet, and cats primarily get their protein from animal meat.

Fat is a primary source of energy and essential fatty acids.

Carbohydrates are controversial in a cat’s diet, as cats are obligate carnivores and typically consume very few carbohydrates.

Fibers play an important role in digestion and food absorption, and vitamins and minerals are essential for different organism functions.

Dry matter values are used to compare the amount of nutrients in different cat foods.
This means that moisture is excluded from the equation to provide a more accurate comparison.

Putting all of these and more into a formula results in a product score.

The maximum score a cat food can receive is 100.
Points are added or removed based on the score calculation rules.