Beet pulp intake and hairball faecal excretion in mixed‐breed shorthaired cats†
Grooming behaviour is part of the feline daily hygiene, and consequently, cats swallow high amounts of hair. Usually the ingested hair is eliminated on faeces; however, large quantities can accumulate in the digestive tract forming the trichobezoars (or hairballs). Excessive hair ingestion or altered gastrointestinal motility may predispose hairballs formation (Cannon, 2013), which may induce vomiting and can cause digestive problems (Beynen et al., 2011; Weber et al., 2015), mainly for cats predisposed to intestinal obstruction. Some insoluble fibres as sugarcane fibre and cellulose prevent hairballs formation (Beynen et al., 2011; Loureiro et al., 2014; Weber et al., 2015), possibly due to their influence on gastric motility and dynamic of intestinal peristalsis. The insoluble fibres, however, do not contribute to short‐chain fatty acid production and related intestinal health benefits (Fischer et al., 2012). Moderate soluble and fermentable fibres, such as beet pulp, promote short‐chain fatty acid formation (Calabro et al., 2013) and are capable of altering gastrointestinal transit time (Fahey et al., 1990), but it seems to be less effective to prevent hairball formation. To better define this, this study evaluated the effect of beet pulp on gastrointestinal transit time and trichobezoars faecal excretion on cats fed kibble diets.