Fructooligosaccharides (fruck-toe-oli-go-sack-a-rides) or FOS are a prebiotic that occur naturally in many foods. Small animals that cats would normally prey upon in the wild like mice and voles consistently eat foods that contain FOS. Since most of our domesticated house cats do not have access to natural prey animals, they may not consume a diverse enough diet to adequately maintain good bacteria in their large intestine.
Providing a cat with FOS is an efficient way to ensure a healthy population of Bifidobacteria in your feline’s system. FOS is not digested in the small intestine so it enters the large intestine completely intact. Once in the large intestine, FOS acts as a food source (prebiotic) for the beneficial bacteria living there. Bifidobacteria is one of the primary bacteria that thrive on Fructooligosaccharides. The colonization of these harmless bacteria in the large intestine help prevent the colonization of harmful (pathogenic) bacterial species. When beneficial bacteria are already living there, it is difficult for potentially harmful bacteria to get a foothold. FOS contains no utilizable calories and is considered a non-digestible, soluble source of fiber for your cat.
Fructooligosaccharides also support the absorption of minerals, decrease serum cholesterol, triacyl-glycerols and phospholipids. FOS will help reduce constipation and is even used in infant formulas to help regulate a newborn’s bowel movements. Included in many food products because as a prebiotic, FOS stimulates the growth of beneficial intestinal microflora.
Beneficial bacteria living in the intestinal tract produce short-chain fatty acids, prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and boost intestinal immunity. FOS can also help prevent conditions like diarrhea, IBD, IBS and intestinal inflammation. Maintaining a healthy ecosystem in your cat’s intestinal tract may make a big difference between having a vibrant, healthy pet or one that struggles with digestive issues.