Originating in India, Plantago ovata, blond psyllium known by the name of Ispaghul or Indian plantain belongs to the Plantaginaceae family. Psyllium comes from the Greek ‘psyla’ meaning flee. It is called this way because its seeds are tiny and light, 1000 seeds barely weigh 2g. We use the powder of the casing (integument) of psyllium seeds because it is the most rich in mucilages (soluble fibers). The soluble fibers of psyllium are not very fermentable and are therefore very well tolerated.
The value of psyllium lies in its mechanical action. In the intestine, the mucilages absorb water and create a viscous gel that is not absorbed by the organism. It regulates the transit of content through the small intestine and the colon. The lubricating psyllium gel then facilitates the elimination of stool and hairballs.
The lack of activity in certain sedentary cats living in apartments can lead to a slowed digestive transit. Digestive disorders resulting from hairballs or constipation may then appear. Psyllium has positive effects on their digestive transit.
Figure 1: Inﬂuence of ﬁbres on fecal hair shedding over a 4-week period in 24 cats (Tournier and al., 2005).
A speciﬁc enrichment in vegetable ﬁbers increases the quantity of hair eliminated through stool by 72% when compared to a control feed low in ﬁbers. The fecal excretion is measured every week by following the Hendricks et al.(1998) method.