Constipation in Cats: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Constipation in cats may cause discomfort and restlessness, and it can even become a health risk if not treated immediately. Our Somerset County emergency veterinarian discusses the signs and symptoms of constipation in cats, as well as the reasons and treatment options for the illness.
What is constipation in cats?
Pooping is done by the majority of cats every 24 to 36 hours on average. Constipation is most likely the cause of your cat’s decreased pooping frequency, straining when she attempts to defecate, and failure to drop any waste in the litter box. In cats, it’s a frequent condition that’s typically mild enough to be treated at home with over-the-counter medications. If it occurs only seldom, there is no reason to be concerned; however, if it becomes a regular problem or if it has been more than 48 to 72 hours since she last had a bowel movement, you should consult your veterinarian.
What causes constipation in cats?
Constipation can develop if things aren’t passing through the intestines in the regular manner. Constipation in your cat can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Having back pain or other concerns with your spine
- Being anxious or stressed Pain associated with arthritis
- Diets high in dry food (which can lead to constipation and dehydration in cats)
- She is not getting enough fiber in her diet. An obstacle, such as bones or thread, that prevents the colon from functioning properly. Having problems with your kidneys
- Excessive grooming (which results in an accumulation of hair in the digestive system)
- A cat’s megacolon (a colon that becomes so enormous the muscles no longer have enough room to compress it and hard, dry feces begins to accumulate inside)
- IBD (inflammatory bowel illness)
- Nerve difficulties
- Narrow spots, tumors, or other abnormalities inside the colon
- Chronic conditions such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, or renal disease
- Gastrointestinal parasites
- Anal sacs that have ruptured or been impacted (which might cause pain while defecating)
- Disease of the perianal region
However, even though constipation affects older cats more frequently than kittens, it can affect cats of any breed or age that are fed a low-fiber diet or who don’t drink enough water in their daily lives.
What are symptoms of constipation?
Cat excrement is often well-formed, a deep brown color, and wet enough that litter will adhere to it in the normal course of events. Constipation in cats manifests as in the form of firm, dry stools that end up either within or outside of their litter box (discomfort of trying to pass these stools may have your cat leaving the litter box before actually being finished). Constipation can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including:
- When you need to go, you should enter and exit the litter box many times. Using excessive force or weeping in the litter box
- Avoiding the litter box. Not being able to defecate at all is a frustrating experience.
If your cat exhibits indications of pain when using the litter box, consult your veterinarian immediately as this might suggest significant urinary tract difficulties. Given that constipation is often associated with other health problems, you may also have symptoms of the underlying problem, which may include:
- Reduced hunger
- Increased or decreased water consumption
- Difficulty leaping up
- Muscle loss
- Weight loss
- Increased peeing
- Walking with a stiff gait
If your cat is exhibiting any of these signs, whether or not it is experiencing constipation, you should visit a veterinarian.
How is constipation in cats treated?
Despite the fact that some constipation disorders are moderate and may be addressed with dietary and lifestyle modifications, as well as at-home therapies, others may be serious and need the attention of a veterinarian. Serious situations may escalate to the point of becoming crises. When constipation occurs, it should be addressed as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of long-term damage to the colon caused by persistent distension of the colon. To effectively treat constipation in cats, it is necessary to first identify and, if feasible, rectify the underlying condition.
A veterinary emergency is defined as the inability to pass urine or feces, as well as the presence of pain when passing urine or feces.
It is important to emphasize that veterinarian knowledge is required in order to properly and successfully administer the enema – these should not be performed at home since several types of enemas developed for people are hazardous to cats (see below).
Cats suffering from chronic constipation or megacolon that do not respond to medication therapy may require surgical removal of the part of the large intestine that is causing the problem.
How to treat constipation in cats: At-Home Remedies
These at-home cures for constipation in cats may be effective in relieving the condition:
- Reduce stress and worry to the bare minimum
- Increase physical activity to aid in weight loss, anxiety reduction, and the promotion of regular bowel movement
- Try a different diet (lamb, chicken, special limited-ingredient diets, or hypoallergenic diets) to decrease inflammation and enable the intestines to function normally. As natural therapies, consume high-fiber foods, such as a spoonful of canned, pureed pumpkin once or twice a day, or ginger tea. Probiotics should be provided. Help your cat maintain a healthy weight by providing nutritious food. Over-the-counter laxatives (see your veterinarian before using them, since they may exacerbate symptoms in cats suffering from underlying or chronic disorders)
Should I watch my cat for constipation?
Initial observations should be made at least twice a week, then weekly or biweekly, to determine the frequency and consistency of your cat’s litter box deposits and stool consistency. It is important to call your veterinarian if you observe your cat straining when defecating or showing other signs of constipation. This is especially important if your cat is also suffering from diarrhea, as dehydration may rapidly become a problem.
Cat Can’t Poo? Here’s What to Do
For constipated cats, there are a handful of safe home treatments you may try. However, before doing any of them, speak with your veterinarian first. As humans, we can all relate to how painful constipation can be, so it’s not difficult to picture how your cat may be feeling if he’s experiencing the same problem. Cat constipation, like human constipation, may be an occasional irritation for your feline companion, but it may also be a symptom of a more serious health concern. For the time being, don’t start whipping out the butter, olive oil, or any other crowdsourcing cat constipation cures.
Anthony, DVM, has been practicing feline-exclusive care for more than 20 years.
What Causes Constipation in Cats?
Although veterinarians aren’t always sure what causes constipation in cats, Anthony says the condition is more common in cats with certain conditions, such as kidney disease. “Kidney disease frequently results in body water loss and overall dehydration, which can manifest as constipation,” Anthony says. “Intestinal illness can affect motility, decreasing the transit of digested contents and resulting in a drier stool,” according to the National Institutes of Health. Your kitten may also be experiencing physical discomfort that prevents him from placing himself properly in the litter box, causing him to avoid using the box completely.
Cats may also have impacted anal glands, which can be painful.
Signs Your Cat Is Constipated
Cats are notoriously secretive when it comes to taking care of their business (and we take the same ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude to the entire thing ourselves!) However, in order to recognize the indications of cat constipation, you must first become familiar with his feces. “An incorrect belief exists that, in constipated cats, the stool within is greater in diameter than regular stool. This is not the case. While this is occasionally the case, sometimes the feces produced by constipated cats is extremely tiny “”It’s Anthony,” he adds.
The longer the feces remains in the colon, the more water is drawn out of the body.” This produces a painful cycle: the colon drains water (which is its duty), the poo becomes harder and drier, and cat is unable to transfer it through the system.
Another characteristic is that it is frequently quite dark brown, however nutrition may affect the color.
In the event that your cat appears sluggish or meows in discomfort when you pick him up or try to touch him, it’s important to investigate his potty habits (his pride will soon recover!). You could observe the following, according to Anthony:
- While he is using the litter box, put him under pressure. In addition, he is not passing a substantial volume of feces (which is generally at least a couple inches in length)
- Defecation in places other than the bathroom
- He vomits after attempting to pass gas
Any of these signs and symptoms should prompt you to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately soon. In addition, some pet parents bring in their cats who are truly constipated because they are stopping themselves from urinating, according to Anthony. If you assume constipation based on your poo examination but only notice a few drops of urine, Anthony says this is typically a secondary outcome of the cat exerting all of his abdominal muscles to push and the bladder being relatively empty, but a vet will be able to confirm this.
Best Way to Help a Constipated Cat Poop Again
Take him to the veterinarian. That’s it! It’s simple! According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, a veterinarian will examine your cat’s hydration levels, check his overall health, and rule out any other probable clinical causes of his dehydration. In addition to this, if the problem is more serious, the vet team will take quick action to alleviate the discomfort of your cat’s constipation. “Constipated cats may require an enema at the veterinarian’s office in order to defecate. This is a liquid that softens and lubricates the passage of excrement, and it is used in the toilet “”It’s Anthony,” he adds.
- Obstipation is a medical condition that necessitates fecal extraction by a clinician while under sedation or anesthesia.” You shouldn’t have to palpate a cat in order to get constipation relief, either.
- (Whew!) There are several home cures for cat constipation that you may research on the internet, and your veterinarian will likely prescribe the safest and most effective solutions for you.
- “No nutritional adjustments should be undertaken prior to consulting with a veterinarian, however, because dietary suggestions should be made with the cat’s overall health in mind,” says the veterinarian.
- Consult your veterinarian for assistance in developing a more balanced and um, digestible cuisine.
My Cat Is Constipated – What do I do?
Constipation is one of the most prevalent difficulties that cats experience with their digestive tract. It is normal for most cats to have bowel movements at least once every 1-2 days; however, this may vary from cat to cat depending on how much and what type of food they consume. Here’s an overview of the most likely reasons of feline constipation, as well as what preventative steps you may take and when you should take your cat to the veterinarian.
Causes Of Cat Constipation
If your cat is exhibiting indications of constipation, there might be a variety of contributing factors.
They might range from a simple lack of water to a major underlying medical issue that requires treatment. The following are the most prevalent causes of feline constipation:
- Hairballs, excessive grooming, a low-fiber diet, dehydration, obesity, intestinal blockage, an abnormal colon shape, or inflammation of the colon are all symptoms of colonic dysmotility. Disorders of the nervous system
- The avoidance of the litterbox (the cat does not want to use the litterbox, thus he does not use it)
In most cases, cat constipation is accompanied by one or more of the following signs and symptoms:
- Dry, hard stools
- Bloody stools
- And a general lack of appetite The litter box is filled with crying or straining
- The absence of grooming
- Loss of weight
- Excursions to the litter box on a regular basis without defecating Lethargy, not replying to you as frequently as you would want
Inquire with Fuzzy about Cat Constipation.
What Can You Do In Home To Help With My Cat’s Constipation?
If you find that your cat is still generating some feces on a regular basis, there may be some preventative actions you can take to keep him from being constipated to the point of dehydration. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Maintain a constant supply of clean and fresh water outside to ensure that your cat has plenty to drink. Brush your teeth on a regular basis. Regular brushing of long-haired breeds or cats that are prone to hair balls can help keep extra hair out of the digestive track. Change the food that your cat eats. Feeding a canned diet and/or including more fiber in the food may be beneficial. Fiber can aid in the movement of waste through the digestive system more rapidly and readily
- Try putting pumpkin or natural bran cereal in our cats’ diet to see if it helps. Fiber supplements also help to enhance the amount of fiber in the diet. Some cats will require the use of a laxative, such as Miralax or Lactulose, in order to maintain their regularity. It is possible that you may need to contact with your veterinarian before beginning a laxative regimen. Use a cat probiotic that has been suggested by a veterinarian for digestive health.
When Should I See A Full Service Veterinarian?
Any of the following symptoms indicate that you should take your cat to a full-service veterinarian or an urgent care facility immediately:
- This is the second time in less than 48 hours that your cat has defecated. You haven’t given your cat anything to eat or drink in more than 48 hours. Your cat’s excrement contains blood, which you discover. vomiting that continues over a long period of time Fatigue has increased. Your cat has stopped grooming itself
- Any indications or symptoms of abdominal pain
Cat constipation can also be a sign of a separate, and potentially more dangerous, underlying condition in the animal. Having your cat inspected by a veterinarian may be necessary in the event that your feline companion requires more intense treatment such as enemas, surgery, or fluid administration. Your veterinarian will be able to determine whether or not more tests are necessary after completing a complete physical examination and discussing your cat’s symptoms with you.
How to Make a Cat Poop When Constipated
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When your cat’s all bunged up, what do you do to unplug the blockage? Here’s how to make a cat poop when constipated.
Sometimes cats become constipated, much like humans do on a regular basis. And we all know how unpleasant it can be to be in such situation! Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to assist your cat in going to the litter box when she is blocked up. Keep in mind that if your cat is having a lot of difficulty passing stool, a visit to the veterinarian is essential for your pet’s health. What Causes Diarrhea in Cats is a related question.
Diet and Hydration
When your cat is constipated, one of the first things you should do is increase the amount of water she consumes. This is one of the most important actions you can do. You might, for example, add some water to the food that you’re currently giving your pet, or you may switch to canned food entirely. If your cat suffers from constipation on a regular basis and is currently on a dry food diet, switching her to a moisturizing canned food diet may be precisely what she needs. If your pet isn’t enthusiastic about eating wet food at first, introduce it gradually—perhaps over the course of several months—to get her used to the change.
For added convenience, you can consider placing additional water bowls around your home, particularly in locations where your pet spends a lot of time, to assist ensure that she remains well hydrated.
It’s possible that doing so will encourage your cat to drink more water.
Movement Through Play
Another technique to encourage your cat to produce a bowel movement is to provide her with new toys that she may engage in playtime with. Increasing the amount of time you spend playing with your cat is good to both of you. It is entertaining to see your cat’s antics, and it also helps to guarantee that your cat is receiving some much-needed exercise. Additionally, assisting your cat in maintaining a healthy weight may help to decrease or prevent constipation.
In addition to providing your feline companion with a range of toys that stimulate stalking, leaping, and running, you may want to consider adding a cat tree or two to your house, as this will allow her to get some exercise while also getting some exercise.
Supplements to Consider
When your cat is constipated, there are certain supplements that you may add to her food, but it’s always better to contact with your veterinarian before making any dietary changes. To be completely certain that a supplement is safe and that you are administering the proper amount for safety and efficacy, you should consult with a medical professional. It is also strongly advised that you choose the highest-quality supplements, and it is prudent to determine whether a new supplement may combine with any other supplements or drugs that your pet is presently receiving before administering it.
Another option to consider is coconut oil, which is particularly useful if hairballs are causing the constipation.
Some veterinarians may even suggest wheat bran or canned pumpkin as a healthy alternative.
Miralax and Metamucil are two examples of over-the-counter medications.
Professional Treatments from a Vet
Your veterinarian may recommend professional therapies to get things going, such as intravenous fluids or enemas, to start things moving. (Please keep in mind that you should never conduct an enema yourself.) Beyond that, your veterinarian may recommend a substance such as lactulose to assist soften your pet’s stool, or you may need to change your pet’s diet to one that contains the appropriate amount of fiber to support your cat’s digestive tract. To reiterate, it is better to treat your kitten for constipation at home under the supervision of your veterinarian.
If there are any underlying medical issues that are contributing to the constipation, the therapy will be determined by the diagnosis.
In her spare time, Lisa Selvaggio works as a writer and animal rescue volunteer, caring for cats of all ages and learning about their numerous eccentricities. She holds a certificate in clinical pet nutrition and likes assisting pet parents in providing the best care possible for their fur pets. More of her work may be seen at LSA Writing Services, where you can also read more about her. Lisa Selvaggio has contributed to this article.
All bunged up: Unclogging the constipated cat
Client handout has been revised and updated. With Dr. Margie Scherk’s assistance, we were able to update a client handout on feline constipation. You can get it right here. Constipated cats are inconvenient because they strain in the litter box, maybe even screaming out, or they leave undesirable hard pellets all over the house and yard. Congestion can also impair a cat’s ability to eat and can even result in vomiting in some cases. Traditional therapies to this difficult condition include the use of enemas, laxatives to soften the stool or enhance contractions, dietary fiber, and promotetility drugs, among other things.
- How about the long-term impacts of constipation?
- THE REASONS FOR CONSTITUTION Constipation is a clinical symptom that is not pathognomonic for any specific underlying disease or condition.
- In cats, water makes about 65 to 75 percent of their bodies depending on their age and percent body fat content.
- When cells become dehydrated, the body responds by taking efforts to restore the fluid balance.
- This means that medical therapy may not be the most effective first-line treatment option in some cases.
- Examining the patient’s medical history Considering the plethora of probable causes as well as concurrent disorders, it is critical to have an accurate history.
Not only is it important to inquire about the cat’s current diet (type, frequency, and appetite), but it is also important to inquire about whether the patient may be dehydrated (due to decreased intake or increased water loss), may be suffering from orthopedic pain, or may be reluctant to use the litter box due to social or toileting issues (fear, unpleasant box).
- Minor constipation does not require extensive investigation or treatment, but determining the reason is important in order to decrease the likelihood of it progressing to a more serious situation.
- 1Physical examination is required.
- It is possible to misjudge skin elasticity in elderly patients (as well as in young kittens) due of age-related changes in body water distribution, elastin content, and collagen content.
- Testing for diagnostic purposes If a cat is suffering its first bout of simple constipation, additional testing may not be required, and therapeutic rehydration will most likely be sufficient.
- The completion of a complete blood count (CBC), a serum chemical profile, a measurement of total thyroxine (T4) concentration, and a urinalysis should be conducted in order to assess general metabolic state and to get more information about the degree of dehydration.
- In order to establish that the hard mass is intraluminal and to rule out any extraluminal concerns such as obstructive masses, orthopedic or skeletal abnormalities, radiographs are necessary..
- It is possible to see evidence of a pelvic fracture or other fractures that are not properly positioned.
- A digital rectal examination should be performed on all cats that have recurring constipation.
- Perineal herniation can occur as a result of chronic tenesmus.
- In order to biopsy mural or intraluminal masses, a colonoscopy may be necessary.
If your cat is exhibiting signs of neurologic disease (such as paresthesias, hyporeflexia, urinary retention, or regurgitation), he or she should undergo a thorough neurologic examination to rule out conditions such as sacrocaudal dysgenesis (found in the Manx breed), spinal neoplasia, or dysautonomia.
- Rehydration is the first step.
- The use of intravenous fluids for rehydration is possible, however subcutaneous fluid administration is usually sufficient.
- If the total protein concentration is unknown, the packed cell volume in combination with the total protein concentration may be of assistance.
- It would be preferable to use a replacement solution such as Normosol-R (Hospira) or Plasma-Lyte 148 (Baxter) if the intravenous route is taken.
- Approximately 60 mL per kilogram of normal, hydrated weight per day is necessary for maintaining hydration (see the sidebar “Case example: Fluid volume for deficit repair and hydration maintenance”).
- To begin nutritional treatment, prokinetic agents, and laxatives, wait until the patient has been rehydrated before starting them.
3 The administration of small amounts of warm water (or saline solution), mixed with 5 ml of mineral oil, vegetable glycerin, polyethylene glycol (PEG or PEG 3350), lactulose, or docusate sodium, several times throughout the course of a 24-hour period is both safer and more effective than administering the entire volume in one go.
- It is also possible to utilize pediatric rectal suppositories (e.g.bisacodyl, docusate sodium).
- Insoluble fibers increase the volume of the feces, causing distention and contraction of the reflex muscles.
- Different fiber sources have varying ratios of soluble to insoluble fibers in them.
- This relates to the capacity of intestinal bacteria to create short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and gas as a result of the fiber they consume.
- SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids) are essential as an energy source for colonocytes and are essential for motility.
- Individualization is vital in cats, as it is in other aspects of life.
- Step 4: The administration of laxatives Cathartics are substances that stimulate the movement of the colon.
True laxatives work through a different method.
mineral oil, hairball remedies) reduces water absorption from the colon into the body; the use of emollient laxatives (e.g.
cellulose or poorly digestible polysaccharides such as cereal grain) increases Step 5: Administration of a fertility-promoting medication Consider using fertility medicines only after other treatments have been tried and proven to be ineffective.
8 Drugs that impact serotonin 5-HT4 receptors (e.g., cisapride, mosapride, prucalopride, tegaserod) have been employed to achieve the desired result in this study.
11 Nizatidine and ranitidine have been shown in experiments to suppress anticholinesterase activity, working in a synergistic manner with cisapride.
This group includes medications that cause dehydration, such as diuretics, as well as medications that impair intestinal motility, such as barium, opioids, tricyclic antidepressants, and some H1-antihistamines, among others.
A fundamental need of the environment is the availability of diverse yet distinct resources.
By establishing various places that are geographically apart from one another, the likelihood of intercat violence or threat (whether perceived or genuine) from other individuals is reduced.
Large (at least 1.5 times the length of the cat) and extremely clean litter boxes are required for indoor cats.
In addition, water stations must be kept clean and refreshed on a regular basis.
14 Having wet food increases water intake greatly, which helps to maintain a healthy hydration condition.
Colectomy should only be considered as a “last option” in the case of a cat with a megacolon that has been unresponsive to medicinal care and has been suffering from constipation for more than six months.
It is possible that a simple pelvic osteotomy will be sufficient to avoid megacolon in cats if the trauma happened less than six months before.
SUMMARY Constipation should be treated and managed as soon as possible in order to avoid the development of irreparable complications.
It is important not to disregard the behavioral and environmental factors.
It is critical to follow up on a regular basis.
CatsINK is run by Margie Scherk, DVM, DABVP (feline practice).
Washabau and A.H.
Constipation, obstipation, and a megacolon are all symptoms of IBS.
The 2013 AAHA/AAFP fluid treatment guidelines for dogs and cats were published by Davis H, Jensen T, Johnson A, and colleagues.
J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 2013;49(3):149-159.
Constipation, obstruction, and megacolon: a review of the literature.
J Anim Sci, vol.
8, 1995, pp.
J Anim Sci, vol.
4, 1995, pp.
7.Freiche, V., Houston, D., Weese, H., and colleagues An uncontrolled research was conducted to determine the effect of a psyllium-enriched extruded dry meal on the consistency of faeces excretion in cats suffering from constipation.
Prokinetic agents will play an important role in the future of gastroenterology.
Colonic motility in fasting dogs was examined in relation to the enterokinetic prucalopride (R093877).
Washabau RJ, et al., The large intestine.
Washabau and M.J.
Canine and feline gastroenterology is a branch of veterinary medicine.
Yoneta, T., Ueki S., Seiki M., Ueki S., et al.
Journal of Feline Medical Surgery, Volume 15, Number 3, Pages 219-230, 2013.
14.Kirschvink, N., Lhoest, E., Leemans, J., and colleagues In cats, water intake is controlled by the frequency of feeding and the amount of energy provided, according to the results of the study. ESVCN’s 9th Congress was held in 2005.
Constipation in Cats
Constipation is described as an abnormal buildup of feces in the colon, which results in difficult bowel motions, according to the American Constipation Association. This may result in a reduction in the frequency of feces or the lack of defecation. There is a feces retention in the colon (large intestine). Because one of the primary tasks of the colon is to absorb water, the held feces become hard and dry, making it even more difficult to pass the excrement. A constipated cat may strain in an attempt to defecate, which will cause belly pain.
Some people mistake the liquid feces for diarrhea, but in reality, as the cat strains, a little quantity of liquid fecal material squeezes around the hard fecal bulk, causing it to seem like diarrhea.
What causes constipation?
But it may occur at any age in cats, constipation is most prevalent in mature and middle-aged cats, although it may occur at any age in cats. Constipation is caused by a number of factors, the most significant of which are as follows:
- Hairballs, particularly in longhaired cats
- Ingestion of foreign things such as bones
- Pelvic injuries resulting in a restricted pelvic canal
- Obesity and/or a lack of activity
- And urinary tract infections
A clear reason cannot always be determined in all situations. A frequent symptom linked with idiopathic (unknown cause)megacolon is constipation, which occurs in around half of all cases.
What is megacolon?
When it comes to constipation in cats, the most prevalent reason is megacolon, which is defined as an enlarged and weak colon that results in severe constipation. Colon muscles that have been weakened are unable to effectively push fecal materials out of the colon in this state. It is possible that this is related to neurological dysfunction, issues with the muscles lining the colon, or a combination of the two. Megacolon can occur as a primary condition or as a secondary condition following long-term constipation, depending on the circumstances.
Feces then build up in this unusually distended and enlarged colon, causing it to rupture.
How are constipation and megacolon diagnosed?
The clinical indicators and medical history of the cat can be used to make a diagnosis of constipation in the vast majority of instances, however. Cats that are affected by this condition frequently struggle in vain to defecate and may scream out in agony. Any feces that have been passed are firm and dry. In addition, the cat may display indications of lethargy, a reluctance to feed, stomach discomfort and distension, and even vomiting. As long as your cat is neither fat or tight, your veterinarian will most likely be able to palpate or feel the accumulation of fecal material in his or her colon.
A variety of diagnostic tests may be performed, including abdominal and pelvic radiographs (X-rays) to look for pelvic injuries, colonic strictures (a narrowing of the exit passage caused by a previous problem), and tumors, as well as bloodwork and urine testing to look for underlying disease conditions that can contribute to constipation and diarrhea.
For the diagnosis of this illness, radiographs are also the most commonly used test.
How can constipation and megacolon be treated?
The treatment for constipation differs based on the underlying reason. An blockage such as a colonic tumor may necessitate the need for surgical intervention. Veterinary enemas and hand extraction of feces may be administered to a cat suffering from constipation in the first stages of the condition. The removal of feces from the colon is frequently accompanied by the administration of an anesthetic or sedative. Usually, intravenous fluid treatment is necessary to rectify fluid imbalances and dehydration that are contributing to the constipation’s progression.
- There are a variety of medications available to soften feces and encourage regular bowel motions in people with IBS.
- The more severely afflicted individuals may require medications that encourage the contraction of the colon to relieve their symptoms.
- Cats should defecate at least once every other day, if not more frequently.
- Make no modifications to your cat’s treatment routine without first discussing with your veterinarian beforehand.
- Regular grooming of longhaired cats may help to prevent hair ingestion, and “hairball treatments” or “hairball diets” may help to reduce the chance of hairballs causing constipation in cats with long hair.
When might surgery be necessary?
Surgical intervention may be advised in the event of the development of megacolon or if the constipation is severe and medication therapy has proven fruitless. Surgery is used to treat colon cancer. A partial or subtotal colectomy is a technique that removes a piece of the colon that has been damaged by the cancer. Following this procedure, the majority of cats perform exceptionally well with minor adverse effects.
What is the long-term outlook for a cat with this problem?
According to the origin of the constipation, the long-term outlook varies; nevertheless, most cats may be effectively controlled without surgery and return to their usual, healthy lifestyles. Fortunately, the prognosis for cats that require surgery to treat megacolon is favorable.
Cat Constipation: Signs, Causes & Treatment
Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Specialist Toxicology, Writer|+ articles Dr. Lee, DACVECC, DABT is a board-certified veterinary expert in emergency care (DACVECC) and toxicology (DABT) who practices in the United States (DABT). Help! My cat is suffering from constipation… My cat hasn’t defecated in three days! Understanding your cat’s litter box habits may not be at the top of your “to do” list right now. However, it is something that you should do. Believe it or not, you’ll want to be “up to speed” on your cat’s bowel motions and digestive tract in order to provide the best care possible.
It is customary for normally healthy cats to use the litter box 2-4 times each day, consisting of one poop and 2-3 normal-sized urinations (which are generally the size of a woman’s clenched fist).
In the event that your cat feces every other day, I’m concerned about obstipation (which is defined as severe or full constipation, when no poop comes out at all!).
So, what are clinical signs that my cat is constipated?
- Having to struggle to urinate or defecate in the litter box
- Having bowl movement accidents outside of the litter box
- Having solid, dry, tiny fecal balls in or near the litter box When defecating in the litter box, it takes longer, and it requires many trips to the litter box
- A decrease in the volume of feces in the litter box or a complete absence of excrement in the litter box for many days
- While defecating, you may find yourself crying out in anguish. Having fecal matter adhered to the fur on the rear end of the animal
- More meowing in the vicinity of the litter box
- A reduction in appetite Weight loss
- And nausea and vomiting
Now, keep in mind that normally healthy cats do not become constipated on a regular basis. As a veterinarian, I find feline constipation in the following situations more frequently:
- Older cats (because they are more prone to have underlying health issues)
- Cats in their mid-to-late twenties. obese cats (who are unable to brush their back end or perineal area)
- Cats who are overweight Cats with osteoarthritis who may experience discomfort while jumping into the litter box (which may necessitate the use of pain medication, a ramp, and lower-walled litter boxes)
- Cats who have underlying medical conditions
- Cats that are overweight.
What are the common causes of constipation in cats?
- If your cat has a metabolic disorder that causes him or her to lose too much water (e.g., chronic renal disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, etc.), he or she will get dehydrated, which is why water consumption becomes increasingly crucial as your cat gets older. Feline idiopathic megacolon (in which the smooth muscle of the colon is not functioning properly)
- Pelvis/bone or nerve issues (for example, if your cat was injured as a result of a trauma such as a pelvic fracture when he was younger) or strictures in the region
- Cancer, Dietary Issues, and Other Concerns Arthritis-related discomfort
- Causes that are inherited (which are more prevalent in the Manx cat)
- The presence of foreign bodies (for example, anything lodged in the intestines, ranging from huge hairballs to misplaced toys)
How does my cat get diagnosed?
Constipation is diagnosed by your veterinarian based on a variety of factors, including a thorough history (such as what type of food you are feeding your cat, where the cat’s water comes from, and so on), physical examination findings (such as palpating a large amount of feces in the colon, feeling the size of the kidneys, and so on), and a medical work up. To determine the potential reason of constipation in your cat, a medical work-up will be performed, which will include the following procedures:
- Minimum blood tests to examine kidney and liver function, salt balance, protein level, and blood sugar levels
- A complete blood count is performed to determine the number of white and red blood cells in the body. A thyroid function test (if your cat is over the age of 8-9 years)
- A urine test is necessary to determine how effectively the kidneys are functioning (the more concentrated and yellow the urine, the better the kidneys are operating). In order to determine the size of the pelvic hole and whether there is any evident malignancy or physical explanation for the inability to defecate, X-rays will be taken
- An abdominal ultrasound is performed in situations of recurrent constipation to aid in the diagnosis of malignancy.
Getting that stopped up excrement out of your cat’s system is the most critical component of keeping your cat comfortable and treating their constipation once this veterinarian diagnostic workup is completed. Please keep in mind that some cats may require long-term medication or food adjustments in order to avoid chronic constipation from occurring again. Because we want to avoid megacolon, which occurs when the colon gets persistently dilated and is difficult to cure on a long-term basis, it is critical to do this.
How do you treat my cat’s constipation?
In order to effectively treat constipation in cats over the long term, it is necessary to switch to a high fiber diet in the form of canned food (which contains more water). The ideal new diet would have a significant amount of soluble fiber, which is vital for increasing the amount of water in the stool, as well as be highly digestible and fermentable. When it comes to cat constipation, canned food is my preferred option; unfortunately, not all cats will consume canned food! If your cat primarily consumes dry food, you should be aware that there are prescription dry cat meals that are high in fiber.
Some cats will not consume food that contains psyllium products (e.g., MetamucilTM), thus it is best to sprinkle psyllium products on top of their diet.
2. Fluid therapy
This is a vital method of helping to hydrate your cat and return some moisture to the feces, whether it is administered directly into the vein (intravenous or “IV”) or administered under the skin (subcutaneous or “SQ”). The same reason it is so crucial for your cat’s water intake to be increased – by giving clean, fresh water at all times!
3. Stool softeners
Stool softeners for cats are available in a variety of formulations. These medications can be obtained over-the-counter (MiralaxTM) or by prescription (e.g., lactulose). In the event of a question, please consult with a veterinarian before taking these products since they may induce additional negative effects (like increased potassium levels or diarrhea).
- MiralaxTM (polyethylene glycol 3350): This product can be purchased over-the-counter and combined with a tiny amount of canned cat food to give to your cat. Before beginning, consult with your veterinarian, but I often administer 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon every 12-24 hours orally as needed to cure feline constipation. This medication aids in the removal of excess water from the colon, but it might induce alterations in the body’s sodium balance, so it must be used with caution. Lactulose (a sticky, sweet veterinary prescription liquid drug used to loosen the stool) is a diuretic used to loosen the stool. This is a drug that you must obtain from your veterinarian, and it is a stool softener/laxative combination treatment. When I first start using it, I take it at 1/2 – 3/4 of a teaspoon (2.5 – 3.75 mL) orally every 6-8-12 hours until the stool becomes looser. Use on a constant basis for the following 3-5 days, and then only when necessary to soften the stool. Basically, it’s a device that draws water into the gastrointestinal tract. Unfortunately, it’s really sticky and difficult to persuade cats to eat it without causing them discomfort.
Warm water enemas administered by your veterinarian will aid in the loosening of bowel motions in constipated cats, allowing your cat to excrete more easily. A temporary feeding tube (e.g., nasogastric tube) is sometimes placed into the stomach to allow polyethylene glycol 3350 to be passed in over an 8-12-hour period, which aids with defecation and helps the patient. Please be aware that you should never administer enemas at home without first consulting your veterinarian or the American Society of Animal Poison Control.
The reason for this is because I’ve seen cats suffer life-threatening indications after being given particular types ofFleet enemas by well-intentioned pet parents (Please consult your veterinarian before administering enemas at home!).
These are medications that aid in the contraction of the gastrointestinal system. These are prescription drugs from your veterinarian, such as cisapride (which is normally only accessible to veterinary professionals or compounding pharmacies), metoclopramide, and ranitidine (which is only available to veterinarians or compounding pharmacies). Cisapride is considered to be the most effective medication.
Occasionally, in extreme situations that do not respond to medication, your cat may need to be sedated in order to physically remove the feces from the colon. This is the one that no one likes.
When medicinal treatment for a megacolon fails, surgery for a colectomy may be considered, although it is typically not suggested unless it is a “last resort” technique in the most severe instances.
8. Lastly, euthanasia
It goes without saying that we don’t want to take this unless the constipation is very bad. However, some cases can be so severe and difficult to treat that they become a constant source of frustration. Another reason I’m a strong supporter of Pumpkin Pet Care is to ensure that expenses do not play a part in the care of our furry family members.
Make sure that the litter boxes in your cat’s litter box are kept clean. “n+1” is the usual guideline to follow. If you have one cat, you will require two litter boxes. If you have three cats, you will require four boxes. And, certainly, just because you have more boxes does not imply that you can clean them any less thoroughly. Keep them clean on a daily basis to ensure that your cat is urinating and defecating in the proper manner. Again, litter boxes are a nasty business, but it is critical to keep your cat’s litter box clean in order to detect medical concerns such as constipation as soon as possible!
This will assist to keep your cat healthy.
How To Make an Elderly Cat Poop When Constipated
A senior cat should evacuate its bowels at least once a day, if not more frequently. If your older cat’s bowel movements are less often than that, it may be suffering from constipation. Maintain the regularity of your cat’s food and activity by feeding it an age-appropriate diet. Constipation can be relieved by giving stool softeners or mild laxatives to the patient. You may also urge cats to eliminate manually by providing them with positive reinforcement. Rub a moist towel on the cat’s anus to simulate the sensation of a mother cat licking her kitten.
Your elder cat should be able to go to the bathroom more frequently as a result of food and lifestyle modifications.
How to Tell if A Cat Is Constipated
As previously indicated, a cat’s bowels should be emptied once a day. It is likely that your senior cat is constipated if it goes more than 24 hours without pooping. The following are signs of a constipated senior cat:
- Not using the litter box
- Not cleaning it. abdomen that is swollen and bloated
- Strenuous defecation accompanied by tears
- Posture that is hunched over and action that is hesitant Having tiny, firm feces come out
- Feces that include blood or mucous
- Vomiting after consuming a meal
- A decrease in appetite and weight loss
In order to prevent your cat from defecating, make sure it cannot.
Despite the fact that it is capable of going to the bathroom, it is unwilling to do so. The reason for this might be that your cat has acquired a dread of its litter box, leading it to opt to eliminate elsewhere or to hold in its waste.
Why Is My Older Cat Not Using Its Litter Box Anymore?
Fear of the litter box can develop in a cat for a variety of reasons, including physical or psychological. The following are the most often cited reasons for this:
- It is painful to defecate
- The litter box hasn’t been cleaned in a long time. This means that the litter within has altered in fragrance or texture. There is an excessive amount of litter in the box. The litter box is located in a very loud place. It has been decided to relocate the litter box. The cat has outgrown its litter box
- It is now outside. It appears that another cat is making use of the litter box.
Cats are particular about their litter box, so it must meet the following requirements:
- Cleanliness is ensured at least once a day. Located in a peaceful neighborhood, away from traffic and noise
- Cats have an own personality. Multiple cats necessitate the use of multiple litter boxes. There should be no more than two inches of a well-known, odorless litter
- A large enough space for the cat to comfortably fit within
If you are certain that your litter box is not the source of the problem, it is possible that you have a urinary tract infection. UTIs make elimination an unpleasant experience. Your cat may believe that the litter tray is causing him or her discomfort and avoid it. As a result, it will be unable to pass waste and will get constipated. According to the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, feline urinary tract infections (UTIs) recur often. As a result, antibiotics may only give limited relief from the symptoms of the illness.
Constipation is uncomfortable because the stool is so firm and difficult to move through the digestive tract.
Old Cat Not Going To Toilet
Constipation is more common in older cats for a variety of causes, including the following:
- Due to arthritis, I am prone to joint and limb stiffness. Physical activity is reduced, which contributes to obesity. Immune system that is weakened and more susceptible to digestive issues
If your cat is unable to make it into the litter box, it will retain its excrement for a longer period of time. Senior cats experience tougher waste and constipation as a result of this.
What Causes Constipation in Elderly Cats?
Constipation can be caused by a variety of factors, each of which has a different severity. The following are the most often cited explanations:
- Obstacle to digestion, maybe owing to hairballs in the colon
- Inability to digest food
- A high protein diet
- A lack of exercise Insufficient physical activity
- The side effects of medicine or anesthesia
- The effects of anesthesia or medication
- Stress and trauma are two words that come to mind.
If your cat is dehydrated, it might be suffering from renal problems. One in every three elderly cats (those above the age of 10) suffers from some degree of renal failure. According to the Journal of Small Animal Practice, renal issues are frequently associated with hyperthyroidism as well as other medical conditions. Cat constipation can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, including the following. Fractures of the pelvis are prevalent in older cats, which is due to their more fragile bones.
In certain circumstances, defecation becomes difficult, if not impossible, as a result of this.
Megacolon is defined as the dilatation or restriction of the digestive tract’s movement.
How to Get an Older Cat To Poop
Here are some suggestions for relieving constipation in an elderly cat:
Exercise is essential for keeping a cat on a regular schedule. Cats as they age might become increasingly sluggish and sleep for extended periods of time, which can result in constipation. Because of a lack of mobility, the digestive tract is not getting a good exercise as a result. If your cat still likes playing, you should encourage him to continue doing so. Make use of toys that will arouse your cat’s natural hunting instincts. Laser pointers, clockwork mice, and feathers on a string are all effective methods of getting a cat to move and jump.
It’s possible that your elder cat has lost interest in playing. Physical stimulation, such as cat trees, should be provided throughout the house. If your cat is primarily concerned with food, make it work harder in order to receive a food-based treat.
Mother cats lick the anus of their kittens in order to encourage the expulsion of waste. It goes without saying that this will not be the case for a senior cat. You may, however, recreate the experience by following the steps outlined below:
- Submerge a nice towel or washcloth in warm water until it is slightly moist
- Make sure your cat is in his or her litter box and massage the towel on its anus
- Complete a constant, circular motion that lasts for up to one minute, without stopping.
If this is effective, the cat will begin to spasm, which will alert you to the fact. Because the colon of your cat is being stimulated, your cat will need to go to the bathroom.
Cats above the age of ten require a particular diet. Make certain that your cat’s food has an appropriate mix of protein and fiber. Do not substitute protein for fiber, since fiber is necessary to keep a senior cat’s intestines moving on a regular basis. Wet food will be easier to digest for older cats than kibble will be for younger cats. If your cat’s diet consists solely of kibble, you should try introducing wet food to its routine. A small amount of kibble is OK, but it will be more difficult for the cat to pass.
While diarrhea can aid in elimination, it can also dehydrate your cat, increasing the likelihood of subsequent constipation in your cat.
If your cat is eliminating seldom, encourage him or her to drink more water. Cats are notorious for not consuming enough liquids. This is frequently due to the fact that cats are picky eaters. When there is too much or too little water in a bowl, it might be difficult to encourage fluid consumption. Aside from that, many cats are wary of static electricity. Consider purchasing a water fountain for your kitty companion. Cats take pleasure in lapping up fresh water that is available all of the time.
Also, avoid placing yourcat’s water bowl too close to his or her food.
Natural Stool Softeners
Constipation in cats is frequently caused by the feces hardening within the cat’s body, making it difficult for the cat to expel. It will be painful, and there will be a tiny amount of waste discharged. There are a variety of natural therapies available:
- It is possible to use two tablespoons of olive oil mixed with cat food to function as a mild laxative. Natural laxative in the form of canned pumpkin: Cans of canned pumpkin can be served directly from the tin. Make certain that the pumpkin is unadulterated and unseasoned
- Leafy greens: Leafy greens are high in fiber and will help to stimulate your cat’s digestion
- Include vegetables in your cat’s meal to make it more appealing to him. The milk of a cow: The majority of cats are lactose intolerant. The milk will be rejected by the cat’s body, which will excrete it as waste. However, diarrhea may result as a result of this.
Veterinarians have the authority to administer medical-grade laxatives. You will be given precise instructions on the dose, which must not be exceeded under any circumstances. A vet may administer an enema to your cat in order to prevent invasive surgery. This will help to cleanse the digestive tract of the cat. This is not something that should be done at home. Surgery is only considered as a last option for a senior cat owing to the hazards associated with it. Constipation is also a typical adverse effect of anesthetics, so be aware of this.
How to Keep a Senior Cat Regular
Take the following actions to ensure that a senior cat maintains his or her regularity:
- Maintain your cat’s activity level. Keep your cat’s stress triggers to a minimum. Provide a nutritious diet that includes lots of fluids (water). Examine the area for any injuries. Keep an eye on your cat’s weight and movement problems
- You should groom your cat to keep hairballs to a minimum. Check-ups on a regular basis
Constipation in senior cats can be caused by a number of different factors.
Physical restrictions, as well as digestive troubles brought on by old age, are examples of this. If your cat has not gone to the bathroom for several days, it should be sent to the veterinarian for evaluation.