How to help a cat with constipation? – I Love Veterinary
I’m going to admit it: I’m a cat woman! My two feline companions are extremely important to me and are considered members of my family. It wasn’t long after one of my cats, Lady, came into my life (at first only for fostering, but I always want to retain my foster cats), that I observed she was straining to go to the bathroom and that her feces were little, hard, and dry. I decided to investigate further. Lady was suffering from constipation. Constipation can be caused by a variety of factors, one of which being dehydration in my Lady’s case, which was easily remedied.
What is Constipation in Cats?
Defecate (bowel movement) occurs at least once a day in cats, and the product should be moist, malleable in consistency, and brown in color to ensure proper digestion. Constipation occurs when feces are retained in the large intestine for an excessive amount of time and absorb an excessive amount of water, resulting in the feces becoming hard and dry. If your cat is having difficulty defecating, he may be suffering from constipation. Constipation, according to theMSD Veterinary Manual, is defined as “the infrequent or difficult evacuation of feces, which are typically dry and hard in consistency.” It is also vital to be familiar with the following phrases that are associated with constipation in cats:
- Obstacle: There is no evidence of feces in the litter tray (unable to defecate). Continual constipation, which affects the rectum and colon, is the cause of this condition
- Idiopathic (without a reason) (unknown cause) In this disease, the colon becomes abnormally dilated, limp, and weak and is unable to perform its regular functions. The development of megacolon can occur after prolonged constipation and obstipation.
What are the causes of Cat Constipation?
Constipation is most commonly caused by a lack of fluids in the body. When a cat is suffering from renal disease or when the cat’s diet consists mostly of kibble, it is possible that the cat will not drink enough water. Let’s have a look at some more possibilities:
- Stress can be caused by a dirty litter box, furniture replacement, new pets, or a switch to a different litter. Colon blockage can be caused by tumor development, fractures following a car accident, or a foreign substance such as a hairball (from excessive grooming). Neurological difficulties, Feline Dysautonomia (nervous system illness), Hypothyroidism, and Megacolon are all examples of health disorders. Side effects of medications include, for example, diuretics. Constipation can be caused by a number of reasons, including obesity and a poor diet.
What Are the General Symptoms of Constipation in Cats?
The effort to defecate is one of the most prevalent signs that your feline pet is having difficulty removing waste from its system. Other signs of feline constipation include:
- Tenesmus is the vocalization of discomfort when having a bowel movement. Weakness in the abdomen
- Decreased appetite
- Lethargy and vomiting
Diagnosis of constipation in cats
If you observe any indications of constipation in your pet, the first step is to take him or her to the veterinarian. Some people mistake problems defecating with problems with the urinary tract, and this is understandable. Remember to provide truthful answers to any and all questions that your veterinarian may have, and to check the litter box before you take your pet to the doctor. When it comes to diagnosing constipation and determining the underlying reason, the medical history is critical.
In addition, your veterinarian may do the following procedures:
- In order to identify Megacolon as well as examine for traumas caused by injuries, pelvic and abdominal X-rays are taken. Urine and blood testing to rule out underlying diseases such as renal failure
- Further tests
How to palpate a cat for constipation?
A gentle palpation of the cat’s abdominal area will be performed by the veterinarian during the medical examination to detect and feel any stool buildup in the colon or a full bladder of urine. Here’s a video that demonstrates how to palpate your cat to determine whether it is blocked or constipated: What can you do to aid a cat who is constipated?
Are there any home cures for constipation in cats that you can recommend? Depending on the source and severity of the problem, your veterinarian may recommend a variety of treatment options.
- Enema: a procedure used to encourage the evacuation of feces. In order to address dehydration, intravenous fluid therapy (IVFT) is administered. Treatment with medication: in order to increase contraction of the large intestine
- Cats must be put under anaesthetic in order to be able to do manual feces removal. Collectomies: surgical removal of the diseased portion or the whole colon
- Colectomy Exploratory surgery is performed in the event of a foreign object obstruction.
If your cat is suffering from constipation, there are certain home treatments and measures you may do to aid your furry friend. Always talk with your veterinarian before making any changes.
- Cleaning and replacing the water in your cat’s water bowl on a daily basis can encourage water intake. Add canned wet food to your feline’s diet and begin to regulate his or her weight. Discuss your cat’s needs with your veterinarian to determine which solutions are best for him or her. Laxatives: Consult your veterinarian for recommendations on other options and the appropriate dosage for your cat’s weight. Ensure that you brush your cat as often as possible to remove loose hairs Using natural canned pumpkin, which is high in fiber, can help to improve your cat’s nutrition.
Cat constipation massage
What about cat acupuncture and constipation massages? Have you ever heard of them? Yes! It is possible to do this procedure on your cat to provide further support with cat constipation. An extract from the Veterinary Practice News is as follows: According to the researchers, “Abdominal massage promotes peristalsis, lowers colonic transit time, increases the frequency of bowel movements in constipated individuals, and alleviates the discomfort and agony associated with chronic constipation.” Always consult with your veterinarian before scheduling a session, and consider if it would be a pleasurable experience for your cat rather than a stressful one.
Kittens born prematurely are unable to defecate or urinate on their own.
Here’s a video demonstration of how to accomplish it:
I know how much you enjoy hearing your cat’s purrs when he or she is around, and I am convinced that you will go to any length to ensure the general health of your feline companion’s. Keeping an eye out for any strange behaviors or indicators that your cat could be suffering from a medical condition is absolutely critical. Keep your eyes peeled and your heart in the right place for your purr baby. Small improvements, like as providing fresh water every day and providing enough diet, can have a significant impact on your cat’s health.
Cat Health Month is taking place right now!
Arais is a writer and virtual assistant who works with doctors and pet company owners.
This year, she will begin her studies for a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Nursing in Ireland!
Constipation in Cats
Constipation is characterized by infrequent, incomplete, or difficult defecation, as well as the passage of hard or dry stools, among other symptoms. Constipation and obstipation are terms that are occasionally used interchangeably. Obtipation is defined as intractable constipation that makes defecation difficult. It has the potential to cause significant anguish and agony in cats.
IMPORTANT: If your cat is straining in the litter box, it is vital to determine if the straining is caused by constipation or by the cat’s inability to pee. A urinary blockage is a life-threatening condition in cats that is sometimes misdiagnosed as constipation.
Causes of Constipation in Cats
- Medical conditions include: dietary, environmental, drug/medication-induced pain, mechanical obstruction (physical blockage), neurologic illness, and others. Diseases of the metabolism and the endocrine system
What to Watch For
- Having difficulty defecating and passing just a little amount of excrement, if any at all
- Feces that are hard and dry
- Infrequent defecation After lengthy straining, just a little amount of liquid feces is generated. Vomiting on a regular basis
- A lack of desire to eat
Diagnosis of Constipation in Cats
- A supporting history and physical examination results are typically sufficient to establish the diagnosis. However, there are a variety of tests that may potentially be beneficial. Abdominal radiographs (X-rays), abdominal ultrasound, and urinalysis are some of the most common tests that your veterinarian may recommend: complete blood count (CBC), biochemical profile, and urinalysis are all examples of baseline blood tests that your veterinarian may recommend:
Treatment of Constipation in Cats
- If your cat is experiencing constipation, your veterinarian may prescribe one or more of the following measures to alleviate the symptoms and avoid the need for a comprehensive diagnostic workup. If an underlying cause has been found, it should be eliminated as soon as feasible. Discontinue any drugs that may be causing constipation in order to avoid further complications. Your veterinarian will provide guidance. Include bulking substances in the diet, such as methylcellulose, bran, or pumpkin
- Change the way you eat
- Encourage regular physical activity. Depending on how seriously impacted and/or dehydrated the cat is, it may be essential to admit him or her to the hospital for fluids, enemas, and potential physical evacuation of feces, which will almost always need the use of general anesthesia.
Home Care and Prevention
- Some remedies may be prescribed by your veterinarian for use at home. There are several options, including: the use of lubricants, suppositories, and laxatives
- Enemas made with warm, soapy water. Unless otherwise instructed by your veterinarian, do not use over-the-counter enemas. Some of these items may be harmful to your cat. Palpation of the abdomen. In order to identify constipation in their cat before it escalates to obstipation, owners of chronically constipated cats may be taught how to palpate their cat’s colon abdominally.
In-depth Information on Constipation in Cats
- Constipation can be caused by a variety of factors. Although it is not uncommon for a typical cat to experience a bout or two of constipation during her life, it is not natural or acceptable for repeated difficulties to occur
- Therefore, attempting to determine the underlying reason should be addressed in these circumstances. When it comes to constipation in animals, dietary variables are the most prevalent cause, according to veterinary medicine. Foreign material, particularly hair, bones, sticks, and sand, can accumulate in the cat’s feces and create hard lumps that are difficult for the cat to eliminate. In certain circumstances, this material is retained, resulting in an inability to defecate and, eventually, obstipation and diarrhea. Furthermore, diets that are poor in fiber may predispose a person to constipation. Constipation can be caused by a variety of environmental variables, including stress. Restricted physical activity, limited availability to water, and inability to offer the suitable time and location for defecation can all contribute to fecal retention and constipation in certain individuals. Certain medications, such as antacids, Kaopectate, iron supplements, antihistamines, barium, and diuretics, have been shown to induce constipation in certain people. Excruciating defecation as a result of a medical condition such as anorectal illness (such as anal sacculitis or abscess), stricture, a rectal foreign body or tumor, or rectal prolapse), or as a result of trauma (such as a shattered pelvis, leg, or back), or both. When anything physically blocks the course of stool elimination, it is known as mechanical blockage. Mechanical obstruction can be produced by extraluminal (originating outside the colon wall) or intraluminal (originating from within the colon wall) factors. Congestion can be caused by a variety of extraluminal conditions, including a restricted pelvic canal due to a prior fracture, sublumbar lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes above the colon), and rectal tumors. In addition to colonic or rectal tumors or polyps, foreign materials in the bowel, strictures, diverticulum (outpouching of the colonic wall), and rectal prolapse are also examples of intraluminal illnesses. Constipation can be caused by a variety of neurologic illnesses, including paralysis, spinal cord disease, disc disease, rabies, lead toxicosis, dysautonomia (a genetic syndrome), and idiopathic megacolon. Constipation can be caused by metabolic and endocrine problems, which interfere with the body’s natural transit through the colon. Hyperparathyroidism (a illness characterized by increased calcium levels), hypokalemia (low potassium levels), and renal disease are examples of such conditions. Constipation in cats is a rather common occurrence. However, it must be distinguished from other conditions like as constipation and megacolon. Obstipation is intractable (i.e., difficult to control) constipation, while megacolon is a condition in which the colon has swollen to abnormal proportions. Unlike cats who are either obstipated or have megacolon, animals who are constipated are not invariably obstipated or have megacolon. Constipated animals are also more likely to be obese. Constipation can develop as a result of any condition that interferes with the flow of fecal material through the colon, causing it to transit more slowly through the body. This delay in transit permits the elimination of extra salt and water from the feces, resulting in stools that are firmer and drier in texture. Constipation manifests itself in a variety of ways. When feces are held for several days, there is no evidence of any negative consequences. The presence of minor indications, such as a slightly longer posture when defecating, is not always indicative of the presence of a feces that is dry and hard. Those who have little or no fecal passage will have to defecate more frequently or painfully than those who do. Patients who are severely constipated frequently experience despair, weakness, a lack of appetite, and vomiting. These animals are in critical condition and may need to be hospitalized. It is critical to establish a precise diagnosis and reason in any cat suffering from recurring constipation
- This is especially true in older cats.
- In order to develop an appropriate diagnostic approach for the constipated patient, it is required to obtain a detailed medical history (including nutrition, eating habits, and surroundings) and do a thorough physical examination, which includes a thorough digital rectal examination. A complete blood count (CBC) will determine whether or not there is a systemic infection or inflammation present. A biochemical profile assesses the health of the kidneys, liver, electrolytes (particularly, potassium and calcium), total protein, and blood sugar levels, among other things. Every one of these indicators is critical to establishing in a persistently constipated patient and excluding the likelihood of coexisting disorders. A urinalysis is used to test the patient’s kidney function as well as his or her hydration condition. When taken in the abdomen, abdominal radiography (X-rays) can reveal foreign things or tumors in the colon or rectal cavity, previous pelvic fractures, hip dysplasia, and the degree of constipation. It is critical to perform several fecal tests to rule out gastrointestinal parasites, which can cause discomfort and straining associated with constipation when present. Additional tests may be recommended by your veterinarian to ensure that you receive the best possible medical treatment. These are chosen on an individual case-by-case basis
- Because hyperparathyroidism has been related with constipation in patients who are hypercalcemic (have increased calcium levels), a parathyroid level may be advised in these patients. An abdominal ultrasound is used to analyze the abdominal organs and to determine whether or not there are any malignancies present. When it comes to examining the prostate, this test is quite sensitive. The operation is reasonably safe, albeit it may necessitate the administration of a moderate sedative. It is frequently suggested that the treatment be carried out by a specialist. When a patient is suffering from constipation, a colonoscopy (lower GI endoscopy) may be beneficial. It is a relatively noninvasive method of evaluating the colon and determining whether or not there is a tumor, stricture, or other disease present. In addition, your veterinarian may want to take tissue samples to check for signs of inflammation or malignancy. As part of the preparation for the surgery, oral solutions are supplied the evening before and the morning of the procedure, in addition to many enemas, in order to “clean out” your cat’s colon and allow for optimal visualization of its colon. The hospitalization period is minimal, and the recovery process is usually swift and uncomplicated. As a result of the need for general anesthesia, there are certain modest hazards connected with this procedure. Often, it is required to send the patient to a specialist, and this procedure is only carried out after other diagnostic tests have been found to be inconclusive or when the patient is not responding well to treatment.
- Depending on your veterinarian’s recommendations, one or more of the diagnostic tests listed above may be performed. In the meanwhile, therapy of the symptoms may be necessary, particularly if the issue is severe.. Nonspecific (symptomatic) remedies for constipation in cats are listed below, and they may be appropriate for certain cats. These therapies may help your cat by reducing the intensity of his or her symptoms or by providing him or her with respite. Nonspecific therapy, on the other hand, is not a replacement for the definitive treatment of the underlying disease that is causing your cat’s symptoms to appear. Medical and nutritional therapy may be required for the rest of one’s life and can be quite frustrating. If an underlying cause has been found, it should be treated or eliminated if at all feasible. Any drugs that may induce constipation should be discontinued. Incorporate bulking substances such as methylcellulose, barley bran, or pumpkin into your diet. It is permissible to use stool softeners such as asdocusate sodium (DSS, Colace) under the supervision of your veterinarian. Encourage frequent physical activity since it aids in the maintenance of regular bowel motions. Depending on how seriously impacted and/or dehydrated the cat is, it may be essential to hospitalize him for fluids, enemas, and potential manual evacuation of feces, which is commonly performed under general anaesthetic
- If the cat is not hospitalized, it may be necessary to euthanize him. An emergency colectomy (surgical removal of the colon) may be required in a tiny proportion of individuals whose constipation has progressed to the point of being obstipated and no longer responds to medication therapy
- In these people
Follow-up Care for Cats with Constipation
The best treatment for your cat is a combination of at-home care and veterinary care from a licensed expert. Following up with your cat might be crucial, especially if he or she does not improve quickly. Keep in mind that chronic or recurring constipation might progress to obstipation and acquired megacolon, at which time the prognosis for normal function is not promising. It is critical to keep track of the frequency with which people defecate as well as the consistency of their feces. All prescription medications should be administered according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
It is possible to have diarrhea if you take laxatives or enemas too often.
0paws up for this one.
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.
9.Briejer MR, Prins NH, Schuurkes JA.
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 influenced 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.
How to Tell if Your Cat Is Constipated: 8 Steps (with Pictures)
There are a variety of factors that might contribute to your cat’s constipation. Lack of physical activity, reduced water intake, obstructions caused by hairballs or other foreign objects, and stress are all potential causes of constipation. Any of these symptoms might indicate the presence of a more severe illness. It is also possible that constipation is caused by an underlying ailment, such as renal disease or arthritis. Despite the fact that you are intimately familiar with your cat, it is possible to overlook some of the indicators of constipation.
When the problem is identified early on, you may also try certain home remedies to try to alleviate the condition before it escalates to the point where your cat is in danger.
- First and foremost, make certain that your cat is utilizing the litter box. When a cat is constipated and feels uncomfortable when attempting to relieve themselves in the litter box, they may begin to link the discomfort with the box itself, leading them to avoid it completely in the future. If this occurs, you may see hard balls of fecal matter in other areas of your home, such as the bathroom, hallway, or closet. If this occurs, call your doctor immediately. Make the litter box as enticing as possible for your cat by removing any coverings that may have been placed over it before. If you follow these litter box guidelines, you will be able to monitor your cat’s potty habits on a regular basis and identify any difficulties before they become a larger problem.
- It is recommended that you place your litter box in an open area where your cat may readily access it. The litter box should not be concealed in a cupboard or tiny closet. Be mindful that an elderly cat or a cat suffering from arthritis may not be able to reach the litter box as easily as they previously did.
- 2 Check the litter box for signs of straining. When there is no fecal matter present, this is generally the first symptom that your cat may be suffering from constipation. They may scream out or look to be straining while they are standing on their toes and hunching over excessively in an attempt to empty themselves at times. In the litter box, if you witness any of these unusual habits, there might be an issue
- In order to maintain normal bowel movements, a cat must have at least one normal bowel movement every day
- However, many cats may have two or more on a regular basis. Some goods, such as joint supplements and even pain medication, might help keep your cat comfortable when he or she is posturing in the litter box if your cat is older and has arthritis.
- ADVICE FROM AN EXPERT A veterinarian with over 30 years of expertise in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice, Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, is a member of the British Veterinary Medical Association. Veterinary medicine and surgery were among the subjects she studied when she graduated with honors from the University of Glasgow in 1987. She has been employed at the same animal clinic in her hometown for more than two decades now. Pippa Elliott is an MRCVS veterinarian who practices in London. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that a cat is constipated just because they are straining in the litter pan. Similar symptoms can be seen in other conditions such as diarrhea and urinary obstructions. Make a point of inspecting the tray and noting whether there is an urine puddle present as well as whether there are any soft stools. This will assist your veterinarian in determining the most appropriate course of therapy. 3 Observe for signs and symptoms of urinary tract infections. It is possible that your cat’s pain or straining is caused by a urinary tract obstruction if there are few to no pee spots visible, especially if there is fecal debris present. As a result, rapid veterinary help is required in this emergency circumstance.
- Straining behavior is easy and commonly mistaken with a more serious illness, a blocked urinary tract, which can be life-threatening. It’s important to remember that if your cat exhibits this sort of litter box behavior, you should always check to see if urine is present in the box after it’s finished using it. UTIs (urinary tract infections) are far more prevalent in male cats, although they can also occur in female cats. When in question about what is causing this behavior, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible to rule out other possibilities. Monitor your litter box often to prevent confusing an urine condition for constipation, which might lead to more complications.
- It is easy and common to confuse straining behavior with what might be an even more dangerous illness, such as a blocked urinary tract. It’s important to remember that if your cat exhibits this sort of litter box behavior, you should always check to see whether any pee remains in the box after it’s finished using it. In contrast to female cats, male cats are far more likely to experience urinary system obstructions. You should check with your veterinarian immediately if you are unsure of what is causing this behavior. Maintain vigilance in inspecting the litter box to prevent confusing an urine condition for constipation.
- These aids can also be put on the roof of your cat’s mouth, under the bridge of their nose, on the upper lip, or on the front paw of your cat’s foot. If you are unable to get the medication straight into your cat’s mouth, he or she will most likely lick the area behind their nose or between their paws if there is a foreign object in the area. If your cat appears to be becoming nervous or irritated, be patient and give them breaks. Use Laxatone, and feed your cat 3 cc (approximately 3 inches) 1-2 times day if you are using it. In addition to professional use, petroleum jelly (Vaseline) can be used safely at home. Use 1/2 teaspoon once per day as an occasional treat or put it into wet cat food for your cat.
- 5 Determine whether or not incorrect defecation is a recurring problem. If your cat has not been able to defecate regularly for 24 hours despite using a number of home remedies, it is time to check with your veterinarian about the problem. Constipation can be relieved with a laxative or stool softener, which your veterinarian may suggest in moderate instances. It may be essential to perform an enema or manual evacuation of the feces while under anaesthetic in more extreme situations. Surgery, on the other hand, is only necessary in the most severe cases of constipation. In the event that your cat has been constipated for an extended period of time and has developed obstipation, this may be prescribed.
- Obstipation is defined as your cat’s inability to empty their colon on their own, resulting in a big volume of feces building up in their colon. When this occurs, the colon of your cat may enlarge and lose its normal movement. Depending on the circumstances, surgery may be regarded to be a lifesaving procedure for your cat
- 1 Check to determine if your cat is eating in the manner in which it is accustomed. However, you should not depend entirely on changes in appetite to determine whether or not your cat is suffering from constipation. A change in appetite can also be a symptom of a variety of other problems
- For example, diabetes.
- Try inspecting your cat’s stomach if you observe any changes in their eating habits. While they are standing erect, apply light pressure on the belly to see if anything is wrong. Check their belly with your palm, moving it back and forth to check if you can feel any hard lumps. If hard fecal lumps are felt by you, take your cat to the veterinarian for a thorough physical exam to confirm your suspicions.
- 2 Eat a healthy diet to avoid constipation. A long-term diet adjustment or the addition of a high-fiber supplement advised by your veterinarian may be beneficial for certain cats who have a history of chronic constipation.
- It is safe for your cat to consume canned pumpkin, which is high in fiber and moisture content, and it is also inexpensive. If your cat only eats dry food, look for a kind that has a high fiber content, or try adding a little amount of Metamucil cookie or powder to their meal if they are willing to eat it.
- 3 Increase the amount of water your cat consumes. Constipation is frequently caused by dehydration, which is a prevalent cause of the condition. Cats get the bulk of the fluid they need from their food, which is a normal occurrence. Feeding a canned meal will provide a significantly higher water content than feeding a dry diet, assisting in the maintenance of adequate hydration.
- To promote increased drinking, you could also supply your cat with many water containers that are strategically placed throughout your home. Make sure the water in each of your cat’s bowls is clean, fresh, and aesthetically pleasing to him. Another wonderful technique to encourage your cat to drink enough is to install a water fountain in your home. Such fountains may be purchased at your local pet supply store.
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- It’s important to rule out the possibility that the problem is simply due to a filthy litter box
- Some cats will avoid a litter box that has been neglected. It is probable that your cat is constipated if it displays any of the following signs: infrequent or no defecation, small volumes of feces, or small amounts of watery stool with mucous or blood present. You may also have nausea and vomiting, as well as sadness and irritability.
About this article
If your cat screams out or hunches over when using the litter box, it is likely that it is suffering from constipation, according to the author of this article. To avoid this, watch for hard balls of fecal matter outside of the litter box, since your cat may quit using the litter box if they connect it with discomfort. Keeping an eye on your cat’s feeding habits can also help you determine whether they have shifted. If you have reason to believe they have altered, gently touch against your cat’s stomach to see if you can feel any hard lumps there.
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Dr. Aja Senestraro, DVMJump to a Section: This section has been reviewed and updated for correctness on March 10, 2020.
- Vet Treatment
- 9 Tips and Home Remedies
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Constipation is a typical occurrence among felines. Typically, it is moderate, and you may heal your cat by using easy home remedies. Constipation in cats, on the other hand, may be a sign of more significant health problems, and it can become quite severe and painful in certain cases. So, how do you tell when you’ve got a significant condition that requires veterinary intervention? The following information will teach you all you need to know about cat constipation symptoms and causes, as well as what you can do to treat your cat and when you should be worried.
Symptoms of Constipation in Cats
When you have constipation, you have infrequent stools or stools that are difficult to move through the toilet. The majority of cats will poop around every 24-36 hours. Having constipation might cause your cat to defecate less regularly and have difficulties going through the motions. While there is some typical variance, if it has been more than 48-72 hours since your pet last had a bowel movement, you should call your veterinarian. Constipation in cats manifests itself in the following ways:
- Feces that are dry and hard (either within or outside the litter box)
It is normal for the excrement to be a deep brown hue and to be well-formed when you eat it. Veterinary medicine specialist Dr. Liz Bales explains that “a good stool has enough moisture so litter will attach to it.” Constipation in cats can result in feces that are extremely dry and stiff.
Due to the unpleasantness of passing feces, it is possible that cats will leave the litter box before they have completed their business in it.
- The use of crying or straining in the litter box, or the avoidance of the litter box entirely
In addition to vocalizing or straining while using the litter box, moving in and out of the litter box numerous times before using it might indicate discomfort. Your cat may try to poop, but he or she will be unable to do so. If your cat is displaying indications of pain in the litter box, this might be a sign of significant urinary system difficulties, and you should consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. Due to the fact that constipation is truly only a symptom of a larger problem, you may also see indicators of the underlying problem.
- Symptoms include: nausea, decreased appetite, vomiting, increased or decreased water consumption, increased peeing frequency, weight loss, muscle loss, difficulty springing up, and fatigue. Walking with a stiff gait
If you see any of these symptoms in your cat, whether or not they are accompanied by constipation, you should consult your cat’s veterinarian.
Causes of Cat Constipation
“Anything that causes dehydration in a cat may result in constipation,” explains Dr. Bales. “Constipation can be caused by a variety of factors.” Some conditions are minor and may be treated at home with dietary and lifestyle adjustments, while others are more serious and require medical attention. Constipation can occur if the intestines aren’t moving things along as they should be, resulting in the stool being hard and dry. These symptoms can be brought on by several underlying conditions such as stress and anxiety, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), allergies, neurological disorders, and even some types of cancer.
Anal sacs that have ruptured or become impacted may potentially cause your cat discomfort while defecating, as well as constipation.
Constipation can develop if a cat holds her feces for a longer period of time than is typical.
Obesity, stress, and worry, joint discomfort from arthritis or anal gland disorders, a blockage, and even some types of cancer can all contribute to this condition.
Vet Treatment for Constipation in Cats
Constipation in cats is normal, but it can be a sign of a serious illness, therefore it should be explored with your veterinarian. Chronic constipation must be addressed as soon as possible in order to avoid the danger of lasting damage caused by prolonged distension of the intestines. In order to provide effective therapy, it is necessary to first diagnose and then repair the underlying problem (if feasible), remove the affected feces, and then avoid recurrences. Your veterinarian can administer fluids and/or anenema to your cat if it is experiencing constipation right away.
The symptoms of your cat’s constipation can be managed with drugs prescribed by your veterinarian or with over-the-counter remedies recommended by your veterinarian.
Cats suffering from chronic constipation or obstruction may develop a megacolon, which is an enlarged intestine caused by a weakness in the colon’s muscular strength, in some cases.
Cats suffering with chronic constipation or megacolon who have not responded to medicinal treatment may benefit from the surgical removal of the diseased part of the large intestine (colonectomy).
Tips and Home Remedies for Constipation in Cats
You may treat your cat’s constipation by doing a variety of activities at home, as detailed in the following list.
Increase Water Consumption
Because dehydration is a contributing factor to constipation, increasing water consumption and maintaining proper hydration can help avoid constipation. Due to the fact that cats are not very adept at consuming standing water, the most effective method of increasing their water consumption and keeping them well-hydrated is to serve them wet food. This has a major impact on their water consumption, which in turn has a substantial impact on their constipation risk. By providing your cat with multiple water dishes in different places of your home, experimenting with pet water fountains, allowing a faucet to drip, and flavoring the water with items cats enjoy, such as clam juice, tuna juice, or beef broth, you may encourage your cat to drink more water.
Try a New Diet
Cats suffering from food allergies may have intestinal irritation and constipation. It is possible to minimize inflammation and enable the intestines to flow more properly by switching the protein source in your cat’s diet (chicken, lamb, etc.). This will alleviate constipation. Cats that are allergic to a variety of different items might benefit from special limited ingredient diets and hypoallergenic diets, which are both available. It does, however, take around 8-12 weeks for a diet modification to be effective, thus this is considered part of long-term treatment.
Help Your Cat Maintain a Healthy Weight
As a result of obesity-induced intestinal inflammation, digestion in the intestines becomes more labored. Constipation occurs as a result of an excessive amount of water being absorbed from the stool. There can be so much fat in the stomach that it physically prevents feces from moving. In severe situations, this can be life-threatening. Your veterinarian can assist you in determining whether or not your cat needs to reduce weight and can collaborate with you to develop a diet plan.
Increase Exercise and Enrichment
Exercise can aid in the promotion of regular bowel movement, which can aid in the treatment and prevention of constipation. Using items such as cat toys, cat trees, window perches, and additional playing with you, you may encourage your cat to be more active. Exercise will also assist in providing enrichment and reducing your cat’s anxiety, as well as aiding in weight loss for your cat.
Minimize Stress and Anxiety
When their daily habits are interrupted, cats are prone to becoming anxious. Having a new pet in the house or relocating are two obvious reasons for this, but there might be other factors at play as well, such as a shift in your schedule, construction noise in the area, or a new dog barking in the neighborhood.
Sometimes it just takes time for a cat to become used to a new environment. However, you may aid in the reduction of tension and anxiety by utilizing soothing pheromones (such as Feliway), supplements (such as Zylkene and Solliquin, which are often used), herbs, and/or pharmaceuticals.
Add More Litter Boxes
Cats may be very fussy about the litter box in which they sleep. Constipation can occur if a cat does not use a litter box because it is in an inconvenient position or because the cat does not like the type of litter box or litter used. You should have at least one litter box more than the number of cats in your household, and there should be at least one litter box on each floor of your residence. It is possible that you may need to experiment with several types of boxes and litter before you find what your cat like.
Try Fiber or Probiotics
Probiotics are “good bacteria” that are beneficial to the health of the intestines. Constipation may be avoided if the intestines are in good health since they will transport stool along properly and keep stools soft. Fiber provides food for beneficial bacteria and aids in the promotion of proper motility in the intestines. It can also aid in the retention of more water in the intestines, which can aid in the treatment and prevention of constipation. There are many various varieties of fiber, and what works well for one cat may not work for another.
Although canned pumpkin is frequently used, it really includes very little fiber and a lot of sugar, making it a poor choice for most felines.
Scott Gellman, a feline gastroenterologist, adds that because “the gastrointestinal system of cats is a bit different from that of humans,” high-fiber diets may not necessarily relieve constipation.
“A lot of it is determined by the underlying root of the problem.
Ask Your Vet About Over-the-Counter Laxatives
The over-the-counter drugs and supplements listed below may help your cat’s constipation symptoms, but always check your veterinarian before administering any new vitamins or medications to your cat. There are various distinct forms of laxatives, each of which works in a different way. The majority of over-the-counter remedies operate by forcing the body to pull more water into the intestines, which helps soften the stool and make it easier to transit through the body. Because they produce dehydration in cats with underlying chronic conditions, laxatives can exacerbate the symptoms of those diseases in addition to causing dehydration in those cats.
Miralax (PEG 3350) is a medication that is widely prescribed for cats suffering from constipation.
Other laxatives, such as those intended for human use, can be problematic for cats.
Pet owners should use oil- or grease-based laxatives such as Laxatone only when their veterinarian advises it and should avoid using them for an extended period of time since they can impair a cat’s capacity to absorb nutrients from their diet.
Monitor Your Cat for Constipation
Check on your cat’s defecation and stool consistency at least twice a week at first, and then once or twice a week after that until the problem is resolved. If you detect your cat defecating particularly hard, dry feces or if you notice that your cat is straining while defecating, call your veterinarian right once. Keep an eye out for any of the other indicators of constipation, and call your veterinarian if you observe any of the other signs of constipation, especially diarrhea, which may quickly lead to dehydration.
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