9 Ways to Help Your Constipated Cat
Dr. Aja Senestraro, DVMJump to a Section: This section has been reviewed and updated for correctness on March 10, 2020.
- Vet Treatment
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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:
- Stools that are dry and hard (either inside 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.
This is because the intestines reabsorb an excessive amount of water when the stool remains in them for an extended period of time. 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
As Dr. Bales explains, constipation in cats can be caused by anything that promotes dehydration in the animal. Some problems are minor and may be resolved at home by making dietary and lifestyle changes, while others are more serious and require medical attention or hospitalization. Having constipation means that your digestive system isn’t working properly, and your stool isn’t soft and moist as it should be. The underlying cause of this condition might include stress and worry, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, nerve disorders, and in some cases, malignancy.
Pain during feces may also be caused by ruptured or impacted anal sacs in your cat.
The dehydration and constipation that can occur in cats on dry food diets are also a concern.
Obesity, stress, and worry, joint discomfort from arthritis or anal gland disorders, a blockage, and even some types of cancer are all factors that can contribute to this.
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. Follow the required transition time, which includes combining the old food with the new food according to the directions on the cat food packaging.
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.
In fact, a low-fiber diet might sometimes be more effective. “A lot of it is determined by the underlying root of the problem. Remember that constipation almost always has an underlying reason, and your cat should be taken to a veterinarian for assistance in determining what is causing it.”
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.
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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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.
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 Your Cat Is Constipated & How To Help
Wellness If you’ve been going to the litter box for a few days in a row and haven’t found anything to scoop, your cat may be suffering from constipation, which may be quite uncomfortable. Unlike some cats, who are more evident when they are constipated (think: loud meowing from their litterbox as a consequence of discomfort), others are more discrete when they are constipated. As a result, it is your obligation as a responsible pet owner to determine whether or not your cat is suffering from constipation and to take the appropriate actions to alleviate their discomfort.
If your cat has gone several days without pooping, it is possible that you may need to take action to assist your pet.
There are various frequent reasons of feline constipation, and determining which of these factors contributed to its occurrence will help you prevent it from occurring again.
These additional recommendations from Dr. Nicholas Garside VetMed MRCVS, veterinary adviser atVioVet, might assist you in identifying any potential digestive difficulties that your cat may be experiencing.
What is constipation in cats?
Despite the fact that constipation is a phrase that is commonly heard, you may not be quite certain what it refers to in the context of your cat. It is understood that your cat’s colon is constipated when there is an abnormal accumulation of fecal matter in it. As a result, bowel motions become more difficult. It is possible that your cat is unable to defecate as regularly as they normally would, or that there is a complete absence of excrement on their part. The fecal waste is held in your cat’s large intestine or colon, where it will be excreted later.
- As a result, your pet will have an even more difficult time moving them through his or her body.
- This occurs while they are attempting to defecate, and it can even cause discomfort in the belly.
- This occurs as a result of the extreme strain placed on their bodies.
- This isn’t the case at all.
- When this happens, just a little amount of liquid feces is able to squeeze past the hard mass of fecal matter that has formed in the cat’s digestive tract.
Signs your cat is constipated
People sometimes expect that the indicators of constipation in their cat would be visible, but this isn’t always the case, especially in older cats. In and of itself, your cat not having anything to scoop is a telling indicator that something is wrong, but according to Dr. Garside, there are several other signs of feline constipation that should be taken into consideration as well. Keep in mind that if your cat does not meow while in pain, these are very important considerations. As a result, you may need to conduct more research to determine whether or not your pet is suffering from constipation.
- Garside explains.
- If you find this, it is probable that your cat is suffering from constipation.
- Garside explains, “Some cats are quite discrete when they potty, doing so away from their owners, so the only symptoms an owner notices is lethargy as a result of the pain.” The fact that your cat is acting particularly sluggish might be an indication that something is wrong with him.
- A veterinarian will be able to determine whether or not your cat is constipated and whether or not something more severe is occurring.
Additionally, they will be aware of the correct procedures to follow in order to aid your cat. The following are examples of indicators that your cat may be constipated:
- Poop that is hard and dry
- Straining and yowling in the litter box
- Lethargy Regular litter box visits (with little to show for it)
- Increased litter box visits Appetite suppression
- Abdomen that is hard to move
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What causes constipation? Why is my cat not pooping?
It is critical to determine the cause of your cat’s constipation. This is due to the fact that you can prevent it from happening again. In the opinion of Dr. Garside, scavenging is one of the most prevalent causes of constipation in cats, as well as the difficulties in maintaining regular bowel movements in cats. Specifically, Dr. Garside notes that “Bones and hair from animals, in particular, are difficult to digest, and these clumps of hard feces accumulate in the digestive track.” It goes without saying that if you have an indoor cat, this will not be the problem.
- If you have an indoor cat, they may develop constipated as a result of consuming significant quantities of their own hair, as seen by the presence of hairballs in their stool.
- It’s possible that your cat has long, silky hair, which puts them at greater danger of suffering this than a Sphinx.
- Garside notes that long-haired cats might develop constipated as a result of routine grooming because they eat their own hairs.
- It is preferable to get a veterinarian’s assessment on what is going on as soon as possible so that they can act if necessary.
- These can include the following:
- A lack of fiber (or too much fiber), an abnormal colon shape, obesity or diabetes, and obstruction are all factors that might contribute to constipation. Hyperthyroidism
Please consult with your veterinarian to rule out any possibly more serious problems, as well as any other potential culprits that may be present. This is especially beneficial if your cat is exhibiting other symptoms at the time.
Talk to a vet for free now
Put an end to your Googling. Consult with a veterinarian about it. While there are some methods for treating your cat’s constipation at home, the fact is that you should take your cat to the veterinarian for a thorough examination first. This will assure that there is nothing more serious going on, and your cat’s constipation will be resolved with the help of your homemade cures. While Dr. Garside believes that constipation may be properly handled at home, he believes that the first diagnosis should be performed by a skilled practitioner.
Always ask for help
This is just one of the many reasons why you should take your cat to the veterinarian before attempting to tackle the problem on your own in the first place. A veterinarian would be able to determine whether or not your concern about your cat not defecating is justified. “I’ve seen situations where people started providing laxatives to cats they thought were constipated when the animal actually had diarrhea and was defecating outside,” says the veterinarian (not seen by the owner). As a result of just noticing symptoms of straining, the owner concluded the problem was constipation,” he explains.
Your veterinarian will be able to easily feel your cat’s tummy and determine if the discomfort is caused by constipation, bladder problems, or something else.
If you are certain that your cat is constipated and you have gotten specific authorization from a reputable veterinarian to begin treating their illness, you can begin administering laxative supplement therapies to your cat at home.
Garside explains, “Laxatives are often used for the treatment of mild to moderate constipation.” “If the condition is severe, an enema performed under anaesthesia may be necessary.” Seeing a doctor for constipation on a regular basis in a reasonably short amount of time indicates that your cat is more prone to constipation in the future.
In this scenario, preventative actions may be implemented to guarantee that your cat does not suffer from constipation on a consistent basis. For cats that are prone to constipation, Dr. Garside recommends using laxatives at a low dose over the long term to keep the problem at bay.
It is possible to aid your cat in a variety of various ways by taking additional preventative steps. In order to avoid the problem from happening, make sure there are fresh bowls of water available at all times, or even invest in a cat water fountain for picky cats, to encourage them to drink more water. It’s possible that a changeover towet food may be required in addition. In addition to the methods listed above for treating constipation in cats, you may also try the following:
- Introduce laxatives or stool softeners to your regimen. Include fiber supplements and probiotics in your diet (a teaspoon of pumpkin, wheat bran, and psyllium husks are all recommended as part of a high-fiber diet), and Change the cat food you’re feeding him. Increase the amount of water your cat consumes. Exert greater influence over your cat’s behavior. Organize your litter box or get a second litter box
Don’t use any of these constipation remedies before consulting with a veterinarian, who can ensure that you are pursuing the most suitable course of action to cure your cat’s constipation problem.
Pawp vets can advise you on your cat’s constipation anytime
If your cat is constipated, the best thing you can do for them is to take them to the veterinarian for treatment. Of course, there are occasions when it is not feasible to take your pet to the veterinarian, which is why Pawp is here to assist you. Pawp’s highly qualified and experienced veterinarians are ready to visit your cat at any time, with no need to schedule an appointment or wait in line. Sign up for Pawpto ensure that no matter when your cat need veterinary care, there is a veterinarian accessible to treat your pet – without having to pay outrageous fees or endure long wait periods.
- VCA Animal Hospital |
- Cornell University 9 Tips for Dealing with a Constipated Cat – PetMD.
- Find Out How to Deal With It |
Cat Can’t Poo? Here’s What to Do
For constipated cats, there are a couple of safe home remedies you can try. However, before attempting any of these, consult with your veterinarian first. As humans, we can all relate to how uncomfortable constipation can be, so it’s not difficult to imagine how your cat must be feeling if he’s experiencing the same problem. Cat constipation, like human constipation, may be an occasional annoyance for your feline companion, but it may also be an indication of a more serious health problem. For the time being, don’t start whipping out the butter, olive oil, or any other crowdsourced cat constipation remedies.
Anthony, DVM, has been practicing feline-exclusive medicine 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. As Anthony explains, “If these scent glands get swollen, they might produce a mechanical barrier to the departure of feces, as well as pain while defecating.” Illustration of a cat contemplating the use of a poo emoji
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!).
- 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.
If you follow a high-fiber diet, you may frequently avoid constipation in the long run. Consult your veterinarian for assistance in developing a more balanced and um, digestible cuisine.
What To Do if Your Cat is Constipated
Constipation is a discomfiting ailment that can afflict people, cats, and other animals of all species. When their cats are clearly agitated or unwell, cat owners may not understand that something is wrong with them until they become evident to others. By understanding how to diagnose and manage constipation in your cat, you may assist in providing your cat with fast relief from constipation or possibly preventing it from occurring in the future.
What is Cat Constipation?
It is a medical ailment in which a cat is unable to effectively expel faeces from the intestinal tract. It can result in a buildup of feces in the colon, which can cause the gastrointestinal tract to slow down and become uncomfortable. Constipation in cats can be either acute (occurring all at once) or chronic (recurring over time) (ongoing). Constipation that is chronic may come and go over time. If you suspect that your cat is constipated, it is critical that you get veterinarian assistance.
Signs of Constipation in Cats
- Frequent visits to the litter box without any stool output
- Straining to defecate
- Small, hard, dry feces (which may contain some blood streaks)
- External defects (stools are often still hard and dry when they leave the litter box). Diarrhea (as a result of liquid stool flowing around hard stool that has been lodged in the colon)
- Excessive salivation (which is usually caused by nausea)
- Appetite suppression
- Abdomen that has become distended Discomfort in the abdomen
- Voice, especially when attempting to defecate
- Vocalization Weight loss (which is more common with chronic or long-term constipation)
- Lethargy or sadness
- And other symptoms.
If you observe any of these or other indicators of sickness in your cat, you should seek guidance from your veterinarian immediately.
Causes of Cat Constipation
Constipation in cats can be caused by a number of different factors. Cat constipation may be caused or exacerbated by one or more of the factors listed below.
- Constipation can be caused by a buildup of hair around the anus, which prevents the stool from exiting. If you find that your cat is constipated, here is the first place you should seek for a solution. It’s possible that you’ll be able to remove the mat yourself. If everything else fails, a veterinary specialist or a cat groomer can assist you. Cats’ feces are affected by their nutrition, therefore a poor diet may result in constipation. Constipation can occur as a result of dehydration, which impairs the capacity of the intestines and colon to transfer waste through the gastrointestinal system. Obesity is a well-documented risk factor for constipation in cats, particularly in those that live a sedentary lifestyle. Due to the fact that physical activity encourages bowel motility, and many overweight cats do not receive enough exercise, this is the case. Constipation in cats with chronic renal disease may occur as a result of the dehydration that is typical in cats suffering from this illness. Obstructions in the gastrointestinal tract might prevent a cat from passing feces appropriately. For example, swallowing an object that is not intended for consumption, or even excessive hair when grooming, might result in vomiting. Megacolon is a condition in which the colon is unable to move feces in the same manner as it does in a healthy cat. It is believed that this ailment has an effect on the muscles of the cat’s digestive tract. The actual etiology of megacolon in cats is still unknown
- However, it is believed to be related to stress. Neurological diseases or trauma may cause nerves and/or muscles that control bowel movements to be damaged. Cats may have temporary constipation as a result of some medications. A cat’s refusal to use the litter box may cause him to keep feces until it gets too impacted to pass. This might be connected to behavioral concerns (fear, anxiety), or it could be caused by a painful disease such as arthritis, which makes it difficult to get into a comfortable posture to defecate.
Treatment of Cat Constipation
However, regardless of the underlying reason, the ultimate objective is to remove the backed-up feces, provide comfort to the cat, and avoid recurrence of the problem. When you take your cat to the veterinarian for suspected constipation, the veterinarian will ask you questions about your cat’s medical history and do a physical examination on your cat. Even though they may be able to feel the feces through their abdomens when they are palpated, obese cats may have a more difficult time doing this task.
- In certain cases, radiographs might identify underlying reasons of constipation, such as a megacolon or blockage in the colon.
- Fluids can be injected beneath the skin and slowly absorbed into the body, ensuring that your cat is completely hydrated.
- The use of a laxative or a stool softener to aid your cat’s defecation may be recommended by your veterinarian in mild to moderate cases of cat constipation.
- If radiographs reveal a substantial volume of feces in the colon, your veterinarian may suggest an enema to relieve the obstruction.
- The solution loosens the blocked feces and lubricates the colon, allowing the stool to pass more readily through the system and out the other end.
- Obstipation, a severe form of constipation, may be identified in your cat if he or she has a lot of feces in their system.
Most of the time, this is only essential in the most severe of circumstances. Your veterinarian may advise you to make dietary changes or use supplements to avoid recurrence of constipation. This is particularly important if your cat has been suffering from persistent constipation.
How to Prevent Constipation in Cats
There are a few things you can do to assist your cat avoid constipation. Take, for example, the fundamentals of cat care. Consume a diet that is comprehensive and well-balanced for your cat. Make sure your cat has access to fresh water at all times to keep him healthy. Feeding wet food may absolutely aid in the maintenance of hydration, and it is typically advised over dry food as the better option for all cats, regardless of age. In addition, keep your cat’s weight under control and ensure that they receive enough of activity every day.
- If your cat is vomiting or appears to be in great discomfort or sluggish, you should take him to the vet as soon as possible.
- Whether your cat suffers from chronic renal illness or another ailment that may cause constipation, it’s critical to ensure that the issue is properly treated and controlled.
- Follow your veterinarian’s treatment recommendations and contact your veterinarian at the first indication of difficulty.
- Always consult your veterinarian for health-related inquiries, since they have evaluated your pet and are familiar with the pet’s medical history, and they can provide the most appropriate suggestions for your pet.
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.
It is a common condition among domestic cats to suffer from constipation, which is described as the infrequent or difficult emission of hard, dry fecal matter. It is critical to treat it quite actively in order to avoid development of the disease. Constipation in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, including ingestion of indigestible material (such as fur), obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract by foreign bodies, tumors, or strictures (narrowings), electrolyte disturbances, neuromuscular disease, and the side effects of various medications.
Constipation in cats is treated by ensuring that the cat is properly hydrated, eliminating any causative agents where possible, administering medical management such as laxatives, enemas, and drugs that increase intestinal motility, modifying the cat’s diet, and, in severe/unresponsive cases in which the colon becomes distended and unable to function properly (megacolon), surgical removal of affected portions of the colon.
When it comes to laxatives, they function largely by either increasing the amount of water in the stool or lubricating the stool to let it pass easier.
Enemas can be administered at home to obedient cats (after receiving sufficient instruction from a veterinarian), but certain cats may require anesthesia and veterinary help throughout the enema delivery process.
To enhance intestinal motility, dietary modification typically entails the inclusion of either soluble or insoluble fiber (or both) into the diet.
cellulose) acts by increasing the weight of the stool, which causes the colon to be stretched and colonic contraction to be stimulated.
During the fermentation process, insoluble fiber (such as canned pumpkin or psyllium) is produced in the colon, which results in the formation of short chain fatty acids, which are thought to directly stimulate the contraction of colonic smooth muscle.
Additionally, excessive soluble fiber might have a detrimental impact on your ability to absorb nutrients from your food.
Cases of constipation that are severe and non-responsive may lead to megacolon and obstipation (a condition characterized by permanent loss of function of affected colon).
This type of surgical excision of the afflicted parts of the colon may be required in order to prevent germs from being translocated from the GI tract to the bloodstream, which can be life-threatening in some situations. The most recent modification was in 2021.