How To Help Constipated Cat

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.

  1. There are a variety of medications available to soften feces and encourage regular bowel motions in people with IBS.
  2. The more severely afflicted individuals may require medications that encourage the contraction of the colon to relieve their symptoms.
  3. Cats should defecate at least once every other day, if not more frequently.
  4. Make no modifications to your cat’s treatment routine without first discussing with your veterinarian beforehand.
  5. 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.

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.

Constipation can be a symptom of more significant health problems, and it can be quite unpleasant as well (and severe in some cases).

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)
  • Allergies
  • Nerve difficulties
  • Narrow spots, tumors, or other abnormalities inside the colon
  • Cancer
  • 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
  • Concealment
  • Difficulty leaping up
  • Muscle loss
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • 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)
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Should I watch my cat for constipation?

Initial observations should be made at least twice a week, then weekly or biweekly, to determine the frequency and consistency of your cat’s litter box deposits and stool consistency. It is important to call your veterinarian if you observe your cat straining when defecating or showing other signs of constipation. This is especially important if your cat is also suffering from diarrhea, as dehydration may rapidly become a problem.

Cat Can’t Poo? Here’s What to Do

For constipated cats, there are a handful of safe home treatments you may try. However, before doing any of them, speak with your veterinarian first. As humans, we can all relate to how painful constipation can be, so it’s not difficult to picture how your cat may be feeling if he’s experiencing the same problem. Cat constipation, like human constipation, may be an occasional irritation for your feline companion, but it may also be a symptom of a more serious health concern. For the time being, don’t start whipping out the butter, olive oil, or any other crowdsourcing cat constipation cures.

Anthony, DVM, has been practicing feline-exclusive care for more than 20 years.

What Causes Constipation in Cats?

Although veterinarians aren’t always sure what causes constipation in cats, Anthony says the condition is more common in cats with certain conditions, such as kidney disease. “Kidney disease frequently results in body water loss and overall dehydration, which can manifest as constipation,” Anthony says. “Intestinal illness can affect motility, decreasing the transit of digested contents and resulting in a drier stool,” according to the National Institutes of Health. Your kitten may also be experiencing physical discomfort that prevents him from placing himself properly in the litter box, causing him to avoid using the box completely.

Cats may also have impacted anal glands, which can be painful.

Signs Your Cat Is Constipated

Cats are notoriously secretive when it comes to taking care of their business (and we take the same ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude to the entire thing ourselves!) However, in order to recognize the indications of cat constipation, you must first become familiar with his feces. “An incorrect belief exists that, in constipated cats, the stool within is greater in diameter than regular stool. This is not the case. While this is occasionally the case, sometimes the feces produced by constipated cats is extremely tiny “”It’s Anthony,” he adds.

The longer the feces remains in the colon, the more water is drawn out of the body.” This produces a painful cycle: the colon drains water (which is its duty), the poo becomes harder and drier, and cat is unable to transfer it through the system.

Another characteristic is that it is frequently quite dark brown, however nutrition may affect the color.

In the event that your cat appears sluggish or meows in discomfort when you pick him up or try to touch him, it’s important to investigate his potty habits (his pride will soon recover!). You could observe the following, according to Anthony:

  • While he is using the litter box, put him under pressure. In addition, he is not passing a substantial volume of feces (which is generally at least a couple inches in length)
  • Defecation in places other than the bathroom
  • He vomits after attempting to pass gas

Any of these signs and symptoms should prompt you to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately soon. In addition, some pet parents bring in their cats who are truly constipated because they are stopping themselves from urinating, according to Anthony. If you assume constipation based on your poo examination but only notice a few drops of urine, Anthony says this is typically a secondary outcome of the cat exerting all of his abdominal muscles to push and the bladder being relatively empty, but a vet will be able to confirm this.

Best Way to Help a Constipated Cat Poop Again

Take him to the veterinarian. That’s it! It’s simple! According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, a veterinarian will examine your cat’s hydration levels, check his overall health, and rule out any other probable clinical causes of his dehydration. In addition to this, if the problem is more serious, the vet team will take quick action to alleviate the discomfort of your cat’s constipation. “Constipated cats may require an enema at the veterinarian’s office in order to defecate. This is a liquid that softens and lubricates the passage of excrement, and it is used in the toilet “”It’s Anthony,” he adds.

  • Obstipation is a medical condition that necessitates fecal extraction by a clinician while under sedation or anesthesia.” You shouldn’t have to palpate a cat in order to get constipation relief, either.
  • (Whew!) There are several home cures for cat constipation that you may research on the internet, and your veterinarian will likely prescribe the safest and most effective solutions for you.
  • “No nutritional adjustments should be undertaken prior to consulting with a veterinarian, however, because dietary suggestions should be made with the cat’s overall health in mind,” says the veterinarian.
  • Consult your veterinarian for assistance in developing a more balanced and um, digestible cuisine.


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. To enhance intestinal motility, dietary modification typically entails the inclusion of either soluble or insoluble fiber (or both) into the diet.
  4. cellulose) acts by increasing the weight of the stool, which causes the colon to be stretched and colonic contraction to be stimulated.
  5. 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.
  6. Additionally, excessive soluble fiber might have a detrimental impact on your ability to absorb nutrients from your food.
  7. 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.

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 can be very uncomfortable. Unlike some cats, who are more obvious when they are constipated (think: loud meowing from their litterbox as a result of discomfort), others are more discrete when they are constipated. As a result, it is your responsibility as a diligent pet owner to figure out if your cat is experiencing constipation and take the necessary steps to help them.

If your cat has gone several days without pooping, it is possible that you will need to take action to assist your pet.

There are several common causes of feline constipation, and determining which of these factors contributed to this occurrence can help you prevent it from occurring again.

In addition, these tips from Dr.

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.

  1. As a result, your pet will have an even more difficult time moving them through his or her body.
  2. This occurs while they are attempting to defecate, and it can even cause discomfort in the belly.
  3. This occurs as a result of the extreme strain placed on their bodies.
  4. This isn’t the case at all.
  5. 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
  • Vomiting
  • Concealment
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Are you worried about your cat?

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. It’s possible that your cat has long, silky hair, which puts them at greater danger of suffering this than a Sphinx.
  3. Garside notes that long-haired cats might develop constipated as a result of routine grooming because they eat their own hairs.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Over-the-counter remedies

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.

  1. VCA Animal Hospital |
  2. Cornell University 9 Tips for Dealing with a Constipated Cat – PetMD.
  3. |
  4. Find Out How to Deal With It |

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)

Common Symptoms

In most cases, cat constipation is accompanied by one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • 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
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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.

Cat Constipation: Signs, Causes & Treatment

As a cat owner, you’re no doubt eager to discover out what’s causing your cat’s constipation and how you may alleviate the situation for your cherished feline companion. Throughout this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about cat constipation, from the early signs to veterinary cat constipation therapy and strategies to prevent the discomfort so that your cat may go back to being their regular joyful selves.

What is constipation in cats?

Cat constipation occurs when there is an abnormal buildup of feces in the colon, resulting in difficult bowel motions for the animal. A typical symptom is either a decreased capacity to pass feces or the complete lack of them altogether, depending on how severe it is. Feces linger in the colon, and because the colon’s primary function is to absorb water, the stools that remain in this area become extremely hard and dry, making it even more difficult for your cat to pass them.

Cat constipation symptoms

Cat constipation is a condition in which a cat does not generate faeces for longer than 24 hours and is thus considered to be present. Owners, on the other hand, may not always be aware of their cat’s bathroom habits, as some felines are known to prefer to go to the bathroom outside as well. As a result, you may not notice the irregularity of their bathroom habits at first glance. These are some of the additional signs and symptoms of cat constipation that you should be aware of:

  • Tense abdominal muscles
  • Hard, dry, and tiny stools Some owners mistakenly believe they are having difficulties peeing because of the straining. Occasionally experiencing a lack of appetite. a hunched-over position

All bunged up: Unclogging the constipated cat

Client handout has been revised and updated. With Dr. Margie Scherk’s assistance, we were able to update a client handout on feline constipation. You can get it right here. Constipated cats are inconvenient because they strain in the litter box, maybe even screaming out, or they leave undesirable hard pellets all over the house and yard. Congestion can also impair a cat’s ability to eat and can even result in vomiting in some cases. Traditional therapies to this difficult condition include the use of enemas, laxatives to soften the stool or enhance contractions, dietary fiber, and promotetility drugs, among other things.

  • How about the long-term impacts of constipation?
  • THE REASONS FOR CONSTITUTION Constipation is a clinical symptom that is not pathognomonic for any specific underlying disease or condition.
  • In cats, water makes about 65 to 75 percent of their bodies depending on their age and percent body fat content.
  • When cells become dehydrated, the body responds by taking efforts to restore the fluid balance.
  • This means that medical therapy may not be the most effective first-line treatment option in some cases.
  • Examining the patient’s medical history Considering the plethora of probable causes as well as concurrent disorders, it is critical to have an accurate history.

Not only is it important to inquire about the cat’s current diet (type, frequency, and appetite), but it is also important to inquire about whether the patient may be dehydrated (due to decreased intake or increased water loss), may be suffering from orthopedic pain, or may be reluctant to use the litter box due to social or toileting issues (fear, unpleasant box).

  1. 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.
  2. 1Physical examination is required.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. It is possible to see evidence of a pelvic fracture or other fractures that are not properly positioned.
  8. A digital rectal examination should be performed on all cats that have recurring constipation.
  9. Perineal herniation can occur as a result of chronic tenesmus.
  10. 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 Experimentally, nizatidine and ranitidine suppress anticholinesterase action, working synergistically with cisapride.

These include medicines that cause dehydration, such as diuretics, and those that interfere with intestinal motility, such as anticholinesterase and sympathomimetic drugs, barium, opioids, tricyclic antidepressants, and certain H1-antihistamines.

A basic environmental need is to have multiple but separated resources.

By having multiple sites, separate from each other, the chance of intercat aggression or threat (perceived or real) from other individuals is minimized.

Litter boxes need to be large (at least 1.5 times the length of the cat) and very clean.

Water stations must also be kept clean and freshened regularly.

14 Wet food increases water intake significantly, favoring a positive hydration status.

Colectomy should be considered a “last resort” for a cat with megacolon that is refractory to medical management and has been struggling with obstipation for more than six months.

Should pelvic trauma have occurred less than six months ago, however, pelvic osteotomy may be all that is required to prevent megacolon from developing in cats.

SUMMARY Early correction and management of constipation will help prevent irreversible problems from developing.

Behavioral and environmental aspects should not be overlooked.

Regular follow-up is very important.

Margie Scherk, DVM, DABVP (feline practice)catsINK Vancouver, Canada References 1.Washabau RJ, Hasler AH.

In: August JR, ed.Consultations in feline internal medicine.

Philadelphia: W.B.

2.Davis H, Jensen T, Johnson A, et al.

J Am Anim Hosp Assoc2013;49(3):149-159.


5th ed.

4.Chandler ML.

In: Washabau RJ, Day MJ, eds.


5.Sunvold GD, Fahey GC, Merchen NR, et al.

J Anim Sci1995;73(8):2329-2339.

In vitro fermentation of selected fibrous substrates by dog and cat fecal inoculum: influence of diet composition on substrate organic matter disappearance and short-chain fatty acid production.

7.Freiche V, Houston D, Weese H, et al.

J Feline Med Surg2011;13(12):903-911.

Prokinetic agents: a key in the future of gastroenterology.

9.Briejer MR, Prins NH, Schuurkes JA.

Neurogastroenterol Motil2001;13(5):465-472.

in R.J.

Day, eds.

Saunders/Elsevier Publishing Company, St.

111.Dawn Boothe from the Department of Clinical Sciences at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Auburn, Alabama: personal communication, 2014.

In dogs and rats, the gastroprokinetic activity of nizatidine, a novel H2-receptor antagonist, was investigated, as well as the potential mode of action.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 1993;264(1):152-157.

Ellis, I.

Carney, and colleagues Guidelines for feline environmental requirements developed by the AAFP and the ISFM.

14.Kirschvink, N., Lhoest, E., Leemans, J., and colleagues In cats, water intake is controlled by the frequency of feeding and the amount of energy provided, according to the results of the study. ESVCN’s 9th Congress was held in 2005.

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