Causes Of Constipation In Cats
Constipation may occur regardless of the cats age and health status. Cats are notoriously poor drinkers and, especially when fed a dry kibble diet, they are at higher risk of developing constipation. Any condition that leads to dehydration can also lead to constipation. Being sedentary and overweight are also risk factors. There is a very serious condition that can occur in overweight, middle-aged cats, called megacolon. Other issues that can lead to constipation include:
- Hairballs or ingestion of foreign material
- Pelvic pain or pelvic injuries resulting in a narrowed pelvic canal
- Avoiding the litterbox
- Breed, especially Manx
How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Constipated
Constipation may range from mild to severe and can be caused by a number of conditions, which means signs vary greatly. However, typical cat constipation signs are:
- Behavioral abnormalities
- Small, hard, dry stools
- You may notice your cat visiting their litterbox more frequently or trying to defecate outside of the box.
If your cat usually defecates outdoors, its possible they may have been experiencing constipation for some time before you notice how infrequently they defecate.Understanding what to look for in the consistency and color of your cat’s poop can also help identify when your cat is suffering from constipation.On some occasions, a cat might be straining because theyre unable to pass urine. This indicates a blocked bladder, which is a life-threatening condition. If your cat is frequently visiting the litterbox and straining without producing urine, you should contact your veterinarian immediately for an emergency appointment.
Minimize Stress And Anxiety
Cats can easily become stressed when their routines are disrupted. There could be a more obvious cause, like having a new pet in the house or moving, or it could be less obvious, like a change in your schedule, construction noise nearby, or a new dog barking in the neighborhood.
Sometimes it just takes time for a cat to adjust to changes. But you can help reduce stress and anxiety by using things like calming pheromones , supplements , herbs, and/or medications.
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Medical Treatments For Cat Constipation
It is vital to seek veterinarian care if your cat suffers from persistent or severe constipation. A stool softener or laxative may be prescribed by your veterinarian if you have persistent constipation. They may deliver intravenous fluids to patients who are suffering from constipation due to dehydration. Alternatively, in the event of a blockage that requires quick removal, the veterinarian may provide a warm water enema. If you are not expressly informed and trained by your veterinarian, you should never conduct an enema at home.
In general, according to VCA Animal Hospitals, the prognosis for these surgical procedures is favorable.
Preventative Tips To Keep Your Cats Bowels Moving
There are several things you can do to make your cats environment conducive to pooping regularly.
When possible, your cat should have multiple areas for things like water, his litter box, food, resting areas, perches, and toy stations.
This is especially true if you have more than one cat! Feline aggression can be a problem when you have multiple kitties trying to share the same food and water stations, which can trigger constipation in some cats.
Consider making sure your cats litter boxes do not have hoods, because hoods can make a cat feel as though they are about to be ambushed. You should also make sure your cats litter box is large and extremely clean, as well as easily accessible.
The same goes for your cats water stations, keep them clean and fresh to encourage regular drinking. You might also consider feeding your cat smaller amounts of food more frequently, because the more they eat, the more they drink.
Interestingly, many cats may turn their noses up at sources of still water. To counteract this behavior, you could try using a pet water fountain. When given a choice, cats go for the moving water almost every time.
Another little trick you can try is to add kitty flavoring to your cats water bowl. You can do this by draining the liquid from a can of tuna or canned cat food into your cats water bowl to spice it up a bit.
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What Can Happen If Constipation Goes Untreated
If your cat’s constipation is not alleviated, obstipation-the inability to empty her colon on her own-can occur. In this state, the colon is packed with an uncomfortably large amount of feces, causing unproductive straining, lethargy, appetite loss and possibly even vomiting. This can result in the swelling of your cat’s colon and loss of the colon’s motility.
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Determining If Your Cat Is Constipated
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What Are Cat Constipation Symptoms
Cat constipation is no fun for anyone! If your kitty is struggling to produce good, healthy stool, chances are that they are suffering from cat constipation. There are many causes and symptoms of kitten constipation. Lets look at what can cause constipation, its symptoms, and what you can do if your cat is struggling to go #2.
How Does My Cat Get Diagnosed
Your veterinarian will diagnose your cat with constipation based on several things, including a thorough history , physical examination findings , and a medical work up. A medical work up is important to find the possible cause of constipation in your cat and will consist of the following:
- A minimum of blood work to check the kidney and liver function, salt balance, protein level, and blood sugar
- A complete blood count to look at the white and red blood cell count
- A thyroid value
- A urine test is important to look at how well the kidneys are working
- X-rays will help look at the size of the pelvis opening, and look for any obvious cancer or physical causes for not being able to defecate
- An abdominal ultrasound in reoccurring cases of constipation to help rule out cancer.
Once this veterinary diagnostic work up is done, the most important part of making your cat comfortable and treating their constipation is getting that backed up feces out of there! Please know that some cats may need long-term medication or dietary changes to prevent chronic constipation from happening again. This is important because we want to prevent megacolon, which is when the colon becomes chronically dilated and is difficult to treat long-term.
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Keep Your Cat Comfortable
The best thing you can do is to administer medications and/or a prescription diet as directed and monitor your cats defecation habits.
Placing a calming pheromone diffuser in your cats main area can help soothe them after their unpleasant event and hopefully help control stress to prevent re-occurrence. If your cats veterinarian approves, there are calming treats that can be used as well.
Adding additional litter boxes around your home will allow your cat to rest more instead of seeking out their litter box. Cats love to have a choice in which box they use.
Diagnosing A Cat With Constipation
Unfortunately, if you suspect that your cat is constipated, you may need to schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Especially if the situation is getting bad, and diet changes and water monitoring doesnt seem to be improving the situation.
Your veterinarian will want a very thorough background history, and they may request blood chemistry profiles, blood counts, a urinalysis, and an electrolyte panel, just to make sure everything is looking as it should.
They may also require an x-ray, especially if they believe your cat is impacted.
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Signs Your Cat Is Constipated & What You Can Do About It
- This post includes affiliate links for your convenience. More information may be found here. It is not intended to be a substitute for expert veterinary assistance.
Poop is an unavoidable reality of life for cat parents. Most of us get well acquainted with our dogs toilet habits as a result of the daily sweeping of the litter box and the charting of their waste for veterinarian appointments. If you find your cat pooping less frequently in the litter box, or if you notice them laboring to defecate, it is possible that they are constipated. Constipation is characterized as an abnormal buildup of feces in the colon, leading in painful bowel motions, according to VCA Animal Hospitals.
They may use the restroom less regularly or possibly cease to use the restroom altogether.
Well go through the indicators of constipation in cats, as well as what you can do to help them get back on their feet.
What Causes Constipation Why Is My Cat Not Pooping
Figuring out why your cat is constipated is essential. This is because you can prevent it from occurring again. According to Dr. Garside, one of the most common reasons your cat could be constipated or having difficulty making regular bowel movements could be due to scavenging.
âBones and hair from wildlife, in particular, are difficult to digest, these form clumps of hard feces in the intestinal tract,â says Dr. Garside. Of course, if you have an indoor cat, this will not be the cause. However, there are several other causes of constipation that affect indoor cats primarily.
If you have an indoor cat, they could become constipated simply from ingesting large quantities of their own hair, as seen with hairballs. This is more likely for some cat breeds than others.
For instance, if you have a cat with long, silky hair, theyâre at higher risk for experiencing this than a Sphinx. âLong-haired cats can also become constipated due to normal grooming as they ingest their own hairs,â explains Dr. Garside. âThere are rarer causes such as the condition ‘Megacolon’ but these require diagnosis by a vet.â
Thatâs just one reason why paying your vet a visit if your cat is experiencing constipation can prove helpful. Itâs better to get a vetâs opinion on what is going on sooner than later, so they can intervene if necessary.
There are also some other reasons why your cat might be experiencing constipation. These can include:
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Constipation In The Cat
Constipation is a word that refers to the inability to pass feces or the passage of feces infrequently or difficultly . Constipation occurs when feces are kept in the colon or rectum for a longer period of time than is typical. As a result, the feces tends to become drier and harder , which may aggravate the condition. Animals suffering from constipation may display indications of discomfort while attempting to defecate, which may be followed by prolonged straining to evacuate feces.
A disease known as megacolon develops as a result of recurrent bouts of constipation or obstipation.
What Is The Long
The long-term outlook varies according to the cause of the constipation however, most cats can be adequately managed without surgery and resume normal, healthy lives. For cats that require surgery to correct megacolon, the prognosis is good.
|Contributors: Malcolm Weir, DVM, MSc, MPH Ernest Ward, DVM|
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Add More Litter Boxes
Cats can be quite particular about their litter boxes. If they dont like the location of a litter box or even the type of box or litter, they may not use it as much, which can lead to constipation. You should have at least one more litter box than you have cats, and there should be at least one litter box on every floor of your home. You may need to experiment with different types of boxes and litter to find what your cat likes.
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:
- The following symptoms indicate that you should take your cat to a full-service veterinarian or an urgent care facility:
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 cats symptoms with you.
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Excessive Grooming And Hairballs
According to WebMD, hairballs develop from the cats grooming behavior. During the grooming process, the cats tongue catches some loose hair which it swallows. Much of the collected hair passes through the digestive tract without a problem.
However, there are times when the hair stays in the stomach and forms hairballs. Unlike food, hairballs are dry and will not move down the narrow intestines.
Your cat may vomit the hairballs, but other times the cat may get constipated by the hairs.
The problem is common in the long-haired breeds such as Maine Coons, cats that shed a lot of furs, and cats with a compulsive desire to groom frequently.
You can deal with the hairball problem by adding a non-petroleum remedy in the meal to help the hair pass through the digestive tract.
What Is Cat Constipation
Constipation is defined as infrequent or difficult defecation. This may mean hard stool large, uncomfortable pellets or no production of poop at all.
Cat constipation is a short-term problem. If your cat continues to be constipated, it can become obstipation or even megacolon, which is the advanced stage of chronic cat constipation that is often nonresponsive to medical management.
Always take your cat to the vet if they are straining in the litter box. The underlying cause could possibly be serious or deadly if untreated.
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What Can I Give My Cat If Shes Constipated
If your cat is constipated, the first thing you should do is try to make dietary changes to make sure theyre getting enough fiber. Try switching to a high-fiber food that helps produce healthy stool and making sure your cat is getting enough water. If your cat is getting too much fiber, you can switch to wet food to try to add a little more water to their diet.
While dietary changes typically resolve constipation in cats, thats not always the case. If your cat is still constipated after youve made dietary changes, you can try using a gentle laxative to relieve constipation. Keep in mind that laxatives designed for humans shouldnt be used to treat cats. You should always talk to your veterinarian before giving your cat a laxative to make sure its safe.
Canned pumpkin is a popular home remedy for cat constipation. If your cat is having trouble defecating, try feeding them some pumpkin from a can to increase fiber and add a little moisture to their diet.
All About Cat Constipation
- Constipation in cats is rarely serious, but some cases require veterinary attention.
- Kidney disease, obesity, or poor nutrition could play a role in constipation.
- Most cases of cat constipation are mild and can be managed with outpatient care.
- In more severe cases, surgery or hospitalization may be required.
- Plenty of water, a healthy weight, and a high-quality diet can help prevent cat constipation.
Even the most adorable pets require some dirty work, and when it comes to cats, that dirty work includes keeping the litter box clean.
Scooping poop is by no means a pleasant task, but the state of your cats litter box can provide insight into his health. For example, you might notice that there isnt anything to scoop for several days, which could mean that your cat is constipated.
Yes, like people, cats can get constipated. While most cases of cat constipation arent particularly serious, there are times where the condition requires veterinary attention.
Heres everything you need to know at cat constipation, including causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
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Try Probiotics And Fiber Supplements
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that help support healthy intestines by dealing with a microflora imbalance that might be causing problems with stool consistency. Fiber supplements such as Psyllium can help increase the bulk of your pets stool, stimulating movement in the intestines to get the stool out. It can also help increase the water content in the stool, making it easier to pass.
However, if youre thinking about giving your cat supplements, be sure to consult with your vet first. Your vet can help you choose the appropriate remedy and administer the correct dose. This is especially important if your pet is already taking other supplements, on medication, or they have been diagnosed with a health condition.