Signs Your Cat Is Constipated
Cats are often quite private about taking care of business But in order to spot cat constipation signs, you have to familiarize yourself with his poo.
“There is a misconception that if a cat is constipated, the stool inside is a larger diameter than a normal stool. While this can be the case, sometimes stool from constipated cats is very small,” Anthony says. “This is because a small, hard stool is difficult for the colon to move outward. The longer stool sits in the colon, the more water is pulled out.” This creates an uncomfortable cycle: the colon removes water , the poo gets harder and drier, and kitty can’t pass it.
Litter doesn’t stick to dry poo, so that’s one sign. Another is that it’s often very dark brown, but diet might alter color. Here’s a twist: Anthony says some pitiful kitties strain so hard that they push liquid feces around the harder stools and appear to have diarrhea.
If your cat seems sluggish or meows in discomfort when you pick him up or try to pet him, it’s time to spy on his bathroom habits Anthony says you might notice:
- Strain while he uses the litter box.
- Hes not passing a good amount of stool .
- Defecation outside the box.
- He vomits after trying to go.
Any of these symptoms are reasons to visit your veterinarian right away.
Diagnosing Constipation In Cats
If its been more than a couple of days since youve scooped fresh poop from your cats litter box, or if youve seen other signs of constipation, its time to visit the veterinarian for an official diagnosis.
Constipation is usually diagnosed through a combination of the cats history and clinical signs, a thorough physical and rectal exam, and X-rays, Erk says. Your veterinarian may also feel your cats abdomen to determine whether the colon contains hard stool.
Diagnosis may also include blood tests, ultrasounds, and urinalysis to rule out a urinary tract infectiona condition that often presents like constipation, but is much more dangerous, especially for male cats .
How To Treat Constipation In Cats
For mild cases, your vet can provide instruction on how to relieve constipation in cats with simple changes to the pets diet and lifestyle, along with other at-home remedies. However, some cases are more severe and need the attention of a veterinarian.
Before the vet can determine how to treat constipation in cats, he or she will first need to identify the underlying cause for the condition. They will likely provide fluids or an enema for immediate relief. Then, theyll recommend over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs, such as prokinetics or laxatives, for treatment.
In very severe cases that dont respond to treatment, your cat might need to be anesthetized to manually remove the feces from the colon . Cat constipation needs to be treated as soon as possible to reduce the risk of permanent damage resulting from prolonged distension of the colon.
If your pets constipation is long-term or they suffer from obstipation , it could lead to an abnormal dilation of the colon, known as a megacolon. If medical management has failed to help with megacolon, you may consider a surgical procedure called subtotal colectomy to remove the non-functioning part of the colon.
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Change The Litter Type Or Cleaning Routine
Cats are innately very clean animals, and may refuse to use their litter box if they don’t like the litter or it’s not being cleaned regularly enough.
If you suspect that your kitty is displeased with their litter box, it can help to offer an extra litter tray, a couple of different types of litters, or more frequent cleaning regime.
Don’t like cleaning the litter box twice a day? Why not try an automatic self-cleaning litter tray? Or perhaps a simple change over to a clumping litter? When mixed with urine, clumping litter binds together and forms a solid clump. This allows you to remove all the soiled bits easily, leaving only clean litter behind. Because of this, one litter tray can last up to two weeks and hardly smells at all. As a cat owner who has tried almost every type of litter, my top recommendation is without a doubt Rufus and Coco Wee Kitty Corn Litter.
Natural Home Remedies For Cat Constipation
Cats can get constipated just like people do, but its not always obvious because cats are very good at hiding health problems and not showing pain. However, constipation can lead to bigger health problems like Megacolon if left untreated.
Weve searched the internet and asked everyone we know to find as many natural home remedies as we could find to help you get started dealing with this problem so you can enjoy a better quality of life before it causes any permanent damage. Continue reading while we take a look at each remedy and explain how it works, how to find it, or how to make it to help you get your cat back to normal as quickly as possible.
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How Can Constipation And Megacolon Be Treated
Treatment varies depending on the cause of constipation. If an obstruction such as a colonic tumor is present, surgery may be required.
Initial treatment of a cat with constipation may involve administration of enemas and manual extraction of feces by a veterinarian. Removal of feces from the colon often requires an anesthetic or sedative. Intravenous fluid therapy is usually required to correct fluid imbalances and dehydration that worsen the constipation. If the constipation recurs or becomes a long-term problem, dietary management or medications may be needed to prevent recurrence. A number of treatments are available to soften the feces and promote regular bowel movements. In mildly affected cats, high fiber diets, lubricating laxatives, or stool softeners may prevent recurrence.
Those more severely affected may need drugs that stimulate contraction of the colon. The dose of these drugs is adjusted as needed to produce the desired effect. Ideally, cats should defecate at least once every other day. Over time, resistance to the treatment and medications may develop, necessitating an increase in the drug dosage or a change in therapy. You should not make changes to your cat’s treatment protocol without consulting your veterinarian.
“You should not make changes to your cat’s treatment protocol without consulting your veterinarian.”
How Do You Prevent Cat Constipation
Once youve tackled and treated your cats first bout of constipation, how do you keep it from happening again? Most of the treatments that help to relieve constipation can be continued in the long-term to prevent a recurrence.
Keep your cat on a high-moisture diet.
To keep all of the cells in your cats body plump and well-hydrated, continue to feed him a diet that is rich in moisture. Note that I didnt recommend a high-fiber diet. Increasing your cats fiber intake may be a good choice for some cats, but its not necessarily the best long-term strategy. Considering that a low-residue diet is also sometimes recommended for constipation, fiber isnt necessarily the answer. Instead, experiment with various fiber levels and incorporate probiotics to create a healthy gut ecosystem.
If your cats overweight, help him to reach a healthy weight.
Compared to slim cats, overweight kitties are definitely more likely to develop constipation. Continue to encourage your cat to exercise regularly and feed controlled portions of carnivore-appropriate food.
Brush your cat regularly.
For some cats, hairball prevention is synonymous with constipation prevention. Whats better than a regimen of hairball diets and petroleum jelly? A regular grooming routine. Capture loose hair before it jams up in your cats GI tract by swiping it away on a brush. Not sure how to choose the right brush? Check out our guide to the best cat brushes.
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What Are The Signs Of Cat Constipation
So heres the question that all cat owners should know just what exactly are the signs that your cat may be constipated?
Being aware of the signs of feline constipation mostly lies in close observation of your cat.
First of all, you may observe that your cat hasnt defecated in over 48 hours.
While the average adult cat has a bowel movement once a day, it is not uncommon for the occasional delay that extends into a second day.
However, if your cat hasnt left a present in the litter box for over 48 hours, you should be on heightened alert that something may be wrong.
Shy cats may not like this next point, but it is important in identifying the issue.
Responsible pet owners should observe when their cat is doing its business to witness whether or not the cat is experiencing any pain. This could appear as straining while defecating or showing multiple attempts that seem uncomfortable.
Constipation may also be suspected if the feces look unhealthy. If your cats feces are bloody or extremely dry, then she may be suffering from constipation.
Finally, other signs that your cat may be constipated can be found in their behavior.
If you witness behavioral changes that include:
Then constipation may be to blame.
Veterinary Treatment For Cat Constipation
Once you get to the vets practice, a physical examination will be performed to determine the severity of your cats constipation. The vet will then decide what the best course of action is. For mild cases a dietary adjustment might be all that is needed for the cat to get back to their regular toilet habits. In other cases an enema can be recommended or medications such as laxatives, stool softeners or probiotics may be prescribed.
You may be tempted to intervene yourself and try to offer some relief before the vet appointment. But its important to avoid administering any human medications or laxatives to your cat. Be mindful that the risk of injury and even toxicity is real and it can make a condition thats easily treated into a much bigger problem. You should always talk to your vet before administering any remedy to your cat.
Cat constipation can be managed by appropriate treatment in most cases. Keeping an eye on your cats daily water consumption, keeping bowls and litter trays clean, with fresh water given every day should form the basis of your care. Introducing more exercise and aiming for a balanced diet will also help encourage regular bowel movements.
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Why Is My Older Cat Not Using Its Litter Box Anymore
A cat can develop a fear of its litter box that is medical or psychological in nature. The most common explanations for this include:
- It hurts to defecate
- The litter box hasnt been cleaned
- The litter within has changed scent or texture
- There is too much litter in the box
- The litter box is in a noisy area
- The litter box has been moved
- The cat has outgrown its litter box
- Another cat is using the litter box
Cats are fussy about their litter box, so it must meet these criteria:
- Cleaned no less than once a day
- Located in a quiet area, away from noise or footfall
- Unique to the cat. Multiple cats require multiple litter boxes
- No more than two inches of a familiar, unscented litter
- Large enough for the cat to fit into comfortably
If you are confident that your litter box is not the problem, the issue could be a urinary tract infection. UTIs make elimination painful. Your cat may think that its the litter tray thats hurting it and avoid it. Consequently, it will hold in its waste and become constipated.
As the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery explains, feline UTIs frequently reoccur. This means that antibiotics may only provide temporary relief from the problem.
A cat without a UTI may still avoid its litter box due to discomfort. Constipation is painful as the stool is so hard and difficult to pass.
Baby Kittens Cant Poop On Their Own
Its also important to understand that neonatal kittensthose under a month of agemay not be physically able to poop without assistance. Young kittens requirestimulation from their mothers tongue in order to defecate. If orphaned, they need to be gently stimulated by a caregiver before every meal. Use a soft tissue or a baby wipe to stimulate the kittens anus in a circular motion, continuing movement until and while the kitten is pooping. This will signal to the kittens body to push, and will encourage them to have a bowel movement.
Best Way To Help A Constipated Cat Poop Again
Take him to your vet. There! Easy! The Cornell Feline Health Center indicates a vet will evaluate your cat’s hydration levels, assess overall health, and eliminate other possible clinical causes.
Another reason why a professional exam is the best remedy for cat constipation is if the condition is more serious, the vet team takes immediate action. “Constipated cats may need an enema at the vet clinic to help them defecate. This is a liquid that softens and lubricates the passage of feces,” Anthony says. “Some cats can get so ‘blocked up’ that they are unable to move the stool. This is called obstipation and requires fecal extraction by a doctor under sedation/anesthesia.”
And no, you shouldn’t have to palpate a cat for constipation relief. Leave anal gland care to the professionals.
There are home remedies for cat constipation that you’ll probably find online, and your vet will likely recommend the safest and most effective options. “Often, adding fiber such as pumpkin or psyllium and/or stool softeners can help, as will increasing dietary moisture with canned food or low-sodium broths,” Anthony says. “No changes should be made prior to visiting a veterinarian, however, as dietary recommendations should be made with the whole cat in mind.”
Increase Exercise And Enrichment
Exercise can help promote normal movement of the intestines, which helps treat and prevent constipation. Encourage your cat to be more active with things like cat toys, cat trees, window seats, and more playtime with you. Exercise will also help provide enrichment and reduce your cats anxiety, and it will help with weight loss.
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Encourage Your Cat To Exercise
Exercise addresses your cats constipation in multiple ways. The first is by stimulating peristalsisthe rhythmic contractions of your cats intestine. The second is by helping your cat to lose weight. Overweight cats are much more likely to become constipated, so its essential that you help your cat reach a healthy weight. Third, exercise relieves stress, which is sometimes responsible for feline constipation.
Your cats exercise routine can be as unique as your cat is. Try 15 minutes of predatory play or a supervised walk outside.
If Your Cat Is On A Dry Diet Switch Him To A High
Rule out acute dehydration by pinching your cats scruff. If the skin goes down slowly or doesnt descend into a normal position at all, your cat is seriously dehydrated and requires emergency fluid therapy. If youre able to administer subcutaneous fluids at home, great. Otherwise, bring your cat to the vet.
Once youve established that your cat is not severely dehydrated, you still want to increase the amount of fluid circulating in his body.
The best way to accomplish this is by switching from a dry diet to a food thats inherently rich in water. Instead of struggling with tuna juice in the water bowl and buying a water fountain and trying to get your cat to use it, just give them more water in their food. Its how cats work naturally and its a heck of a lot easier. Plus youll probably lower your cats carbohydrate intake while youre at it, which is a good way to spare him and yourself the giant frustration that is diabetes.
Its a win-win-win situation on multiple levels.
Tips for Transitioning Your Cat From Dry to Wet Cat Food
If youre having a hard time transitioning your cat from one food to another, there are a few things you can do to quickly increase your cats water intake.
One is to start mixing warm water at a 1:1 ratio into your cats dry food. Remember that this makes the food a breeding ground for bacteria and aflatoxins, so be sure to refrigerate or toss it after a couple of hours.
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What Can I Give My Cat For Constipation
If youre wondering what you can give your cat to relieve constipation, this is a great source. Like many pet owners, I can sometimes be a bit of a hypochondriac over my cats. Even the smallest sign that there may be something wrong sends me into overdrive to find out all of the information available on the topic.
This recently happened when I noticed that the litter box seemed unusually empty for two days in a row. I immediately started researching feline constipation to see if there was anything I could do to help my furry friend out!
It turns out that Im not the only one who has been confronted with this somewhat embarrassing situation. Theres no need for you to feel embarrassed about the topic or start opening up incognito windows in your web browser because Ive got all the important information compiled here.
So here it is: What can I give my cat for constipation? In addition to promoting increased hydration, additional fiber intake, and regular exercise, pet owners can choose from a number of natural laxatives, such as pumpkin, and over-the-counter remedies for cat constipation. In severe cases, veterinarians may perform an enema or surgery if constipation poses an immediate threat to the cats health.