What Causes Cat Constipation
Constipation is much more common in cats than dogs, and older or senior cats are generally more susceptible. However, cats of any age can be affected by constipation.Any condition that causes dehydration may lead to cat constipation. But there are other reasons your cat may be affected too some of which are serious.
Treatment May Prevent Potentially Serious Problems
Constipation is a relatively common problem in middle-aged to older cats. Male cats tend to be at a slightly higher risk. Causes can be as simple as dietary upset or a lack of water or can be due to tumors or infection .
Common Causes of Constipation
Most normal cats have one to three bowel movements per day. Learn what is normal for your cat. This can be a challenge in a multi-cat household, but you may find that cats have preferential litterboxes for eliminating, which can help you with who did what. Otherwise, if you notice there are fewer stools when you clean litterboxes, you may need to separate cats for a day to determine which cat may be ill.
If you notice your cat straining in the litterbox, your first concern should be urinary obstruction, which is an immediate veterinary emergency. If you see that there is plenty of wet litter but no fecal material, constipation is more likely. If your cat goes 48 hours without defecating, he needs veterinary attention.
In a constipated cat, the colonthe section of the lower intestine that functions as a reservoir for undigested food, mucus, bacteria, and dead cells prior to evacuationbecomes impacted with feces that will not budge. Stool that is retained for too long can become hard and dry and difficult to move.
Ensure Adequate Hydration
What You Can Do
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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What Are The Signs Of Cat Constipation
Its important to work out whether your cat is trying to pass poo or trying to urinate.; Unfortunately, the signs can be quite similar, making it difficult to be sure whats going on.; If your cat is constipated there may be liquid or mucus from the anus and redness or swelling around the anus.; If your pet is straining to pass urine, you may see small amounts of urine or blood around the vulva or penis and your cat may lick this area.
I Have A Constipated Cat What Should I Do
Every day you probably see or hear at least one advertisement promoting human products to protect digestive health or to resolve bloating and to keep you regular. Colon regularity seems to be a real celebrity cause these days, but did you know that your cat is also prone to bouts of irregularity? Did you know that constipation in cats can, over time, become a serious, life-threatening problem?Depending on your cats bathroom habits, you may or may not even be aware of how regular he is. If your cat is free-roaming outside, you may not be in a position to monitor his bowel movements.If you are cleaning a litter pan every day, odds are you will notice whether or not your cat is eliminating daily and whether his stools are large or small, hard or soft. Armed with this information, its your job to notice if your cat is developing constipation.Symptoms of constipation in cats include:
Causes of constipation in cats and treatments
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
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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.;
When Should I Take My Cat To The Vet For Constipation
You should seek veterinary consultation if your cat doesnt defecate for more than a day or two. You should be especially concerned, he adds, if the animal seems to be straining in its litter box, crying out in pain as it tries to defecate, or if there is blood in the bits of stool that it has managed to expel.
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Health Benefits Of Pumpkin For Cats
Plain pumpkin is a good source of fiber for cats. In fact, many veterinarians turn to pumpkin as a remedy for constipation in feline patients.
Dr. Angelo Maggiolo, medical director of County Animal Clinic in Yonkers, New York, often recommends pumpkin as an easy fix for mild cases of constipation in cats. It will get the colon moving a little better in cats predisposed to constipation, he says.
The fiber found in pumpkin also adds bulk to the diet, making cats feel more satiated, explains Dr. Heather Meyers, a veterinarian for Carolina Pets Hospital in Wesley Chapel, North Carolina. This is especially beneficial for obese cats who are on a diet. Adding pumpkin at mealtime may even help prevent painful anal sac problems or help reduce hairballs. ;
And while pumpkin is a good source of vitamins A and C, which help support vision and immune system health, Meyers advises that its not necessary to use pumpkin as a vitamin supplement. Cats are generally not deficient in these vitamins if theyre on a well-balanced diet, she says. ;;
Pumpkin also contains zinc, which can help improve a cats skin and coat, and cucurbitacin, a biochemical compound that is thought to have some activity against intestinal parasites. However, with a well-balanced diet and proper veterinary care, most of these concerns can be taken care of without the need for pumpkin.
Anal Sacs That Are Abscessed Or Blocked
A cat has two sacs near the opening of the anus. These sacs act like the scent glands. They help the cat mark his territory by producing a dark, smelly fluid.
The sacs sometimes get infected and painful. If not treated, an abscess may develop. Other times, the duct that empties the sacs gets clogged creating a pressure buildup which makes it hard for the cat to poop.
The retention of feces in all the above cases leads to constipation.
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Treatments For Constipated Cats
Treatment of a constipated cat will depend on any underlying diseases and the severity of the constipation. Severely affected cats may need anesthesia to remove the feces, while the worst affected cats may need to have their colon removed. For preventative tips, read my previous blog post about how to help keep your cat or dog from developing constipation.
Monitor Your Cat For Constipation
Monitor the frequency of your cats defecation and stool consistency at least twice a week initially, and then weekly or biweekly.
Contact your veterinarian if you notice very hard, dry feces, or if you notice that your cat is straining while defecating. Watch for any of the other signs of constipation, and contact your veterinarian if you notice diarrhea, especially, since this can quickly lead to;dehydration.
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How To Serve Pumpkin To Cats
If your cat enjoys pumpkin, the best way to serve it is straight out of the can. Avoid any canned pumpkin products that contain added flavoring or sugars, especially if your cat has diabetes. You truly just want plain pumpkin, Meyers says. Mix between one and four teaspoons of canned pumpkin with cat food one to two times a day. Your veterinarian can advise the specific quantity of pumpkin to serve, depending on your cats condition.;
If your finicky cat refuses pumpkin, consult your veterinarian for alternatives. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, one to four teaspoons per meal of psyllium or one to two tablespoons of wheat bran can also be added to canned food as fiber supplements. As long as your cat is well hydrated, any of these additives may assist in treating constipation. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian first, before making any changes to your cats diet.
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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Good Diet And Hydration
Next, you should make sure that you are feeding your cat a protein-rich diet that has enough moisture. This may include feeding both dry and wet food. You can also supplement your cats hydration with liquid treats. If they refuse the treats and food, make sure you understand why is my cat not eating?
If your cat suffers from chronic constipation, your vet may recommend a prescription diet focused on improving your cats bowel movements.;
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.
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When Should I See A Full Service Veterinarian
You should definitely take your cat to a full-service veterinarian or urgent care if you notice any of the following:
- It has been more than 48 hours since your cat has defecated
- Your cat has not eaten or had water for more than 48 hours
- You see blood in your cats stool
- Sustained vomiting
- Your cat stops grooming
- Any signs of abdominal discomfort
Cat constipation can also be an indication of a different, potentially serious, underlying problem. You may need to have your cat examined by a veterinarian in the case your kitty needs more intensive care such as enemas, surgery or receiving fluids. By conducting a thorough physical examination and discussing your cats symptoms, your veterinarian will be able to decide what additional tests may be needed.
Constipation In The Cat
17th August 2018
Constipation is a term used to describe absent, infrequent or difficult passage of faeces .
When constipation occurs, faeces are retained longer than normal in the colon or rectum , and as a result the faeces tends to become dryer and harder , which may make the problem worse.
Animals with constipation may exhibit signs of pain when trying to pass faeces , and this may be accompanied by excessive straining to pass faeces. If there is prolonged constipation, the faeces may become severely impacted in the colon and rectum, and this is known as obstipation. With repeated bouts of constipation or obstipation the colon can become distended and lose its ability to contract and push faeces towards the rectum, a condition called megacolon .
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Ask Your Vet About Over
The following over-the-counter products may treat symptoms of constipation, but make sure to consult your veterinarian before giving any new supplements or medications to your cat.
There are several types of laxatives that work in different ways. Most over-the-counter options work by causing the body to pull more water into the intestines, which helps soften the stool so its easier to pass.
Because they pull water into the intestines, laxatives can make other symptoms worse for cats with underlying chronic diseases, causing dehydration. You should ask your vet if theyre a good option for your cat.
Miralax is commonly used in cats with constipation, and Colace is also an option. Other laxatives that are designed for people can cause issues for cats.
Oil- or grease-based laxatives like Laxatone should only be used if a vet recommends them and should not be used long-term, as they can affect a cats ability to absorb nutrients from their food.
Spotting Signs Of Cat Constipation
Although cat constipation is relatively common, it can be a sign of a serious disorder. By learning to spot the signs, you can make sure your cat gets the help it needs right away.
A cat is constipated if its unable to pass stools or if it only defecates infrequently.;
When feces remains in the colon for longer than usual, it dehydrates and becomes hard, which causes the cat discomfort.;As constipation persists, the feces becomes impacted. This can cause the colon to become distended and unable to push the feces towards the rectum a severe form of constipation known as obstipation.Both constipation and obstipation need immediate treatment. However, they often indicate that another underlying disorder is at work. Contributing factors could include diet or an obstruction.;Thats why its so important to seek veterinary help whenever you notice signs of cat constipation.
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Signs Of Constipation In Cats
Just how can you tell if your cat is constipated, anyhow? The biggest sign is a lack of poop, which is easy to spot if you have a single cat with a single litterbox. According to Richard Goldstein, DVM, a professor at Cornells College of Veterinary Medicine, most cats poop one to three times a day. So if more than one or two days pass without a poop in the box, it may be time to call the vet.
Other signs of constipation in cats include:
- Unusual crying or vocalizing while pooping
- Small, hard poops
- Blood in the stool
- Straining in the litter box
Straining in the litter box can also be a sign of urinary tract infection or blockage, so watch your cat closely to determine whether theyre trying to go #1 or #2. While constipation is fairly common and can often be treated at home, urinary obstructions can become life-threatening quickly; if you notice your cat straining in the box, its best to be safe and call the vet.
What Are The Signs Of Constipation In A Cat
Constipated cats may exhibit the following:
- Vocalization with straining
In more severe cases of constipation requiring veterinary care, your cat may exhibit:
Feline constipation may be confusing at times. Your cat may be straining one instant and have diarrhea the next. Liquid stool is all that can pass the mass of dry impacted feces; this diarrhea may be mixed with blood or mucous. Keep in mind, even if what you see in the litter box looks like diarrhea, it may be secondary to an impaction.
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Constipation Causes: Reasons Your Cat Isnt Pooping
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.
But if you have an indoor cat, they could become constipated simply from ingesting large quantities of their own hair. 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
Other reasons your cat could be constipated include:
What Causes Constipation In Cats
Constipation can occur if things arent moving normally through the intestines. Factors contributing to your cats constipation may include:
- Pain or other issues in the spine
- Anxiety or stress
- Dry food diets
- Not enough fiber in her diet
- An obstruction such as bones or string blocking the colon
- Kidney issues
- Excessive grooming
- Feline megacolon
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Narrow places, tumors or other problems inside the colon
- Chronic diseases such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes or kidney disease
- Ruptured or impacted anal sacs
- Perianal disease
Though elderly cats experience constipation more often than kittens, the condition can develop in cats of any breed or age who eat a low-fiber diet or dont drink enough water.
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