Does your cat feces look like small brown pellets? Does your cat appear to be straining when trying to poop? Is her abdomen distended and tense? Is she not pooping regularly?
If this is the case, your cat is more than likely suffering from cat constipation.
There are other symptoms of constipation in cats. For example, your cat may be showing a loss of appetite or crouching and straining for prolonged periods of time in her litter tray without pooping or pooping small, hard dry stools. Your cat may also be defecating outside the litter tray, vomiting, hunching over due to discomfort or losing weight.
What Causes Cat Constipation?
There is many number of things that can cause constipation in cats. These can include:
The most common causes of cat constipation are dietary issues. Cats are predators and often ingest food containing hair and bones, which can cause a blockage. Are you feeding your cat a steady diet of dry food? Dry cat food can also cause cat constipation. Diets which are low in fiber, can also cause constipation.
Another cause of cat constipation is dehydration. Is your cat getting enough water? If your cat is dehydrated, its body will try to conserve water by removing additional water from the stool, causing it to become small and hard.
Cat on Any Drug or Medication
Drugs such as antihistamines, diuretics and antibiotics can cause your cat to become constipated.
Felines constipation can also be the result of a cat behavioral issue. Your cat may be reluctant to use its litter tray because the tray is dirty or your cat may not want to share the litter tray with another cat.
Obstruction of the Colon
Another possible cause of your cat’s constipation is an obstruction in its colon. There are many reasons why this can occur, including a birth defect, tumors, polyps or because it has eaten some foreign object.
Another cause of cat constipation can be neurological. Your cat may have suffered damage to the nerves in the colon or anus, or a spinal cord injury due to trauma.
A pelvic injury can also cause constipation in a cat. An example could be a car accident which caused fractures that narrowed your cat’s pelvic canal.
Another cause of constipation in cats is metabolic/hormonal. Your cat may have low potassium, kidney failure, or some disease of the thyroid or parathyroid gland.
A cat can have impacted anal glands or a perianal bite abscess, either of which can cause cat constipation.
The cause of cat constipation may be idiopathic. This means it is just not possible to determine what is causing the cat’s constipation.
Now that you know what causes cat constipation , you can watch for this in your cat. If the constipation persists or if the cat shows periodic bouts of constipation, lethargy, weakness or vomiting, you will need to get your cat to your veterinarian as soon as possible. This is because even simple constipation, if left untreated, can turn into a serious problem.
Cat Constipation Symptoms
Is your cat showing cat constipation symptoms? Have you noticed a change in your cat’s daily bowel output? If your cat has been in the habit of pooping once or twice a day and you realize that it is more like two or three days between defecations, your cat may be suffering from constipation.
Other symptoms of cat constipation include straining to produce a stool, a bloated belly or a very sensitive abdomen. If the cat meows when in the litter box or seems agitated for no good reason, that is also a symptom of cat constipation.
You may also see hairballs that have been coughed up or noticed that the cat is trying unsuccessfully to cough up a hairball. Cats groom themselves almost continually. If it is trying to cough up a hairball, it may also have hair in its stomach that is plugging it up and causing the constipation.
Has your cat shown a loss of appetite as this is another sign of cat constipation. Another sign of cat constipation is crouching and straining for a long time in the litter box where the cat either passes no stool or only small, hard dry stools.
Other symptoms of cat constipation include defecating outside the litter box, lethargy, and vomiting. Your cat might also seem depressed or it may be hunching over due to discomfort.
Treating Cat Constipation
There are some simple things you can do to treat cat constipation.
One of the most important is water. This is because dehydration is often the cause of cat constipation. Try making sure that the cat is around running water as this may stimulate it to drink more.
It’s important that your cat drinks plenty of water. It is more likely to become constipated if it does not drink enough. It will help if your cat has access to running water as this can encourage it to drink. A small electric water fountain is a good way to encourage your cat to drink more.
Do You Feed Your Cat Only Dry Food?
If so, you might add a tablespoon of olive oil to its food a few times a week. Also, high-fiber foods will help prevent cat constipation. One idea is to add unsweetened, canned pumpkin to your cat’s food at the rate of a few tablespoons a week to provide additional fiber.
Litter Tray Problem
Some cats are very finicky about their litter tray. If your facilities do not meet the cat’s expectations, your cat may hold her need to go. This can lead to constipation. Make sure the litter box is easily accessible. If yours is a multi-cat household, try to make sure that one cat is not guarding the box and keeping others from getting to it when they need to go.
Do You Have More Than One Cat?
One way to prevent cat constipation is to have a litter tray for each cat. If your cat’s litter tray is dirty or if it is competing to use the litter tray, it may hold its bowel movements which can cause it to become constipated.
Cat constipation may also be the result or little or no exercise. This is especially true if your cat is overweight. You may not take your cat for a walk in the way you would a dog, but you do need to get your pet up and moving. One good way to do this is with laser beams. Cats often enjoy chasing the light across floors and walls.
Cat constipation is usually fairly easy to treat. However, if your cat becomes lethargic and weak or starts to vomit, you should get it to the vet as soon as possible, as the condition could be developing into a medical emergency.
The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to prevent cat constipation. For one thing, you will want to brush you cat regularly. This is particularly important if you cat has long or thick hair. Regular brushing will help prevent your cat from ingesting a lot of hair when it grooms itself.
Cats are predators and are designed by nature to eat freshly killed meat which contains the enzymes, fats and nutrients that your cat needs. If you have been feeding your cat a steady diet of dry cat food, try adding some canned food to its diet periodically or you can add two or three tablespoons of olive oil to your cat’s food several times a week.
Cat Constipation Prevention
The best way to keep your cat from becoming constipated is to eliminate those things, which are most likely to cause cat constipation in the first place.
For example, if your cat is prone to hairballs you might talk to your veterinarian about a special hairball diet for cats. You can also make sure you brush your cat regularly as this will remove loose hair before your cat can ingest it.
If you have been feeding your cat nothing but dry food, you might add a tablespoon of olive oil to it several times a week. You might also mix canned pumpkin (unsweetened) to your cat’s food for good fiber content. Just as with us humans, fiber in the diet is important for moving waste through the colon.
Make sure your cat is getting plenty of water as dehydration is often the cause of constipation.
Older cats tend to become constipated because they are overweight or inactive. While you may not be able to take your cat for a walk, you can find ways to make sure the cat gets some exercise.
Remedies for Cat Constipation
If you believe your cat is constipated, there are products available that can help remedy the problem. For example, you can give five to eight Purrfectly Natural Gourmet Cat Treats to your cat between meals to treat the hairballs or constipation.
A second product is PetAlives Natural Moves herbal and cell salt, which consists of a mix of psyllium husks, oats, aloe ferox, and homeopathic Natrum Muriaticum 6x. Another product that could help your cat is King Bio Constipation Relief.
Cat constipation symptoms are fairly easy to spot. And it’s always best to begin treatment early on – before the constipation can turn into something far more serious.
In the worst of cases, your vet may need to take a biopsy, perform a colonoscopy or even do surgery. This is especially true if the problem is chronic.
Cat constipation can become a serious problem. But there are some simple cat constipation remedies available. Make sure you keep an eye on your cat’s bowel movements, as it’s always better to be safe than sorry.