Your Cat Has Hairballs
While hairballs are not a major health concern for most cats, some cats can develop digestive difficulties due to their presence.
Hairballs can begin to build up in a cats intestines, making it more challenging for them to pass stool.
This is most common in cats already experiencing dehydration, or those with a history of chronic hairballs.
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.
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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Signs And Causes Of Cat Constipation
One of the most common symptoms of constipation is a cat who is frequenting the litter box, straining, and producing plenty of urine but no stool. Sometimes they cry when in the litter box, and often they vomit. If your cat is showing these signs, but is eating normally and is active, generally it is safe to approach some home care for 24 to 48 hours.
Most cats produce stool either every day or every other day so keeping track of what you see in the litter box and when is helpful. However, if several days pass or if your cat isnt feeling well, isnt eating normally or seems particularly uncomfortable it is time for a trip to the veterinarian that day. If there is no urine being produced in the box, that may be a medical emergency and should be evaluated immediately.
Common causes of simple cat constipation include:
- Overgrooming, with a lot of fur being ingested.
- Snacking on plants or grasses.
- Dietary issues and food changes.
- Some medications.
- Longhaired cats sometimes accumulate fecal matter around their rectal area, blocking the chute such that they are unable to defecate.
- More serious concerns can be associated with medical problems, particularly problems such as kidney disease and intestinal obstructions.
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.
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Abnormal Behavior In Litter Box
Most cats have a more rounded back when theyre pooping and a flatter back when urinating. A cat with a rounded defecating posture for more than a couple of minutes in the litter box is a sign of constipation.
A few other abnormal litter box behaviors include crying, digging in the litter for a long time or throwing litter outside the box. Pooping over the edge of the box and even leaving feces in other areas of the house could be caused by constipation.
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Cat Constipation Activity Level
Its also possible that your cat needs more exercise! Try buying some new toys that you know will get your cat going, like a ribbon on a stick you can wave above them. Or a jingly ball they can chase down the hall.
A lot of people arent aware of how important exercise can be for cats and let them lounge around all day. Adding some interactive activities to their daily schedule may regulate their bowels as well.
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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.
Try A Stool Softening Product
In some chronic cases where hydration alone just doesn’t cut it, you might need to keep a stoll softening product or a laxative on hand. These usually come in the form of a tasty paste which can be fed directly or added straight onto the food. These are not suitable for kittens only adult cats.
What are the best laxatives for cats? If your cat’s constipation is sudden, your vet may recommend lactulose, which works by osmotically increasing fluid production in the lumen of the intestine.
However, for ongoing management most veterinarias recommend a paraffin-based product. Paraffin is an oil which coats the faeces and helps provide lubrication to prevent hard, dry faeces from ‘getting stuck’. Unlike lactulose, paraffin doesn’t draw fluid from the body into in the intestines, so it won’t depelete your cat of water and electrolytes. However, prolonged use of paraffin can prevent the nutrients in your cat’s food from being absorbed, so we only recommend using occasionally.
Products that contain paraffin as the active ingredient include Aristopet Paste, Hartz Hairball Remedy, and Troy Laxapet Gel.
Our top laxatives for cats include:
Laxapet Gel is suitable for use in constipation or hairballs. With paraffin as the active ingredient, this product is safe and a great option to keep things moving.
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Vet Treatment For Constipation In Cats
Constipation is common in cats but can indicate serious disease, so it should be discussed with your vet.
Constipation must be treated as soon as possible to reduce the risk of permanent damage due to prolonged distension of the colon. Effective treatment involves identifying and correcting the underlying disorder , removing the impacted feces, and preventing recurrences.
For immediate relief of constipation, your veterinarian can give your cat fluids and/or an enema. Administering an enema to a cat is a veterinary job and should not be attempted at home, says Dr. Bales. Some types of enemas designed for people are actually very toxic to cats.
Vets can also prescribe medications or recommend over-the-counter solutions to help you manage the symptoms of your cats constipation.
More importantly, your vet can help identify the underlying issue thats causing the constipation so it can be treated, rather than just trying to manage the symptoms.
Some cats with long-term constipation or obstipation may have megacolon, an enlarged intestine caused by a defect in the muscle strength of the colon. Cats with chronic constipation or megacolon that have been unresponsive to medical treatment may respond to removal of the affected section of the large intestine.
Heres a list of things you can do at home to help relieve your cats constipation.
Prognosis For Constipation In Cats
The majority of constipated cats respond to fluids, enemas, and medication or manual removal of stool. Surgery as a treatment for constipation in cats is rare but possibly necessary. Tumors or foreign bodies may need to be removed from the colon surgically. Also, in cases of megacolon that are refractory to traditional treatments, surgery may be recommended.
Surgical correction of severe and refractory megacolon involves removal of the affected portion of the colon, in a procedure called a partial or subtotal colectomy. Cats may have chronic diarrhea or fecal incontinence after this surgery, but the overall prognosis is good.
Constipation in cats is common and, in most cases, is easily treated. You should pay attention and learn the normal frequency of defecation for your cat to enable you to notice if there is an issue.
Typically, most cats will have a bowel movement every day to every other day. If you notice your cat is suddenly not defecating normally or is straining in the litter box, you should make an appointment with its veterinarian right away. Prompt treatment of constipation in cats can avoid future more serious complications.
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Dealing With Cat Constipation
Monte was what we call a frequent flier, and here he was again, unhappily perched on my exam room table. Mrs. Berstrande brought him in because she recognized the early warning signs that Monte was having some trouble in the cat litter box department. Mr. Monte has suffered difficulties with constipation for years, and has gotten gradually more severely affected and more sensitive about his cat food and cat medication with even a small variation triggering a bout of constipation. Fortunately, however, his family was very attentive and caught the problems quickly to have him treated. This combination meant that Monte and I knew each other quite well.
How Fast Does Miralax Start To Work In Cats
The standard relief time when using Miralax in cats varies from case to case.
Cats with minor constipation may find relief in just 12 hours after starting, while those with severe constipation may see results in a few days.
Due to not having an exact answer on when your cat will respond to the treatment, its important to keep your vet informed along the way.
For example, some vets will suggest increasing their dose if they have not improved within 48 hours.
Keeping in touch with your vet is the best way to ensure your cats success throughout the process.
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What Can You Give A Cat For Constipation
A lot of people put their cats on constipation treatment with prescription. There are many prescription drug that can treat cat constipation. This includes the use of hyperosmotic solution of psyllium and magnesium. Other drugs like the use of butyrate, tricalcium phosphate, polyglucose, lactulose, and polyethylene glycol-3350.
How Do You Treat My Cats Constipation
1. Changing your cats food
Changing to a high fiber diet in the form of canned food is important for the long-term management of constipation in cats. Ideally, this new food should be high in soluble fiber, which is important for increasing water into the stool, and is highly digestible/fermentable. With cat constipation, I prefer canned food however, not all cats will eat that! If your cat only eats dry food, please know that there are high fiber, prescription dry cat foods too. Remember, when it comes to cats, diet changes should occur very slowly to allow them plenty of time to acclimate. Psyllium products can also be sprinkled onto food, but keep in mind that some cats wont eat readily.
2. Fluid therapy
Whether given under the skin or in the vein directly , this is an important way of helping hydrate your cat and restore some moisture into the feces. This is also why its so important that your cats water intake is enhanced by providing clean, fresh water at all times!
3. Stool softeners
There are several types of stool softeners used in cats. These can be over-the-counter or prescription . When in doubt, always check with a veterinarian first prior to using these as they can cause secondary side effects .
These are drugs that help the gastrointestinal tract contract more. These are prescription medications from your veterinarian such as cisapride , metoclopramide, and ranitidine. Cisapride is thought to be the most effective.
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Cat Constipation Signs And Symptoms
Here are some common signs and symptoms that may indicate your feline is constipated:
If you notice that your cats water dish is always full, this is definitely a sign that you should be concerned about your kittys health.
If your cat is coughing up a lot ofhairballs, it could be a sign that their system is clogged. This is especially common in cats with longer or thicker coats.
Your cat may not be getting enough fiber if their stools are often very hard the few times they defecate. Bloody stool is also a sign that something is seriously wrong with their digestive system. If your cats poop is very liquidy like brown water it could be a sign of megacolon.
Straining To Poop
Its a clear sign of constipation if your cat is often digging around in the litterbox for a long time without producing any bowel movements. If your cats litterbox isnt being used regularly, your cat may not be functioning properly.
If your cat is acting different suddenly tired, or seemingly uncomfortable there may be bigger problems at hand. Constipation could be a symptom of a bigger complication, likeneoplastic disease.
Constipation In Cats: Its Never Normal
Nikki Schneck, a veterinary technician near Pottsville, PA, contributed to this article.Many cats are notorious for not drinking much water. This makes them prone to constipation. It would be a major error to take this condition lightly. Constipation is never normal. It can lead to a lot of suffering and a poor quality of life, so it should be taken seriously.Why is constipation in cats a big deal?First, constipation is not a pleasant experience for any cat. Second, repeated episodes of constipation can cause irreversible enlargement of the colon. Serious constipation can lead to a condition where the cat cannot expel stools at all, and needs an enema. At worst, a cat can be so blocked up or impacted, and the colon so enlarged, that surgery is the only option.What causes constipation in cats?The most common causes of feline constipation are:
- Is the litter box cleaned often enough?
- Are there multiple cats and not enough litter boxes?
- Is there a source of stress in the household, such as a new cat or a new dog?
How can you prevent constipation in cats?Here are several ways to decrease the risk of constipation in cats:
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What Is Constipation In Cats
Most cats will poop approximately every 24 to 36 hours. If your cat is pooping less frequently, strains when she attempts to poop or doesnt leave any deposits in the litter box, constipation is likely the issue. Its a common problem in cats thats usually mild enough to be remedied with at-home treatments.
If it happens infrequently, theres no need to worry, but you should contact your vet if it becomes a common problem or if its been more than 48 to 72 hours since shes had a bowel movement. Constipation can sometimes be a sign of serious health issues, not to mention be uncomfortable .
Symptoms Of Constipation In Cats
Constipation is characterized by infrequent stools or stools that are difficult to pass. Most cats will poop about every 24-36 hours. If your cat is pooping less frequently and having some difficulty, she may be constipated.
While there is some normal variation, if its been more than 48-72 hours without a bowel movement, you should contact your vet.
The main signs of constipation in cats are:
- Dry, hard stools
Normally, the poop is a rich brown color and should look well-formed. A healthy stool has enough moisture that litter will stick to it, says Dr. Liz Bales, VMD. Cats with constipation may have very dry, hard stools. You may find these stools outside the litter box, because the discomfort of trying to pass stool can cause cats to leave the litter box before theyre actually finished.
- Crying or straining in the litter box, or avoiding it altogether
Other signs of discomfort can be vocalizing or straining when using the litter box or going in and out multiple times before using it. Your cat may strain but not be able to poop at all. Showing discomfort in the litter box can also be a sign of serious urinary tract issues, so you should contact a vet if you see these signs.
Constipation is really a symptom of other issues, so you may also see signs of the underlying cause. These may include:
- Walking stiffly
If youre seeing any of these symptoms, with or without constipation, you should discuss them with your cats vet.
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