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.
Risks Of Pumpkins For Cats
Pumpkin is a relatively easy and safe additive, Maggiolo assures. While its unlikely that pumpkin will upset a cats stomach, eating too much can possibly cause diarrhea. If this happens, its best to skip the next serving or feed a smaller amount. Your veterinarian can advise you how to modify the serving size, if symptoms occur.
Keep in mind that you should not serve the stem, skin, or pulp of a pumpkin to your cat. These parts of the pumpkin simply dont have a high enough nutritional value to be beneficial for your cat. It is also best to avoid feeding leftover jack-o-lantern, as it may have rotted by sitting outside too long. Plain canned pumpkin is the best option for your pet, and will stay fresh in the refrigerator up to about a week after opening.
Even though your feline friend may not be able to have a bite of your Thanksgiving pie, there is definitely a place for plain pumpkin in his diet.
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Are There Risks Resulting From Constipation In Cats
A cat that experiences chronic constipation is at risk of developing other conditions, especially in the digestive tract.
According to PetMD, one of the common severe conditions is Megacolon. The name encompasses any condition that causes the colon to get abnormally enlarged.
In the case of constipation, the cat retains more waste products in the body and therefore the colon expands to handle the waste material.
Over time, the cat may suffer from obstipation, a condition where severe constipation blocks the passage of feces and gas.
Many of the cats acquire the condition from repeated constipation while others are born with the condition.
Those born with the condition lack the smooth muscle function in the colon that pushes the fecal matter down the digestive system.
If megacolon goes untreated for prolonged periods, a condition called distention may occur. Distention is irreversible colon inertia where the colon stops its smooth muscle function of contracting and expanding to push the fecal matter to the rectum
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First Determine If Its A Urinary Tract Issue Or Obstruction
It is vital to rule out a UTI in a male cat. A urinary blockage can cause a life-threatening electrolyte imbalance and is a medical emergency. Here are two standard indications of a UTI:
Turn into a detective and investigate your kittys litter box by checking for feces and urine. Whichever is absent may help you understand why he/she is straining.
Constipation Signs: How To Tell If Your Cat Is Constipated
Of course, not finding anything to scoop is a telltale sign something could be off with your cat, but according to Dr. Garside, there are even more clues to feline constipation to be aware of. âDifficulty defecating and hard stools in the litter tray are the most common signs,â Dr. Garside says. âCats may even yowl in discomfort as they try to defecate the hard stools.â
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Safe Laxatives For Cats: Help Your Constipated Pet
If youre a pet parent to a cat who gets bunged up every once in a while, it can be horrible to see them straining and uncomfortable. So, its natural to want to try to help them pass their poop more easily. But how do you know which laxatives are safe for your cat? And are there any other ways that you can help with your felines firm feces?
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.”
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.”
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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:
Try A Stool Softening Product
In some chronic cases where hydration alone just doesnt 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 cats 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 doesnt draw fluid from the body into in the intestines, so it wont depelete your cat of water and electrolytes. However, prolonged use of paraffin can prevent the nutrients in your cats 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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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 .
Treatment For Constipation In Cats
After the cause of the constipation is found, a treatment plan will be formulated with your veterinarian. Typically, constipated cats will require enemas and intravenous fluids. Miralax or another laxative may be added to help soften the feces enough to allow the cat to pass them.
If laxatives, enemas, and rehydration with fluid therapy do not enable the cat to defecate, manual extraction of the hardened feces by a veterinarian may be required. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia.
If a cats constipation recurs or becomes a long-term problem, dietary management or medications may be needed to prevent a recurrence. There are prescription diets, both in kibble and canned form, that may aid the cat in passing softer stool. Oral laxatives may also be administered at home and may work to soften the stool and encourage the cat to defecate.
In cats with severe cases of megacolon, your veterinarian may prescribe pro-motility agents to aid the cats colon in contracting and propelling feces out of the rectum. It is essential to keep up with your cats bowel movements to avoid more serious complications. Encouraging the cat to drink as much as possible or adding water to its food may also help ease its constipation issues.
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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.
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.
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What To Do If Your Cat Is Constipated
Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.
REVIEWED BYDr. Jacob Vencil, Veterinarian, Palencia Pet Clinic
Constipation in cats is a pretty common scenario, especially for obese, middle-aged, and senior cats.
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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What Can You Do In Home To Help With My Cats Constipation
If you notice that your cat is still producing some feces daily, there may be some preventive measures you can take to avoid serious constipation. Here are a few things to try:
Keep clean and fresh water out to ensure that your cat is drinking enough.
Brush regularly. For long-haired breeds or cats prone to hair balls, brushing regularly can help keep excess hair from the digestive tract.
Change your cats diet. Try feeding a canned diet and/or adding fiber to the diet. Fiber can help waste move through the digestive system easily and quickly.
Try adding pumpkin or natural bran cereal to our cats food. Fiber supplements increase fiber in the diet as well.
Some cats will need to try a laxative such as Miralax or Lactulose, to stay regular. You may need to consult with your veterinarian prior to starting a laxative.
Use a vet-recommended cat probiotic for digestive health
Determine If You Need To Change Your Cats Diet
Feeding your cat the right diet can play a crucial role in keeping your cat healthy. Consult with a vet to determine the best food option for your feline. Cats can suffer from digestive issues, diabetes, cancer, or other medical conditions that require a special diet to help address the issue.
Additionally, add a WiFi-enabled Feeder-Robot to help automate your cats feeding schedule and monitor their eating habits.
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Try Fiber Or Probiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria that help support healthy intestines. Healthy intestines will move stool along normally and keep stools soft, preventing constipation.
Fiber feeds the good bacteria and helps promote normal movement in the intestines. It can also help keep more water in the intestines, which helps treat and prevent constipation.
There are different types of fiber, so what works best will vary between cats. Some common sources are Psyllium husks , and wheat bran. Canned pumpkin is often used, but it actually contains very little fiber and lots of sugar, so it isnt the best choice for most cats.
However, the gastrointestinal tract of cats is a little different from people, so high-fiber diets do not always help constipation, explains Dr. Scott Gellman. In fact, sometimes a low-fiber diet works better. A lot of it depends on the cause of the problem. The important thing to understand is there is usually an underlying cause of constipation, and the cat should be brought to a veterinarian to help figure it out.
Home Remedies For Cat Constipation
The most common cause of constipation in cats and kittens is inadequate hydration. Cats are natural predators, and their daily food intake of meat should provide them with about 75% of their hydration needs. Most of their water will come from their food source, unless youre feeding them dry food exclusively in this case, they will only be getting 10 12% of their hydration from food, and wont be able to make up the difference in their water bowl so make use of an automatic cat feeder to help them out.
In any case, here are some home remedies for cats with constipation.
There are many different sources of pureed pumpkin. You can get packages from your local pet store, or you can buy the canned versions from your local grocery store. If in season, your local grocery store or farm may have small pumpkins for sale, that you can bake and puree. This may seem like a lot of work, but natural is always best!
Dont give kitty straight pumpkin puree, although they may like it on its own. Its best to mix it in with a bit of dry food, or canned food. One teaspoon with some kibble should be plenty.
Water is always the best and most natural treatment for constipation in cats. Have a ready supply of water beside your cats food dish, and add wet food to his diet for added hydration.
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