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What To Do If My Cat Is Constipated

Symptoms Of Constipation In Cats

Cat Health : How to Know If Your Cat Is Constipated

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:

  • Nausea
  • Walking stiffly
  • Hiding

If youre seeing any of these symptoms, with or without constipation, you should discuss them with your cats vet.

How To Make A Cat Poop When Constipated

A constipated kitty is no fun. Usually, constipation is not a sign of something serious, though it can be very uncomfortable for the cat and can lead to secondary problems if it isnt fixed. However, constipation can be a symptom of some health problems.

Unless youre paying attention to your cats bowel movements, it can be challenging to figure out theyre constipated. Luckily, most cat owners scoop out the litter box regularly and will notice something is wrong based on the boxs contents.

If youre concerned that your cat is constipated, youve come to the right place. Well discuss some methods you can do to help and the underlying causes of constipation.

Why Is Your Cat Constipated

It is vital at this point to find out the root cause of the constipation. Some common causes include age, obesity, and lack of exercise, but some triggers are harder to pinpoint. You can follow these steps to reduce the likelihood of an episode:

  • Always allow access to clean, fresh water.
  • Choose an appropriate diet. Strictly dry cat food does not provide sufficient water intake. Many cats have fewer episodes when on food containing good fiber content.
  • Reduce environmental stress. Being in a new environment may cause a cat to hold a bowel movement.
  • Cats that are post-surgery may not go potty for two reasons: the pain and stress of surgery, and an empty stomach .
  • Sometimes a dirty litter box may discourage your cat from going. Make sure it is clean and avoid covered litter boxes that concentrate smells that can easily offend your cat.
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    Diagnosis Of Constipation In Cats

    Your veterinarian may diagnose the cause of your cat’s constipation by conducting a variety of tests. Along with collecting a stool sample if possible from your cat, the vet may also palpate your cat’s stomach to determine if there could be a foreign object in the stomach or intestines. He or she may also use an x-ray or ultrasound to determine if the blockage is caused by a tumor or a viral or bacterial infection.

    Additionally, the vet may also take your cat’s temperature to discover if it suffers from a fever, which could indicate an underlying infection. The veterinarian also will check your cat’s mouth and eyes for signs of dehydration. If your cat is severely dehydrated, it may require intravenous hydration, which could relieve its constipation.

    What To Do If My Cat Is Constipated

    How to help a cat with constipation?

    Your vet will diagnose your cat with constipation based on physical exam findings and asking you about their medical history, as well as their feeding habits. Because there are so many possible causes of constipation in cats, the vet might need to run multiple diagnostics tests, such as:

    • Blood work to check blood sugar, protein level, liver and kidney function, and salt balance, as well as a complete blood count to check the red and white blood cell count.
    • Urine test to see how well the kidneys are working.
    • Abdominal ultrasound or x-rays to rule out cancer.
    • A thyroid value for constipation in older cats over 8 years old.
    • Endoscopy to look at the inside of the cats colon and/or colonoscopy to retrieve biopsies.

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    The More Visible Signs Include:

    • Lethargy
    • Straining while inside the little box
    • Defecating outside the litter box
    • Small and hard stools or loose stools containing blood
    • Lack of appetite

    It’s important to note that straining in the litter box may also be a sign of a urinary tract infection, especially in male cats, and can be mistaken for constipation. if you notice this happening, it is best to have a vet check your cat out. Some cats may not show any of these, but they only defecate every few days. Therefore, if you notice your cat is struggling to relieve themselves, pay close attention. Cats should have a bowel movement about once a day. If your cat is not going to their litter box daily, then there may be a chance they are constipated. These symptoms can be attributed to unrelated issues as well.

    Help Your Cat Maintain A Healthy Weight

    Obesity causes intestinal inflammation, which causes things to slow down in the intestines. Too much water is then absorbed from the stool, causing constipation. In severe cases, theres so much fat in the belly that it physically impedes movement of stools. Your vet can help you figure out if your cat needs to lose weight and work with you to create a diet plan.

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    Tips For Preventing Constipation In Cats

    Since dehydration contributes to constipation in cats, you must ensure your cat gets an adequate amount of water consumption daily.

    Introduce Wet Food

    If your cat hasnt been introduced to wet food, now is a great time to start! Wet cat food contains a high moisture content, allowing your cat to get the hydration they need. The GO! SOLUTIONS wet food recipes can be a great solution for constipation in cats. Packed with premium recipes and drool-worthy flavours, its a perfect option for cats that are also picky eaters. We recommended mixing it up with their dry food or serving it on its own! To add even more moisture, try adding some lukewarm water to dilute the texture.

    Provide Fresh Drinking Water

    Another option is to place various water bowls throughout your home. Additionally, try adding a water fountain – this way, the water is constantly flowing and always fresh.

    Provide Daily Exercise

    Just like humans, our cats need to get their bodies moving too. Regular exercise helps to stimulate the muscles to continue contractions & move things along, and therefore, easing strain or any discomfort when it comes time to use the litter box. Using cat toys and implementing regular playtime will help keep your cat in good shape and help prevent constipation.

    Constipation Causes: Reasons Your Cat Isnt Pooping

    Is my Cat CONSTIPATED? (How to tell, what to do, and how to prevent it!) – Happy CATober!

    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:

    • Dehydration

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    So What Are Clinical Signs That My Cat Is Constipated

    • Straining to urinate or defecate in the litter box
    • Having bowl movement accidents outside of the litter box
    • Having firm, dry, small fecal balls in or around the litter box
    • Taking longer to defecate in the litter box or making multiple trips to the litter box
    • Vomiting
    • Weight loss
    • Dehydration

    Now, keep in mind that normal healthy cats dont typically become constipated. As a veterinarian, I see feline constipation more in the following:

    • Middle-aged to older cats
    • Obese cats
    • Cats with osteoarthritis that may have pain jumping into the litter box
    • Cats with underlying medical problems

    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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    Should I Watch My Cat For Constipation

    Track the frequency of your cats litter box deposits and stool consistency initially for at least twice a week, then weekly or biweekly.

    If you see hard, dry feces, or if you notice that your cat is straining while defecating or exhibiting other symptoms of constipation, contact your veterinarian – especially if diarrhea is a factor as dehydration may quickly become a problem.

    Is your cat showing symptoms of constipation? Visit our Somerset County veterinary emergency hospital to receive urgent care for your cat. Any time of the day or night, our emergency vets are here whenever your pet needs us.


    Minimize Stress And Anxiety

    My cat is constipated, what can I do to help it?  ViralBezz

    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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    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.”

    Add Fibre To The Food

    You can add some extra fibre to your cat’s diet by mixing in some cooked, mushy pumpkin or zucchini with their regular cat food. You can also sprinkle some natural psyllium husk onto the food however always ensure you select a natural psyllium product free from any artificial sweeteners. Try starting with half a teaspoon once daily, and adjust the dose based on your cat’s response.

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    What Is Cat Constipation

    If your cat is constipated, it means he isnt pooping regularly or hes having difficulty emptying his bowels. Cats typically defecate one to three times per day, so if you notice that its been more than a day or two since new poop has appeared in the litter box, its time to start really watching your cats bathroom habits for further symptoms.

    A cat who occasionally goes a day or two without defecating shouldnt cause much worry, but if the lack of feces is ongoing and you start noticing further symptomslike your cat straining to go without success or crying as he uses the litter boxit could indicate that a bowel obstruction has become severely impacted and that its time to visit your veterinarian . In extreme cases, untreated constipation can be fatal.

    Diagnosing A Cat With Constipation

    Is Your Cat Blocked or Constipated?

    Unfortunately, if you suspect that your cat is constipated, you may need to schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Especially if the situation is getting bad, and diet changes and water monitoring doesnt seem to be improving the situation.

    Your veterinarian will want a very thorough background history, and they may request blood chemistry profiles, blood counts, a urinalysis, and an electrolyte panel, just to make sure everything is looking as it should.

    They may also require an x-ray, especially if they believe your cat is impacted.

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    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.

    Pureed Pumpkin

    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.

    Canned Food

    Olive Oil

    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.

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    How Can I Treat My Cat’s Constipation

    Depending on what’s causing your cat’s constipation, your vet may recommend one or several of the following treatments:

    • Stool softener
    • Laxative
    • Enema . It is important to note that cats do not take kindly to these procedures, and some over-the-counter enemas contain substances that can be toxic to cats. This is a procedure best left to your veterinarian.
    • Medication to increase the contractile strength of the large intestine
    • Manual evacuation of the bowels
    • Surgery to remove obstruction in the bowels
    • Veterinarian-prescribed, high-fiber diet
    • Adding fiber to your cat’s diet with canned pumpkin, bran cereal or a product such as Metamucil
    • Increase in water consumption
    • Increase in exercise

    Why Is My Older Cat Not Using Its Litter Box Anymore

    How do I combat my cats constipation?

    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.

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