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What To Do When Your Cat Is Constipated

What Can I Give My Cat For Mild Constipation

Cat Health : How to Know If Your Cat Is Constipated

If constipation is mild, veterinarians may supplement a cats diet with fiber, such as canned pumpkin, bran, or psyllium. Other medications, such as stool softeners, laxatives, and motility modifiers, may help, as well.

A senior cat faces a higher risk of constipation for the following reasons: If your cat cannot make it into the litter box, it will hold onto its feces for longer. This leads to harder waste and constipation in senior cats. What Causes Constipation in Elderly Cats?

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

What Can The Vet Do For Cat Constipation

If home remedies arent quite cutting it, a visit to your veterinarian may be in order. In addition to providing an actual diagnosis, vets have additional methods for relieving cat constipation within the clinical setting.

One thing the vet is likely to do is to make sure that the diagnosis is correct.

Other underlying health concerns, like a urinary tract infection, may present with similar symptoms. Its important that the vet confirms that constipation is, in fact, the problem being faced.

There are a number of blood tests that the vet can perform to rule out other medical diseases.

Abdominal palpation exams can also help determine the extent of constipation. In addition, radiography and ultrasound exams may be performed to further assess the extent of the blockage in the colon.

Once constipation has been clearly identified as the problem, there are multiple options available to veterinarians. First, a vet is likely to introduce intravenous fluid therapy, which essentially provides additional hydration for the feline.

The vet may also recommend a dietary change for the cat. Depending on the cats medical history and other health risks, there may be a special formula of cat food that can help balance out specific digestion problems.

Another option that veterinarians have available to them is to perform a warm-water enema. The basic premise of this approach is to flush the colon manually, releasing stuck feces or any other items causing a blockage in the colon.

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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

Treatment Of Cat Constipation

Constipation in cats: causes, symptoms and treatment ...

Treatment may vary depending on the underlying cause, but the ultimate goals are to remove backed-up stool, give the cat some relief, and prevent recurrence.

When you bring your cat to the veterinarian for suspected constipation, your vet will discuss your cat’s history and perform a physical examination. They may be able to feel the stool through the abdomen when it is palpated, but this is more challenging to do in overweight cats.

Your vet may recommend abdominal radiographs to get a visual of the colon and intestines and determine just how much stool is backed up. Radiographs may reveal underlying causes for constipation like megacolon or obstruction.

Fluid supplementation is an important part of treating constipation in cats. Fluids may be injected under the skin to be absorbed slowly so that your cat is fully hydrated. Sometimes hydration alone is enough to treat constipation.

In mild to moderate cases of cat constipation, your vet may prescribe a laxative or stool softener to help your cat defecate. Your cat may be able to pass stool again a day or two after starting the medication.

If a large amount of stool is seen in the colon on radiographs, your vet may recommend an enema. This is done with a warm solution that is placed into the colon via the anus. The solution loosens the stuck stool and lubricates the colon so the stool can be more easily evacuated. Most cats will have a large bowel movement right after an enema and may be able to return home the same day .

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What Are The Signs Of Cat Constipation

So heres the question that all cat owners should know just what exactly are the signs that your cat may be constipated?

Being aware of the signs of feline constipation mostly lies in close observation of your cat.

First of all, you may observe that your cat hasnt defecated in over 48 hours.

While the average adult cat has a bowel movement once a day, it is not uncommon for the occasional delay that extends into a second day.

However, if your cat hasnt left a present in the litter box for over 48 hours, you should be on heightened alert that something may be wrong.

Shy cats may not like this next point, but it is important in identifying the issue.

Responsible pet owners should observe when their cat is doing its business to witness whether or not the cat is experiencing any pain. This could appear as straining while defecating or showing multiple attempts that seem uncomfortable.

Constipation may also be suspected if the feces look unhealthy. If your cats feces are bloody or extremely dry, then she may be suffering from constipation.

Finally, other signs that your cat may be constipated can be found in their behavior.

If you witness behavioral changes that include:

  • crying

Then constipation may be to blame.

Are There Natural Stool Softener That Is Safe For Cats

Softening a Cats Stool Naturally. Constipation is often caused by a cats stool hardening within the body. This makes it hard for the cat to eliminate. It will be painful, and waste will be released in small quantities. There are a number of natural remedies: Olive oil Cows milk Tinned pumpkin Leafy greens Try olive oil first.

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First Determine If It’s 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:

  • Inadequate or blood-tinged urine. A cat with a UTI will be straining to pass urine instead of feces and you may observe small urine drops mixed with blood .
  • Incessant grooming of genitals. A cat with a UTI will lick his/her genital area often consider that some constipated cats may do the same.
  • Turn into a detective and investigate your kitty’s litter box by checking for feces and urine. Whichever is absent may help you understand why he/she is straining.

    Minimize Stress And Anxiety

    Is Your Cat Blocked or Constipated?

    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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    How To Help A Constipated Or Obstipated Cat

    If your cat is dehydrated or obstipated , then it will need to be treated on an inpatient basis. Fluid therapy will be given, and if your cat is taking any medications that may be causing the constipation, they will be discontinued and/or replaced.

    You can give your cat a dietary supplement with a bulk-forming agent to help with constipation, though these agents can sometimes worsen fecal distension within the colon. If this occurs, you will need to feed your cat a low residue-producing diet.

    After your doctor has determined that your cat is sufficiently rehydrated, manual removal of the feces, with your cat under general anesthesia, will be conducted. If the impaction is not too severe, enemas may help to loosen or dislodge the impaction, but generally, the impaction must be removed manually. Your veterinarian may do this by hand, or with forceps. If the condition has been chronic, your veterinarian may need to perform a surgical procedure to remove part of the colon. This type of surgery is known as a subtotal colectomy, and may be required with recurring obstipation, or when circumstances suggest that the colon has been irreversibly damaged.

    How Do You Take Care Of A Cat That Suffers From Chronic Constipation

    If our cat has been diagnosed with megacolon or suffers from recurrent constipation, consider regular exercise to strengthen both the digestive and abdominal areas. Moreover, give the cat a low residue diet to lower the chances of recurrent constipation.

    You can ensure that the cat exercises as much as possible even if you are not around by getting items to keep the cat busy.

    Such items include toys and cat trees. Consider taking a walk in the yard with your cat and playing with it as frequently as possible.

    High fiber diets are good for both the digestion and the health of the cat. You can use the veterinarian-approved fiber supplements such as canned pumpkin.

    In addition, avoid feeding the cat with bones to prevent accidental swallowing and potential injuries to the colon.

    Constipation is a common digestive disorder in cats. Poor diet and lack of exercise are the main causes. However, several other conditions may cause constipation.

    It is important to contact your veterinarian before attempting any treatment to the condition. Moreover, follow the advice given to the letter to avoid recurrent constipation problems.

    Constipation is a treatable condition but the cost and healing period depends on how fast the cat is treated.

    This YouTube video gives a quick overview of the common symptoms, causes, and treatment of cat constipation problems.

    In just three minutes, the narrator takes you through the basics of keeping the cats digestive system healthy and strong.

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    What To Do If Your Cat Is Constipated

    Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and author of the online dog training course “Brain Training for Dogs.”

    REVIEWED BYDr. Jacob Vencil, Veterinarian, Palencia Pet Clinic

    Constipation in cats is a pretty common scenario, especially for obese, middle-aged, and senior cats.

    Diagnosis Of Constipation In Cats

    Is Your Cat Constipated? How to Tell and What To Do

    The first step is to bring your pet to the vet if you notice any signs of constipation.

    Sometimes problems with defecating can be confused with issues in the urinary tract. Remember to answer accurately to every question that your veterinarian may have and check the litter box before going to the vet. The medical history is crucial to diagnose constipation and the underlying cause.

    Your vet will perform a medical examination. Your veterinarian may also conduct:

    • Pelvic and abdominal X-rays: to diagnose Megacolon and look for traumas caused by injuries.
    • Further tests: urine and blood analysis to rule out underlying conditions like renal failure.

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    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.

    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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    How To Tell If A Cat Is Constipated

    As stated, a cat should empty its bowels daily. If your older cat goes 24 hours with pooping, its likely to be constipated. Signs of a constipated senior cat include:

    • Not visiting the litter box
    • Swollen, distended abdomen
    • Hunched posture and reluctant movement
    • Releasing small, hard feces
    • Lethargy
    • Loss of appetite and weight loss

    Ensure that your cat is unable to defecate. It may be able to go to the toilet but is unwilling to do so. This may be because your cat has developed a fear of its litter box, so it chooses to eliminate elsewhere or holds in its waste.

    Can Cat Poop Be Dangerous

    How to palpate for constipation megacolon to help a cat that is constipated

    Handling cat poop may have an eww factor, but it isnt typically dangerous. That said, there is a concern that cat poop can contain a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which causes Toxoplasmosis. You can also get Toxoplasmosis from eating raw or undercooked meat. Toxoplasmosis isnt a big deal for most people who either wont get sick or show only mild flu-like symptoms. However, it is of particular concern to pregnant women who can pass the parasites along to the unborn child and cause birth defects or even fetal death.

    While this sounds scary, its good to know that contracting these parasites from the litter box is not a common occurrence. Cats infected with the parasite only excrete it for a short amount of time, and the parasites arent infective for at least 48 hours. That means if youre scooping out the litter box daily, you greatly reduce the risk of infection.

    Just to be safe, pregnant women should hand over litter box duties until the baby is born. If thats not possible, scoop and clean the box wearing rubber gloves and thoroughly wash your hands after youre done. Keeping your cat insidewhich is recommended by our strategic partner The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® for all catscan also help prevent them from contracting this parasite.

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    What To Do If My Cat Is Constipated

    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.

    How Can You Treat Cat Constipation At Home

    Some of the home treatments that the veterinarian may recommend include the following:

    Over the counter stool softener where the cat is experiencing substantial distress when having a bowel movement.

    Laxative to ease the movement of fecal matter own the colon. Some of the common laxatives include aloe vera juice. Add a little juice to every meal.

    Increase in water consumption. You may encourage the cat to take more water by such techniques as placing a few water containers around the house, placing a container under a faucet and letting the water drip slowly. Cats love drinking moving water as opposed to bowls.

    Cats are not biologically created to take dry foods. Keep watch of their daily intake of dry foods and consider alternating dry food with succulent canned foods.

    Add fiber to your cats diet. Such options that you may go for include Metamucil, canned pumpkin and bran cereal. At the same time cut down on low fiber foods until the condition is dealt with.

    Healthypets also recommends natural therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic help deal with constipation. Talk to a holistic vet on the best procedures for your cat.

    Note: There are enemas sold over the counter in many animal drug stores. However, it is recommended that you avoid them. Cats dislike the procedure as it causes discomfort. Some of the enemas are also toxic and may cause more serious problems.

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    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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