Occasional mild constipation is common in cats and is generally not necessary to worry. But, don’t forget that constipation is never normal. It can cause a lot of suffering and a poor quality of life for your cat, so you should take it seriously.
Why should constipation in cats be important ?
First, constipation is not a pleasant experience for any cat. Second, repeated episodes of constipation can cause irreversible enlargement of the colon.
Severe constipation can lead to a situation where the cat cannot pass stool and needs an enema. In this situation, the cat may be so blocked or stuck, and the colon so enlarged, that surgery is the only option.
Learn in this article the symptoms, causes, and solutions to your cat’s constipation .
Symptoms of constipation in a cat
There are a number of clinical signs of constipation that you should be aware of as a cat owner. The sooner you recognize that you have a constipated cat, the faster you will achieve relief.
- Take lots of walks to the litter box
If your cat is constipated, he can go back and forth to his litter box without having a bowel movement. Sometimes you can see him get into position and emit a plaintive meow . This tells you that the attempt to defecate causes distress and pain.
Be aware that constipation can be mistaken for a urinary tract infection or obstruction. In all cases, an emergency visit to the vet is required .
- Eliminate little or no poop
If you notice that your cat is producing an unusually small amount of poop that is also small, hard, and dark, or covered in blood or mucus , something is wrong. In the same way if you do not find any excrement in his litter box for more than 36 hours.
You should know: a healthy cat defecates 1 to 3 times a day.
- Your belly is hard and swollen
As your cat cannot evacuate the droppings, they accumulate. As a result, you can have a hard and bloated belly. And this makes him suffer so much that he may find it difficult to move , or even refuse to be picked up.
- Stop using his litter box
If your cat associates the litter box with his own pain, it is more than likely that he will stop using it.
In the most severe cases, constipation can cause vomiting. You may also experience a loss of appetite and a lack of enthusiasm for daily activities.
- Loss of appetite
A constipated cat is likely to skip meals as they experience moderate to severe stomach pain.
- Weight loss
As the cat may be eating less, the weight loss is also a consequence of the cat’s constipation. Weight loss is also directly related to the dehydration that the cat can suffer.
Causes of cat constipation
Most of the time, constipation is due to your cat being dehydrated . Other times, cats may become constipated due to stress and anxiety , or because defecation is painful for some reason. Other times, you may become constipated due to mechanical or functional obstructions, or even metabolic diseases.
Other causes of constipation in cats
- Feline obesity
- Lack of regular exercise.
- Change of environment, such as a hospitalization or transfer.
- A dirty litter box.
- Balls by hair or swallowed bones.
- Low thyroid hormone levels.
- Intestinal obstructions
- Neurological problems
- Anal glands blocked.
- Tumors and hernias.
- Rectal Obstructions.
- An underlying symptom of diabetes.
Despite all the many “possible” causes, dehydration and inadequate fluid intake are often the main culprits for constipation , so it is important to watch how much water your cat drinks on a daily basis.
While dehydration is a common cause of constipation, it is second only to a cat suffering from feline idiopathic megacolon . This is a disease in which your cat’s colon experiences a gradual loss of muscle tone, loses its normal mobility and becomes larger and larger, making it increasingly difficult for your cat to defecate.
Megacolon can lead to a severe and painful case. It can even make your cat have to be euthanized, to end its suffering.
Home remedies for constipation
Before presenting home remedies for constipation in cats, the first necessary step is to determine the underlying cause of the gastrointestinal disorder . If the underlying cause is not addressed, the problem will return and probably get worse.
- Increase in water consumption
We must first provide a remedy for the most common cause of constipation in cats: dehydration. Inadequate water intake is one of the easiest causes to solve, but at the same time, it will get worse if it is not treated properly. Cat owners should always make sure to provide clean water to their feline friends and encourage them to drink whenever possible.
- Stool softener
Your vet may recommend purchasing a suitable stool softener for your cat to help get things moving. Be sure to ask your vet for a list of appropriate stool softeners and the recommended dosage for your cat’s individual needs.
Also, like humans, a laxative is sometimes needed to relieve constipation. Many cat owners have had success with the use of Miralax . Simply mix 1/4 teaspoon of Miralax with your pet’s wet or dry food. Again, it is always advisable to consult with a veterinarian about the most appropriate dosage.
- Pumpkin for cats
Another product like pumpkin helps against constipation and diarrhea in cats. Canned pumpkin is a safe and effective way to cure and prevent gastrointestinal disorders. It also helps felines struggling with obesity by making them feel fuller without eating too much. Make sure you buy canned pumpkin, not canned pumpkin pie filling and that is free of sugars or salt.
Your vet may also recommend adding Metamucil fiber supplement to your cat’s diet. Just mix 1-4 teaspoons in your cat’s food. The Metamucil can be mixed into their food every 12 or 24 hours.
- Fiber for cats in the diet
Another remedy for constipation in cats is a high fiber diet prescribed by a veterinarian. This is a common remedy for the relief of chronic constipation. Before prescribing this diet, your vet will likely recommend trying to cure the constipation with increased water intake or a simple laxative.
- Increased daily cat exercise
Also, something as simple as increasing your cat’s exercise and physical activity can have positive effects on the digestive tract. You may consider purchasing a product like a cat tree to enrich your cat’s life and thus provide a fun and active source of entertainment.
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