If you’re wondering what you can give your cat to relieve constipation, this is a great source. Like many pet owners, I can sometimes be a bit of a hypochondriac over my cats. Even the smallest sign that there may be something wrong sends me into overdrive to find out all of the information available on the topic.
This recently happened when I noticed that the litter box seemed unusually empty for two days in a row. I immediately started researching feline constipation to see if there was anything I could do to help my furry friend out!
It turns out that I’m not the only one who has been confronted with this somewhat embarrassing situation. There’s no need for you to feel embarrassed about the topic or start opening up incognito windows in your web browser because I’ve got all the important information compiled here.
So here it is: “What can I give my cat for constipation?” In addition to promoting increased hydration, additional fiber intake, and regular exercise, pet owners can choose from a number of natural laxatives, such as pumpkin, and over-the-counter remedies for cat constipation. In severe cases, veterinarians may perform an enema or surgery if constipation poses an immediate threat to the cat’s health.
There is a wide range of options available for pet owners looking to help their kitty ‘go’. This problem is actually quite common, as there are a number of different things that can lead to constipation in felines. While constipation isn’t typically life-threatening, it can lead to some serious health issues if left untreated, so it’s best to get going and provide the extra assistance your cat may need!
What Can I Give My Cat For Constipation?
The first thought that entered my head when I noticed that empty litter box was, “What can I do to help?” Unlike other health issues, constipation is one of those things that you can actually help relieve at home in many cases.
The first consideration is actually much simpler than you may think!
Promoting proper hydration is key in helping resolve feline constipation. Having enough water in the body can help soften the stool resting in the digestive tract, which can help get things moving right along.
If your cat is a bit fickle about staying hydrated, try to entice her to drink more by keeping water fresh and providing different sources of water around the house so she can pick her preference.
You may even consider letting the tap trickle in the bathtub or introducing a cat water fountain to get her more interested in drinking water.
Another way to relieve cat constipation at home is to introduce additional fiber into her diet.
Fiber is necessary for a properly functioning digestive tract, and adding more fiber can help get things moving when they seem stuck.
One natural approach to increasing your cat’s fiber intake is by stirring in a bit of pumpkin or olive oil into your cat’s food. Just a spoonful of either ingredient mixed into her normal food may be enough to cure her case of constipation.
In addition, there are many over-the-counter solutions for a case of cat constipation, too.
Some pet owners have found that formulas like Metamucil and Miralax have helped cats kick constipation.
Because these solutions were intended for human consumption, however, you should always consult your particular veterinarian to get an idea if these would be applicable for your pet.
There are plenty of over-the-counter formulas specifically designed for pets, too. Browse the aisles of your local pet store, and you’ll find a plethora of digestive formulas and supplements that can be mixed in with cat food to promote healthy digestion.
Finally, there is one other thing you can do as a pet owner to combat constipation for the long-term, and that is to promote adequate exercise for your feline. Engaging in regular movement and adopting a healthy routine of play can help keep abdominal muscles in shape and digestive systems functioning.
Keep an eye on your cat to ensure she is getting enough exercise in the form of daily play and movement.
What Can the Vet Do for Cat Constipation?
If home remedies aren’t 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. It’s 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 cat’s 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.
Most cases of cat constipation will be resolved by any of these mentioned approaches. In severe cases, however, there is another, more advanced tactic that can help.
Extreme cases may warrant the cat to undergo a procedure under anesthesia in which the vet removes hardened feces from the colon.
What Are The Signs of Cat Constipation?
So here’s 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 hasn’t 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 hasn’t 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 cat’s 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:
- seeming discomfort
- lack of movement
Then constipation may be to blame.
What Causes Constipation in Cats?
Let’s face it – dealing with constipation can be a nightmare! So what’s exactly to blame? If you’re aware of the things that can cause constipation, there’s a good chance you can help promote healthy routines for your cat to reduce her risk of dealing with a blocked bowel disaster.
One of the most common causes of constipation is dehydration. Water is absolutely vital to maintaining healthy, properly functioning digestion.
If your cat is lazy about drinking water, then it may result in uncomfortable constipation.
Diet can also play a big role in a cat’s digestive system and overall health. While water is integral, fiber is important, too. If your cat’s diet doesn’t have enough fiber, she’s at an increased risk of experiencing constipation.
Another cause of constipation is the presence of hairballs in the colon. This can happen sometimes if the cat grooms herself too much. While regular grooming is necessary to demonstrate good hygiene, over-grooming can result in a dry wad of hair that bogs down digestion.
Other blockages can also occur from swallowing dry objects:
- like string
- paper scraps
- toilet paper
These objects can get caught in the colon, blocking feces from exiting properly. Bones can do this, too, so if your cat has a habit of hunting small birds or rabbits when she’s outside, be on the lookout for signs that things aren’t processing adequately.
Additional problems with the colon can also get a cat blocked up. Tumors, weak abdominal muscles surrounding the colon, and the overgrowth of the colon can all contribute to cat constipation. These issues are best identified by a qualified veterinarian.
Finally, there are other health concerns that may impact digestion. Issues that present a metabolic abnormality, including hypothyroidism, can result in digestion problems like constipation.
Is Cat Constipation Serious?
While some cases of cat constipation resolve on their own, others may require a bit of assistance, like fiber or pumpkin, to stimulate a bowel movement. The good news is that the majority of cases do not result in serious health complications.
However, if constipation is ignored or left untreated for an extended period of time, it is possible for even a mild case of constipation to develop into something more serious. When waste builds up in the colon and is not evacuated, it stretches the intestines out. This, in turn, has the potential for bacteria to translocate into the bloodstream, which can cause serious illness.
Megacolon, a condition in which weakened muscles inhibit the cat from effectively defecating, can also develop when constipation goes on too long. While some cats are born with megacolon, others develop it as a response to prolonged constipation. This can develop into a chronic health issue.
Because of these rare cases, it’s best to never ignore a case of constipation in your cat. If you suspect constipation, consult your veterinarian if the issue is not resolved within 72 hours.
How often is a cat supposed to poop? The average adult cat generally has one bowel movement per day. However, slight variation may not be cause for alarm so long as the bowel movements appear regular and healthy.
Can dehydration cause constipation in cats? Yes. Water is critical for a cat to maintain a properly functioning digestive system. Inadequate water can cause waste to become dry and difficult to pass, resulting in constipation.
What is a natural laxative for cats? Many individuals in the pet community have recognized the use of pumpkin and/or olive oil as natural laxative options for cats. One small spoonful of either of these ingredients can be blended with the cat’s normal food to help resolve constipation at home.
Does dairy help constipation in cats? While it is a common belief that dairy products, such as milk, can help cure constipation in cats, it is not recommended by veterinarians. Dairy can act as a laxative, resulting in diarrhea. This response, however, is actually a result of the cat’s inability to process dairy correctly, due to lactose intolerance which is common in adult cats. Therefore, it is not recommended to rely on milk or other dairy products to treat constipation.