Constipation is one of the common issues experienced by cats. As a matter of fact, our feline friends have a bowel movement every 1-2 days. But this can sometimes vary, especially when it comes to how much and what type of food they eat.
While constipation in cats can be mild and may not be a cause for concern, some constipation in cats points to more serious health issues.
Now, the serious question is, how do you know when your cat’s constipation is a severe problem that needs professional care? Well, stay with us as we run you through everything you need to know about cat constipation, symptoms, causes, and what you can do to help your furry friend feel better.
What are the causes of constipation in cats?
When it comes to constipation in cats, there are many reasons why your furry friend may be finding it difficult to pass feces. Anything from not getting enough water to underlying health conditions can trigger constipation in cats. That said, here are the common causes of constipation in felines:
- Excessive grooming
- Intestinal obstruction
- Litter box avoidance
- Low fiber diet
- Neurological disorders
- Inflammation of the colon or abnormal colon shape
Symptoms of cat constipation
When cats suffer constipation, they usually find it challenging to defecate. While most cats will naturally poop every 24-36 hours, if you notice that your feline is pooping less frequently and always shows signs of difficulty using the litter box, she is most likely constipated and needs help.
Sure, there are some variations, but if you notice that your cat has gone 48-78 hours without any bowel movement, it’s time to contact your vet for prompt medical care.
Here are some classic symptoms of constipation in cats
Dry hard stools
This is perhaps the most prominent symptom of constipation in cats. Your cat’s normal stool should look well-formed and spot a rich brown color. According to vets, a healthy cat stool should have enough moisture to clump to litter easily.
However, cats suffering from constipation defecate very dry and hard stools. In some cases, you may find stools outside your cat’s litter box, and that’s because of the discomfort it experiences when passing stools. This discomfort forces your cat to exit the litter box before it is actually finished.
Straining and crying
Other symptoms of constipation in cats include crying or straining when using the litter box. In some cases, your cat may go in and out of the litter box a couple of times before using it.
Besides constipation, showing discomfort when using the litter box can also point to serious health problems like urinary tract infection, so you should check with your vet if you notice these signs.
And like we mentioned earlier, constipation is also a sign of an underlying health condition, so it’s not out of place to notice other symptoms like:
- Muscle loss
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty in walking
- Decreased appetite
- Difficulty jumping up
- Drinking less or more water
- Weight loss
Once you begin to notice any of these symptoms, don’t take it with a pinch of salt. Visit your cat’s vet for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
What you can do to help with your cat’s constipation
If your cat is still defecating daily, there are some measures you can take to prevent serious constipation. Here, check out some of the things you can try at home:
- Make sure that your feline is drinking enough clean and fresh water.
- Try to brush regularly, especially if you have cats prone to hairballs. Brushing frequently will help prevent excess hair from making its way to your cat’s digestive tract.
- Make changes to your cat’s diet. For a start, you can feed your furry friend canned diets. Also, make sure your cat is getting enough fiber, and that’s because fiber helps waste move easily and quickly through the digestive system.
- Adding pumpkin and natural bran cereal to your feline’s diet helps with bowel movement. Plus, using fiber supplements wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
- In severe cases, you can administer laxatives like Miralax or lactulose to your furry friend’s diet. However, consult with your veterinarian before starting any laxative.
- Minimize stress and anxiety
When should you see a veterinarian?
While constipation can be mild, it can get worse after a few days. So, if you notice any of the following signs, it’s time to visit your cat’s vet for adequate diagnosis and treatment:
- It’s over 48 hours since your cat last defecated
- Notice blood in your feline’s poop
- See any sign of abdominal discomfort.
- Continued vomiting
- Your cat refusing food and water in the last 48 hours
- Notice that your feline stops grooming
- Increased tiredness
Frequently asked question
What is a natural laxative for cats?
Pumpkin and natural bran cereal are good natural laxative you can include in your cat’s diet if they are having difficulty defecating. These types of food also help with digestion.
How long can a feline safely go without defecating?
Usually, healthy cats should have a regular bowel movement and should be able to defecate at least once a day. But if you notice that your cat has gone four to five days without pooping, it calls for concern, and it may be time to visit your veterinarian for prompt care.
How much olive oil should I give my cat?
Olive oil has been reported to help cats with constipation and hairballs. But if you’re just starting out, you may get the dose wrong. To do things correctly, experts suggest that you include one teaspoon of olive oil in your furry friend’s diet for three days; this helps with constipation and hairball.
Although cat constipation can be mild, it can also point to something potentially serious, maybe something that has to do with your cat’s overall health. So, it’s essential to have your feline checked out by a veterinarian once you notice any sign of discomfort while defecating.
Whether your cat’s condition is severe or not, your veterinarian is in the right position to know what’s best for your cat.