How to Identify and Treat Constipation in Cats

Constipation in cats

A cat’s digestive health is just as important as a human’s. One of the most common digestive issues your four-legged companion will experience throughout the course of its life is constipation which is an infrequent bowel movement or difficulty trying to pass stool.

How do I know if my cat is constipated? The following are the most common signs that your cat is constipated. If your cat is exhibiting these symptoms, take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Your cat may be constipated if it …

  • Cries out in pain or strains when trying to defecate
  • Leaves dry, hard stool, possibly covered in mucous or blood
  • Goes to the litter box with no results
  • Shows a lack of appetite
  • Appears lethargic
  • Is vomiting frequently
  • Has experienced a sudden weigh loss
  • Displays abdominal discomfort
  • Has neglected its grooming

What causes constipation in cats? The most common causes of constipation in cats are:

  • Hairballs due to excessive grooming
  • Low-fiber diet
  • Dehydration
  • Blocked or abscessed anal sacs
  • Enlarged prostate gland
  • Tangled hair blocking the anus
  • Side effects of medication
  • Obesity

How is constipation in cats treated? Take your cat to a veterinarian if you suspect it is suffering from constipation. While most cases of constipation in cats are nothing to worry about, frequent constipation may be symptomatic of an underlying disease which only a trained veterinarian will be able to properly diagnose. Most treatments for constipation in cats may involve one or more of the following solutions:

  • High-fiber diet
  • Adding fiber to your cat’s diet in the form of canned pumpkin or bran cereal
  • Increase water consumption
  • Stool softener
  • Laxative
  • Enema – if this is one of the remedies, it would be best if a veterinarian performs the procedure. Cats do not like enemas. If this remedy is performed at home with inexperienced personnel the results could prove to be more harmful than good.

If left untreated, constipation can lead to obstipation which is when the colon is packed with a large amount of feces. This condition causes excessive straining with no results, loss of appetite, lethargy, and vomiting in some cases.

In summary, a cat with constipation will appear lethargic, refuse to eat, and cry in pain when trying to relieve itself. If you think your cat is constipated, take it to a veterinarian right away. Most causes of constipation are due to hairballs, a low-fiber diet, dehydration, or the side effects of a mediation. However, constipation in cats could also be the symptom of an underlying disease which only a veterinarian will be able to properly diagnose. Treating a cat for constipation might require giving it a laxative, a stool softener, an enema, adding fiber to its diet, or increasing the cat’s water consumption.

What remedies have you used to treat a cat with constipation? 

Please let us know in the comments section.

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