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My Cat Is Constipated - What do I do?

Posted by Fuzzy Help on

My Cat Is Constipated - What do I do?

By Dr. Michelle Rose

One of the most common problems with a cat’s digestive tract is constipation. Most cats have a bowel movement at least every 1-2 days but this may vary between cats depending on how much and what kind of food they eat. Here’s a rundown of the most probable causes for cat constipation, what preventative measures you can take, and when to see a veterinarian.

Causes Of Cat Constipation

There could be many reasons as to why your cat is showing signs of constipation. They can range from not getting enough water to a serious, underlying medical condition. The most common causes of cat constipation include:

  • Hairballs
  • Excessive grooming
  • Low-fiber diet
  • Dehydration
  • Obesity
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Abnormal colon shape or inflammation of the colon
  • Neurological disorders
  • Litterbox avoidance (doesn’t like the litterbox and therefore does not use it)

Common Symptoms

Cat constipation is usually associated with one or a few of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Dry, hard stools
  • Bloody stools
  • Crying or straining in the litter box
  • Lack of grooming
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent trips to the litter box without defecating
  • Lethargy, not responding to you as usual

What Can You Do In Home To Help With My Cat’ S Constipation?

If you notice that your cat is still producing some feces daily, there may be some preventive measures you can take to avoid serious constipation. Here are a few things to try:

  • Keep clean and fresh water out to ensure that your cat is drinking enough.
  • Brush regularly. For long-haired breeds or cats prone to hair balls, brushing regularly can help keep excess hair from the digestive tract.
  • Change your cat’s diet. Try feeding a canned diet and/or adding fiber to the diet. Fiber can help waste move through the digestive system easily and quickly.
  • Try adding pumpkin or natural bran cereal to our cats food. Fiber supplements increase fiber in the diet as well.
  • Some cats will need to try a laxative such as Miralax or Lactulose, to stay “regular.” You may need to consult with your veterinarian prior to starting a laxative.

When Should I See A Full Service Veterinarian?

You should definitely take your cat to a full-service veterinarian or urgent care if you notice any of the following:

  • It has been more than 48 hours since your cat has defecated
  • Your cat has not eaten or had water for more than 48 hours
  • You see blood in your cat’s stool
  • Sustained vomiting
  • Increased fatigue 
  • Your cat stops grooming
  • Any signs of abdominal discomfort

Cat constipation can also be an indication of a different, potentially serious, underlying problem. You may need to have your cat examined by a veterinarian in the case your kitty needs more intensive care such as enemas, surgery or receiving fluids. By conducting a thorough physical examination and discussing your cat’s symptoms, your veterinarian will be able to decide what additional tests may be needed.

What to do if?