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Cat Constipation: A Comprehensive Guide to Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

If you have been a cat parent, you know that it is often difficult to avoid getting worked up over seeing our fluffy fur baby in physical discomfort that disturbs its general well-being. While it is important to be vigilant about our feline friends, it is also important to be more aware of conditions that do not always warrant much concern, including cat constipation. 

Cat constipation is a common occurrence in cats, characterised by the inability to poop or normally pass bodily waste from the system. Cats suffering from constipation often experience discomfort or difficulty in trying to pass stools.

Symptoms of cat constipation

As a caring cat parent, watching our fur babies experience the symptoms of cat constipation can be worrying, but it rarely helps the situation. Instead, learning about the possible reasons and symptoms of constipation in cats can help us stay better informed about what our precious fur babies are going through, and give them the much-needed support to overcome this ordeal. So, mentioned below are the common symptoms of cat constipation:

  1. Visible discomfort or pained expressions while trying to poop.
  2. Completely avoiding the litter box.
  3. Straining while trying to poop.
  4. A loss of appetite.
  5. Dry, hard stools and infrequent bowel movements.

What causes constipation in cats?

Litter box

If you have been a cat parent, you know that cats are extremely meticulous and tidy when it comes to their personal space, which includes using their litter box. They may avoid pooping altogether if their litter box is not tidy or up to the feline expectations. And as particular as cats are, litter boxes are often the leading reason behind cat constipation.

Dehydration

Not all cats share an affinity with water, and it may also reflect in their everyday water intake. And in extreme cases, cats often end up dehydrated, which affects their digestion, leading to cat constipation.

Underlying Disease

Although being constipated is uncomfortable enough, cat constipation is often considered one of the most obvious symptoms of an underlying disease in cats. Cat constipation often foreshadows indigestion, inflammations in the bowel, parasites, allergies, pelvic injuries, and even cancer.

Obstruction

Cats can feel constipated or plugged up when there is an obstruction in their intestines, which can cause difficulty while pooping. Bowel obstruction or blockage resulting from obesity, hernia or certain medication can prevent digested food materials or fluids from being naturally excreted, resulting in cat constipation. So, it is important to maintain a healthy cat weight and encourage your furry munchkin to avoid blockages in the digestive system.

Not Enough Exercise

A cat’s slender, lean body and powerful legs generally complement their energetic and athletic lifestyle, making exercise crucial to their general well-being. Obesity can cause cats to give up their physical activities, and this lack of exercise is often reflected as cat constipation.

How Vets Diagnose Cat Constipation?

Avoiding the litterbox or pooping is an obvious symptom of cat constipation, which can aware cat parents if their precious munchkin is feeling plugged up. In cases of cat constipation where a visit to the veterinarian is necessary, the veterinarian may diagnose constipation by feeling for hard stool. Additionally, your veterinarian may also prescribe tests before making a diagnosis.  

Medical Treatment for Cat Constipation

Cat constipation, as serious and stressful as it might sound, does not always call for immediate concern and can usually be resolved with over-the-counter medications. Miralax and Metamucil are commonly prescribed by veterinarians to treat sign of constipation in cats.

Tips to Treat Constipation in Cats

Mentioned below are some cat constipation remedies if your furry munchkin is showing cat symptoms of constipation. 

Increase Water Consumption

Since dehydration is a leading cause of cat constipation, increasing your feline’s water consumption can substantially improve their bowel movements, avoiding the cat constipation symptoms.

Try a New Diet

Offer a nutrient-rich diet comprising probiotics and fiber to improve your kitty’s digestive abilities. While probiotics improve the potency of the enzymes released during the digestive process, fiber helps to soften and add more weight to the stool, making it easier to pass.

Help Your Cat Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy cat weight is important for our furry felines to avoid getting constipated. If cats are over their healthy cat weight, it can be a detriment to their usual bowel movements, leading to cat constipation. So, as a cat parent, it is important to encourage your fur baby to maintain a healthy cat weight and avoid the risks of cat constipation.

Increase Exercise and Enrichment

Cat exercise and enrichment can play a substantial role in strengthening the abdominal muscles thereby improving bowel movements. So, make sure to encourage your fluffy little munchkin to take part in adequate physical cat exercise to avoid the cat symptoms of constipation. 

Add More Litter Boxes

Considering how particular and tidy cats are, adding more litter boxes around the house can go a long way in stimulating pooping in cats and avoid getting constipated. Additionally, having separate litter boxes in multi-cat households is important to avoid transmissible diseases and infections.

Monitor Your Cat for Constipation

While cat constipation does not have any fail-safe cure, staying vigilant can help your little fur baby’s chances against the cat constipation symptoms.

What is the long-term outlook for a cat with this problem?

Although cat constipation is substantially uncomfortable, it does not always call for an alarm, allowing almost all cats to lead a normal lifestyle. However, continued constipation is often a symptom of an underlying health concern in cats, and such cases usually require veterinary attention.

FAQs

Should I watch my cat for constipation?

Although constipation in cats does not pose any significant risk by itself, it is usually considered as an indicator of an underlying health issue that needs attention. So, it is important to keep an eye on your cat, watch out for any possible signs of constipation.

How long can my cat go without pooping?

While some cats with cat constipation can go without pooping for 24 to 48 hours when feeling stressed, avoiding pooping for more than 48 hours can indicate health concerns or physical discomfort that might need veterinary consultancy. 

Can kittens get constipated, too?

Yes, like older cats, kittens and young cats are exceedingly common when it comes to experiencing constipation. And since constipation takes a more serious toll in the case of kittens, it is important to monitor your tiny fur baby’s bowel movements closely for any anomalies.

What is a natural laxative for cats?

Cat parents often look for cat constipation home treatments to help when their fur babies feel plugged up. And while appropriate medications should only be administered once approved by a veterinarian, fiber-rich foods, ginger and pumpkin are natural laxatives that can help with constipation relief for cats.

How can I stimulate my cat to poop?

Although cat constipation does not call for immediate concern, it is important to stimulate your furry feline to poop. Maintaining a healthy cat weight, increasing their water intake, cat exercise and trying healthy diets can stimulate cats to poop without difficulty.

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