The majority of us, during one point or another, have experienced the painful reality of constipation. As it’ll come to gastrointestinal upset, our pets are no different. It’s possible for your cat to also suffer constipation and it isn’t something that ought to be neglected.
In this post, we’re going to cover the tough reality of cat constipation, what causes the condition, what it might mean, how to cure the condition, and everything you should know to keep it from occurring again. Let us get into it!
Is your Cat Feeling Constipated?
My cat is constipated, now what? A constipated cat often can be overlooked. You might not realize initially that your cat is in a lot of pain. Constipation is a word that’s utilized to describe infrequent or difficult bowel movements. Cats typically ought to have at least 1 bowel movement every day. It is a necessary part of detox and vital for maintaining good health. But, when constipation arises, the cat often will go days without using the bathroom. As you might imagine, constipation may lead to a ton of gastrointestinal upset and cause the development of many severe conditions.
Obstipation: What is it?
If the gastrointestinal problems don’t clear up their own, you might hear your vet describe your pet's constipation as obstipation. It’s a term utilized to describe intractable, severe constipation. It happens as the cat does not have the ability to clear the mass of hard, dry feces which has been accumulating inside the colon. Obstipation may cause a full blockage of the large intestine with feces, ultimately resulting in loss of mobility in the colon.
There are numerous clinical indications of cat constipated issues that cat parents should be aware of. The sooner you see that you have a constipated cat, the faster you may offer them relief.
Straining to Defecate
If a cat is constipated, a telltale indication of constipation is observing the pet strain to defecate. When and if they have the ability to push something out, their feces are in extremely small amounts. Pooping never should be challenging for your cat. If your furry friend is straining to defecate, you will want to immediately take note.
Crying Out in Discomfort
One symptom that oftentimes accompanies straining to defecate is the cat crying out in discomfort. Cats are known for hiding pain. So, if your pet is vocal while attempting to go to the bathroom, you can be certain that something is wrong.
If you see that your furry pal is either crying out in pain or straining to defecate, it’s important to further investigate and figure out if they are passing any fecal matter. Usually, constipation in cats will involve dry, hard, small stools. It’s also possible for mucous or blood in cat poop.
Frequent Visits to Litter Box Without Defecating
One other clinical indication of cat constipation is constant visits to the litter box, but not having the ability to relieve themselves. Again, it’s where it's vital to know the aforementioned signs and ensure to see if your cat actually is defecating.
Abdominal Pain Signs
Like people, cat constipation oftentimes results in serious abdominal pain. Even the friendliest of felines might act anti-social and hide as guests come over for fear that any extra play time or touching might result in more discomfort.
It also is vital for cat owners to keep an eye on food intake. A constipated cat likely will skip meals as they suffer moderate-to-severe tummy discomfort.
Because the cat might be eating less, weight loss also is an expected result of feline constipation. In addition, weight loss is directly related to dehydration which pet parents have to keep an eye on as dehydration quickly can cause a variety of severe conditions.
Excessive Laziness or Lethargy
Plus, cats that experience constipation also will show indications of laziness and lethargy. It’s oftentimes a tricky symptom for pet owners to notice as most cats are notorious for being couch potatoes and enjoy their naps. But, if your pet is usually playful and recently has been retreating to their resting place more often than normal (along with any aforementioned symptoms), they might be having a bout with constipation.
Constipation also can cause vomiting, especially if the constipation is serious. The body has to defecate as a way to detoxify. As serious constipation happens, the body oftentimes finds an additional way to clear itself of toxicity, which may show up in bouts of moderate-to-severe vomiting.
No Longer Keeps up with Grooming
Lastly, if your pet has been placing less time into grooming themselves, they might be suffering constipation. Cats are notorious for being clean. This symptom typically is a telling indication that they are not feeling their best.
Constipation: What causes it?
As you see that your pet is constipated, it’s important that you determine what is leading to the issue developing. Only once the right cause is determined may pet owners ensure they have the ability to cure and prevent it from happening down the line.
While dehydration is a cat constipation symptom, it also can be a cause of the gastrointestinal upset. Indeed, research shows inadequate fluid consumption is the most common constipation cause in both pets and people. It’s a pretty easy fix. Pet parents should ensure that their pet always has a clean, fresh available source of water. Again, if dehydration continuously exists, it can quickly cause the development of more severe problems.
One other common cat constipation cause is an inadequate quantity of fiber within their diet. We encourage our readership to take a look into the fiber content on the back of their cat's food bag. While your veterinarian might tell you that felines don’t require dietary fiber, it may be very beneficial for felines who are susceptible to chronic constipation. Pet parents easily can incorporate fiber to their cat's diet by adding cat-approved veggies and fruits into their food.
Consumption of Foreign Objects
If your pet swallows a foreign object like bones, cloth, string, cloth, or virtually anything you might imagine, the object may lead to intestinal blockage and a colon obstruction. Both obstruction of the colon and intestinal blockage are linked to constipation as the object does not have the ability to pass.
A colon obstruction might be a result of consuming a foreign object, yet also can be a result of a tumor, hernia, or primary intestinal obstruction. As you might imagine, the recovery of this constipation cause is a lot more complicated than constipation that us caused by dehydration.
The majority of cats are notorious for keeping their fur in crystal clear condition. But excessive grooming may result in the consumption of a large bit of fur which quickly can cause constipation. If the pet also is lacking natural fibers within their diet, hairballs are able to produce gastrointestinal upset no matter how much of the hair is ingested.
Medication Side Effects
Like people, constipation often is a side effect of many traditional drugs. Occasionally, especially under emergency circumstances, the medication has to be given without a lot of time to prepare. But, if your pet has a planned operation or you know they’re due for a certain medication which produces constipation, there are methods of preventing stomach distress. Adding a fiber supplement is an excellent method of ensuring that the medicine will not lead to intestinal blockage.
Abscessation and Prostate Inflammation
Cat constipation also may be a symptom of an inflamed prostate or abscess of the prostate, displayed by a pus-filled sac. Both often are a result of a long-range infection which has been neglected. The abscess also can cause a significant bit of blockage which is linked directly to cat constipation. We really want to stress how critical it is to not overlook something which might seem to be just a simple constipation bout.
We feel it’s vital to note that a constipation symptom, painful defecation, also may be a symptom of an additional form of distress, which includes arthritis or fracture in the pelvis or hind limbs. Painful defecation also can cause the pet to avoid using the bathroom, thereby resulting in the development of constipation or worsening tummy problems.
Neurologic Disorders or Orthopedic Problems
Cat constipation also can be caused by neurological disorders or orthopedic problems. Again, it’s a prime example of how constipation might be a result of something as simplistic of a deficiency in water consumption, yet also can be a telltale indication of something a lot more severe.
Cat obesity often is linked directly to constipation. Furthermore, obesity is also tied to multiple symptoms of constipation, as well as causes of gastrointestinal upset, which includes low fiber diets and excessive lethargy.
Lastly, feline megacolon is a serious condition that’s a direct cat constipation cause. Megacolon happens as the colon becomes highly enlarged and inflamed and the muscles do not have the ability to contract and squeeze. The result includes the build-up of dry, hard stool and, thereby, serious constipation and the possibility of obstipation.
Constipation Home Remedies
Before diving into cat constipation remedy advice, we want to reiterate that figuring out the underlying gastrointestinal upset cause is the initial necessary measure. Merely treating the constipation is a lot like placing a band-aid upon an open wound. If the cat constipation’s underlying cause is not properly handled, the wound is going to reopen and probably worsen.
Increase Water Intake
We initially want to offer a remedy for the most typical cat constipation cause: dehydration. Inadequate water consumption is one of the easiest issues to rectify yet one which will prove to worsen if not appropriately handled. Cat parents always should ensure that they offer their feline pal an abundance of clean water, as well as encourage them to drink whenever they can.
The vet might suggest the purchase of a cat-approved stool softener that helps get things moving. Be certain to ask the vet for a list of suitable stool softeners and for their suggested dose for your pet’s individual needs.
Also, like people, occasionally a laxative for cats is necessary to alleviate constipation. Most pet owners have found success in the use of Miralax, a cat laxative supplement you might already have on-hand. Just mix one-quarter teaspoon of Miralax with your cat's dry or wet food. Again, it is always recommended to consult your vet in regard to a more suitable dosage.
Pumpkin for Cats
One other fantastic supplement which helps with cat diarrhea and constipation alike in felines is pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is an effective and safe method of curing and preventing gastrointestinal upset. Plus, it helps with cats battling with obesity because it adds bulk to a cat's diet and leaves them more satisfied without having to overeat. Be certain that you buy canned pumpkin, and not canned pumpkin pie filling. In addition, make sure the canned pumpkin is pure pumpkin and is free from any added salt or sugars.
The vet also may suggest adding Metamucil, the fiber supplement, to your pet's diet. Just mix one-quarter tsp. into your pet’s food. The Metamucil may be blended into their food every twelve to twenty-four hours.
High Fiber Diet
Yet another constipation in cats remedy is a vet-prescribed, high fiber diet. It’s more oftentimes the means for alleviation in instances of chronic constipation. Before a vet-prescribed diet is implemented, your vet likely will suggest attempting to cure constipation using increased water consumption or a simplistic laxative.
Also, something as simplistic as increasing your pet's physical activity and exercise may have a positive impact on the digestive tract. Pet owners might want to give consideration to buying a product like a cat tree that enriches their cat's life and provides an active, fun entertainment source.
Constipation Remedy: Vet Intervention
If those at-home remedies aren’t a success, if the constipation is overly severe, or if obstipation happens, medical intervention likely will be required.
The vet might prescribe a medicine that increases the capability of the large intestine, permitting it to properly contract and thereby have the ability to alleviate the body of the accumulated fecal substance.
Manual Bowel Evacuation
Within some instances, the damage or blockage to the colon is so severe that the muscles do not have the ability to contract, even with the use of medication. In those instances, the veterinarian might conduct a manual bowel evacuation.
Within extreme cases, surgery might be required to extract an obstruction inside the bowels. Surgery also may be needed if the constipation is left neglected for a long time period, thereby producing obstipation.
Lastly, the veterinarian might conduct an enema to alleviate your cat’s constipation. We strongly advise leaving this treatment up to the professional. Furthermore, a few OTC (over-the-counter) enemas have a plethora of ingredients which may be extremely toxic for felines. As it’ll come to this procedure, allow the vet to take control of the situation.
Extra Constipation Treatment: Effective and Natural
Many cat parents have discovered that acupuncture and chiropractic treatment have shown to be efficient methods of helping to manage chronic constipation. Acupuncture and chiropractic treatment alike work better with consistency and thereby might not be the best choice for some cat parents attempting to locate cat constipation remedies. But it’s a comfort to know that there are available natural, alternative options.
CBD for Gastrointestinal Problems
As you track most health conditions back to their roots, you likely will discover that inflammation is at the heart of the problem. Within the majority of instances, cat constipation isn’t any different. Most cat parents discover themselves wondering if there is anything else they have the ability to do to prevent inflammation and thereby, prevent related diseases and ailments. Innovet Pet Products is here to let you know that there’s a way, and it is much easier than you might imagine.
CBD oil studies show that it is a wonderful supplement which may serve as an all-natural, powerful anti-inflammatory. It also promotes digestive health, as well as manage gastrointestinal problems in both dogs and cats. Implementing a supplement like CBD is an efficient method of ensuring that your dog or cat's health is kept at an manageable level. In addition, because CBD is all-natural, it safely can be used along with one other supplements like pumpkin for cats.
The Bottom Line on Cat Constipation
Everyone just wants what’s best for their pets. As it’ll come to gastrointestinal problems, the majority of us may empathize with just how horrible the pains and aches of constipation will be. We aren’t trying to repeat ourselves; yet again, finding out the cause of problems inside the gastrointestinal tract is critical. As the cause is discovered, cat parents will actively work to prevent and cure the unpleasant condition. From all of us here at Innovet Pet Products, we truly hope your dog or cat feels better sooner than later!
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Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
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Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM was raised in north Louisiana. She graduated from LA Tech in 2011 with a degree in animal science. She then moved to Grenada West Indies for veterinary school. She completed her clinical year at Louisiana State University and graduated in 2015 from St. George’s University. Since veterinary school she has been working at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she has experience treating all species that walk in the hospital. In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband Greg, bake yummy desserts and spend time with her 4-legged fur kids, a dog Ruby, a cat Oliver James “OJ”, a rabbit BamBam and a tortoise MonkeyMan.
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The Innovet Team