Cat Constipation - Symptoms & Remedies
Does your kitty strain in the litter box, possibly even cry out or leave unwelcome deposits around the house?
Cat constipation can be uncomfortable for all felines, but how do we know when it becomes serious. Here we discuss the causes of cat constipation and the remedies that are available to help our constipated cat.
What causes cat constipation?
For most cats, constipation is a sign of dehydration which occurs when there is an excessive loss of fluid from the cat’s body. Water is then reabsorbed in the colon, resulting in a drier, harder stool which is hard to pass leading to cat constipation.
Cat constipation can also be brought on if there is any stress in ‘kitty’s’ home environment or their litter box is full or dirty. Anal sacs which are ruptured or impacted can also cause cats pain with defecation leading to constipation. Both obese and older cats are at greater risk of constipation, elderly cats can suffer with arthritis and will hold onto stools longer leading to constipation.
Cat constipation is also possible if your feline is suffering with a chronic disease such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism or megacolon.
Signs of cat constipation
A cat who doesn’t produce any stools in 24hrs is said to be suffering from cat constipation.
However, owners may not be up to speed with their cat’s bathroom activities as felines also go to the toilet outside.
Here are some cat constipation signs to keep an eye out for:
- Constipated cats tend to strain in the litter box.
- If in pain cats may vocalise during defecation.
- Decreased thirst and appetite.
- Constipation can lead to vomiting.
- Deposits of small hard stools.
- Infrequent or no defecation
Kitty constipation symptoms
Kittens tend not to defecate daily, so a lack of faeces in their litter should not be of immediate concern. However, if no stools are produced for more than 24hrs you may have a case of kitten constipation on your hands.
Aside from a lack of stool in the litter box, symptoms also include a loss of appetite, lethargy and vomiting.
You may also witness your kitten straining in their litter box or in pain when trying to pass a stool.
Constipation can be most common in curious kittens who tend to swallow ribbons, floss or hair ties which can lead to a binding of the intestines and ultimately constipation, while hairballs can also cause kitten constipation.
Kittens should be dewormed regularly killing any intestinal parasites which may cause blockage and constipation. All visits and treatments can be covered by getting cat insurance.
Home remedies for cat constipation
There are several possible home remedies for cat constipation with the most obvious being an increase in water consumption.
It is worthwhile trying multiple water sources including a dripping faucet, a cat water fountain and ice cubes. You may add tuna or clam juice to the water to give it additional flavour lessening the chances of dehydration in cats.
If your cat eats only dry food, it might be worthwhile switching to canned food which will dramatically boost their water intake. Wheat bran and canned pumpkin are both high in fibre and can be mixed in with your cat’s food, one to two tablespoons should be added to help stave off constipation. Grass can also help a cat’s digestive system, read more about why cats eat grass.
There are several products available for cat constipation over the counter but always consult with your vet before purchasing.
Laxatone is an edible cat laxative which comes in the form of a gel and helps lubricate your cat’s digestive tract. While Miralax is another cat laxative but also works as a stool softener for cats, mix ¼ of a tablespoon into wet food.
If your cat constipation symptoms continue your ‘kitty’ may require a visit to your local vet, who can provide specific medical treatments to solve the problem.
A vet may elect to administer fluids to your cat intravenously or choose an enema which can be toxic to cats and not to be tried at home.
Your vet may alternatively prescribe Lactulose a synthetic sugar which is used to treat constipation. This product softens stools and will have your cat purring in no time.