what is constipation?
If your cat is constipated, she will poop less often and her poop may be harder or drier than normal. the dry or firm consistency of the stool will cause your cat to strain when going to the bathroom, and may even pass a little blood. constipation may be due to your cat being slightly dehydrated or having a blockage. Blockages are sometimes caused by hairballs, worms, dried feces, or even foreign material they’ve eaten, which can also cause a cat to vomit. Constipation can sometimes be caused by intestinal tumors or a condition called “megacolon” in which the intestine becomes very large and weak so that it cannot expel stool.
what can help with your cat’s constipation?
constipation tends to quickly become a vicious cycle. stool that has been waiting in the colon or rectum for too long will become drier and drier as the body reabsorbs water from the stool. this makes it even harder to get past and the blocking becomes more significant. The key to relieving constipation is to keep your stool from drying out and get it moving as soon as possible. You can do a few things to help at home, but you may need to talk to your vet about laxatives.
A constipated cat can go in and out of the litter box without passing anything. they may also strain, pass hard, dry balls of stool, or even pass some blood.
tips to relieve constipation at home
If your cat is experiencing a bout of constipation, one of the most effective things you can do is increase her water intake. making sure your hydration is as good as possible will help prevent your stool from drying out and lubricate your passage through the intestine. There are many ways you can encourage your cat to drink more water, including using water fountains, extra water bowls, and running faucets. however, if you don’t want to coax your cat into drinking more, you can try feeding her wet food and even adding extra water to her food.
Cats are very clean creatures, and if their litter box is dirty or they have to share it with other cats, they may choose to retain their feces. To avoid constipation, it is essential that your furry friend feels free to go when he needs to. therefore, keeping litter boxes clean and providing more than one litter box per cat is important so your cat doesn’t become potty-stressed.
Your cat might also avoid pooping for as long as possible if he’s feeling stressed. this could be due to other cats, construction work, a new baby, or anything that affects your cat’s normal routine. using anxiety-reducing sprays, diffusers, or supplements can help put your cat at ease.
If your cat is prone to constipation, you can increase her water intake and reduce her stress to help stop flare-ups.
microlax contains sorbitol and is administered as an enema to your cat’s bottom. loosens any blockages and lubricates the intestine so that stool passes more easily. however, it’s only available by prescription, so you’ll need to talk to your vet if you think your cat might need it.
Katalax contains soft paraffin, cod liver oil and malt extract. It’s helpful in relieving blockages caused by hairballs, but it also softens the stool, which can help with constipation. Katalax is an over-the-counter medication, so a veterinarian’s prescription is not necessary.
Lactulose is a human laxative that contains a non-absorbable sugar and draws water into the intestine through osmosis. can be used on cats under veterinary supervision, but is “off-licensed” because it has not been approved by the licensing authority for use on cats.
cat malt is a combination of liquid paraffin and malt extract. like katalax, it is helpful for hairballs and acts as a stool softener, and can also be purchased over the counter.
laxapet contains fish oils, vitamins and lecithin and is used for hairballs and constipation. it is available without a prescription.
when to talk to a vet
With laxatives and stool softeners available without a prescription, it can be tempting to try treating your constipated cat without a vet.
Mild cases of constipation can be resolved with over-the-counter laxatives, especially if you’re trying to reduce your cat’s stress and increase her water intake. however, as constipation can quickly become a vicious cycle, it is essential to seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.
If your cat hasn’t had a bowel movement for two days, you should contact a vet. If your cat is struggling and in distress, you should speak to a vet immediately. it helps to remember that the symptoms of a blocked bladder can be very similar to constipation, and this is a medical emergency. so if you’re not sure if your cat is urinating, it’s best to get it checked out by a vet.