Cat Constipation: The Not-So-Cute Part of Being a Cat Parent
At some point in your cat’s nine lives, your feline friend may experience constipation, and it’s definitely not something you should ignore. When it comes to gastrointestinal issues and upset stomachs, our cats are no different than us humans - the uncomfortable reality of constipation is real.
In today’s article, we will discuss the harsh reality of cat constipation - what causes it, what it means, how to prevent it, and how to treat it.
1, 2, 3, let’s scurry!
What is Cat Constipation?
A cat’s constipation can be overlooked most of the time. You may not realize that your beloved fur baby can’t go #2. Constipation is defined as having difficulty or an infrequency of bowel movements. Cats should typically have at least one bowel movement per day. A healthy “BM” removes toxins from the body and helps to maintain optimal health. Unfortunately, when constipation arrives, a cat may go days without a bowel movement. As you’ve heard, constipation can cause GI issues and may even lead to serious conditions.
If GI problems don’t fix themselves, your veterinarian may talk about your cat’s constipation as obstipation. Obstipation is a severe, constipation that occurs when the cat can’t rid the mass of hard, dry feces that are accumulating in the colon. Obstipation may even lead to a complete blockage of the colon with feces, leading to colonic motility loss.
There are many clinical signs of constipation that cat parents should be aware of. The earlier you recognize your cat’s constipation, the earlier you can get your precious cat the relief they need.
1) Defecation Straining
A classic sign of constipation is cat’s straining to poop. If your constipated cat can push any out, the amount is typically very small. Pooping should not be a hard and challenging duty for your feline pal. As a cat parent, do take note when your cat’s dooty becomes challenging.
2) Crying in Pain
Accompanied with straining to defecate, your cat may cry out in pain. Much like dogs, cats are infamous for hiding pain. Therefore, if your cat is vocalizing when trying to go to the bathroom, you can assume that something may be very wrong.
3) Stool Characteristics
Investigate and determine whether or not your cat is passing poop. Constipated cats will typically have small, dry, and hard stools (and possibly covered in mucous or blood).
4) Litter Box Visits Without Pooping
Constipated cats can make more frequent trips to the litter box to try and relieve themselves, but can’t. If you notice that your cat is going to the litter box more often than not, determine whether they are defecating or not.
5) Abdominal Pain
Associated with constipation, cats often experience abdominal pain too. Even the sweetest of cats may hide for fear that any touching or playing may cause more pain.
6) Loss of Appetite
A constipated cat may skip out on food too, due to their moderate to severe abdominal pain. Keep an eye on your cat’s consumption.
7) Losing Weight
Weight loss may go hand in hand with a reduction in appetite, water, or even both. Dehydration can rapidly make a cat quite sick, so pay fine attention to how much H2O your four-legged feline is consuming.
8) Laziness or Lethargic
These are tricky symptoms for cat owners to notice because cats can be couch potatoes and nap natives even when they’re feeling just fine. If your playful cat has been retreating to their bed more than usual, they may be constipated.
What goes in one way, must come out the other….. Constipation can lead to vomit, especially if your cat’s constipation is severe.
10) Poor Grooming
If you cat isn’t spending as much time cleaning themselves, they may be constipated. Cats are well-known for being quite the cleaners. Poor grooming may indicate that your cat may not be feeling up to par.
What Causes Constipation in Felines?
Once you’ve figured out that your cat is constipated, you want to figure out why. Once you’ve figured out the why, this will help you treat and prevent constipation from reoccurring.
Double wammy - a dehydrated cat can be a symptom and cause of constipation. Easy peezy, lemon squeezy! Just make sure your feline fur baby has free access to a clean water source. An untreated, dehydrated cat can turn ugly quickly.
2. Not Enough Fiber in Their Diet
Check out the fiber content in your cat’s food and consult with your vet about how much fiber your personal cat needs daily. Dietary fiber is beneficial for cats who are prone to long-term constipation. You can easily incorporate more fiber into your feline’s diet by adding cat-approved vegetables and fruits to their food.
3. Eating Foreign Objects
If your cat swallows a foreign object, like a string or cloth, that object can obstruct the colon and potentially the small intestine. This road block can cause constipation, preventing the feces from exiting on through.
4. Colon Obstruction
Along with ingesting a foreign object, your cat may have obstruction from other causes such as a tumor or hernia. These other causes of constipation are complicated.
5. Cat Caught a Hairball
Excessive grooming can lead to an ingestion of large amounts of fur over time, leading to constipation.
6. Medication Side Effects
Sometimes, especially in emergency situations, medication has to be administered (that may later lead to constipation). But, not to fret too much, if your cat has a planned procedure or surgery or know that they need a specific medication for their health that may cause constipation, you can plan ahead and prevent it from occurring. For instance, adding more fiber to their diet.
7. Inflamed Prostate
In male cats, prostate problems can cause constipation. An enlarged prostate caused by an abscess or inflammation can press tightly against the intestines, preventing feces from going through….leading to constipation. Your vet would be able to examine your cat’s prostate to see if it’s enlarged and causing intestinal issues.
8. Defecation Pain
While this a major symptom of constipation, this may also be a sign of arthritis or pelvic issues. Painful defecation can make a cat avoid going to the bathroom, resulting in GI issues and or constipation.
Constipation: Best Home Rememdies
Determining your cat’s constipation cause comes first and foremost. By simply treating the constipation with a band-aid won’t make things better (it might make it worse).
Consulting with your vet before trying these home remedies is highly recommended. If you cat has ingested a foreign object that’s stuck in their intestines, some of these home remedies may not work.
First, increase their water consumption. Addressing and correcting your cat’s dehydration is one of the easiest remedies. Cat parents should ensure that their fur child has plenty of access to clean drinking water, encouraging them to drink whenever they can.
Work with your vet to come up with a rehydration goal. Your vet can assess your cat’s current dehydration levels and determine how much water is necessary for your feline to become rehydrated.
Your vet may recommend a cat-specific stool softener to help get things going along.
Cats sometimes need a laxative to help relieve the constipation. Many cat parents have seen success with Miralax. Mix the Miralax (¼ teaspoon) with your cat’s food. We recommend consulting with your vet to ensure you’re giving your feline the right dosage.
Pumpkin is a great supplement that can help relieve constipation. It helps with obesity too because it leaves cats feeling more satisfied. Make sure the canned pumpkin is purely just pumpkin (without any added salt or sugars). Discuss with your vet just how much pumpkin you should give your cat.
A vet-prescribed diet high in fiber is a great home remedy. This is often recommended for cats with chronic constipation.
To get things moving in your cat’s digestive tract, start with increasing your cat’s amount of exercise. Interactive cat toys are a quick and easy way to enrich your cat’s daily life and active source for entertainment.
Acupuncture anyone? It works on cats too! Acupuncture works best with consistency and may not be the best option for some cats. But, do know, there are all-natural options available.
How to Prevent It
A highly-quality diet full of nutrients
Regularly brush your cat
Provide access to clean water
CBD Oil for Constipation
Many health issues have inflammation associated. Inflammation of the colon or digestive tract in general, may contribute to constipation in cats. Cat owners may often wonder if there is anything else they can do to prevent and decrease inflammation and it’s proceeding health issues. Welp, we’re here to inform you that there’s an easy way to do so!
CBD promotes overall health and digestive health in cats and dogs. In addition, it can help with bone and joint health! Talk to your vet about using CBD with other all-natural treatments like a high-fiber diet and canned pumpkin to address and treat your cat’s constipation.
At Petly CBD, our Hemp CBD Oil for Cats may be just what you're looking for. Our feline droppers have been scientifically crafted for our small furry friends. Formulated with 125 mg of organically grown phytocannabinoid-rich hemp.
Cat Constipation: Final Thoughts
When all is said and done, we know you only want the very best for your cat. When it comes to intestinal issues, most of us understand and empathize with how awful constipation pain can be. Just to reiterate, figuring out what is causing your cat’s constipation needs to come first before acting according to fix it. Cat owners can work alongside their vets to ensure the best formula possible to relieve their cat’s constipation and prevent it from happening again.
We hope your four-legged feline feels better soon! We’re rooting for you!