Constipation in Cats
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I was surprised when I first
learned that constipation in
cats is a common problem.
Cats have some of the same issues with constipation as
humans do.

If constipation is not treated,
the walls of the intestine may stretch and pockets form in
the colon. Unfortunately this
will cause a cat, or kitten, to strain
even more.

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Responding to the Problem

A change of diet

The treatment that is most generally used is a change in diet. Often any kind of diet change can help. In the past, cats have been put on high-fiber dry foods.

Fiber makes for intestinal movement. Fiber can either speed up or slow down the digestion process. This will greatly depend on the type of fiber and the circumstances. Therefore, fiber is used for both constipation and diarrhea.

Increased fiber is found in light, senior, and hairball foods.  There are many medical high-fiber diets as well.

High fiber foods may not be enough

If you want to add more fiber, canned pumpkin is a good choice. However, this might only improve things temporary.  

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Low fiber foods

Some experts have gone in another direction and recommend "low-residue" diets for constipation in cats. These diets will minimize stool volume.

The definition of "low residue" means that the food is very digestible for cats, but allows minimal waste. This means less fiber and more proteins and fats.

Enemas

Depending on how serious the problem is defines what treatment for constipation in cats should be used. If it is a mild case, enemas may be used once in a while.

Treating severe cases

If a cat has a severe blockage, it may need to have a process done, which has been referred to as a "dig-out".

 

How to Cure Constipation in Cats

Make sure that your cat is eating a diet especially made for cats and that it is a well-rounded diet.

If your cat has long hair, use scissors to trim the backside of your cat. This will keep the hair from getting too long and tangled.  It also keeps tangled hair from getting in the anus and therefore, the area will keep clean.

Maintain and keep a clean liter box.  Your cat will want to use a liter box regularly, if it is kept clean.  Cats can refuse to use a liter box if it is dirty.

Try feeding tuna packed in oil to your cat. Oil lubricates the stool, plus seals the colon, holding in moisture to keep stools moist.

Give an approved anti-constipation medication with vegetable oil. Before giving the medication, give your cat a treat and lots of strokes and face rubs, so the cat doesn't see the oil as punishment.

Make sure that there is always plenty of water available for your cat to drink.  If your cat has only been eating dry food, try giving your cat some canned food that adds moisture in the cat’s diet.

Try a few other remedies such as some pumpkin puree, butternut squash, or some canned pumpkin.  Adding a couple of teaspoons of pumpkin into your cat’s food will introduce more fiber into their diet.

Give your cat a half teaspoon of petroleum jelly each day.


An easy remedy

Years ago my wife and I started taking a mineral supplement high in magnesium.

To our surprise, within a day or so our constipation problems were gone, and each day we were enjoying soft, easy to pass stools. Plus magnesium has other health benefits.

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We give our cats some unpasteurized cream each day, so I started putting the sea minerals in their cream. We put 14 drops into 6 ounces of cream.

They love the cream, and are now getting a great mineral supplement. A side benefit for them and us is that constipation woes are gone.


More Remedies for Constipation in Cats

Wheat bran or Metamucil

If it is a mild case of constipation, adding bulk to the diet can help. Wheat Bran that is unprocessed or Metamucil are recommended.

Add 1 teaspoon of unprocessed wheat bran or Metamucil per 475 g canned cat food.

Psyllium

In her book "The Natural Cat", Anitra Frazier says that she seldom uses mineral oil for constipation in cats. Instead she uses 1/8 teaspoon of ground Psyllium husks from the health-food store plus two tablespoons water mixed into each meal for a few days, and that usually takes care of it.

Psyllium is a bulk forming agent which can hold moisture in the stool. It is harmless and is used on human infants. It's especially good for an older cat who might have a dry stool.

Laxatives

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Use Laxative drugs with care, as they become less effective over time, and the colon can become dependent on them for producing an “urge to go”.

Get professional advice when trying to give mineral oil in food and other laxatives that you can buy over the counter.

Megacolon

If a cat has chronic constipation caused from a bowel disorder called Megacolon, the cat may need a colectomy. This is a surgical removal of the colon. A cat can live fairly well without a colon.

A doctor's exam

Dr. Bruce Fogle, in the book "Natural Cat Care" says, "Some bowel conditions require detailed investigations with blood analysis, plain or barium x-rays, stool examinations, and endoscopic examination."


To Prevent Constipation in Cats

Grooming

Groom your cat for at least 30 seconds a day to prevent the hair from causing impaction in the colon. Re-evaluate the tool you are using to groom your cat. Find one that is effective at removing excess hair.

Your cat's diet

Feed a high quality diet with as much raw food as possible. Remember, cats in the wild have a regular diet of raw meat.

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Add an additional one teaspoon of carrot per meal three times a week to help clean intestinal walls.

In "The Well Cat Book", Terri McGinnis suggests that diet change may help relieve the problem of mild constipation.

  • Avoid canned foods with large amounts of ground bone.

  • "Feeding dry cat food will help some cats who tend to have trouble with mild constipation."

  • Fresh liver is also a good laxative.


Ionic sea minerals

These minerals not only help to cure constipation, they help to prevent it as well, by keeping the stool from drying outAfter all, constipation is pretty much just dry stool that is difficult to pass.

Bulk forming agents

These may also be needed for constipation in cats. Talk to your vet about constipation problems if you are having to add bulk-forming preparations to your cat's diet on a regular basis. As mentioned above, Psyllium is a good choice.

Hydration

In the book "The Complete Cat's Meow", it tells us that the lack of water can cause constipation, which then leads to pain in the liter box.

Encourage the cat to drink more. A great idea given in this book is to have a water fountain, which many cats love to drink from.


Responding to No Bowel Movements

Regarding no bowel movements, in his book, John M. Simon, D.V.M. asks the following:

  • Is it possible that your cat has swallowed something poisonous or a small indigestable object?

  • Have you been told that your cat has intestinal parasites, an abdominal tumor or a hernia?

If any of the above statements are true for your cat, your kitty might have a bowel blockage. 

Treatment of bowel blockage

Your cat should be seen by your veterinarian right away. Take your cat to the vet right away. If a bowel becomes blocked, tissues in the intestines can be killed. It may even be life threatening for your cat.

The vet can do some radiographs to make a diagnosis. Emergency surgery may be needed to get rid of any blockage if there is an obstruction.

Preventing bowel obstructions

Observe what types of things your cat wants to put in its mouth. If it is non-digestible items that can be removed from your cat’s environment, doing so may prevent a serious bowel blockage.

(Return from Constipation in Cats to Best Constipation Remedies)

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