Cats and Constipation
Recognizing the Symptoms

Concerning cats and constipation, once we understand the meaning of their symptoms we will be better equipped to help them.

The Symptoms of Cat Constipation

If your cat is constantly constipated, the best thing you can do is to be an observant owner. Look for early signs of feline constipation, such as straining, abdominal pain, a decrease in appetite, etc. Take notice of how often your cat is having a bowel movement.

At least one BM a day

On average, most cats have one bowel movement a day. If a cat is constipated it may only defecate every two to four days. These stools are usually hard and dry, due to stool staying in the colon for too long a time.

The longer stool stays in the colon, the more water it absorbs from the stool. What can really help is finding a way to keep the stool moist till it is expelled.

Can a cat have diarrhea and still be constipated? Yes. Sometimes a mass of feces gets stuck in the colon, and liquid stool is the only thing that gets around it.

Look for a daily stool

The absence of stool in a liter box may not be something we normally pay attention to, but it is an obvious sign that your pet is constipated. It is important to notice changes in liter box habits, as it can be a good indicator as to a cat’s health.

Pain and straining

As one would expect, the most obvious sign of constipation is straining. Take note if the cat crouches and strains for prolonged periods in the litter box and doesn't pass any feces, or passes only small hard, dry stools.

In dealing with cats and constipation, after a period of straining, it may cry in pain as it attempts to defecate. Pain or straining are usually the first thing that tells us something is wrong.

Other signs of constipation

  • Irritability
  • A painful abdomen
  • Poor appetite or no appetite at all
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Loss of weight
  • Being uncomfortable and hunching over
  • Defecating outside the little tray

If it is a very serious case of constipation, the cat may become lethargic and bloat, and even run a slight fever.

Taking action

Wikimedia image

If your cat is producing little balls that are hard as a rock, it is time to take it seriously and do something about it. If you don’t, her bowel movements may become even more infrequent and difficult.

In time, it could get very expensive, and there is a greater possibility for irreversible colon damage.

Time to visit the vet?

Constipation can be a sign that a cat has a serious disease. If your cat has symptoms of continual vomiting or diarrhea, stop feeding it and take it to the vet.

Karen Leigh Davis states:

  • "Sudden changes in your cat's elimination habits, or failure to use the liter box, can indicate an underlying health problem and should always be investigated for medical causes first.

  • When a cat begins to urinate or defecate in unusual places or to go more or less frequently than is the norm for that pet, suspect a health problem and have a vet check it out.”


Here’s wishing you a healthy cat that is blessed with regular bowel movements. After all, cats and constipation should never mix! (Hint: magnesium is excellent for alleviating human constipation, plus has many health benefits)

Our other articles on cat constipation

The Problem of
cat constipation

Remedies for
cat constipation

(Return from Cats and Constipation to Constipation in Cats)

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