By Dr. Ritu Krishnatreye, BHMS
Constipation is a relatively common condition in cats, especially older cats. Constipation is not a disease, it is merely a symptom that the digestive system is not working properly.
Occasional constipation is not a various serious disorder. However, long term feline constipation can lead to a loss of appetite and other undesired complications.
Watch for the following signs and symptoms to tell whether your cat is constipated.
If you note any of the above, then your cat has symptoms of constipation. Other signs to look out for include:
There are several factors that can cause constipation in cats.
As in humans, a diet with too little fiber can result in constipation.
Roughage increases the bulk in fecal matter, which helps with moving it through the colon. A diet rich in protein and fats but lacking in soluble fiber can lead to constipation.
A dehydration is another common cause of constipation in cats.
Cats can swallow a lot of hair while grooming, which can result in hair balls forming in the digestive system.
Swallowing ingestible items like sticks or hair can cause a partial blockage in the intestines and lead to a difficulty in passing stools.
Any medical condition, such as colon cancer or pelvic or anal injuries, may cause a narrowing of the anal canal, resulting in constipation.
A dirty litter box can cause constipation, since kitty may avoid using it and resist the urge to go.
This means that stool stays longer in the colon, giving the colon the opportunity to extract more moisture, making the stool dry and hard.
Older cats tend to avoid a lot of physical activity. It has been proven that a sedate lifestyle contributes to constipation.
The number one cause for constipation in cats is their diet. So this is a good place to start to relieving the problem.
If your cat is lethargic, try and involve it in some sort of physical activity. Exercise promotes healthy digestion and helps to relieve constipation.
Anxiety and stress are other causes of constipation.
To solve the problem, try to find the source of stress and remove it. You can also check with your vet about medications or therapy to deal with anxiety.
To remove any anxiety your cat feels about using a dirty litter box, it is best to clean the litter box out daily. Your cat deserves a clean place to go.
Litter that has clumping action is especially nice for keeping a litter box clean.
There is a natural sea mineral supplement that may be quite effective at keeping your cat regular. Just a drop for every 2 pounds of body weight per day may be all that is needed.
That is because ionic sea minerals contains a good amount of magnesium, a natural osmotic laxative that draws moisture into the colon. This helps to make stools soft and easy to pass.
Magnesium is also a needed nutrient, and your cat may not be getting enough of it through the foods it eats. Therefore, taking some supplemental magnesium may result in certain health benefits, both for cats and people.
Ionic sea minerals also contains numerous beneficial trace minerals. An animal’s blood (including ours) contains almost the same exact percentages of these minerals as is found in ocean water.
But modern fertilizers don’t contain most of these, so many of these trace minerals have gradually disappeared from our food supply.
To include Ionic sea minerals to your cat’s diet, add one drop for every two pounds of body weight to milk or cream.
The sea minerals have a bitter taste, so be careful to dilute them with enough liquid so as to neutralize the taste. Taste test it yourself to make sure it is ok before giving it to your cat.
In case you suspect an intestinal obstruction or an underlying medical condition, consult your vet right away, as a total obstruction may be life threatening. Check out for any signs of swelling or redness around the anal region.
There are numerous laxatives on the market for cats. However, it is best to talk with your vet before giving them to your cat.
Keeping a clean litter box is one of the most helpful things you can do keep your cat healthy. Occasional constipation may take care of itself and not require any changes.
However, repeated instances of constipation in cats should be dealt with. Usually a change in diet is all that is needed, but exercise and weight management are also helpful.