By Dr. Ritu Krishnatreye, BHMS
Constipation is a condition that involves infrequent passage of dry and hard stools.
Most kittens poop an average of a couple of times a day. When defecation becomes infrequent with dry and hard stools, kitten is probably constipated.
Though it is seen more often in cats, kittens may also develop constipation. Kitten constipation is usually not that hard to handle. In most cases it can be remedied without a visit to the vet.
Not getting enough fiber in kitten’s diet is a major contributor to kitten constipation. When shopping for kitten food at the store, compare the ingredient panels to see which food has a better source of fiber.
If kitty isn’t drinking enough it can lead to dehydration. This is especially true of kittens that have been placed on dry food.
When a kitten becomes dehydrated, the water in fecal matter is absorbed by the colon for more urgent needs elsewhere in the body. This results in stools that are hard and dry.
In some cases, severe constipation or blockage may occur if kitten eats food containing hair or bones. Sometimes a toy or other object is swallowed, which may also cause a blockage.
Obstructions may also be due to a birth defect or an injury.
Constipation may also be result of a number of behavioral issues, which can cause kitty to be reluctant to defecate.
Just as in humans, a lack of physical activity could also be a cause of constipation in kittens.
A lack of exercise or activity could slow down the speed at which stool moves through the colon, leading to constipation.
When a kitten is taken off of its mother’s milk and put on a bottle fed milk formula, it may result in constipation.
This is normally just a temporary problem, lasting only a number of days, until kitten’s body makes the adjustment.
For most kittens, constipation can be dealt with fairly easily.
Most dry cat foods contain a lot of filler and not a lot of fiber or nutritional value.
Furthermore, they don’t contain any moisture, so feeding this food to a kitten can lead to chronic dehydration and other health problems.
It is important to look at the ingredients on the label before buying cat food.
Magnesium pulls extra water into the colon, which helps to moisten stool, making it softer and easier to eliminate.
Each day, just add one drop for every two pounds of body weight to milk or cream. Make sure to taste the mixture to make sure it has been diluted enough not to be bitter.
Make sure your kitten is drinking water throughout the day. Keep a bowl of fresh clean water available throughout the day and night.
If your kitten doesn’t get much exercise, it is important to encourage play times.
This will promote healthy digestion and help the intestinal tract in moving waste matter through and out of the body.
If you suspect a medical problem with your kitten, please let your vet examine her.
Constipation can be associated with neurological and endocrine disorders which require prompt medical attention.
If you notice a significant decline of stool in kitty’s liter box, it may indicate that she is constipated.
Instead of treating ongoing episodes of acute constipation, try to identify the core cause of the problem and treat that cause, using natural and safe methods to deal with kitten constipation.