Constipation is defined as the difficulty or infrequency of passing bowel movements. To simplify and put in laymen’s term- trouble pooping. It is a common problem in cats. Normally, a healthy cat has one bowel movement a day.

Common signs of Constipation:

  • Straining or crying out in pain when trying to pass stools
  • Small, dry, hard stools
  • Mucous or blood on stools
  • Frequent, unproductive litter box visits
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Poor grooming

Cat litter trays


  • Diet
  • Dehydration
  • Hairballs
  • Anal gland issues
  • Matted fur around rectum
  • Ingestion of foreign objects (string, cloth, bones, etc.)
  • Medication side effect
  • Obesity
  • Side effects of other medical conditions (kidney disease, arthritis, etc.)


Your veterinarian can help determine the underlying cause of the constipation and therefore determine the necessary treatment. Do not give your cat supplements, over-the-counter or prescription medication, or perform any procedures without approval from your veterinarian.

Treatment may include:

-Encourage water intake- Provide multiple water dishes with fresh, clean water; cats can be picky. Some cats prefer running water, try adding a fountain. Offer canned food, in addition to dry, since it has more water content.

A cat watering bowl

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-Increase exercise- Exercise naturally encourages intestinal movement.

-Increase fiber intake- Canned pumpkin, bran cereal, or products such as Metamucil® (dosage varies, ask veterinarian) can be added.

-High-fiber diet- Prescription foods are available from your veterinarian.

Royal Canin Gastrointestinal food

-Prescription medications, stool softeners, laxatives- Available in many forms including pills, liquids, flavored pastes, powders, etc.

Veterinary laxatives

-Enemas- This procedure should be done by a veterinary professional. Sedation may be necessary due to pain, discomfort, and general lack of cooperation from cats. Over-the-counter enemas can be toxic to cats.


  • Quality Diet
  • Adequate exercise
  • Adequate hydration
  • Grooming

If your cat is showing symptoms of constipation, Bemidji Veterinary Hospital can help. Give us a call to schedule an appointment at 218-751-2753.