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

Causes:

  • 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.)

Treatment:

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

[Picture from Amazon.com]

-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.

 Prevention:

  • 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.