We all relate to how uncomfortable constipation can be, so it’s not hard to imagine what your kitten will feel when he’s having the same problem. As with humans, cat constipation can be an occasional nuisance to your feline friend, but it can also be an indication of a larger health problem.
So don’t break out butter, olive oil, or any other crowdsourcing remedy for constipation in cats just yet. Tarina L. Anthony, DVM, is a longtime practitioner of exclusive feline medicine and the owner and medical director of Aurora Cat Hospital and Hotels in Aurora, Colorado. It explains why your poor cat may have a problem, what to look for, and how to provide the best relief.
What causes constipation in cats?
While veterinarians don’t always know what causes constipation, according to Anthony, professionals see it more often in cats with certain medical conditions, such as:
“Kidney disease often results in water loss from the body and general dehydration, which can manifest as constipation,” says Anthony. “Bowel disease can alter motility, slow the passage of digested contents, and lead to drier stools.”
Your kitten may also have physical discomfort that prevents him from properly positioning himself in the litter box, so he may be able to avoid walking altogether. According to Anthony, older cats with arthritis often have this problem because squatting is too difficult for their joints. In addition, cats could have affected the anal glands. “When these scent glands expand, they can mechanically block the stool and cause discomfort during bowel movements,” says Anthony.
Signs your cat is constipated
Cats are often pretty private when it comes to running business (and we keep the whole thing in check ourselves!). But to spot signs of a cat’s constipation, you need to familiarize yourself with its poop.
The story goes on
“There is a misconception that when a cat is constipated, the stool inside is larger in diameter than a regular stool. While this can be the case, sometimes constipated cats have stools that are very small,” says Anthony. “This is because a small, hard stool is difficult for the colon to move outward. The longer the stool sits in the colon, the more water it draws out.” This creates an uncomfortable cycle: the colon removes water (that’s its job), the feces become harder and drier, and kitty can’t pass through it.
Trash doesn’t stick to dry droppings, so that’s a sign. Another reason is that it’s often very dark brown, but diet can change the color. Here’s a twist: Anthony says that some pathetic kittens try so hard that they push liquid feces around the harder stool and appear to have diarrhea.
If your cat is lazy or uncomfortable meowing when you pick it up or try to pet it, it’s time to spy on his bathroom habits (his pride will eventually get better!) Anthony says you might notice:
Strain while he uses the litter box.
Not much stool passes through it (usually at least a couple of inches).
Defecation outside the box.
He vomits after trying to walk.
Any of these symptoms is a reason to see your veterinarian right away.
Anthony adds that some pet parents bring their cats because they make an effort to urinate but are actually constipated. Based on your poo inspection, if you suspect constipation but see a few drops of urine, Anthony says this is often a secondary finding for the cat who uses all of the abs to push and the bladder is relatively empty but becomes a veterinarian ensure .
The best way to get a clogged cat poop back out
Take him to your vet. There! Easy! The Cornell Feline Health Center states that a veterinarian will evaluate your cat’s hydration, assess overall health, and eliminate other possible clinical causes.
Another reason a professional exam is the best cure for cat constipation is so that the veterinarian team takes immediate action if the condition is more severe. “Constipated cats may need an enema at the veterinary clinic to evacuate. This is a liquid that softens and lubricates the passageway,” says Anthony. “Some cats can become so constipated that they cannot move their stool. This is called constipation and requires a doctor to have fecal extraction under sedation / anesthesia.”
And no, you shouldn’t have to palpate a cat for constipation relief. Leave the care of the anal glands to the professionals. (Angry!)
There are home remedies for cat constipation you can likely find online, and your veterinarian will likely recommend the safest, most effective options. “Often times adding fiber such as pumpkin or psyllium and / or stool softeners (polyethylene glycol 3350) can help, as can increasing food moisture with canned foods or low-sodium broths,” says Anthony. “However, no changes should be made prior to visiting a veterinarian, as dietary recommendations should be made for the entire cat.”
CONNECTED: 9 human foods that are safe for cats
Long-term constipation can often be avoided with a high-fiber diet. Consult your vet for help in making a more balanced and passable menu.