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Natural & Effective Remedies: How to Treat a Constipated Cat?

Certified Veterinary Dr. Veronica Heller

Is your kitty constipated? 

Constipation is a fairly regular affair in cats that can be managed easily. It’s very normal for cats to get constipated from time to time–that’s how it is. 

However, if left untreated for long, it can indicate some serious underlying health issues, and surgical intervention might be required!  

So, what should you do? 

In this blog post, we will teach you how to treat a constipated cat. We’ll also discuss the symptoms, home remedies, and when it is time to go to a vet to seek medical intervention. 

Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Cat Digestion 101: How to Treat a Constipated Cat

Before jumping headlong into it, let’s first understand how digestion works. 

As your kitty eats her food, it gets assimilated into her tummy, where the stomach acids break it down. It is digested in the small intestine, and all the nutrients are absorbed. 

Then, the rest of the food is passed along into the large intestine. 

Some more micronutrients and water are absorbed in the large intestine, and the rest is eliminated and finds its way into your cat’s litter box. 

When the undigested food remains in the long intestine for way too long, it becomes hard and troublesome to be passed.

How to Tell if Cat is Constipated?

how to cure constipation in cats

Before we teach you how to tell if a cat is constipated, we’ll like to share what constipation actually is. 

So, here’s the deal. 

Constipation is described as the absence, infrequent, and difficulty in the passing of feces. 

When the poop remains in the colon longer than that it is supposed to, it dries out as the intestines absorb water. This makes it become harder to pass and can become worse with time. 

This should not be confused with Cystitis, a urinary tract infection in cats wherein the cat makes frequent trips to the litter tray to pass few or no drops of urine at all.

How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Constipated?

A cat generally evacuates all the undigested food in the colon every 24-36 hours. 

But, if your cat doesn’t empty her bowels, it can be pretty uncomfortable. 

While you can check your cat’s litter box daily and keep tabs on its digestion, some feline pets like to take a dump outside, and one might not be so well updated. But one can watch out for some of the following symptoms:

  • Tension in the abdomen
  • Hard, dry, and small stools
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Flatulence
  • Depression 
  • Lethargy
  • May lick around their bottom more than usual
  • Straining which can be mistaken by owners as difficulty urinating sometimes
  • Hunched posture, extreme pressure on abdominal muscles to pass stool

Now that we’ve got this out of the way let’s help you figure out how to fix constipation in cats.

How to Fix Cat Constipation: Let’s Take a Look at a Few Causes First!

Most commonly, constipation is caused by a lack of dehydration.

A cat’s body comprises 65% to 75% water depending upon the cat’s age and body fat percentage. The body is consistently trying to achieve homeostasis, in which it strives to maintain a balance between the cellular and extracellular environment. 

When your cat hydrates less, her cells dehydrate, and the body tries to correct the deficit and absorb more water than usual, leading to the hardening of the undigested food present in the gut. 

It is not only hydration, which can result in constipation; several other factors can result in the clogging up of your cat’s gut. 

Let’s take a look at a few other reasons why your cat may be constipated.

Low Fiber in Diet

A fiber deficient diet and inadequate water will lead to bad gut mobility. The poor pet’s gut would be clogged up. You can change up your kitty’s food and give her some safe fruits and vegetables. 

Renal Issues

Some renal issues like a bad kidney, diabetes mellitus, or hyperthyroidism can result in increased water loss that can bung a spanner into your cat’s normal bowel functioning.

Injuries

There can be painful evacuation because of damaged anal glands, rectum or prostrate, tumor, or fracture near the pelvic region. Therefore, one should always tell the pet’s full history to the vet if it was involved in an accident at all.

Shyness and Anxiety

Your cat can be socially very shy to defecate in public. There can be a behavioral reluctance to evacuate bowels because they do not find the litter box clean enough or not have enough privacy.

Bowel Obstruction

Some functional obstruction due to inflammation or something is stuck in the gut that is impeding the mobility. 

Either this or some metabolic disease like obesity or hypothyroidism, too, can cause constipation. 

There can be a foreign body, or maybe a hairball stuck in the colon, for which few drops of cod liver oil or olive oil are mixed into your pet’s diet to lubricate the insides well to keep things moving smoothly.

Side Effect of Medicine

Medication that your pet is already on might induce constipation. All these factors are required to be studied and stepwise eliminated before delving into any remediation procedures.

How to Cure Constipation in Cats: Some Effective Remedies

Isn’t this what you were here for in the first place? 

In this section of the blog post, we’ll share how to relieve constipation in cats using safe and effective techniques. 

Take a look. 

High-Fiber Diet ​

A healthy diet rich in fiber (such as cereal and oatmeal) and lots of water will ensure that things move well along the colon, and your cat is light and nimble again to play around. 

Add pumpkin seeds and keep water bowls within reach to up your cat’s hydration.

Exercise helps, too!

A healthy amount of exercise will also help to alleviate the cat’s constipation. Engaging in some fun games will not only keep the flab off your cat but multiple diseases, too, in the long run.

Keep a Close Eye on the Litter Box

A healthy tab on your cat’s litter box.

Early detection of anomaly would not only be proactive; it would help us to save money since we all know vets are not inexpensive anywhere.

One Litter Tray Pet Cat

Keeping the litter tray clean and respecting your pet’s need for privacy is of a shy kind.

Abdominal Massage

Well, for defecation, the colon does Peristalsis or pulsation of the gut. 

In constipation, this movement is hindered. 

We can use a baby wipe to massage the abdomen to stimulate the stomach as well as the area near the cat’s rectum to induce peristalsis and aid in its easy passage of feces.

Hairball Reduction

Regularly brush your cat and wipe away stray loose hair to reduce the possibility of hairballs that can hamper evacuation of the bowels. 

Since these furballs can clog up your pet’s gut and make the poor animal retch and strain its esophageal muscles to oust that lump of hair.

You can try some of the best cat foods for hairballs.

Home Remedy: Try Ginger

A natural home remedy would be adding a 1/4th teaspoon of ginger to your pet’s diet. 

Ginger is known to induce peristalsis, but too much of it and your feline beauty would get diarrhea, so be a miser when introducing this herb in your beloved’s food.

Licorice and It’s Magical Effects

Another home remedy would be licorice

This aromatic root has similar properties to ginger. It’s a natural laxative that should not be used more than 2 ml.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera, too, can help you uncomplicate things. Add no more than half a tablespoon as this herb, also, can induce diarrhea. 

Speak to your vet before trying these herbs.

Wet Cat Food

Try switching to cat canned food with 80% water rather than the food pellets that would further complicate the problem.

All in All: How to Treat a Constipated Cat

how to tell if cat is constipated

Did we go through everything you needed to know about constipation in cats? 

Constipation is the difficulty in passing stools. Obstipation is severe constipation making the passing of feces extremely difficult or nearly impossible. Now, obstipation is when the real need arises where the hardened stools might be required to be manually removed.

Pelvic fractures are fairly common in cats, many of which heal on their own with time, but they lead to severe narrowing of the colon, leading to constipation. 

Here, a rectal examination by a practitioner will be required.

Call your vet and set an appointment in case your cat hasn’t been eliminated in 24-48 hours.

Certified Veterinary Dr. Veronica Heller

Dr. Veronica Heller

Born and brought up in Grand Marais, Minnesota, ever since she was a little girl, Dr. Veronica Heller dreamed of becoming a vet thanks to
Sruffy, her family pet. She graduated from College of Veterinary Medicine, Minnesota and began her veterinary career in Larpenteur Animal Hospital in St. Paul as an emergency Veterinarian. Since then, she has worked with Minnesota Veterinary Hospital, Small Animal Hospital, and Blue Pearl Pet Hospital. Her interests in the field include preventive medicine, internal medicine, nutrition, and surgery. She’s also a loving pet mother to two cats and a Golden Retriever.