Dietary Causes of Feline Constipation

Feline constipation is relatively common and can be caused by insufficient diet. Your cat should have two bowel movements a day. If he is having less, this may be a sign of constipation.

Signs of Constipation

Constipation may be difficult to notice since you don't follow your cat to his litterbox every time. Cats are usually private about their bathroom habits, which could hide constipation for a few days. However, there are a few signs.

A constipated cat will probably be less interested in food, so you may notice that your cat has decreased appetite. He also make more trips to the litterbox than normal because he feels like he needs to go. If you notice your cat has been going to the litterbox more often, yet nothing is in there, your cat may be constipated. He also may be less active and seek places where he can be alone to rest since he isn't feeling well.

Treatment of Constipation

Constipation can be caused by illness, blockage or dirty litterbox, but it is usually caused by dehydration or diet. Cats don't drink often, so your cat may be dehydrated. You may be feeding your cat with ingredients he can't tolerate, or he may have eaten something that didn't agree with him, like bone, hair or an unhealthy prey animal.

To reduce constipation, try rehydrating your cat. If you feed mostly dry food, switch to wet food for a few days, which contains a lot more water. Try adding tuna juice or salt-free chicken broth to your cat's water to entice drinking. Make sure all water bowls are frequently cleaned and filled with fresh water. Maybe your cat is just picky.

The most common cause of feline constipation is consumption of too much hair, which a diet change won't exactly remedy. Instead, more frequent grooming may improve your cat's condition. Brush him daily to remove dead hair that he would otherwise be ingesting.

Increasing the fiber in your cat's diet can reduce constipation. There are some commercial cat foods that are higher in fiber than others, and you can also supplement with oat bran or a spoonful of pumpkin. However, not all cats do well on diets with increased fiber since they are carnivores by natural and don't ingest many grains.

Cats have short digestive tracts, as most carnivores do, so a high protein diet that doesn't require much digestion can reduce constipation symptoms. Many commercial foods contain excess grains and vegetables that are difficult for cats to digest. Thus, a raw meat or homemade diet that is 60 percent protein can help your cat digest food more efficiently. There are many premade raw diets available, and many veterinarians have healthy do-it-yourself recipes if you are interested in pursuing this route.

If a recent diet change has caused the constipation, switch to a different food. Some cats simply can't tolerate certain ingredients, especially as they get older. Search for foods with high quality ingredients and high levels of protein. Not all diets will work for all cats, so look for one on which your individual cat can thrive.