Hairball Treatment for Feline Constipation

Many cases of feline constipation are caused by hairball blockages in the colon. Because cats spend hours grooming themselves, they wind up ingesting some of their hair. Hair does not digest and instead leaves the body with other fecal matter. Long-haired cats have a much higher incidence of constipation caused by hairballs than short-haired breeds.

Signs that Your Cat Is Constipated

If your cat is constipated, one of the key signs is that he strains when he's trying to defecate in his litter box. You might notice him using the litter box frequently. Some cats yowl in pain as they try to pass the bowel movement.

The bowel collects a lot of water. When your cat strains from feline constipation there is a chance that the liquid fecal matter behind the hardened stool will slip by making it look like your cat has diarrhea. Make sure you clean the litter box frequently and look at any stool that has passed. Small hard, dry pieces are a key sign that your cat is constipated.

Because the signs of a urinary tract infection also include straining and excess trips to the litter box, it's important to seek a veterinarian's advice.

Helping Your Cat through Hairball Induced Feline Constipation

If you own a long-haired cat, make sure you brush him daily to keep the amount of shed fur to a minimum. This helps prevent hairballs from building up in the fecal matter and blocking the colon.

Give your cat a portion of canned cat food mixed with a teaspoon of fish oil once a week to help keep the colon well lubricated allowing hairballs to pass more easily. You can also mix in a spoon of canned pumpkin to add fiber to your cat's diet.

If you catch a case of feline constipation early, you gently insert lubricants into the cat's anus to help the fecal matter slide out. Stool softeners are also successful in treating mild cases of constipation.

When the constipation is caught early, some veterinarians will suggest an enema to help loosen the stool so that it passes. Always ask your vet first because over the counter enemas are not always safe for cats. Your veterinarian will help you find a safe, effective brand.

Make sure your cat has access to plenty of fresh water, filtered is best. It's important to keep your cat well hydrated to prevent additional problems.

What to Do with Severe Feline Constipation

If your cat becomes lethargic or hasn't passed a bowel movement in a few days, you need to take him to your veterinarian. If the cat's constipation goes unchecked, serious health problems can occur.

As more time passes without a bowel movement, the colon starts to grow in size due to the size of the blockage. Over time, the compacted feces stretches out the colon, causing the muscle to weaken. This causes a condition known as Megacolon.

Severe cases of Megacolon may require surgical treatment. The surgery should be used as a last resort because it involves the removal of a section of colon. Cats require time to heal from this invasive surgery.