5 Sources of Cat Constipation

If your pet suffers from an occasional bout of cat constipation, it is usually not serious. Minor dietary changes may be all that is needed to improve cat digestion and prevent a more serious condition.

Constipation is usually spotted during regular litter box cleaning: if you notice a change in the amount of cat poop you're scooping, your cat may be constipated.

Signs of Cat Constipation

  • Straining when defecating
  • Passing small amounts of feces
  • Passing hard or dry feces

1. Obstructions

Obstructions are a common cause of constipation in cats. Indigestible matter such as hair or bone can mix with feces and cause a blockage. To reduce the incidents of obstructions, groom your cat regularly to reduce swallowed hair.

If your cat regularly kills and consumes birds and rodents, fit her with a breakaway bell collar. According to the ASPCA, a warning bell can reduce bird and rodent kills by 50 percent.

2. Litter Box Problems

Cats may not want to use a dirty or shared litter box. If your cat "holds it," it can cause or increase constipation symptoms. Lack of Fiber: Many cats do not get enough fiber in their diet. Remedy this situation by adding ½ teaspoon of Metamucil® to her daily rations. There are high fiber commercial foods available as well; if your cat likes the taste of these foods, they are suitable for full time use.

Unsweetened, canned pumpkin adds water, fiber and vitamins to your cat's diet. Add 2 teaspoons per day to her food. Leftover pumpkin can be frozen in ice cube trays for convenient storage and use.

3. Dehydration

Increase the amount of fluids your cat consumes by adding water to her daily kibble. Adding canned food increases her water intake, too.

Experiment with different water bowls. Cats can be notoriously fussy about presentation: try a wide saucer, a ceramic bowl or a coffee cup. Some cats like cold water, some prefer warm. Once you've discovered her favorite, empty it every day and refill it with the same amount of water each time. This will help you gauge your cat's water intake, an important indicator of feline health. Note any sudden increases or decreases in consumption.

4. Lack of Exercise

Sedentary cats are more prone to constipation and other health problems. Engage with your cat daily and provide exercise and stimulation to prevent boredom and behavior problems.

5. Dietary Insufficiency

Poor quality commercial cat foods contain fillers and empty calories that do not support a healthy cat digestive system. Provide a high quality cat food that contains limited amounts of soy, corn and wheat. Look for a named meat as the primary ingredient.

Warning: Do not give human laxatives to your cat. Doing so can be very dangerous. Speak to your veterinarian about a cat-specific laxative if you feel your cat requires it.

Keep your cat's elimination schedule regular to promote overall health and prevents fecal buildup, a condition that can lead to more serious illness.