Identifying and Treating Feline Constipation

Feline constipation occurs most frequently in kittens and elderly cats. You should expect one to two bowel movements a day from your pet; if you notice a difference, something might be wrong.

Appetite Loss

When your cat doesn't feel well, he will lose interest in eating. There will probably be a huge decrease in how much your cat eats.

Straining to Defecate

Your cat will make frequent, ineffectual trips to the litter box when constipated. Though your cat is spending more time in the litter box, there is a decrease in feces, and there may even be slightly bloody diarrhea.

Lethargy from Constipation

Another result of feeling sick is the desire not to move. Your constipated cat will try to find a quiet, lonely place to sleep in.

Types of Constipation

There are three types of constipation that you might see in your cat. The first is simple constipation, where your cat is unable to pass a bowel movement. The second is obstipation, in which the colon is blocked preventing bowel movements. The last is megacolon, which is the most dangerous of the three types. In megacolon, the muscles of the walls of the colon become immobile, and can be a result of constipation or obstipation.

Causes of Feline Constipation

Dehydration can cause constipation, as a lack of water can result in hardening of the stool. On a related note, some cases are also attributed to cat diet. Try to you're your feline protein-rich wet foods, in order to maintain nutrition and hydration. Foreign objects and over grooming can also contribute to bowel blocking. Overweight cats, and cats with diabetes, are prone to constipation.

Your hygienic cat may be making itself sick, as some animals will avoid using a dirty litter box by holding their bowel movement until they find a cleaner spot. This forces the accumulation of stool in the colon, which encourages hardness.

Kittens frequently suffer from constipation if taken from their mothers too early. Mothers stimulate bowel movements by licking the anal region, and human surrogates don't replicate the action. Also, kittens taken too early frequently eat the wrong foods, and their stomachs are not developed enough to handle adult cat food or cow milk.

Treatment of Feline Constipation

Visit your vet before beginning any home treatments in order to learn the severity of the constipation. In most cases, hydration and an enema are required. More serious cases involve manual removal of feces from the colon or surgery.

Keeping your cat hydrated is integral both to preventing and treating constipation, so provide lots of water and consider making a change from dry food to wet food. Additional fiber might make a difference, so ask your vet about forms of bran that can supplement your cat's diet.