Healthy cats should defecate at least once a day, and the stool should be deep brown in color and well-formed.
Signs of constipation in your cat may withinclude a reduction in the number of and frequency of stools or hard, small stools inside or outside of the litter box. You may also notice that your cat is straining to defecate, possibly crying in pain, and has a decreased appetite.
Call your veterinarian if you suspect that your cat is constipated. This condition can be caused by an underlying illness.
Constipation in cats can also lead to feces building up in the colon and becoming impacted, a situation that requires veterinary involvement.
Why Do Cats Get Constipated?
If you know your cat’s habits, it’s easy to see the changes in his bathroom routine by inspecting the spot where he relieves himself. If you observe fewer stools than normal or hard, dry stools in the kitty litter box, something may not be right with your cat’s digestion.
What causes feline constipation?
A cat may be unable to or reluctant to defecate due to illness, injury, a change in food, stress and even age.
“Constipation is typically associated with, but is not limited to, cats who are geriatric; ill from underlying diseases such as kidney disease, liver disease, or cancer; Circulating water fountains are a good way to get a reluctant cat to drink more water, and wet food can add more moisture to the bowels. Patrick Mahaney, a Los Angeles-based veterinarian with California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, Inc.
Mahaney also cites other causes of cat constipation, including:
- Inadequate fluid intake (dehydration can slow down blood flow, reducing intestinal peristalsis - contraction - causing the colon to be unable to move feces from the body properly)
- A low-fiber diet
- Electrolyte imbalance (often associated with dehydration)
- Nervous-system abnormalities
- Anal sac inflammation (which can lead to discomfort when feces moves through the rectum)
- Arthritic pain in the lower back, pelvis or knees (which can cause discomfort while a cat is defecating and reduce her desire to pass stool)
- Intestinal obstruction
- Hairballs or foreign objects that have been ingested
- Muscle weakness
Preventing Cat Constipation
Keeping your cat well-hydrated goes a long way toward preventing constipation. obese or those who have incurred trauma, making feces challenging to pass,” says Dr.
Regular veterinary exams - at least every six months for an elderly cat - can catch health problems before they become severe. Cats should receive a rectal and anal sac inspection at each physical exam.