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Cat Health Constipation

"Cat health constipation becomes a concern when your cat does not defecate for a longer period of time than is normal for your cat (some cats only go every three days, some everyday). The first step is to increase the amount of water your cat is taking in and fiber intake through the diet."

Constipation in cats is not uncommon. It can be caused by many things, some more serious than others. Some possible causes include the following:

Symptoms

Symptoms of cat health constipation include the following:

Cats that are constipated may not have all of these symptoms, but they usually have several of them. If you notice symptoms of constipation in your cat, there are some home remedies you can try, but a trip to the vet is probably in order. Symptoms of constipation in cats can resemble symptoms of colitis or feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), so you want to be sure that constipation is the issue.

Diagnosis of Cat Health Constipation

Try to obtain both a stool sample and a urine sample when you take your cat to the vet for suspected cat health constipation. Your vet will want to examine the stool for parasites and other problems and will want to examine the urine for signs of a urinary tract infection. Don’t worry if you can’t get samples, though; your vet can get them at the office.

In addition to examining your cat’s urine and stool, the vet will probably order and x-ray to check for intestinal blockage. The intestine can be blocked by hard stool or by objects such as bones that your cat may have ingested. A complete blockage of the intestine can be dangerous, so prompt treatment is required.

Treatment of Feline Constipation

There are many possible treatments for cat health constipation. The best treatment for your cat depends mainly on the severity of the condition.

Sometimes changing your cat’s diet is all that is needed. Cats that eat only dry food are more likely to become constipated than those that eat wet food. The water in the food helps to keep stools soft. A diet high in fiber may also help with constipation. Note that canned food has less fiber so you might want to also use a fiber supplement made for cats such as PetAlive Natural Moves which contains the fiber Psyllium nigrum and Avena sativa (Oats).

Light foods and foods designed for senior cats are higher in fiber than regular cat food. Prescription diets are also available from your veterinarian such as Hill's Prescription Diet w/d. Dietary changes are usually the first thing to try if your cat becomes constipated. You could also try providing your cat with foods that are known to help such as canned pumpkin (1 teaspoon, 2x per day mixed with current food) and even milk (1/2 cup and then wean off after constipation is cured.

There are medications your vet might prescribe to treat cat health constipation, such as Enulose (lactulose solutions USP) 10 g/15ml, which is a synthetic sugar that softens the stool. Other medications include motility modifiers, such as propulsid. Your vet may also prescribe suppositories or enemas for your cat. Your vet can show you how to administer these at home.

References:

Jean Hofve, DVM
Constipation in Cats

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