We may joke about constipation, but when we actually go through it, it’s no laughs. The same goes for our feline companions. Experiencing difficulty letting waste out of the body can be painful and inconvenient at best, and lethal at worst.
So how can cat owners help their cats out when they’re having a hard time pooping?
How Does A Constipated Cat Look Like?
Let’s start with basics: You need to recognize how constipation looks like in cats before being able to do something about it. They are pretty good at hiding discomfort, so you’ll need to watch out for subtle changes in their behavior and routine to know when they’re not feeling too good.
The most obvious change is a change in their poop. Any cat owner worth his salt would know how his cat’s stool looks like on a normal basis. So taking out the litter is not only a good way to keep your home clean, but it’s also an easy way to assess your pet’s health! Small, hard, dry poop is the cardinal sign of constipation. It may or may not have streaks of blood on it, but if it does, here’s what you can do about it.
Another telltale sign of constipation is a decrease in productive bathroom time. Cats normally potty 1-3 times a day. If you don’t see anything in their litter box that you need to clean for more than a day, you should start observing your cat closely for any signs of distress.
In this case, it would help to watch your cat in the litter box. Constipated cats exhibit straining or even vocalizing when they are trying to poop. There are times when nothing comes out, so owners may be confused if they’re having difficulty doing number 1 or doing number 2. Regardless, difficulty in doing either is certainly a red flag.
If you see the changes in the manner of pooping and in the poop itself, you may want to feel your cat’s abdomen. A hard and tense belly is a common symptom in cats with constipation. Somewhere in there is a build-up of waste that can’t get out.
This may also manifest as a hunched posture. There is clearly a sign that the pain and discomfort have progressed and require medical attention.
What Causes Feline Constipation?
There are many factors that contribute to constipation in cats. It could be as innocent as an abrupt change in diet, or as worrisome as intestinal tumors. Visiting your vet is your best bet at finding out exactly what it is.
As an owner, your job is to assess whether your cat requires immediate medical attention or not. Generally, if constipation occurs with multiple behavioral changes or if it has been going on for more than two days, go to the vet as soon as you can.
Easing The Pain Of A Blocked Intestinal Tract
If your cat has just started showing signs of constipation and no other behavioral changes, here are some ways you can help her pass that poop out.
Provide Clean Drinking Water
Dehydration is one of the most common reasons for constipation. The issue could be as simple as a lack of access to clean drinking water.
Clean out your cat’s bowl and place it somewhere that she can easily reach for it. You may also place multiple drinking bowls in areas your cat likes to hang out in. Mixing in a little tuna juice or chicken broth in one of the dishes can help encourage them to drink more.
If no improvement happens after one day, it would be best to see a vet. Note that dehydration may also be caused by kidney issues, hormonal imbalances, neurological deficits in intestinal movement, pain when drinking, and other medical conditions that cannot be resolved by providing water alone.
Fix Her Litter Box
Our feline friends can be very particular with the cleanliness of their surroundings. It is possible that her problem pooping is more of an ambiance issue. Make sure her litter box is clean and placed somewhere she can easily get to it. If you recently changed the type of litter, try to revert back to the old one and see if she get back to her normal pooping habits.
Check Her Food
If your cat’s diet consists of dry kibble, mixing in a little warm water to make it mushy can help increase her water intake. You can also try giving her wet canned food temporarily as that has considerably more water content. Just make sure to do this gradually as abrupt changes to diet can do more harm than good.
Read up on your cat’s current food. It may not be supplying the nutrients she needs at this life stage. Talk to your veterinarian to see how it can be improved either by diet change or with dietary supplements. Depending on your cat’s condition, your vet may prescribe fiber or probiotics to help with bowel movement.
Address Causes Of Stress
Cats can easily get stressed when their normal routine is interrupted. Try to identify recent changes in your cat’s environment that might be triggering her anxiety and find ways to reduce it. Do something that your cat enjoys, whether it’s playtime or ear rubs. If she doesn’t respond as she always does, it may be a sign of more serious underlying conditions that require veterinary assistance.