Constipation in Cats

Constipation in Cats

Constipation is a common ailment that affects humans and animals alike. It is basically just infrequent or difficult bowel movements. This is actually one of the most common ailments associated with an animal’s digestive system. Cats typically have at least one bowel movement each day, and if they don’t, then they may be constipated. Constipation in cats is actually very common, and there are a few things that you can do about it. First, you need to make sure that you can actually recognize when your cat is constipated.

How to Tell if Your Cat is Constipated


It is important to recognize the symptoms that come along with constipation in cats. If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms with your cat, then it may be time to call your veterinarian. Sometimes, it may be a sign of an underlying condition so you don’t want to let it go unnoticed and untreated.

Here are signs and symptoms of constipation in cats:

  • straining when trying to pass a bowel movement
  • dry, hard stools in the litter box
  • frequent trips to the litter box without any success
  • lack of appetite
  • weight loss
  • lethargy or lack of energy
  • abdominal pain or discomfort
  • vomiting
  • inadequate grooming

What Causes Constipation in Cats

There are a variety of different causes of constipation in cats, including:

  • lack of fiber in the diet
  • dehydration
  • excessive grooming
  • hairballs
  • bowel obstruction
  • enlarged prostate
  • ingested objects
  • medication side effects
  • obesity
  • neurological disorders

Constipation can also be a sign of a more serious condition, which is why you always want to discuss it with your veterinarian just to be on the safe side.

Treatment of Constipation in Cats

If your cat is constipated, and you have ruled out underlying conditions, there are a few treatment options that you may want to consider. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend the best treatment plan for your cat. Treatment options may include:

  • laxatives
  • stool softeners
  • professionally administered enemas
  • prescription medications
  • manual evacuation by your veterinarian
  • surgery to correct bowel obstruction
  • high fiber diet
  • prescription diets
  • increase in water intake
  • increase in exercise

As you can see, there are a variety of ways to treat constipation and only your veterinarian will know which way is best for your cat’s particular situation.

Risk Factors

Some cats are more prone to constipation than others. Cats that are on up in age are much more likely to suffer from difficult bowel movements. This is because their body may not work as it once did. While older cats are more prone to this condition, constipation can affect cats of any age. If your cat isn’t getting adequate water or exercise, chances are they are at a higher risk.

Underlying Conditions

We already touched on the fact that constipation in cats can be an indicator of an underlying condition. This is why it is so important to not just treat the symptoms without talking to your vet. It can be a symptom of hyperthyroidism, bowel obstruction or diabetes and shouldn’t be taken lightly. These are all serious conditions that can be harmful, or even fatal to your cat.

How to Prevent Constipation in Cats

The good news is that there are things that you can do to help prevent constipation in your cat.

First, you will want to start by feeding your cat a diet that is high in fiber. A healthy, well balanced diet is not only important for their intestinal health, but also growth and maintenance. You also want to make sure that your cat has access to clean water at all times, because dehydration is a leading cause of constipation. Their little bodies need to stay hydrated for their systems to function properly. It is also a good idea for you to encourage adequate amounts of exercise. Finally, make sure that you brush your cat regularly to prevent excessive grooming, which can often times lead to constipation.

What if Constipation is Left Untreated?

If you don’t treat your cat’s constipation, it can lead to a variety of other more serious health conditions, but mostly they will be unable to empty their bowels, which is not only painful, but can also lead to serious illness. It is not something that you want to leave untreated. It can lead to unproductive straining, loss of appetite, malnutrition, vomiting, and lethargy.

As you can see, constipation in cats is not something that you should take lightly. While it may seem like something that will just come and go, it is not always the case. Sometimes it does require a veterinarian care and guidance to overcome. If your cat has shown signs of constipation, call your vet right away. Chances are they will want you to bring the kitty in and have them checked out. This could never hurt, because when it comes to your cat’s health and wellness you can never be too careful.


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Misty Weldon

Misty Weldon

They say some people are ‘dog people’ and others are ‘cat people’. I’m a cat person! I got my first cat when I was in the 2nd grade. I had to beg my mom to let me keep him. He was an orange tabby, and I have been partial to them ever since! We currently have three cats.

Being a cat person, I am always trying to learn more about why cats do the things they do. Cats are such loving animals, but they can be so fickle. I guess I can kind of relate to their behavior, and that is probably what attracts me to them.

Misty Weldon

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