Symptoms, Causes and Treatments for Cat Constipation

cartoon cat in litter boxHealthy cats will typically have one bowel movement every day. If you start to notice that your cat’s stool is dry and hard or that your cat is not having daily bowel movements, your little pumpkin might be constipated.

Caution: Constipation can indicate a serious health issue. Always see your vet if your cat shows these symptoms.

Symptoms of Cat Constipation

  • Straining or crying out while in the litter box
  • Dry, hard stool possibly covered in mucous or blood
  • Frequent, unproductive trips to the litter box
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Displays of abdominal discomfort
  • Lack of grooming

Causes of Cat Constipation

  • Not enough fiber in the diet
  • Dehydration
  • Hairballs/excessive grooming
  • Blocked or abscessed anal sacs
  • Enlarged prostate gland
  • Tangled hair on the buttocks
  • Ingestion of foreign objects (string, elastic, bones…etc…)
  • Side effect of medication
  • Tumor or intestinal obstruction
  • Neurologic disorder
  • Obesity
  • Abnormal colon shape

Treating Cat Constipation

sad cat clip artYour veterinarian will advise you on the best approach to treating your cats constipation. Never give your cat over the counter medication without consulting your veterinarian first. Not all treatments can be done at home, some must be done by your veterinarian to ensure your cat’s safety. Some common treatments are

  • Stool softener
  • Laxative
  • Enema
  • Medication
  • Manual bowel evacuation
  • Surgery
  • High Fiber Diet (veterinarian prescribed)
  • Adding fiber to your cats diet with canned pumpkin, bran cereal, or Metamucil
  • Increase water consumption
  • Increase Exercise

Other Possible Reasons for Cat Constipation

Constipation can be a symptom of diabetes, an obstruction of the rectum or a hernia. This is why it’s important to contact your veterinarian.

How to Minimize the Risk of Cat Constipation

check mark clip artAssuming there is no underlying medical reason for your cat’s constipation, there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk.

  • Feed your cat a high quality diet with minimal “treats”
  • Provide ample clean, fresh water
  • Play with your cat so he/she gets exercise
  • Groom regularly to reduce hairballs
If your cat is constipated it is very important to get him treated to ensure there are no long-term ramifications.

The information presented in this article is referenced from


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