Dear VetBabble: My Cat is Constipated, How Can I Help?
As a loving pet owner, it’s natural to be concerned when our fur babies face challenges like constipation. When experiencing constipation, a gentle approach is necessary to help your cat feel comfortable and to overcome this issue. In this article, we will walk you through the steps to help your cat, when to seek professional help, and how to prevent constipation in the future.
At-Home Remedies for Constipation Relief
Mild constipation in cats that lasts no more than two days can usually be resolved at home. Increased fiber and hydration are essential for helping your cat pass stool comfortably.
One effective way to increase fiber intake is by giving your cat canned pumpkin (not pie filling). When introducing a new food, start with a small amount to gauge your cat’s acceptance and monitor for any adverse reactions.
Cat owners can also try offering their constipated cat some liquid paraffin. This lubricates the intestines making it easier for the cat to pass stool. These options should show positive results within the following 8 hours after administration.
Important: Do not attempt to give your cat an enema at home! Enemas can be dangerous for cats, potentially resulting in electrolyte imbalances and colon perforation.
When to Seek Professional Help
If your cat’s constipation does not improve within 24 hours after administering home remedies, or if they remain constipated for 48 hours in general, it’s time to consult your veterinarian. Prolonged constipation can be a sign of an underlying health problem that requires immediate attention. Your vet will perform a thorough examination to determine the cause of constipation and suggest appropriate treatments.
For helpful information on emergency situations, check out our First Aid Guide for Cats.
Preventing Constipation in Cats
There are several helpful strategies to prevent constipation and ensure your cat remains healthy and comfortable. Here are some tips:
- Keep your cat hydrated by providing fresh water daily. Investing in a water fountain may encourage your cat to drink more.
- Ensure your cat eats a balanced diet with adequate fiber. High-quality commercial cat foods are designed with cats’ digestive systems in mind.
- Encourage your cat to exercise regularly through play sessions and exploration.
- Maintain clean litter boxes, as avoiding dirty litter boxes can lead to holding in stool for prolonged periods.
Maintaining your cats’ long-term health can also be affected by their eating habits. If your cat isn’t eating well, check out our article My Cat Won’t Eat! What Should I Do? to learn more about how to encourage adequate food intake.
Lastly, proper litter box training is key in managing cats’ elimination habits. Our article How to Train Your Cat to Use the Toilet can help you ensure that your cat knows where to go when nature calls.
Remember, our pets rely on us to provide the care and comfort they deserve. Ensuring your cat’s health and happiness is essential to preventing problems like constipation. If you have further concerns, never hesitate to consult with your trusted veterinarian. We are here to help!