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Why does my cat get constipated?

My cat is constipated and I don’t know what to do!

Your cat can be constipated for a large number of reasons. Constipation is quite common (but not normal) in cats. Older cats become constipated more often than younger cats and kittens.

Constipation, in and of itself, is not a disease. It is, however, a sign that all is not well within the cat’s gastrointestinal tract. And if not attended to promptly, constipation can become a debilitating and serious condition. If you suspect your cat has not had a bowel movement for several days, it’s time to consult your veterinarian.

How often should my cat poo?
Every cat is different, so there really isn’t an answer to this question. However, a healthy cat generally has a bowel movement once or twice each day.

How do I know if my cat is constipated?

Your cat is probably constipated if he is having no bowel movements, or if the bowel movements are infrequent. Your cat may strain while attempting to perform a bowel movement. Also, when a cat is constipated, there is usually a smaller amount of stool.

Generally, it is difficult to recognize when a cat is constipation until the problem becomes more severe, such as distress and frequent trips to the litter box. Sometimes, cats will not use the litter box if they are extremely constipated. Constipation is quite painful for cats, just like it is for humans.

You may notice your cat making loud noises while attempting to use the litter box. He may also lick the anal area if he is in pain. When cat constipation becomes very severe, cats can even lose their appetite and even begin vomiting.

What causes constipation in cats?
Cat constipation can result from a number of issues and illnesses. Cats can become constipated if they do not drink enough water, due to dehydration. Cat constipation can also be caused by stress. If your cat is uncomfortable with the litter box, he may hold off on the bowel movement. Constipation is quite common when owners attempt to toilet train their cats. There are numerous tricks and treatments that can be used to reduce and prevent constipation in cats.

How can I treat my cat’s constipation?
Your veterinarian is the best person to recommend a treatment for your cat’s constipation.  However, there are some treatments that you can try at home.  If the constipation persists, it is a good idea to take kitty to see the doctor.

Constipation is generally caused by dehydration.  If your cat is not drinking enough water, he can become dehydrated.  If your cat is dehydrated, you should encourage your cat to drink more water. Some owners add some flavor to their cat’s water in order to encourage them to drink more.  Cats love to find water.  Therefore, you can encourage your cat to drink more water by placing water dishes around the house.  Your cat will drink the water when he finds the bowl.  This is an effective strategy, and it’s fun too!  Just be careful, some cats drink from the toilet bowl too!

Cat constipation can be reduced or treated by putting your cat on a high fiber diet. Some excellent sources of fiber that have been successful with cats include bran, psyllium, and pumpkin. If your cat is on a high fiber diet, it is very important to ensure that he drinks an adequate amount of water.

Some cat owners have had success relieving constipation by giving their cat malt paste.  Malt paste is often used as a hairball treatment for cats.  It works by lubricating the intestines of your cat, which may help relieve your cat of constipation.  Some experts say that it is not a good idea to use malt paste as a long term treatment.  You should talk to your veterinarian for more information if you plan to use this treatment long term.

If your cat is constipated due to a more serious cause, your cat needs treatment from a veterinarian.

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