How to Manage Cat Constipation

cat is constipated

Cat constipation can be a common problem for your feline friend. Fortunately, most of the time it can be easily remedied at home. However, there are times you’ll need the assistance of a veterinarian.

The Symptoms

Cats usually have bowel movements once or twice a day. If you only have one cat, this can be easily monitored by checking the litter box regularly. But if you have multiple cats or outdoor cats this can be harder to detect.

Hard Stool: While missing a bowel movement once in a while is normal, some cats regularly pass stools only every two or three days. In the case of cats, this means they’re constipated. You may also notice that when your cat does have a bowel movement, the stool is hard and dry.

Straining and in Pain: Another common sign of constipation is that your cat seems to strain when having a bowel movement. He may even cry and seem to be in pain.

Brown Liquid with Blood: You may also notice that your cat isn’t having solid bowel movements, but passing a brown liquid that also has blood in it. This is liquid that’s moving around a large mass of stool. This is another sign of severe constipation and should be treated by a professional.

The Causes

There are several reasons why a cat may suffer from this uncomfortable condition.

Dehydration: First, your cat may be dehydrated. This happens if cats don’t drink enough water. One thing that has happened as cats have evolved is that they’ve been able to drink less than other animals. But this can be a disadvantage, especially if your cat suffers from kidney disease.

Hairball: Another reason that your cat is constipated can be because of hairballs. Cats naturally groom themselves and end up eating quite a bit of their own fur as they shed. If they have too much that won’t pass, they vomit hair – also known as a hairball.

But hairballs can also be found in stool. If you see a lot of hair in your cat’s stool, this could be the cause of the constipation.

Holding it up: Cats can also be very picky when it comes to cleanliness. They may flat out refuse to go to the bathroom in a dirty litter box and voluntarily hold their waste in. When this happens, the waste has more and more water removed and they can end up constipated.

Aging: As cats age, their muscles simply become weaker and going to the bathroom can become more difficult for them. Occasionally cats constipation is a sign of something seriously wrong such as a bowel obstruction or disease.

The Remedies

There are a few things you can do at home to help your cat have a better experience with bowel movements.

Cleaned litter box: Making sure the litter box gets cleaned daily can prevent constipation in cats.

Better food: You may also want to change your cat’s food to one that helps to control hairballs. Adding some canned food to your cat’s diet can also help to prevent hairballs in addition to the dry food you normally feed him. You can also give your cat canned pumpkin or Metamucil to help the bowels move normally.

Laxtone: Cats sometimes also benefit from a gel called Laxatone that helps to lubricate their digestive systems. This can be administered daily to help fight constipation that comes from hairballs.

Look for a vet: If your cat is vomiting when it’s constipated, it’s a good idea to get a veterinary exam. This could be a sign of severe constipation that needs to be medically treated or a bowel obstruction. In either case, prescription medications, enemas, or even surgery may be required.

Your vet may also treat your cat by adding fluid to fight severe dehydration and help the bowels to get moving again. When it comes to cats these treatments can be difficult to administer and it’s best to let a professional handle the job.


Constipation can be very uncomfortable for your furry friend. It can cause pain and discomfort and with cats you often can’t tell anything is wrong until it’s reached a severe level. Cats are very good at masking symptoms and signs.

But by paying attention to your cats litter box habits you can get a good idea of what’s going on. The best thing you can do when it comes to constipation is work to prevent it.

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