If you’re searching for a home remedy for cat constipation, we get how concerned about your kitty you must be.
Toilet troubles are never fun, and the same applies to cats. Cat constipation can range from mild to severe, and so it is vital as a pet parent to keep an eye on your cat’s toilet habits and know how to recognize when they are in distress.
Constipation is when your cat may find it difficult to pass stool. Or when their stool has become more infrequent; they are not going as often as they should, and when they do, they may only be able to pass a small amount and the stool may be hard and dark in color.
In most cases, constipation is a normal symptom that both cats and humans alike experience throughout their lifetime.
However, being constipated can also be an indication that there is something more going on inside. And so you should consult your vet when you notice constipation symptoms in your cat. This helps to rule out any insidious reasons behind your kitty’s tricky toilet times.
In this article, we take you through some of the causes of constipation in cats, the signs and symptoms, and a few home remedies to help relieve your cat, making them more comfortable and getting the digestive cogs turning again.
Key Takeaways — Home Remedy for Cat Constipation
- Constipation presents as a difficulty or inability to pass stool, passing stool less frequently, or only being able to pass a little bit which are hard and dark in color
- Your cat can become constipated as a result of: dehydration, stress or anxiety, food allergies or intolerances
- Constipation can also be a symptom of a more serious health condition, such as: inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diabetes, kidney disease, or cancer
- Symptoms of constipation in cats include: hard, dry or dark stools, stools both inside and outside of the litter box, infrequent/no defecation, crying whilst using the toilet, straining, or total avoidance of using the toilet
- Additional symptoms also include: change in drinking habits (consuming more or less), more frequent urination, loss or reduction of appetite, nausea or vomiting, weight or muscle loss, hiding, stiff walking and difficulty in jumping
- Home remedies for cat constipation include: reducing their anxiety and stress, ensuring that they get enough water, changing their diet, using fibers or probiotics, and placing several litter boxes around the house
Right…on with the show!
Guide to Home Remedies for Cat Constipation
Just like us humans, cats can experience constipation issues when going to the toilet.
As we’ve mentioned, constipation involves:
- the difficulty or inability to pass stool
- less frequent stool
- being able to pass only a small amount of stool
- the stool passed is dark and hard in texture
This can cause stool to build up and cause considerable discomfort, and if left untreated can cause serious further health issues.
If you are at all concerned about your cat’s toilet habits, particularly if they have been unable to pass stool in 48-72 hours, you must consult your vet immediately. This is to rule out underlying health issues and to help your cat find relief.
What Are the Causes of Cat Constipation?
Constipation can be a result of many things, including:
- Dehydration — One of the leading causes of constipation in both animals and humans. Not getting enough fluids means that the intestines absorb whatever water they can find, even if this is in the stool that passes through them, and therefore the stool becomes harder and more difficult to pass.
- An adverse reaction to food or medicine — Food allergies or reactions to certain medicines can cause intestinal inflammation and result in a constipated kitty. Constipation can be a side effect of particular pet medicines, so consult your vet if your cat is particularly prone to symptoms from medicines.
Also cats that only eat dry food can be more prone to constipation than those who also have wet food in their diet.
- Allergies — Constipation can be a symptom of allergies. Whether to food, outside stimuli or something around the home. Keep an eye out for anything your cat has an adverse reaction to and remove it from the house, to help avoid further flare ups.
- Ingesting materials that cannot easily be digested — Some pet parents find that their cat gets constipation due to a build up of fur as a result of grooming. Or, equally, their cat has ingested a foreign object or material that is causing a blockage.
- Stress and anxiety — Stress often goes to the stomach. And so if a cat is experiencing stress or anxiety, their digestive system can start to play up and they can find it difficult to pass stool, or even urine.
In this scenario, identify what is causing your cat distress and create a calmer environment for them. Look into calming treats or pheromone plug-ins. And if all else fails, show them lots of love and reassurance.
More serious causes of constipation in cats
- Inflammatory bowel disease — Diarrhea is usually the main culprit when it comes to IBD. However, constipation is also a known symptom. The condition affects the gastrointestinal tract’s ability to absorb and digest food properly, and causes considerable inflammation and discomfort.
- Discomfort caused by other issues — If your cat experiences pain or discomfort from a separate health issue, they may avoid or delay passing stool so as not to cause themselves further pain. Some of these issues can include: anal gland problems, nerve issues, impacted or ruptured anal sacs, and arthritis.
- Diabetes — The vagus nerve aids the digestive tract in helping to move food through the system. Diabetes can affect this nerve, resulting in constipation symptoms.
- Kidney disease — One of the most common symptoms of kidney disease is increased thirst and urination. This can lead to dehydration and constipation.
- Blockages and tumors — Whether tumors are benign or malignant, or the blockages are from day-to-day ingestions such as fur whilst grooming or are from something more serious, a blockage in the intestines can lead to serious health risks. In addition to constipation.
- Cancer — Both spinal and intestinal cancers can have a detrimental effect on the colon nerves. They can stop them from working properly and therefore cause constipation for your cat.
Signs and symptoms of cat constipation
We’ve put together a little list of some of the most common signs of constipation to watch out for:
- Stools that are hard and dry, as well as possibly being smaller than usual
- Finding these stools both in the litter tray and outside of it (an indication that your cat may have thought they had finished, when they hadn’t)
- Infrequent or no defecation
- Crying whilst using the toilet, straining, or total avoidance of using the toilet
- A change in drinking habits — consuming more or less
- More frequent urination
- Loss or reduction of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Weight or muscle loss
- Stiff walking and difficulty in jumping
It’s important to note that litter box discomfort can also be a sign or a urinary tract infection, not just constipation.
Which is why getting professional medical advice, particularly if you notice these behaviors, is highly recommended.
Home Remedies for Cat Constipation
If you’re at all concerned about your cat’s health and behavior, always check in with your vet.
It’s important to get your cat checked over to confirm whether there’s any underlying conditions that may be causing the constipation symptoms. Also, make sure you ask them before going ahead with any at-home treatments.
So without further ado, here’s a few at-home remedies and tips for cat constipation:
- Reduce anxiety and stress — Cats are very sensitive and can struggle with even the slightest changes in environment or stimuli.
If you notice your cat is particularly anxious or stressed, try creating a little space of their own in the house, with comforting toys and blankets. As we suggested above, try treats and pheromone plug-ins to keep your kitty blissed out and free from unpleasant symptoms.
- Make sure they’re getting enough, or more, water — Dehydration is usually the leading cause of constipation. So make sure your cat is taking in enough water, as it’s vital to maintaining healthy bowel movements.
(And check out our article on How to Check If Your Cat Is Dehydrated here.)
If your cat is struggling to drink, try putting different water sources around the house. Give them new ways of accessing water, such as a water fountain, or try adding some water to their dry food for extra hydration.
- Try a change in diet — Food plays a huge part in the state of our bowel movements. If your cat’s toilet habits have been interrupted, it may be down to their diet. Ask your vet about certain hypoallergenic, non-irritant or more hydrating foods to help your cat with their constipation.
(And also take a look at our article on the Ultimate Guide to Cat Nutrition.)
- Fibers or probiotics — A healthy gut often means healthier bowel movements. Using soluble fibers (which can aid stool consistency and ease of passing) or probiotics (which help to maintain healthy gut bacteria) can keep your cat’s digestive system ticking along nicely.
- Increase the number of litter boxes available to your cat — Cats are known for being a bit fussy, and they’re no different when it comes to litter boxes.
A change in smell or location can set their whiskers on end and make them feel uncomfortable to use the box. Put a few litter boxes around the house in different places, so your cat can choose where they feel comfortable to relieve themselves.
Phew…we’re pooped! And we hope that with this handy little guide, your kitty will soon be too!
It’s always distressing to see your fur baby in any kind of discomfort. But the sooner you intervene, the sooner they’ll be feeling better and back to their old tricks.
It can be hard for our kitties to tell us when they are hurting. And so it is up to us to notice when their behavior changes and make sure they are alright.
We would love to hear if you have any home remedies for cat constipation. Especially if you have found them to be safe and effective in relieving your pet’s discomfort. And also your experiences with unwell cats or cats with long-term conditions.
So get in touch! And together, we can give our fluffy friends the best care possible.