Constipation in cats: causes, symptoms and treatment

Constipation in cats: causes, symptoms and treatment

Constipation in cats

Constipation in cats is never a normal occurrence and it should not be treated as such.  This is one of the most common health problem associated with a cat’s digestive system.  Constipation refers to difficult or infrequent bowel movements.

Usually, cats have a normal bowel movement every day. But if your cat is straining while trying to defecate or is having unsuccessful litter box trips, then it is time to call your veterinarian.

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Causes of constipation in cats

As you can fathom, constipation in cats is not a pleasant experience for your feline. Besides this, frequent episodes of constipation can cause enlargement of the colon, which is irreversible. When constipation has been for a while, an enema will be necessary. It might cause such enlargement to the colon that the only way to correct is through surgery.

Some major causes of constipation in cats include:

  • Hairballs or excessive grooming
  • Enlarged prostate gland
  • Dehydration
  • Low-fiber diet
  • Ingestion of foreign objects
  • Tumor
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Obesity
  • Neurologic disorder
  • Abnormal colon shape
  • Hair trapped on the buttocks
  • Block or abscessed anal sacs
  • Side effect of medications

Symptoms of constipation in cats

If you see any of these symptoms in your cat, you should contact your veterinarian.  He will help determine what is causing the issue and prepare the best course of action.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Straining or crying out during defecation
  • Frequent unproductive trips to the litter
  • Small, dry, and hard stools, usually covered in mucus or blood
  • Lack of grooming
  • Abdominal discomfort


Once your veterinarian has determined the cause of your cat’s constipation, he will prescribe a treatment. This could be one or several of the following:

  • Laxative
  • Stool softener
  • Manual evacuation of the bowels
  • Enema
  • Surgery to remove obstructions from the intestines
  • High-fiber diet (as prescribed by the veterinarian)
  • Increase in water intake
  • Exercising

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