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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Constipation - a bit of a strain

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Signs of constipation in the cat are usually easy to spot, and include:
  • straining and difficult passing faeces
  • pain passing faeces
  • production of small, hard pellets of faeces
  • decreased frequency of defecation

Sometimes it's difficult to decide if a cat is straining to urinate or defecate. If you are in any doubt please phone us. Difficulty urinating is life-threatening.

Causes of constipation:

Cats can be reluctant to defecate if the litter tray is dirty or they don’t like the type of litter. If cats have a bad experience using the tray, especially with rival cats, or if the tray is in a noisy or busy place they will hold on and become constipated.

Arthritis that makes getting in and out of the litter tray or adopting a position to defecate painful, may lead to constipation.

Dehydration or inadequate fluid consumption, especially in older cats with kidney disease, causes constipation.

Management of cats with constipation:

  • Maintaining good hydration – a good fluid intake by feeding wet (tins, sachets) rather than dry food may help, and encouraging the cat to drink as much as possible. Many cats like water fountains like the Drinkwell fountain.
  • Litter tray management – remove faeces daily and replace litter at least once weekly. Make sure the tray is in a private place, is at least 1.5 times the length of your cat, and is easy to get in and out of. Trays with a cut down side are easier for arthritic cats. You should have a litter tray for each cat in the household plus one.
  • Dietary management – feed a diet with a high moisture content. Add a pinch of psyllium to the food to aid the regular passage of softer faeces.
  • Enemas – hospitalisation and an enema are necessary in long standing cases
  • Laxative drugs – lactulose keeps many cats who suffer chronic constipation regular

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Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

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