Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm

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

Search Blog

Recent Posts


tick furballs panadeine high blood pressure lilly cta fight euthanasia slow training flu foreign body groom behaviour change blood rigid head dilated pupils blockage mental health of cats permethrin senior scratching tradesmen sore check-up dymadon weight control desexing sense of smell renal disease grooming mycoplasma aggression gifts noisy breathing cancer blood pressure restless spray bad breath cat vet spraying snuffle arthritis kitten deaths hairball panleukopenia strange behaviour train depomedrol vomit mouth breathing yowling home visit sensitive stomach straining xylitol crytococcosus client night AIDS kitten play opening hours examination scratching post feline enteritis massage wet litter breeder poisonous best veterinarian breathing difficult diarrhoea new year cough flea treatment ACT appointment heavy breathing hole information night Canberra Cat Vet hyperthyroidism castration hypertrophic cardiomyopathy corneal ulcer eye mass allergy home hunters lick vaccine blood test changed revolution bump pica indoor cats off food paralysis tick unsociable cat fight meows a lot decision to euthanase activity toxic paracetamol ulcerated nose aspirin kitten scale polish feline herpesvirus abscess adipokines enclosure heart disease drinking a lot feline AIDS visit rough play introductions teeth thirsty holes return home fight cat flu joints in season stare into space fleas cat behaviour blood in urine pancreatitis pet insurance pet touch panadol eyes antibiotics best cat clinic tablet kidneys dental sudden blindness furball echocardiography stiff nails poison cat enclosure senses cryptococcosis goodbye hunting signs of pain moving bed open night blindness litter box love sun best vet calicivirus hard faeces snakes prey brown snake wool urinating competition weight sick inflammatory bowel disease lilies introducing liver antiviral fireworks rash intestine cat history Hill's Metabolic behaviour new cat urinating on curtains or carpet itchy African wild cat panleukopaenia dental check drinking more lump fits attack tapeworm introduction pain relief lame cortisone fever heaing obesity pain killer seizures food puzzles paralysis outdoor cat poisoning appetite insulin cystitis house call conflict roundworm jumping old cat pred vocal aerokat nose scabs health check award kibble skin diuretics photo competition annual check enteritis open day diet discount gasping litter lily cat hearing collapse anxiety holes in teeth whiskers FIV kittens sore ears flea prevention checkup vaccination paralysed runny eyes free pet meat overweight introduce panamax exercise blue ulcer New Year's Eve desex kidney petting cat abscess,cat fight allergy, body language hunter comfortis biopsy toxins rub IBD skinny holidays aggressive grass best clinic microchip snake cat containment urine diabetes hungry FORLS pheromone feliway twitching cranky unwell bladder stones hiding sensitive christmas new kitten fat mince cage odour head worming marking Canberra stress computer weight loss eye ulcer vet visit bite snot painful vomiting skin cancer fear sore eyes physical activity not eating string herpesvirus plants face rub hospital constipation poisons chlamydia bladder virus hypertension snuffles dry food cat enclosures on heat urine spraying worms headache ribbon holiday hunched over wobbles eye infection radioactive iodine enemies urination rolls sucking wool fabric carrier pill tumour spey change tooth cat friendly urinating outside litter learning kidney disease anaemia prednisolone ulcers RSPCA thiamine deficiency blind poisonous plants hyperactive socialisation cat worms runny nose old sneeze blocked cat dental treatment dementia catoberfest advantage plaque cognitive dysfunction lymphoma snake bite obese snakebite sick cat thyroid pain vision birthday scratch fluid pills salivation when to go to vet tartar asthma


A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

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

Get Directions