Our pets often share some maladies with us. Cats develop constipation rather easily when there is a “perfect storm” in their guts. The way that a cat’s intestinal tract works often contributes to constipation, but there are other factors at play. It helps to understand fully how your cat can become backed up and bound and how you can fix it before it requires veterinary level care.
What Cat Constipation Looks Like: Signs and Symptoms
Cats will frequent the litter box and try to go. Their bellies will be hard and slightly swollen when they are backed up, so it’s painful to make the attempt. If you attempt to touch their lower bellies while they are constipated, they may cry out, growl, hiss, and/or slap you with a paw to let you know that they are not feeling right.
Once in the cat box, an affected cat will strain, possibly cry while straining to go, and there may even be blood and mucus in the litter tray but no feces. He/she will repeat this process again and again in an attempt to relieve the discomfort and the urge to go or have painful defecation. However, if your cat is passing a lot of blood and mucus, this is bordering on an emergency situation and you will need to take your cat to the vet right away. If your cat is unable to pass feces in a 24- to 48-hour period, your cat should be looked at by the vet as soon as possible.
Severe Constipation in any animal can be lethal. It can cause intestines to twist and revolve around themselves, thereby preventing a lot of backed-up stool matter in the colon, intestines, and/or twisted sections and swelling with pain. Eventually, that can rupture and kill your pet almost instantly.
As for your cat’s appetite, there is no surefire sign that your cat has constipation or a colonic impaction. Humans are more likely to stop eating when they have constipation, but many cats will continue to eat their cat food even when they are in serious abdominal discomfort. A few cats will have the sense to stop eating while they are constipated, but that’s not always obvious or a good thing.
Preventing Feline Constipation in Your Cat
It is very important to treat your cat’s health and ability to eat and drink normally with care. You can take all of the necessary steps to prevent chronic constipation in your cat if you know exactly what to do. A lot of holistic health experts that treat animals suggest the most common sense approaches to preventing this very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous problem.
Hydration is Imperative ~ Good Clean Water!
For one, your pet should only be drinking filtered or purified water. Tap water in most cities is treated with bleach and other chemicals at the water treatment plants because it is wastewater from thousands of homes and businesses before it is turned into tap water again.
Traces of bacteria in the water remain, even though the treatment facility has done its job “cleaning” the water. Both you and your cat(s) deserve even cleaner, healthier water to prevent various ailments. Purchase purified water in bottles from the store or find a way to purify your tap water before giving it to your cat(s). Keeping the digestive tract chemical-free is imperative.
A Foundational Species Specific Diet
Next, always feed your cat a foundational diet. This is just a fancy way of saying that you should feed your cat a diet that suits his/her nature and not just feed him/her random foods or a mixed bag.
Intestinal blockage can be caused by feeding your cat all the wrong things or attempting to feed your cat a wide variety of things because you think he/she needs variety to enjoy a meal.
Instead, holistic health experts advise you to feed your cat pure meat, and not just any wet food; but quality wet food. Your cat is a natural-born carnivore, thriving in the wild on only meat with the occasional bit of grass to aid digestion. The best foods for cats are is a Biologically Appropriate Diet, for easy eating and digestion for cats of any age. Your cat will also get extra moisture from his/her food this way, thus eliminating the potential problem of recurrent constipation for good and encouraging natural colonic motility.
The Case for Raw Food Diets
Additionally, consider a raw food diet. “Raw” food is made safe for your cat by making sure the animals that provide the protein in these pet foods do not have any parasites or unhealthy ingredients. Most raw food meat diets for pets also avoid GMOs (genetically modified organisms), antibiotics, and other injected agents to treat sick animals so that the food produced for your cat will not pass these things into your cat’s body.
Raw Food and Proper Hydration
A raw food diet gives your cat exactly what it needs; nutrition, extra moisture in its food, a stronger immune system through better nutrition, and greater hydration. When your cat has all of the above, constipation problems become less and less frequent to the point where your cat may not experience this at all anymore.
If your cat did not experience an intestinal blockage or mild constipation but did have issues with straining, this switch in dietary habits will help with that too. Feline species-specific raw food diets provide the proper hydration thus preventing the dehydration that leads to kidney disease.
You should know that in the case of a twisted intestine, no diet will fix that. Only a vet can surgically fix it. At least a proper diet and a good amount of clean water will prevent the usual cases of cat’s constipation and any other medical causes will still require a vet.
A Word About Diet and Exercise for Your Cat
Fat cats have the same or similar problems to humans. Their intestines become looser in the abdominal cavity and tend to hang down because of how cats are on all fours. Human bellies can herniate with excess fat, and the intestines become strangulated. An overweight cat can have intestinal problems related to obesity. Keep your cat on the slimmer side to avoid these issues.
Cats also need to exercise. Some cats will become bored and spend ten to thirty minutes chasing imaginary shadows through your house, but other cats can become lazy. Lazy cats have more issues with constipation than cats that play. Try to spend at least ten minutes two to three times a day engaging your cat in some activity to help him/her go to the bathroom easier and to avoid obesity-related problems.
Create Playtime with your Feline Buddy
If your cat flat out refuses to move, and food seems to be the only motivator, there are toys that will engage your cat with the promise of a tasty treat or tidbit if the cat plays with it. Ask a holistic pet health expert for suggestions on the best treat toys to get your cat up and moving. It will also improve your cat’s mood and that can help your cat move more and move his/her bowels a lot easier.
Supplements for Gut Health in Cats
If you are actively doing all of the above already, but your cat still seems to be having problems, consider adding supplements for gut health. Humans occasionally need probiotics and good bacteria to make their intestines work properly. Canned pumpkin can be a great option for a constipated cat to induce a bowel movement.
It can also act as a stool softener and a natural laxative without laxative dependency. Psyllium husk provided in the correct dosage with the proper amount of water can also be a temporary solution, while you are making the appropriate corrections underlying the cause in the first place.
Holistic Animal Practitioner
Make an appointment with a holistic animal practitioner to discuss what is going on with your feline and then the expert can suggest and/or prescribe a gut health supplement for your cat.