Cat Constipation & Clumping Litter

"Apparently those weren't kitty treats in the litter box."

"Apparently those weren't kitty treats in the litter box."

Every day when you get home, Sebastian jumps up on the edge of the sofa to greet you. However, the past couple of days he’s been curled up on his pillow instead. He’s not acting like himself and his litter box may be the cause of his blues.

Clumping Litter Functions

Clumping litter is made from a type of natural clay called sodium bentonite. This specialized type of clay is highly absorbent – bulging up to about 15 times its size when it comes into contact with fluid, according to VetInfo. Not only does it soak up liquid pet waste, particles also stick together, forming hard clumps that you must remove.

Kitty Constipation

You’ve surely seen clumping litter in action every time you scoop out Sebastian’s pan. Just like it swells and clumps in the litter box, it also can bunch up in his digestive tract. He should be able to pass out small amounts of clumping litter, although if he ingests a lot, he’ll wind up being backed up. Kitties usually have one or two solid waste deposits each day, but if your fuzzy family member tends to leave solid business only every two or three days, he may be constipated.

The Danger

As constipation worsens, Sebastian’s waste will back up further in his bowels. Any litter he gets into his belly can wind up not only worsening his condition, but also cause a dangerous obstruction. He’ll howl when he visits his potty, act completely listless and may stop eating all together. Severe constipation and obstructions require the immediate attention of your veterinarian. In some cases your fluffy friend may get through it with an enema; however, in severe circumstances he may have to undergo a surgical procedure. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.

How Did it Get There?

You’re probably wondering how in the world your feline got clumping litter into his system. He may have ingested it just from everyday grooming. Each time he digs through the litter box, some of the litter sticks to his fur and he licks it off. Over time if he swallows a lot, he surely can have severe intestinal problems. He also might have intentionally snacked from his litter box. Inexperienced kittens who are curious about everything sometimes nibble on kitty litter to see what it is or get bored and just grab a bite. Senior felines are another age group who once in a while suffer a condition, called pica, that causes them to crave inedible things, like cat litter. If you see Sebastian taking nibbles of litter or if he already has been to the vet for a blockage, you’ll want to switch his litter to newspaper or pine pellets, which won’t bulk up in his gut.

 

About the Author

Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.

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