Chronic Constipation in Older Cats

by Naomi Millburn, Demand Media
    Chronic constipation is a relatively common issue in the elderly kitty crowd.

    Chronic constipation is a relatively common issue in the elderly kitty crowd.

    Living with an older cat can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience, but also at times can be pretty taxing. After all, the seasoned felines are especially susceptible to a lot of different health ailments, from diabetes and hyperthyroidism to cognitive issues and even chronic constipation.

    Chronic Constipation

    If you're wondering exactly why your senior cat isn't going No. 2 with as much regularity compared to when she was in her spry younger years, the Feline Advisory Bureau indicates that kitty bowel processes tend to decline dramatically with the passing of time. This drop in functioning also often triggers issues with dietary nutrient absorption, and even frequently causes loss of weight.

    Symptoms

    If you have an inkling that your elderly cat may be suffering from chronic constipation, but aren't 100 percent sure, keep your eyes open for some telltale symptoms. Key signs of constipation include long periods of time between bowel movements; especially small, dry or bloody feces; visible pain or discomfort during attempts to eliminate; appetite loss; weight loss; grooming neglect; hunching over due to stomachache; throwing up and exhaustion. As soon as you suspect that your little one is dealing with chronic constipation, call the veterinarian for an appointment.

    Frequency

    If you aren't sure whether your cutie is "regular" enough, the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine states that felines usually pass stools somewhere between once and 3 times daily. However, the frequency has a lot to do with individual feline dietary patterns. Regardless of the presence of any other symptoms, a cat that can go over 24 hours or so without passing fecal matter deserves veterinary help.

    Causes

    Although chronic constipation in older kitties may be as simple as a drop in bowel functioning due to age, a lot of other causes also could be at fault. Perhaps your cat's delicate gastrointestinal tract can't easily handle too much food during one sitting. If this is the case, you may want to consider more meals, but smaller portions each day. Your fluff ball simply may not be drinking sufficient H20, a major culprit behind a sluggish digestive tract. A bevy of medical concerns also could be the reason for the lack of litter box action, including obesity, prostate issues, anal sac disease and even a tumor.
    Because of these sometimes dangerous possibilities, it always is important to speak to the vet about your cat's potty issues, whether she's a tiny little kitten or a sage and mellow 15-year-old. Thankfully, a variety of different management options are available to handle chronic constipation, from increased physical activity and fiber-rich diets to laxatives and stool softeners. Speak to your vet about which solution or solutions may be the most appropriate for your specific pet.

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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