Let's talk about poop. Although it's not the most pleasant subject, it's important for Tabby to maintain a regular schedule of pooping. Most cats will poop daily, although every cat is different. The kind of food Tabby's eating, as well as her age and exercise level, can affect her regularity.
Symptoms of Constipation
If you've seen Tabby strain in the litter box, yet all she has to show for it is some watery stool or small, hard pellets, she's probably constipated. Other symptoms include trying to poop outside the litter box, lethargy, lack of appetite and vomiting. If she's uncomfortable -- and who wouldn't be? -- she may be hunched while sitting or walking.
Causes of Constipation
If Tabby's constipated, it's a good idea to get to the bottom of it so the underlying cause can be addressed. Some cats don't get enough exercise or water, while others may ingest too much hair when they groom. Cats who like to chew string or eat little objects can cause their own problems because those little objects can block the colon. Stressful conditions, such as a change in environment can also back up Tabby. Other factors include obesity, medicine side effects, tumors and blocked anal sacs.
Diet and Constipation
Diet can cause problems for Tabby too. If she gets too little -- or too much -- fiber in her diet, she can become backed up. Too much fiber will absorb water and cause Tabby to hold on to her poop. Type of fiber makes a difference, too. Soluble fiber absorbs water in the intestinal tract and is useful for diarrhea because it slows down the time needed to empty the intestine. Insoluble fiber draws water into the intestinal tract and speeds up digestion, increasing how much and how often Tabby has to poop.
Greens and Other Foods
If you're looking to greens to help with Tabby's constipation, try green beans. They can be cooked, canned, raw or even baby food. Peas are another green option for her. Though not green, pumpkin, or other winter squash, is a standard home remedy for cats and dogs suffering from constipation. Don't bother making sure it's spiced for Tabby; just give her plain, canned pumpkin. If she's not keen on pumpkin, try some baked winter squash or baby food winter squash. Whether you're using beans, peas, squash or pumpkin, mix about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon into several of her daily meals. Other green options to add to Tabby's food include cabbage, bok choy, Brussel sprouts, fresh herbs, lettuce, kale, collards and spinach.
Keep It Regular
If Tabby's not keen on veggies, Feline Constipation.org has directions for using slippery elm bark powder, which is helpful for relieving constipation. There are also a few precautionary measures you can take to help keep Tabby regular. Regular grooming will help, particularly if she becomes backed up from hairballs. Indoor cat grass will give her something to chew on that will provide her with some additional fiber to help keep things moving. And don't underestimate the importance of water: Tabby needs water to keep her intestines moving. If she's hesitant to drink, try adding broth to her food or water to some wet food. If Tabby hasn't pooped in 48 hours, call the vet for an exam.
- WebMD: Constipation in Cats: Symptoms and Treatment
- Animal Planet: What is an Effective Cat Constipation Remedy?
- Feline Constipation.org: Prevention of Feline Constipation
- Health Guidance.org: Home Remedies for Cat Constipation
- Little Big Cat: Constipated Cats
- Carnivora.ca: Putting Constipation Behind Your Pet
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images