If your feline friend hasn't left any "packages" in the litter box for two days or longer, you have a constipated kitty on your hands. It could be digestive issues or maybe stress, but whatever the cause, there are some home remedies you can try to get things moving again.
Pumpkin for your Punkin
Pumpkin is an effective natural laxative that is easy to administer because (surprisingly) it has a flavor that most cats seem to enjoy. Canned pumpkin is easiest to use, as it is already mashed up. If your cat seems reluctant to eat a spoonful or two on his own, mix it into some canned cat food for him and things should be running smoothly again within a day or two. Remember to get plain pumpkin, not pie filling!
The Fiber Fix
Humans use fiber to keep things regular so it should come as no surprise that it can help loosen up your cat too. Try mixing one teaspoon of oat bran in with his food or sprinkling nugget-style fiber cereal over his dinner. Fiber cereal can take anywhere from one to three days to start working but the good news is that he can eat it all the time if he decides he enjoys it.
Oils are natural stool softeners and they don't cause side effects, as drug-based softeners can. Drizzle from a half to a full tablespoon of olive oil over your kitty's kibble or wet food. Vegetable oil will also do the trick in a pinch, or you can give your cat a tasty tuna treat. Give him a bit of canned tuna packed in oil for a natural laxative with a flavorful appeal.
Dairy Will Do It
Your vet may have advised you not to feed your cat cow's milk because it can cause diarrhea. But when your kitty's bowels are backed up a dose of dairy is just the thing he needs. Give him about an eighth of a cup of milk two times a day until he is regular again. Once he no longer needs help, slowly reduce the amount and frequency of the servings instead of making your cat go cold turkey.
Nip It in the Bud
You can head off constipation problems at the pass with a few preventative techniques. Water is vital for maintaining a healthy digestive system, so always make sure your cat has access to plenty of clean water. If your kitty tends to have a problem with constipation, switch him to canned food or at least supplement a high-fiber kibble diet with canned food. Cats require a clean litter box and might resort to holding it in rather than using a box that isn't up to their standard, so keep your kitty's latrine clean. And if your cat is a long-haired variety, tangled fur around the back 40 can at times prevent successful bowel movements. Helping your kitty stay groomed and tangle-free might be just what he needs to keep regular.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; Editors of Prevention Health Books
- VetInfo: Cat Constipation Olive Oil Treatment
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.