Your cat avoids the litter box. She may cry or strain while in it. Her stool is small and hard. These are all signs of constipation, which can move into bigger issues if left untreated. But some easy changes might just save you a trip to the veterinarian.
Change your cat's dry food immediately to one with a high fiber content. While cats are meat-eaters and typically need a higher protein content, those with frequent or chronic constipation require more plant-based material. Fiber does not break down in the digestive system; it is designed to push things through the body. Increasing kitty's fiber intake should induce more frequent bowel movements.
Comb your cat's fur every day to remove loose strands if she is constantly coughing up hairballs. Just as these can exit the mouth, they can build up in her system and cause constipation. A daily combing can limit how much fur she is ingesting.
Mix up to 1 tablespoon of olive oil into some wet cat food, two to three times per week, and feed it to your cat. As the taste may bother her, start with a smaller amount and work up. Olive oil is a natural lubricant with no side effects, and can also help her expel stool with less straining and pain.
Take your cat off of dry food completely, if even the higher fiber content does not seem to work. Canned cat food is not packed with fiber; however, it has fewer carbs and a much higher moisture content, providing additional fluids to assist in elimination.
Add a tablespoon of canned pumpkin to your cat's food each day, if she will eat it. The high fiber content in this vegetable assists in pushing food through her body.
Give your kitty 1 teaspoon of powdered psyllium or rice bran mixed in wet cat food. Psyllium is powdered seed from the plaintain. It absorbs water as it passes through the body and produces soft stools that are easily passed. Rice bran is left over after rice is processed. A powdered version of the outer rice covering is not only high in fiber, but a healthy alternative to laxatives as it is full of antioxidants.
- Your vet may recommend laxatives if your cat's constipation remains chronic but there are no underlying health issues.
- If your cat is not responding to natural treatments or you suspect that there is a bigger health issue, get her to a vet as soon as possible. Chronic constipation can be a sign of more serious health problems that only a vet can rule out.
Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."