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What Are the Best Home Remedies for a Constipated Cat?

Kitten in a litter box.
Dietary fiber, like that found in beans, can help a constipated cat.
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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 March 2014
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Cats can become constipated for a number of different reasons. Just like humans, cats can experience digestive problems due to improper diets, dehydration, stress, or underlying medical causes. In addition, felines sometimes swallow indigestible hair when they lick themselves, which can cause significant blockages. A seemingly constipated cat may simply be protesting a dirty litter box, holding in its stools until the box gets a proper cleaning. Fortunately, there are many easy home remedies that an owner can try to relieve symptoms in a constipated cat, including changing his food, providing extra water, brushing him regularly, and keeping its litter box clean.

A cat's food may not be providing enough fiber or nutrients to keep its gastrointestinal system working properly. Many popular cat food brands offer products that are specifically designed to promote digestive health, including foods that are high in fiber or specially designed to control hairballs. Pet owners should note that it usually takes few days of eating a new food for a cat's intestines to get back into sync.

Dehydration is a leading cause of constipation in humans and cats alike. When a cat does not drink enough water, its body draws excess moisture from the intestines, leaving stools hard, dry, and difficult to pass. It is important to provide plenty of fresh, clean water for a constipated cat so that it can recover from dehydration. Many veterinarians also encourage owners supplement their cats' diets with moist food to increase their fluid intake.

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A cat owner can further relieve his feline's constipation symptoms by brushing her and maintaining a clean, comfortable litter box. Regular brushing gets rid of excess fur that might otherwise be licked and swallowed by the kitty, resulting in digestive problems, hairballs, and constipation. It is common for cats to withhold using their litter boxes if they are dirty or in a heavily trafficked area. An owner should keep a litter box for every cat in the household, scoop the boxes once a day, and ensure that they are placed in a private, quiet area of the house.

A constipated cat that does not respond to home remedies should be taken to a veterinarian, who can check for medical problems and determine the most appropriate treatment plan. The veterinarian will conduct a physical examination and possibly take x-rays of the constipated cat's intestines. He or she might recommend a prescription laxative or stool softener, give the cat an enema, or perform surgery to remove impacted bowels. Most veterinarians suggest that owners closely monitor their cats in the days following treatment and schedule regular checkups to ensure their well-being. With a combination of home remedies, medical treatment, and follow-up care, most cats are able to recover from their symptoms within a few days.

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Discuss this Article

anon942186
Post 13

Being a vegan myself, I know what works well in a balanced diet: wheat grass or barley grass is perfect. I'm curing my cat from oral cancer on colloidal silver. I find wheat grass fantastic every time.

anon357263
Post 12

I would definitely not try mineral oil orally. Too many articles online warn that it can be aspirated into kitty's lungs and cause pneumonia which can be fatal.

fify
Post 11

@alisha-- Well, I can't tell you how to treat constipation in cats because I'm not a vet.

But you might want to review what your cat has been eating. Is it an outdoor cat or a house cat? Could he have eaten something different without you realizing? Do you provide cat grass for your cat?

My cat can get constipated if I give her only meat. I usually give her some meat and some dry food. Dry food has a lot of fiber and helps with digestion. My cat also eats cat grass everyday and I think that prevents constipation too.

discographer
Post 10

Okay, so I think my cat is constipated and I have no idea what to do. He usually goes to the bathroom very regularly. He does a number two once a day. But for the past two days, I have been cleaning his litter and he has not done any number two at all!

How often are cats supposed to go to the bathroom? If they don't go for two days, does it mean they're constipated?

I know he's been drinking his water because he urinates and I have not changed his diet either. I don't know what to do. Is there like a cat laxative that I can get from the vet to give him?

bear78
Post 9

@googie98-- I'm not sure if I would want to give my cat petroleum jelly.

I don't have a cat right now but I live with my sister and she has a cat. I know her cat has constipation problems sometimes. My sister's constipated cat home remedy is milk. This usually solves the problem very quickly.

I think milk is a really good remedy because not only does it help with dehydration, but it softens stool as well. I know most people don't give cats regular cow's milk. But there are special milk for cats at stores now. That would work just as well.

LoriCharlie
Post 8

@Pharoah - You should take a constipated cat to the vet if the cat constipation remedy you try doesn't work. However, I can definitely understand why some people want to try home remedies first.

I had to take my cat to the vet for this problem, and it ended up costing around $200 for them to examine him, do and x-ray, and do an enema. Not everyone has that kind of money laying around for a vet visit!

Pharoah
Post 7

You can definitely try out home remedies for constipated cat symptoms. However, if that doesn't work, definitely take your cat to the vet. They can prescribe the cat some medication to make it easier for them to go. My cat has been on this medication for awhile, and it's not very expensive at all!

Ted41
Post 6

@strawCake - I agree. If you notice cat constipation symptoms, the first thing you should do it make sure they're drinking enough. You can accomplish this in several different ways.

First, switch to wet food, as the article said. You can also mix some more water in with the wet food, so the cat will drink the water while eating. Second, you can get one of those cat water fountains. A lot of cats really like to drink running water, so getting them a water dish like this might make them drink more.

strawCake
Post 5

Making sure the cat isn't dehydrated is a great constipated cat remedy. As the article said, dehydration is one of the main causes of constipation in both cats and humans. So making sure your kitty gets enough water might be enough to help the problem!

anon215306
Post 4

Dipping paws in petroleum jelly is great idea. Ill try it!

BoatHugger
Post 2

Many times, people think that their cat is constipated because he is straining, when he is actually trying to urinate. Before treating for constipation, make sure that constipation is the problem.

Some signs of constipation are less frequent attempts to “poo” and straining to pass stool but only a small amount coming out.

However, if your cat has a urinary tract blockage, they will make more frequent trips to the litter box and pass a small amount of urine, howling during urination, passing blood in the urine. If that happens, you should immediately take your cat to the vet.

googie98
Post 1

My best friend works at a veterinarian clinic and I asked her what I could do for my cat’s constipation. She said to either give them (if possible) 2 teaspoons of mineral oil. If you can’t do that, dip the paws in some petroleum jelly. They then lick their paws and that provides some lubrication for down below.

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