Tips to help your constipated cat: here are the best methods

Ferenczi Deborah

2023. May 9 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Constipation is a relatively common symptom in cats. However, the good news is that you can usually help your cat get through these unpleasant few days with simple home treatments. However, it is important to know that in rarer cases it can even indicate a serious problem that requires urgent veterinary care. Therefore, if the constipation persists for several days and the following remedies do not help to relieve the symptoms, you should definitely consult a veterinarian.


Below we have collected everything you need to know about constipation in cats, and we also list some practices that will help your cat overcome this discomfort sooner.

Symptoms of constipation in cats

Constipation is characterized by infrequent or very difficult defecating. It is important to know that most cats do their major business every 24-36 hours. So, if your cat defecates less frequently and with difficulty, it may be constipated, which should be treated as soon as possible. However, if this condition lasts longer than 48-72 hours, you should definitely consult a veterinarian, as this is already a rather unhealthy category. The following signs show that the cat has difficulty defecating:

  • dry, hard feces
  • often located outside the litter tray
  • straining, loud noises during defecation

Causes of constipation in cats

Constipation can occur when the bowels do not move normally. This can be caused by underlying issues such as:

  • stress and anxiety
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • allergies
  • mental problems
  • some cancers

Chronic diseases that lead to constipation in cats now include kidney disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism.

Veterinary treatment of constipation in cats

Constipation should be treated as soon as possible to reduce the risk of permanent damage from prolonged distension of the colon. Effective treatment at the vet includes identifying and correcting the underlying disease, removing the accumulated feces, and preventing recurrence. Your vet may give your cat fluids and/or enemas to relieve constipation immediately. The doctor may prescribe medication too. More importantly, a vet can help identify the underlying problem causing the constipation so it can be treated, rather than just trying to treat the symptoms.

Tips and home remedies for constipation in cats and its prevention

If your cat has been constipated for a short time, you may want to try some home practices that will help your cat’s digestive system to get back to normal. We have collected a few of them below.

Increase your cat’s water consumption

Since dehydration contributes to constipation, drinking more water and staying hydrated can help prevent constipation.

Try a new diet

Food allergies can cause intestinal inflammation and constipation. However, changing the protein source in your cat’s food (chicken, lamb, etc.) can reduce inflammation and allow the bowels to move more normally, reducing constipation. Special, limited-ingredient and hypoallergenic foods are also available for cats who may be allergic to several things. However, changing the diet is only effective only 8-12 weeks, so it is a long-term treatment.

Help your cat maintain a healthy weight

Obesity causes intestinal inflammation, which slows down the digestive process in the intestines. Too much water is then absorbed from the stool, causing constipation. In severe cases, there is so much fat in the abdomen that it physically obstructs the movement of stool. Your vet can help you determine if your cat needs to lose weight and create a diet plan.

Increase physical activity

Exercise can help your cat’s bowels move normally, which helps treat and prevent constipation. Encourage your cat to be more active with things like toys, scratching posts, and climbers. From now on, it’s worth setting aside at least half an hour a day to exercise together, because it’s not only a healthy pastime, but also quality time for both of you.

Minimizing stress and anxiety

Cats can easily become stressed when their defecation routine is interrupted. This can be for an obvious reason, such as a new pet coming into the house or moving house, but it can also be less obvious, such as a change in schedule, construction noise nearby, or a new dog barking next door. Sometimes it just takes time for the cat to adapt to the changes.

More litter trays

Cats can be quite picky about their litter boxes. If they don’t like the location of the litter tray, or even the type of the box or the litter, they may not use it as much, which can lead to constipation. That is why you should have at least one more litter tray, let the cat choose which one is ideal.

Probiotics and fiber

Probiotics are “good bacteria” that help support a healthy gut. Healthy intestines move stool normally and keep it soft, preventing constipation. Furthermore, fiber feeds the good bacteria and promotes normal bowel movements. It can also help retain more water in the intestines, which helps treat and prevent constipation.

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