It sounds funny but a constipated cat can be a very serious matter. Constipation in cats can cost hundreds of dollars in vet bills or even death if left untreated. I am telling you this from experience. My poor Gyula has chronic cat constipation and he’s been to the vet before because of it. It’s heartbreaking for me to see him so uncomfortable and sick. After having dealt with this medical issue for so long and after having scoured so much information on how to help a constipated cat, I now have a good grasp on him and when he needs a little more help. After quite some time and a trip to the vet for an enema and extraction of the stool, Gyula is now on a good plan with some backup constipated cat remedies if needed!
Cat Constipation Causes
When Gyula first started having trouble, I scoured the internet and asked the advice of my vet. There are many causes for cat constipation that may include:
- Ingestion of a foreign object like string
- Colon problems
- Medication side effects
- The list goes on and on
Some breeds are also prone to have issues like Siamese cats. My vet told me that Gyula is more than likely part Siamese since he has blue eyes and a gray tabby coat. So I figure this may be one of the reasons why Gyula has chronic constipation.
I am convinced there was another reason that played a huge part in him becoming so backed up. When Zoli first arrived in our family he was very sick with a UTI. The vet put Zoli on a special diet (Royal Canin Urinary SO). I believe that the food sucked all the moisture out of Gyula’s colon. The vet says no but Gyula never had a problem before this food came along. I have taken them off of that food a very long time ago but I think it did its damage. The reason why I think it did damage is because the salt content was super high in order to make them more thirsty and drink more to keep the urinary tract clean. Cats don’t need salt!
However, I think that there are some other reasons why Gyula still has trouble to this day.
Gyula & Zoli
Gyula and Zoli don’t get along very well. Zoli wants to play but his play is aggressive and Gyula, being twice the age of Zoli, doesn’t like it. Gyula plays the victim in this bullying situation. At times I’ve also caught Zoli standing guard watching Gyula use the litter box so he can chase him afterward. I know that Zoli has learned that he can dominate Gyula. I believe that this has Gyula scared to use the litter box and will hold it in hence making him a constipated cat.
What I don’t know is the reason why this happened and I probably will never find out. I like to think that I know that the reasons above have something to do with his ailment. All I do know is that he will probably have this issue for the rest of his life and it is my job as his owner to treat him and make him as comfortable as possible when he has trouble. At least I now know the symptoms that indicate he’s having trouble.
Constipated Cat Symptoms
It’s not hard to tell if you have a constipated cat. In Gyula’s case, his telltale signs include:
- Not going poop in a couple of days – Cats should defecate at least once a day. If Gyula hasn’t gone by Day 2 then I know we have to get things going in his little tummy.
- Vomiting after eating – This is a really good indicator because, with 3 cats, I can’t really tell whose poop is whose. If he vomits after eating them I know he belly is full and he needs to go.
- Small, dry stool with mucous or blood – I haven’t let it get back to this state. If Gyula gets back to the small, dry state he is in a lot of pain and may need a trip to the vet. Because it took me so long to get Gyula on a regime that works for him, small, dry stools are a bad sign. However, this was the first indication for Gyula.
- Peeing outside the litter box – This too is a really good indicator that he isn’t feeling well and that his belly is full. He only pees outside the litter box when there is a problem.
- No desire to be pet or cuddled – Gyula hides when he feels sick and is in discomfort. If he doesn’t sit in the window or come on the bed when I go to sleep, I know things are not right.
- If he goes and stays in the basement – This is a strong indicator that he is very sick. Gyula likes to be around me and look out the window. If he goes into the basement to hide, I know that he is severely constipated. He then gets a couple of doses of the prescription medication. If I don’t give him this medication he would have to go back to the vet again for another extraction. Fortunately, this hasn’t happened.
Cat Constipation Treatment – How To Help a Constipated Cat
I attempted everything for Gyula. I tried pumpkin, low doses of Mira-lax, increasing water intake (placing several bowls of water all around the house), a water fountain (the cats were too scared of it!), over the counter hairball remedies and Slippery Elm Bark. Not one of these things worked. Well, not as I had been administering them.
After Gyula had gotten very ill, I brought him to the vet and it turns out he was a severally constipated cat. I had to leave him overnight. He got an enema which didn’t help and they had to do a physical extraction. After this incident this past February, I changed things around. The doctor had prescribed a medication called Lactulose. This was in case he needed extra help and is the medication I give him if he ends up in the basement. It isn’t advisable to continually use Lactulose because the body can get immune to the dosage and the drug would eventually not work. It’s also not good for him. I only use Lactulose for a boost when Gyula is in a sticky situation and is having a really tough time.
He is now on a very good regime of 1/2 tsp Mira-lax in the morning and 1/4 tsp Mira-lax in the evening. It is working well. Initially, I didn’t want to give him Mira-lax every day. I felt a lot better about giving it to him daily once I had read up on the medication and had spoken to the vet. Sometimes, the dosage gets a little too strong and his poop is a little loose so I skip the next dose to give his body a rest. I don’t want him to become too dehydrated.
I also give him a few other supplements from time to time. He gets Slippery Elm Bark because that is good for mucous membranes. Make sure that you are purchasing 100% Psyllium Husk as the additives in other products, like Metamucil, can be dangerous to a cat.
On occasion, I give him a Probiotic because he’s got a weak tummy and sometimes he gets Psyllium Bark as that is also good for mucous membranes and internal lubrication. If he has to skip a Mira-lax dose, then I try to squeeze in one of these.
Dealing with a constipated cat can be difficult but Gyula is a different cat now that we have his constipation under control. He plays and runs around the house and is definitely a happier cat. I love my little guy and wish that he didn’t have such a problem but since we have it under control, we have no more worries!