Constipation, that is, a violation of the bowel emptying process in cats, is no less a significant problem than diarrhea. The pain, discomfort and consequences of constipation can be very serious.
THE MAIN CAUSES OF CONSTIPATION IN CATS
Cats are stress–sensitive animals. The most common causes of excitement among pets are the departure of the owners, the appearance of a new family member (cat, dog, child) in the house, noise and anxiety, guests who have come, repairs and so on. There are diseases that are directly related to emotional stress. These include constipation. In a state of stress, the cat cannot reach the tray or retire to the toilet. The usual order is violated, there is a problem with the chair. Sometimes, with severe stress, a pet even needs the help of a veterinarian.
Some diseases can also lead to constipation. First of all, these are all conditions that lead to a decrease in intestinal motility. Motility (normal bowel function) can be reduced with pancreatitis, cholecystitis and severe pain, for example, with injuries, fractures, contusions of internal organs.
Dry, irregular stools can be observed with an unbalanced diet, in particular, with a lack of indigestible fiber. This may be one of the disadvantages of home nutrition, if the cat prefers to eat exclusively meat. Another reason is low fluid intake.
By themselves, worm infestations, as a rule, are not the cause of constipation. However, severe conditions, a large number of helminths, especially in kittens and young cats, can lead to obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract, intestinal perforations and, as a consequence, lack of stool.
Cats are very clean animals, they carefully lick their fur and normally do not suffer from eating wool in small quantities. Excess wool regularly comes out with feces. However, if the cat is a long-haired breed, it may not be able to cope with so much wool. Sometimes an animal suffers from pathological molting when the amount of wool in the cat’s stomach exceeds the physiological norm. In this case, the cat needs help: special feeds, malt paste, combing the animal with a brush. If help is not provided on time, lumps of wool in the stomach and intestines can cause constipation or mechanical obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract with the absence of stool and vomiting.
This is one of the most dangerous reasons for the lack of a chair in cats. In fact, it cannot be called constipation. Because of their curiosity, animals often play with threads, laces, Christmas tinsel, small balls and toys not intended for cats. The structure of the cat’s tongue does not allow you to get rid of a thread or ribbon that has fallen into the mouth – the pet will certainly swallow it. Small objects, balls, balls, rubber toys or parts thereof may also be swallowed. Not always such a foreign object can come out naturally or with vomiting.
The classic signs of mechanical obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract are the absence of stool and vomiting. Fragments of gnawed toys or bitten threads can get into the pet’s stomach. If there is a suspicion that the cat has swallowed a foreign object, you should immediately consult a doctor. To diagnose such conditions in a veterinary clinic, an ultrasound or X-ray can be done, including with the introduction of a contrast agent. If a foreign body is found in the intestine, a surgical operation will be necessary.
SYMPTOMS OF CONSTIPATION IN CATS
Normally, bowel emptying in cats should be at least once a day. If there is no stool, pay attention to whether the animal is there, whether it is vomiting, whether it is trying to walk on the tray and whether it is urinating. A dangerous symptom is the absence of stool, accompanied by vomiting. Sometimes a cat may have problems with defecation with cystitis. From the pain in the bladder, the cat not only does not urinate, but also does not empty the intestines. If the animal does not eat, is sluggish and apathetic, perhaps it did not go to the toilet because of pain and weakness. If the absence of a chair is due to errors in the diet, in this case you can try to help your pet at home. Too dry fecal masses, round, «like a goat», is also a symptom of constipation. In this case, it is necessary to revise the diet of your pet.
HOW TO HELP AN ANIMAL AT HOME
Some symptoms associated with delayed defecation and lack of stool may be alarming and require professional intervention by a doctor. But with one-time violations of the stool, with obvious reasons in the form of improper feeding the day before, you can help the cat yourself.
- VASELINE OIL
A well-known and widespread remedy is vaseline oil. It is mineral, sold in pharmacies and pet stores. Unlike vegetable oil, it is not absorbed in the intestine and passes through transit. As much as the pet uses it, the same amount should come out of the rectum. Vaseline oil can be given to the cat several times a day before the appearance of stools, about 3-4 ml, so as not to provoke reflex vomiting. Be careful: if the cat vomits, do not give anything into her mouth so that she does not choke. If your actions for several hours do not bring results, they should be stopped.
- LAXATIVES Treatment of constipation in cats with laxatives for humans that enhance intestinal motility can be dangerous. Especially if the presence of foreign bodies or wool in the intestines of the cat is not excluded.
- HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES
Homeopathic remedies in cases of constipation in cats are ineffective and are not used in veterinary medicine.
Abdominal massage with circular and stroking movements gives a good effect in children. In cats with constipation, unfortunately, most often pain sensations will not allow the animal to lie down and endure massage. However, if the cat trusts, her condition is not severe, stroking the fur and belly with a warm palm will calm the pet and help reduce pain. It is not for nothing that in modern medicine much attention is paid to love, affection and tenderness to reduce tension and smooth out stress in a pet.
Phytotherapy, like homeopathy, has no evidence base in veterinary medicine. Therefore, its use in cats is limited and, as a rule, ineffective. Laxatives based on plant raw materials for humans can enhance intestinal motility, so they should not be given to cats.
- ENEMA FOR A CAT
An enema for constipation can be an effective remedy. There are microclysms that are sold in ordinary pharmacies and are used for children. They are safe and easy to use. At home, such an enema can be done to a cat without fear of harm. The only contraindication for the self–use of microclysms is the serious condition of the animal, but in any case, you need to consult with a veterinarian. Volumetric cleansing enemas are practically not used at home. Firstly, it is difficult to do this without skill and trained assistants, and secondly, such an enema has more contraindications and the result may be unexpected. Frequent cleansing enemas can damage the intestinal walls and wash out beneficial bacteria from it.
- SPECIAL DIET
Proper nutrition is necessary for regular bowel movement, formed stools and elimination of problems with defecation. The basis of the cat’s diet is protein, but even a carnivorous animal needs indigestible fiber for normal peristalsis. With constipation in a cat, you can try to transfer it to food with a high fiber content.
PREVENTION OF CONSTIPATION
The basis for the prevention of constipation in cats is a balanced diet. For domestic cats that move little and are prone to weight gain, diets with a high fiber content are recommended. Such feeding will help the cat to go to the toilet regularly and without problems.
For various causes of constipation, water consumption is also important, which must be maintained in every possible way. Fountains for cats, bowls with a large diameter, several bowls and a regular change of water to clean – all this stimulates thirst and promotes good defecation. Movements, games with a domestic cat are also important. Play with your pet, try different toys and devices. Many people like laser pointers, pet stores sell educational toys that encourage the hunter’s instinct in the cat and allow you to get food, and not just lazily take it out of the bowl. Excess weight and lack of movement are the way to constipation.