We all love our fur babies, but also all have those moments where pet ownership is stressful — like when there's something wrong!
Cat constipation is one of the common things that can happen where we owners immediately assume the worst. There's no need to worry, though, for the most part — cat constipation is extremely common, especially in middle-aged cats.
Just because it's common and the cause is likely not serious, doesn't mean it's not uncomfortable and often painful! So how can you help your poor baby when they're clearly struggling to defecate?
Keep an eye out for the signs — crying in the litter box, hard stools, etc. — and take action if you think there's a problem.
So how exactly do you take action for a constipated cat? Read on to find out.
1. Encourage Water Consumption
Cats don't need nearly as much water as dogs or other pets, but they still need some — and they're not very good at drinking it. Cats are notoriously fussy, meaning some of them won't just drink out of any water bowl and you'll need to find what works for them.
This will require some necessary patience, as dehydration can cause constipation and other problems, so it's important you find a way for your cat to drink.
Try placing bowls of fresh water around the house, and make sure you have more water bowls than cats! Cats don't love to share. They're naturally selfish, but we love them.
If they still won't drink, it's time to try other tactics. You can purchase water fountains that provide a steady stream of water, or some cats love to drink from a dripping tap!
Remember, if you feed your cat wet food, they get a lot of their water needs from that, but you should still make sure they're lapping up some directly on occasion. Cats are stubborn, but keep at it and you'll see some pawsitive results!
2. Monitor Their Weight
Overweight cats can also be more prone to constipation. Make sure you check in with your cat frequently to keep an eye on their weight.
Most domestic cats should weigh about 10 lb, but this isn't a hard number and your vet will be able to give you a more specific idea. For example, some cat breeds are bigger and can expect to weigh more, and some cats may have small frames and need to weigh less to be healthy!
If your cat seems overweight, it's time to cut back the food or change to a special diet. It might seem cruel to restrict the treats for a while and make you feel like the worst pet parent in the world, but it's for their own good!
3. Switch Their Diet
You may also need to switch their diet. Not all cat foods are created equal, and some of the brands aren't as healthy as others.
If your cat is constipated, they might need more fiber in their diet.
Or maybe it's about how you're feeding them. For example, if weight is the issue and you're free-feeding your cat, it might be time to switch to scheduled mealtimes. That will regulate how much your cat is eating and ensure they aren't getting more than they need.
If you're nervous about scheduled mealtimes because you can't always be around at the same time every day, try purchasing an auto-feeder. You can set an exact amount to go off at the same time every day, and you don't need to worry about being around to feed your baby!
4. Increase Stimulation
If you have an indoor-only cat, they may not be getting enough exercise and stimulation which can lead to problems. One of the more simple constipation remedies is to make sure they're stimulated enough in their day-to-day life!
Make sure you have plenty of pawesome toys you can use to play with your cat. You can even get some automated ones, like laser pointers that attach to their scratching post!
It also helps if you have high places for them to jump and hide, as cats appreciate being able to get up high.
You might also want to consider getting your cat a playmate if they're an only child! Nothing encourages a cat to play more than another active kitten in the house.
Just be sure to do introductions properly, as improper planning when bringing a new animal into the house could cause stress for your cat... And that's certainly not going to relieve constipation when stress can be another cause of it.
5. Try to Manage Any Anxiety
Anxiety and stress can be the root issue for a constipated cat, and it's difficult to manage — cats are fussy creatures, and can become stressed at the slightest of changes you didn't even notice happening. For example:
- Have you moved house recently?
- Have you rearranged or had furniture changes?
- Is something or someone new living with you, animal or human?
Cats don't often voice their displeasure for things, but if they're hiding more and the constipation is one of many signs something is wrong, they might simply be stressed.
This means you're going to have to be patient with them as things get back to normal and they adjust to your new routine. Make sure they have a hiding space where they feel safe in a dark corner somewhere, so they always have a spot where they can go and breathe when things are just too much.
6. Sort Out the Litter Box Situation
Cats are not only selfish with their water and food — they're the same way with litter boxes!
The standard recommendation for any pet owner is that you should have one box per cat and one extra. Cats are clean animals who don't appreciate sharing a litter box, so they want the choice to have their own.
And if they don't like the litter box situation? This can lead to issues. Such as cat constipation.
It's not just the number. There are different styles of litter boxes, and every cat has their own preference. Some like hooded litter boxes, some find the hood too constrictive.
Some like automatic boxes, others find the mechanics too frightening and stressful.
Even the type of litter can make a difference, whether it's clay or crystal.
The point is: you need to experiment. Find out what works for your cat and stick to it. Don't abruptly change litter or box and if you must make a change, introduce it slowly.
7. CBD Oil for Gastrointestinal Problems
CBD oil for constipation works well with cats — and for other issues! CBD oil is completely safe, and works well for not only gastrointestinal problems but also anxiety, and other issues that might be at the root of the cat's constipation.
When using CBD oil, it's important that you're careful to only give your cat the recommended dosage and do your research to make sure the product you're using is a good one.
When used right, however, it can be a wonderful relief for your cat.
There are a number of options to choose from, so you can give them to your cat by putting a drop of oil in their food, or specifically-made treats.
Take a quiz here to find the perfect product for your pet.
8. Ask the Vet
If you've tried the home remedies and nothing seems to be working, it's time to contact the vet. There could be something more serious going on, like a blockage, and any signs that your cat is in serious distress then you should rush them to the vet regardless.
Some vets might be able to provide a laxative and that'll be all the cat needs, but it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to cats. Constipation has such a wide range of causes and symptoms that it's difficult to tell on your own what could be causing it!
9. Cat Constipation is a Concern, but Manageable!
Your first instinct might be to panic if you notice some cat constipation going on, and that's understandable. We love our fur babies, and the last thing we want is for them to get sick or be uncomfortable.
Don't worry, though. Most cat constipation can be solved at home by using one of these solutions, you just need to be patient and proactive. It's the same with everything when it comes to cats!
For CBD oil and other products that might help out your baby with constipation and other problems, check out Bailey's world famous CBD oil for cats.