By Pet Wellbeing
Constipation is a common problem in cats. Cats should have one bowel movement a day, but if they are constipated they may only have a bowel movement every two or three days. This can cause your cat to become irritable and lethargic, or even vomit. Excess straining to pass stool can damage the muscle wall of the colon and lead to hernias.
So what causes this problem? Feeding dry food, particularly if it is low in fiber can be the culprit. Other causes can include neurological problems due to spinal disease, pain, inflammatory bowel disease, pelvic injury or eating abnormal things such as bones.
When a cat becomes constipated the first thing that is usually done is to put him or her on a high fiber diet. For most conventional veterinarians this means a dry fiber diet. Fiber regulates intestinal mobility. Depending on the type of fiber and the circumstances, fiber can either speed up or slow down digestion. It’s therefore used for both constipation and diarrhea. Our holistic veterinarian generally does not recommend dry food for cats who have constipation issues. The idea is to get more water into the colon to prevent the very dry feces. It just makes sense to go to ‘wet’ food such as canned or homemade diets, as these contain more water. Canned pumpkin is a great source of fiber that can be added to any diet to increase fiber. This usually helps, at least initially, though some cats continue to have problems.
Treatment for constipation depends upon the severity of the problem. Some cats may need to be hospitalized and most of them will require intravenous fluids. For many cases, enemas may be needed. Occasionally the cat needs to be anesthetized and have the feces removed manually.
Other treatments for constipation can include chiropractic and acupuncture, Miralax, lactulose or other stool softeners, slippery elm, stress management, L-theanine, and sometimes a CoLyte infusion.
Before trying these treatments, consider using Smooth BM Gold for Cats for the maintenance of soft, regular bowel movements in cats. This extremely effective herbal formula supports colon health, enables normal, easy elimination through the bowels and will not cause over-purging or runny stools. Made with certified organic and ethically harvested herbs, it is non-irritating and safe for long-term use.