Constipation may cause your feline to feel anxiety, discomfort, and restlessness. As a pet owner, you naturally want to do your best to eliminate that suffering and help your beloved cat back to his normal, happy self.
Although constipation may be common in a lot of cats, the causes and symptoms can be different for every cat. The causes may be simply due to stress or a bad diet, or it could be something more serious that needs medical attention.
If you think your cat is suffering from constipation, then your first step might be trying to relieve it with something easily available at home. Fortunately, there are homemade recipes you can follow to manage the symptoms of constipation in cats.
Why is my cat constipated?
Your cat’s gastrointestinal tract is a complex system in which microbiome activities are taking place. These processes are essential to boost your pet’s immune defense and overall health. With the help of gut bacteria, food is digested and important nutrients are absorbed to use for energy metabolism before the food is passed down to the colon in the form of sludge. The colon then begins to draw water from this waste material until it is reduced to a firm consistency.
Any factors that disturb this normal process in the colon can cause your cat to develop constipation. These factors can be attributed to one or a combination of the following:
1. Lack of activity
Just like humans, your feline companion needs exercise to maintain good health. Playtime not only makes your cat fit; it also helps stimulate gastrointestinal contractions to push the stool out of the colon. This process is known as peristalsis. Without enough activity this stimulation may not happen, causing your cat to hold the fecal waste too long until it becomes dehydrated, compacted, and very difficult to expel.
2. Intestinal obstructions
Another possible reason for constipation is that your cat may have ingested something that has blocked the flow in the intestines. Aside from difficulty moving the bowels, watch out for other symptoms such as vomiting, signs of distress, lethargy, and repeatedly going to the litter box without expelling anything. All of these may indicate a blocked intestinal tract that can become serious if not treated right away.
Unfortunately, there is no home remedy for intestinal obstruction. This is a serious condition that must be addressed by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
3. Avoiding a dirty litter box
A dirty litter box is not inviting for most cats. Felines may boycott such a litter box by pooping somewhere else or holding their poop for extended periods until they become constipated. If this is the case, you may need to consider maintaining the litter box a little better, in a way that is up to your cat’s standards, to prevent future problems.
4. Giving a highly digestible raw diet
Are you feeding your cat a raw diet? Then never underestimate the importance of the indigestible matter in your cat’s food.
Feeding your cat raw food may closely resemble a diet of small, whole prey when it comes to nutrition. However, this is not natural since store-bought meat does not include fur as a prey-based diet does. Adding fur to your cat food recipe is also impossible and inconvenient. Although fur does not have any nutritional value, this indigestible matter does serve as a natural stool bulker for your kitty.
Resorting to fiber supplements may also not perfectly replace fur, as the fermentation process of plant sources is different. Moreover, further problems may arise if your cat refuses to eat food mixed with supplements or vegetables, or it may cause regurgitation after eating the food.
5. Raw diet that includes too many bones
The presence of bones in a raw diet has long been attributed to constipation in cats. The reason for this is that bones contain high amounts of calcium, resulting in bulk stools that are too hard to expel.
Although bone is an indigestible matter, it is largely composed of a dense protein matrix different from that of fur. A cat diet containing too many bones can result in feces that look like crumbly limes.
How to tell if your cat is constipated
Cats normally visit the litter box at least once every 24 to 36 hours. More infrequent defecation may be one obvious sign that your feline friend is suffering from constipation.
Other symptoms linked to constipation are:
- Straining while defecating
- Presence of blood in the stool
- Signs of distress or pain in the abdomen
- Lack of appetite
- Defecating small, hard, or dry stools
Homemade cat food to relieve constipation
Thankfully, homemade recipes are available to ensure your kitty’s proper bowel movement. Canned or pureed pumpkins have been long known as an effective remedy for constipation in cats, and are hence highly recommended by veterinarians.
Canned pumpkin contains about three percent fiber and 90 percent moisture, so it does not really act as a bulker. Instead, it provides a laxative effect when mixed with cat food.
There are many recipes you can follow that use canned pumpkins to feed your constipated cat. If you are feeding your cat with raw food, you can try the recipe below:
- 450 grams canned pumpkin
- 1 cup melted butter
- 900 grams raw meat
- 100 grams raw liver
This recipe is really simple and straightforward. The first step is to heat the canned pumpkin. Then add the melted butter, raw meat, and raw liver. Mix it well and make sure it is served warm. As you may notice, this raw recipe includes lots of fat. The reason for this is that the high amount of fat allows for the smooth and fast passage of stool through the digestive tract.
Another way to help your kitty poop is to bake homemade pumpkin treats. Cats love this recipe, so you will not have a hard time feeding this to your pet. Just like the first recipe, these pumpkin treats are also high in fat for easier passage of stool. Here is how to do it:
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 4 ounces canned salmon, without oil or salt
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
The first step in this recipe is to preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Then turn the rolled oats into fine flour using a blender or food processor. Drain the canned salmon and mix it well with the dry and wet ingredients until the mixture is firm enough to make small treats or cookies. Then place the cookies onto the baking sheet and pop them into the oven for approximately 30 minutes.
Allow the cookies to completely cool at room temperature before feeding them to your cat. These treats can stay fresh in the fridge for up to four days.
Other natural home remedies for constipated cats
Felines generally do not need plant-based fiber to maintain a healthy gut. However, adding this indigestible matter may help your kitty when stools are too hard to expel. Fiber is available as soluble or insoluble.
Soluble fiber supports the probiotic activities of bacteria living in the gut. These bacteria feed on the soluble fiber and release a fatty acid as a by-product, creating an acidic environment. This process prevents the dehydration of stools by retaining more water, thus allowing easier defecation.
On the other hand, insoluble fiber acts like a bulking agent for the stool. When your cat is producing small, hard stools, it may not create enough pressure in the gut to signal a bowel movement. Adding insoluble fiber to your cat’s diet may help bulk the stool and allow for smoother defecation.
Slippery elm powder
Slippery elm powder is an amazing remedy for constipation due to its anti-inflammatory effects. The powder works wonders by lubricating and soothing the gastrointestinal tract, providing instant relief for constipated cats. To prepare this, create a gruel by mixing the powder well with cold water. Use 100 milligrams of the powder per 10 pounds of your cat’s body weight for best results.
Aloe vera juice
Natural aloe vera may help relieve constipation in cats due to its gentle laxative effects. Simply mix a half teaspoon of aloe vera juice into your cat’s food to trigger a bowel movement. However, keep in mind that aloe vera may cause diarrhea in some cats. When in doubt, never hesitate to consult your vet before dosing your cat.
Wrapping it up
Feline constipation may be managed effectively once you understand the causes and symptoms. With the right treatment approach, your kitty should be able to experience relief sooner rather than later. And, once your cat is back to his happy self, make sure he maintains a balanced diet and lots of playtime activities to ensure healthy and regular bowel movements.
Finally, if you are ever in doubt regarding the cause or treatment of your cat’s constipation, please do not hesitate to consult a veterinarian.
Image: istockphoto.com / Svetlana Sultanaeva