Your cat keeps going to the litter box but nothing happens. No poop, no pee. Normally, you would have something to scoop out of the litter box at the end of the day. But today, there is nothing there. You could have sworn that your cat has gone in and out of the box several times.
If your cat keeps going inside the litter box but you cannot find a trace of poop, it is highly likely that he is constipated.
Why your cat keeps going to the litter box but nothing happens
If your cat keeps going to the litter box but nothing happens, it is highly likely that he is constipated. Apart from going to the litter box frequently, there are other signs that you should watch out for.
On average, a cat will pee two to three times a day and poop at least once. The actual number of times your pet will relieve himself will vary but will remain close to these averages. It is concerning enough to see your cat go to the litter box more than usual. More so if he is not peeing or pooping.
First, check his stomach. In constipated cats, you will notice that their stomachs are tensed. If your cat successfully clears his bowels, you will notice that his stools are hard and dry.
If your cat enters the litter box, do you hear him making a straining sound? How about his posture? Did you notice a change, like hunching? Did he finish his last meal? These are some of the signs that your cat might be dealing with constipation.
What causes constipation in cats?
Constipation is fairly common in cats. Some causes of these issues can be remedied quickly and easily while others require the attention of the veterinarian.
Dehydration is one of the leading causes of constipation in cats. This should not come as a surprise, especially because many cats are not fond of drinking water. Another diet-related cause of constipation is lack of fiber. Like humans, cats have a difficult time moving their bowels if their foods lack fiber.
Constipation can also be attributed to leading a sedentary lifestyle. If your cat spends most of his days sleeping and lying around your home, his intestines cannot move optimally, causing constipation.
Eating foreign objects like hair can cause blockages in the intestinal tract. However, before your cat suffers from constipation, he will show other symptoms like lack of appetite and stomach soreness.
Sometimes, constipation is a symptom of a larger medical disorder like hernias, tumors, and nerve disorders. It is possible that your cat is constipated because of the medication he is taking.
Some cats become constipated because they avoid using their litter boxes. Cats are fastidious creatures and they will avoid using the litter box if they think that it smells bad or is too dirty.
How cat constipation is treated
If you notice that your cat is showing signs of constipation, resist the urge to treat him at home. For one, medication for cat constipation is different from those used in humans. Using human medicine on cats without the approval of a veterinarian can cause more harm than good.
If you suspect that your cat is constipated, the best course of action for you to take is to bring your pet to the veterinarian. At the clinic, your vet will examine your pet so that he can determine which type of treatment is appropriate for your cat.
If your cat is constipated because of the lack of fiber in his diet, your vet will recommend a few brands of cat foods for you to consider. Other possible treatments for cat constipation include enemas, laxatives, probiotics, and stool softeners.
Preventing cat constipation
As previously mentioned, constipation is fairly common in cats. As such, you should constantly monitor your pet and make the necessary adjustments to prevent this from happening to your cat. But what exactly can you do?
Make sure your cat drinks water
If you look at the dietary habits of your cat’s ancestors, you will see that they did not drink much water. Instead, they hydrated themselves through the foods they eat.
To encourage your cat to drink more water, invest in a ceramic or metal bowl. Make sure that the bowl is wide enough that its sides do not touch your cat’s whiskers. Place a few extra bowls around your house to make water more accessible.
If your cat prefers running water, consider investing in a water fountain. Alternatively, you can leave the faucet dripping when you and your cat are in the kitchen.
Encourage your cat to move more
Engaging in physical activities gets all your pet’s body moving, including his gastrointestinal tract. In turn, this will help your cat move his bowels regularly and prevent constipation.
The best way to encourage your cat to move more is to play with him regularly. Strive to play with him at least 20 minutes a day. You can divide those minutes into smaller chunks to fit your schedule.
Consider adding more fiber to your cats diet
Fiber can help prevent constipation. However, too much can also cause constipation as well as bloating and gas. As such, consult your veterinarian about which type of cat food suits your cat best as well as how much fiber is sufficient to facilitate regular bowel movement.
What is FLUTD?
Another possible reason why your cat keeps going to his litter box is feline lower urinary tract disease or FLUTD. FLUTD is an umbrella term that is used for different types of urinary tract problems in cats.
Left unchecked, FLUTD can cause the blockage of the urinary system which can cause deaths in cats. Although the condition can affect both sexes, FLUTD is fatal to tomcats because of their narrow and long urethras.
Urine can form crystals that can irritate the bladder and cause other symptoms like straining, inappropriate urination, and constant use of the litter box. If the FLUTD goes undetected, the crystals can grow further and block urine flow.
Because FLUTD can be fatal, you should bring your cat to the vet immediately if you notice the symptoms.
Clean and check the litter box regularly
Cleaning the litter box should be a part of your routine as a cat owner. This will help prevent bad odors from circulating in your home while keeping infectious organisms at bay. Furthermore, cats like their litter boxes clean. Otherwise, they will not use these.
But apart from these, cleaning the litter box regularly allows you to observe your cat’s pee and poop, alerting you of potential issues before they become a problem.
Image: istockphoto.com / Darko Mlinarevic