Signs and Symptoms
Most people tend to relate constipation and other digestive problems to human beings disregarding the fact that animals too can experience this problem. In cats the condition is referred to as feline constipation. It is a condition manifested when the cat finds it difficult to excrete faecal matter because of digestive problems. In most such cases, foods taken in by the cat move at a very slow pace in the digestive tract, causing the colon to absorb high levels of water. This in turn results in drying up and hardening of the cat’s faecal matter and subsequent constipation.
When cats experience constipation, their defecation is normally infrequent and incomplete. They have difficulty in passing faecal matter. The process can be very painful and the cat may end up feeling ill and uncomfortable most of the time. This condition is normally caused by inactivity. Poor diet and fluid intake also contributes to constipation in cats. If the condition is prolonged, it may worsen and the cat may be unable to defecate at all, causing feline obstipation. Severe constipation in cats manifests in a more aggravated condition referred to as feline megacolon.
Feline Megacolon and Constipation in Cats
Cats of all ages, breeds and gender can experience both constipation and feline megacolon. However, feline megacolon tends to affect male cats of middle age and domestic breeds of shorthairs. The causes are varied. Apart from the common causes linked to Cat Dietary Requirements and sedentary lifestyles, drugs and medication can also contribute to these conditions. Endocrinal, neurological and metabolic diseases can also cause constipation in cats. Feline megacolon occurs when the large intestines enlarge and fill with the hard faecal matter.
Cats suffering from feline constipation and megacolon manifest irregular and strained defecation. Usually the faeces excreted are hard and dry. The cat howls in the process of defecation because of pain. They may also visit their litter boxes several times but produce scattered and little faecal matter. Such cats may experience Cat Vomiting even when defecating. Exacerbated conditions of feline constipation and megacolon lead to a Cat Loss of Appetite and subsequent loss of weight. The cat may also become lethargic.
When the cat exhibits such symptoms, consult a veterinary doctor immediately. The vet may have to carry out some tests to diagnose whether the cat is suffering from constipation or has other health problems associated with the condition.
Treatment of feline constipation and megacolon
Treatment of both feline constipation and megacolon may vary depending on cause and severity of the cat’s condition. Mild constipation usually clears up on its own. Home remedies may involve change of diet. It is advisable to include more fiber in their diet such as psyllium husks and pumpkin, and high quality canned food.
Increased water intake and regular exercise as well as grooming may also be useful. For persistent and severe cases, the vet may have to remove the faeces using medical procedures and prescribe medication for both constipation and dehydration.
Some cases of feline constipation may be a symptom of Cat Colitis. It manifests as inflammation of the colon that causes pain during defecation and may cause the cat to stop excreting.