How Long Does Cat Constipation Last Before It Becomes Dangerous? An Explanation of the Cause and Solution
Cats can experience constipation just like humans, and when they don’t have a bowel movement for several days, it can cause concern. If a cat experiences no bowel movement for over three days, it is considered dangerous. The causes of constipation in cats can range from lack of water to stress and may even indicate a serious underlying health issue. In this article, the signs of constipation, the causes, potential solutions, and when to seek veterinary care will be discussed.
✨Constipated? Signs that your cat shows
During the process of toilet cleaning, cat owners frequently observe their feline’s constipation. Indeed, there are also indications of constipation that can be seen in the appearance and behavior of a cat’s feces if they have not defecated for several days. Let us examine some indications of constipation that your cat may display.
❂ Hard and small poop
Constipation in cats can be detected by observing their feces. If the feces appear to be hard and small, this could indicate that the cat is experiencing constipation due to a lack of water in the feces. The digestive process in a cat’s body involves the passage of food through the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, resulting in the production of feces. The formation of feces is a result of the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine and the remaining waste being expelled through the absorption of water in the large intestine. Although cats are adapted to survive without a significant intake of water due to their desert-dwelling ancestors, a lack of water can lead to hard feces. Additionally, a decrease in bowel movements or blockages in the large intestine or pain during bowel movements can result in the feces becoming hard as it remains in the large intestine and absorbs water. With the increase in water scarcity and decreased physical activity during winter, it is important to monitor the feces of cats closely to prevent the signs of constipation from being overlooked.
❂Going to the bathroom but not doing anything
Constipation in cats can be identified through physical appearance and behavioral changes. The presence of symptoms such as difficulty in defecation despite being in a proper posture, prolonged standing time while attempting to defecate, and frequent trips to the bathroom can all indicate constipation. Additionally, a cat’s preference for specific elimination environments should be taken into consideration. A dirty or uncomfortable bathroom can lead to constipation, so it is important to ensure that the preferred bathroom is kept clean and comfortable.
❂The interval of defecation is long, and has not defecated for several days
If the time between your cat’s bowel movements increases or if you observe a lack of defecation for multiple days, these could be indications of constipation. It is recommended to monitor your cat’s daily routines and ensure proper hygiene in their bathroom area to avoid missing any signs of constipation. The type of defecation your cat has can provide valuable information for maintaining their health. It is advisable to keep track of the specifics each time and be able to provide this information to the veterinary hospital in case of any health issues to facilitate a more efficient diagnosis.
✨How many days without defecation is dangerous?
It is considered a danger for cats to go without defecating for three or more days. The frequency of a cat’s defecation can range from daily to every other day and is unique to each cat. Therefore, monitoring the pattern of your cat’s defecation is important. The responsibility of ensuring the health of the cat falls on the owner, who is likely to be the first to detect any changes. If any concerns arise regarding the cat’s health, it is advisable to seek the advice of an animal hospital promptly.
✨What are the causes of constipation in cats?
There are multiple factors that can contribute to a cat’s constipation, including insufficient water intake and stress. Below, we will examine some of the common causes of constipation that can be addressed in the home.
❂ Changed diet
Cats, similar to humans, have a close association with their food and excrement. Consequently, dietary changes can result in constipation for cats. The consistency of feces and constipation are linked to the presence of “dietary fiber,” which plays a crucial role in the intestinal peristaltic movement. If a change in diet leads to a noticeable decrease or hardening of feces, it is advisable to revert back to the original diet.
❂ Lack of hydration
Despite being animals that do not require a significant amount of water, cats can still experience constipation due to dehydration. If constipation is caused by dehydration, it is advisable to provide food or snacks that contain more water. If a dry food diet is typically given, it is recommended to switch to a wet food diet that has a higher hydration content.
Cats are prone to stress and may cease using the litter box when they experience it. It is crucial to prevent any sudden alterations in the surroundings that may induce stress in cats. Providing a stress-free and comfortable environment for the cat to use the litter box is also crucial.
❂ Dirty litter box
Strong preferences for the toilet exist in cats and a decrease in frequency of use may occur if the toilet is dirty or unpleasant. The maintenance of cleanliness in the litter box can also prevent constipation. Additionally, it is important to determine the cat’s preferred toilet based on the preferred shape and type of sand.
❂ Ingestion of foreign objects
Constipation can occur when foreign objects, such as strings, are ingested and cause blockages in the intestine. To prevent this, small objects and string-like items should be kept out of reach from cats. It is crucial to exercise caution when selecting toys for cats as strings and feathers from bird toys can easily be swallowed.
Cats are known for their self-grooming habits, which can result in hairballs leading to constipation. If such is the case, it is advisable to provide the cat with a diet that is high in fiber, such as catnip or fiber-rich food. The intake of fiber helps to stimulate intestinal movement and facilitates the elimination of ingested hairballs.
✨Illness or injury can also be the cause
The well-being of a cat can be threatened when it experiences constipation, leading one to ask, “Is the cat unwell?” “This could potentially be perilous!” This raises concerns. There are several causes of constipation in cats, but it is often linked to some form of illness. This article will discuss the suspected illnesses related to cat constipation.
For instance, “defecation pain”, “stenosis”, “giant colon disease”, and “dehydration” are among the suspected causes. In the case of “defecation pain”, the presence of blood on the surface of the stool suggests that the stool was hard and a portion of the anus was damaged and bled. It is possible that the cat is constipated due to discomfort during defecation. Additionally, inflammation of the “anal glands” located on either side of the anus, referred to as “anal glanditis”, can result in pain during defecation.
Stenosis refers to a state where feces are unable to pass through, such as due to tumors or polyps in the colon (part of the large intestine) or pelvic fractures. It can also be caused by deformities in the pelvis resulting from traffic accidents. Prolonged accumulation of feces in the colon can lead to poor mobility and looseness, and if constipation persists, a vicious cycle can ensue. Chronic severe constipation can result in “giant colon disease,” in which the colon stretches and expands.
Constipation can also be caused by dehydration resulting from a lack of water. For instance, “nephropathy,” a disease where kidney function decreases, can lead to dehydration and symptoms of constipation due to water shortages. Moreover, other illnesses such as “diabetes” and “hyperthyroidism” can also cause dehydration and result in constipation, so caution is advised.
If symptoms such as “chronic constipation”, “lack of appetite and energy”, “vomiting and diarrhea”, and “fresh blood in stool” are observed, it may indicate the presence of an illness. Additionally, if the cat has not defecated for over three days regardless of other symptoms, a veterinary examination is recommended.
✨What to do when a cat becomes constipated.
When a feline experiences constipation, it can be relieved through some simple measures. Let’s explore the different methods to alleviate the issue!
❂ Revert to the previous food regimen
If the cat’s constipation is a result of a change in its diet, try reverting back to the food it was consuming before the constipation. If the condition improves upon returning to the previous food, it’s best to avoid making further changes.
❂ Encourage hydration
In cases where dehydration is the cause, it is important to encourage the cat to drink water. Place the water source in close proximity to the cat or provide food and snacks that have a high water content. Wet food is recommended over dry food as it contains more water.
If the cat grooms itself, hairballs can lead to constipation. By brushing the cat, you can reduce the number of hairballs it ingests and promote bonding with the feline.
❂ Minimize stress
Cats are highly sensitive to stress and changes in their environment. If the cat is experiencing stress, it may result in constipation. To minimize stress, it’s important to adjust the environment. For instance, provide additional toilets or separate the eating and defecating areas.
❂ Maintain cleanliness of the litter box
Stress and lack of physical activity can also lead to constipation. If the cat experiences discomfort while using the litter box, such as a dirty litter box or a change in location, it may result in stress-induced constipation. Regular exercise is also crucial to maintain the movement of the intestines and avoid constipation.
❂ Keep the room clean
Accidental ingestion can also cause constipation in cats. It’s important to keep the room clean to prevent accidental ingestion of foreign objects. Pay special attention to stringy items as they can easily become lodged in the intestines.
✨ If constipation continues, go to the animal hospital
The persistence of constipation in cats may indicate a serious underlying illness, so it is advisable to seek medical attention at an animal hospital if the cat has not had a bowel movement for more than three days. At the hospital, diagnostic tests such as X-rays will be conducted to determine the cause of the constipation and appropriate treatment will be administered. If the cat is found to be in good health, dietary changes, medication, laxatives, and enemas may be used to alleviate the constipation. The pet owner’s input is crucial in helping the hospital make a proper diagnosis and provide effective treatment. It is recommended to carefully monitor the cat’s bowel movements and overall condition on a daily basis.
Constipation is not just a problem for humans, it can also affect cats, however, it is often indicative of an underlying serious health issue in felines. The causes of constipation in cats are numerous. To ensure the health of your feline companion, it is important to regularly monitor their condition and the appearance of their feces. If any abnormalities are noticed, it is recommended to seek veterinary attention promptly.