When was the last time you heard the “scrape scrape” sound from the litter box that your cat made once they finished their business???
If it is more than 1 to 2 days, then it’s confirmed that you have a constipated kitten in the litter. It can happen to them for many reasons. This can be very uncomfortable and stressful for your little ball of fur, and it can also lead to serious complications.
You may have already read our article where we talked about these small fellows getting dried feces on their back due to constipation and how to get rid of it. (if not, then click here and give a small peak!!).
However, you need to identify the case while also taking some steps to alleviate their suffering, help them pass stool and prevent it from happening again. Wondering how to do that?? Well, keep reading to discover the magic solution for your furry friend…
What are the common causes of constipation in kittens?
We should first comprehend the underlying causes of any problem before we can solve it. As a result, determining why your kitten is not pooping is crucial.
I used to be worried when I noticed my cat doesn’t defecate for a few days, but as I realized why this happened, everything made sense. Let us explore what are the common causes of their irregularity of pooping.
What dietary or environmental factors can affect bowel movements?
There are various reasons for causing constipation in kitties, but some of the most common ones are related either to their diet or environment.
For example, kittens who are weaned too early, fed low-quality or dry food, or given cow’s milk may have trouble digesting their food and passing stool.
Again, those who have limited access to a clean litter box, or who are stressed by changes in their surroundings, may also hold back their poop and become constipated. Sometimes, bottle feeding can also cause hard defecation in baby cats.
How can dehydration or low fluid intake contribute to constipation?
Another common cause of constipation in kittens is dehydration or low fluid intake. Water is essential for every living being, it keeps the stool soft and moist, and helps it move through the intestines.
Kittens who don’t drink enough water, or who lose fluids due to vomiting, diarrhea, or fever, may become dehydrated and resulting in constipation. It occurs in kittens especially that are 2-4 weeks old, as they are unable to defecate on their own. Sometimes, your little cat may not defecate when stimulated.
How can you recognize the signs of constipation in a kitten?
Before you treat your constipated cat, at first you have to identify whether they have a defect or not. So, how to determine that? Well, recognize if they have any sign or symptoms of constipation.
What are the common signs and symptoms of constipation in kittens?
- No feces produced in 24-48 hours:
It’s the most obvious sign of constipation. A healthy kitten should poop at least once a day, but if there is no stool in the litter box for more than 24 to 48 hours, then it may indicate irregularity of defecation.
- Producing small, hard fecal balls:
If the kitten is able to pass some stool, but it is very small, hard, and dry that is considered abnormal and unhealthy, and it may indicate constipation. It’s a serious issue for cats because it may also allude to other problematic health concerns.
- Straining or crying while defecating:
Constipated cats may not be able to pass their feces easily. As a result, they spend a long time in the litter box, squatting and pushing, but with no result. This can be very painful and frustrating for the kitten.
- Lose interest in food:
Your little ball of fur may lose their interest to eat, or eat their average or normal amount of food, as they struggle with defecation. They will be in pain in their stomach and will likely lack the energy to eat additional food, which their backed-up abdomen will then have to digest.
A constipated kitten may vomit due to nausea or abdominal pressure from the stool. Vomiting can also cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which can worsen the constipation.
Over time, the pain, discomfort, dehydration, or lack of appetite of the constipation, or just the energy it needs to deal with being constipated, may cause your pet to tire and become lethargic. They may lose interest in playing, grooming, or exploring, as well as sleep more than usual or hide in a quiet place.
- Discharge and irritation of the anus:
And the last common symptoms of constipation is discharge and inflammation of the anus. A constipated kitten may have liquid or mucus coming out of the anus and redness or swelling around it. This may indicate galling or infection of the anus or rectum due to the hard stool.
What are the best ways to prevent constipation in kittens?
So, now that you know the signs and symptoms of constipation. But acknowledging these are not enough if you don’t know how to prevent it or how to make a constipated kitten poop.
Well, most cases of constipation can be resolved by providing a proper diet, drinking enough water, and encouraging some physical activity. Here are some steps you can follow to help your kitten poop without struggling.
- Promoting hydration and offering fresh water
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation in kittens. When a kitten does not drink enough water, their body starts to reabsorb water from their stool, making it hard and dry. Make sure your little kitty has access to clean and fresh water at all times. You can also encourage them to drink more by using a cat water fountain.
- Providing a balanced diet and proper nutrition
Along with good hydration, provide high-quality kitten food that contains enough fiber and moisture that can help prevent constipation. Avoid feeding your pet low-quality or inappropriate foods that may cause digestive issues or allergies. Make sure to monitor your kitten’s feces quality while transitioning them from nursing to solid food, and do it gradually. If you are bottle feeding your kitten, make sure to do it properly, as it can also cause defecation difficulty.
- Encouraging exercise and physical activity
Physical activity can help stimulate the intestinal motility and promote regular bowel movements. It can also prevent obesity, which is another risk factor for constipation. Therefore, provide your kitten with adequate toys, scratching posts, tunnels, and other items, and play with them regularly which can keep them active and entertained.
What home remedies can help relieve mild constipation in kittens?
Let’s talk about some home remedies that can help alleviate mild constipation in kittens.
- Using natural fiber sources like pumpkin or psyllium husk
You can add a small amount of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling), psyllium husk powder (such as Metamucil or Vetasyl), or bran to your kitten’s food once or twice a day. Iit can soften their stool and be easy to pass.
Additionally, you can try chicken, lamb, special limited ingredients, or hypoallergenic diets to minimize inflammation and allow the digestive tract to function properly.
- Incorporating moist food or broth into their diet
Moisture can help prevent dehydration and lubricate the poop. Add water or low-sodium chicken broth to their dry food, or feeding them wet food a mix of wet and dry food.
- Trying gentle abdominal massage techniques
You can gently massage your kitten’s abdomen with circular motions and avoid pressing too hard or causing pain. You can also lift their hind legs slightly to help gravity move the stool along.
When should you seek veterinary assistance for a constipated kitten?
While some cases of constipation can be treated at home with simple remedies, some cases may require veterinary attention. You should seek professional help for a constipated kitten if:
- They haven’t pooped for more than 48 hours (serious constipation consider that last longer than 2-3 weeks).
- They have signs of discomfort like straining, bloating, swelling, lethargy, or restlessness.
- They have blood and mucus in their stool.
If you see any of these signs, take your furry friend to a nearby vet clinic and have them a thorough checkup by a qualified vet for their defecation difficulty.
How can you safely administer medications to a constipated kitten?
Tips and techniques for giving oral medications
- The first and most important tip is consulting with your veterinarian before applying any medication to your constipated kitten.
- For liquid medications, you will need a syringe or dropper to measure the correct dose and squirt it into your kitten’s mouth.
- For pill or capsule medications, you will need to place them directly into your kitten’s mouth or hide them in a tasty treat or food.
- You can also use a pill popper device to push the pill or capsule over your kitten’s tongue without putting your fingers in their mouth.
Ensuring proper dosage and minimizing stress
- Make sure you know the exact dose and frequency which is prescribed by your veterinarian.
- Follow the instructions carefully and do not give more or less than the recommended amount.
- Check if the medication can be given with or without food, as this may affect its effectiveness and absorption.
- Choose a quiet and comfortable place while giving the medication to minimize stress for your cat.
- Restrain your pet gently by holding their head or wrapping them in a towel.
- Praise and reward your kitten after giving the medication with a treat or a toy.
What steps can you take to prevent recurrent constipation?
So far, you’ve learned how to safely and properly give medication to your constipated kitten. But what if your little furball suffers from this problem again? Don’t worry, we have some recommendations to prevent recurrent constipation issues.
- Long term strategies for maintaining regular bowel movements
- Increase fiber intake: Feed your kitten a high-quality, balanced diet that includes high-fiber foods.
- Stay hydrated: Make sure your kitten has access to fresh water at all times to stay hydrated.
- Exercise regularly: Encourage your kitten to exercise and play regularly, to improve blood circulation and muscle tone in the digestive system.
- Litter-box management: Provide your kitten with a clean and comfortable litter box, and scoop it daily. Make sure the litter box is large enough for your kitten to move around and squat comfortably.
- Avoid overusing medications: Laxatives or enemas can cause dependency and worsen constipation in the long run. Use them as directed by the vet and for a short period of time.
- Grooming practices to minimize hair ingestion
Hair ingestion can occur when your kitten swallows its own hair or when it licks or grooms other cats. Hair can pile up in the digestive tract and form a hairball, which can obstruct the bowel and cause constipation.
To minimize hair ingestion, you can follow these grooming practices:
- Brush your kitten regularly and dispose of the loose hair properly. Use a special comb or a grooming glove to remove any mats or tangles from your kitten’s fur. [click here to learn what causes cat’s to get matted fur on their coat]
- Give them a hairball remedy, such as a paste or a chewable tablet, as recommended by your veterinarian. It’ll help to lubricate the digestive tract and facilitate the passage of hairballs.
- Avoid letting your kitten lick or groom other cats excessively. Discourage other cats from licking or grooming your kitten by gently pushing them away or distracting them with a toy or a treat.
- If you suspect that your little feline has ingested a large amount of hair, seek veterinary attention immediately.
When is it necessary to seek emergency care for a constipated kitten?
Identifying signs of severe constipation or obstruction
Before seeking emergency care for a constipated kitten, you need to identify the signs of severe constipation or obstruction, like distressed behavior, lack of defecation, abdominal discomfort and other physical issues.
Understanding the urgency of prompt veterinary attention
If constipation is not resolved quickly, it can lead to a more severe condition called obstipation, which is a complete blockage of the colon by fecal matter. The stool can block the colon and make it bigger and weaker. Sometimes, the colon can break and leak feces into the belly, resulting in damage to the nerves and muscles that control bowel movements, or even death. That’s why it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention.
Constipation is a common and serious problem in kittens that can cause them unbearable pain and discomfort. As cat owners, we want to help our kittens poop normally and avoid any complications. By following the tips suggested in this article, you can help your kitten overcome constipation and restore their bowel health.
Thank you for reading, and I hope this information was helpful in making your constipated kitten poop. Don’t forget to leave a comment and share our post.