If you are in tune with your cat, how they behave, and what their moods are like, then you should be pretty easily able to tell when something is wrong. This could include any number of problems, but one of the most frequent problems that cat owners find themselves dealing with is constipation in their cat.
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about constipation in cats and how you can help find the best cat food for constipation issues. Let’s begin!
About Cat Constipation
Constipation shouldn’t be a new concept to you, but you might not have ever had to deal with it with your cat! Though it might come as a surprise when it affects your otherwise healthy cat, you don’t have much to worry about. Cat or kitten constipation isn’t usually considered a very serious health problem and you can treat it fairly easily.
One of the best things that you can do is to keep an eye on your cat to catch any problems immediately. Cats often face complications because their owners don’t take them to the vet immediately and this can really make things worse. So, learn to be able to identify the symptoms and know when your cat is constipated or has something else going on health-wise. This is going to be your best weapon against health problems.
Our Top Picks For The Best Cat Food For Constipation
The Symptoms of a Constipated Cat – “My Cat is Not Pooping!”
As we said earlier, the best weapon against health problems like cat constipation is to identify them early. By doing this, you can lower the chances of complications from constipation spreading and causing other health problems.
However, not many regular people have dealt with cat constipation before, so you might not know what to look for. We’re going to walk you through the symptoms that you should be on the lookout for if you want to identify cat constipation early so that you can get them the care they need.
Examine the Stool
The first thing that you want to look for is that your cat is regularly producing stool. In other words, they are pooping regularly. It is typical for a cat to poop about once a day. This can fluctuate but should average out to that frequency. If your cat isn’t pooping and hasn’t for a couple of days, that could be a warning sign that your cat is experiencing constipation.
It’s not just frequency that you want to look for — it’s also the consistency. We know, gross! But you need to pay attention because these are some crucial signs that can lead you to fast diagnosis and treatment. A healthy stool should have moisture on the surface, which means that the litter should stick to it well. If the feces are hard and dry, that usually isn’t healthy and your cat might be exhibiting a symptom of constipation.
Behavior While Defecating
Another sign that your cat is having problems with producing stool is that the poop is outside of the litter box. When cats are having health problems related to their digestive system, they often act out by pooping or urinating outside their litter box. In the case of constipation, this will probably take form in your cat pooping outside of the litter box. If you do identify feces outside of the litter box, you also want to take a little closer look at it to make sure that it looks healthy from the outside.
Changed behavior is one of the biggest signs that your cat is having health problems. If your cat is not eating or drinking, that is a very clear sign that something is wrong and it may have to do with constipation. Additional signs include vomiting, hiding, loud meowing, crying, or showing signs of difficulty when trying to defecate.
If you see any of these symptoms individually or in combination, it would be a good idea to seek out the advice of a veterinarian professional. The severity of constipation in cats can vary, so while you won’t always need to see a vet for this issue, it’s best to err on the side of caution anyway.
Possible Causes of Constipation in Cats
Okay, so now you know what symptoms you should be looking for, but what you may not know is what is causing constipation in your cat. This can be frustrating since you want your cat to be in good health and not knowing what is wrong is very worrying.
Thankfully, there are some common issues that we can point to when pondering the cause of constipation in your cat. The causes are usually pretty typical, so you can make a good guess at what might be causing your cat’s discomfort.
One of the main reasons for constipation in cats is dehydration. This doesn’t just mean not getting enough water, although that is the end result. It could also mean that your cat has an underlying health issue that is causing dehydration. So, it’s not always a simple thing to fix.
If you are assuming that your cat is constipated due to issues with dehydration, you shouldn’t just try to simply give them more water to drink. If they are refusing to drink, it’s probably because of a more serious health problem. You’ll probably want to bring your cat to a veterinarian if this is the case to get them screened for illnesses that could lead to dehydration.
Some of the most common causes of dehydration in felines are kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and more serious diseases. You should be prepared to deal with these underlying and major issues when treating a cat with dehydration and you should also bring them to the vet ASAP if you suspect one of these might be affecting your cat.
One other less common reason for your cat’s troubles may be a ruptured anal sac, which can cause your cat pain while pooping and be the reason for their constipation. These afflictions typically arise more in older cats, so if you have an older cat who is having constipation troubles, it’s more likely that something else more serious is going on.
Cats can even experience constipation because of arthritis. Arthritis in cats can cause the cat to be unwilling or unable to go in the litter box. As a result of this pain, they hold their stool longer. This process dries out the stool and causes constipation issues. If you have an older cat, you may need to make special accommodations to make it more comfortable for them to use the litter box without having to endure the pain of stepping into it.
The final common reason that your cat may be constipated is that they are suffering from a disease called megacolon. If your cat has this disease, their large intestine has stopped functioning normally. The result of this disease could be constipation or obstipation. If it is obstipation, there is a complete blockage of the large intestine internally. This will obviously require medical attention from a veterinarian.
How to Help a Constipated Cat From Home
If your cat is experiencing constipation or dehydration that you think may be caused by a separate, more serious health issue, the first thing that you should do is contact your vet and make an appointment for them to see your cat. This is the best thing that you can do to ensure that your cat gets healthy ASAP.
You probably want to help your cat immediately, though. And there are some remedies that you can try from home in the meantime if you are waiting to get into the veterinarian. These are basic, but if the only problem your cat is facing is constipation, they may work just fine and solve your cat’s constipation problem without a trip to the vet.
Laxatone is an over-the-counter medication that you can try to give to your cat to help with constipation. The way that it works is that it lubricates your cat’s digestive tract to allow for the passing of stool. It comes in a non-intimidating and easy to ingest petroleum gel that is available in multiple different flavors. Your cat can easily lick it off of your fingers. Then, you just wait for it to hopefully work!
Miralax is a stool softener that might work. To use it on your cat, mix a ¼ teaspoon in with your cat’s wet food once per day. This laxative is commonly used with humans but will also do the trick with cats. Just make sure you stick to the recommended dosage.
If your cat’s problems are from a lack of fiber, you can try to give them Metamucil. It’s recommended that if you take this route, you give one to four teaspoons of it to your cat by mixing it in their food every 12 to 24 hours. An alternative source of fiber to Metamucil is wheat bran. To effectively use it, mix one to two tablespoons in with your cat’s food. You should do this every 12-24 hours. You can also use canned pumpkin to increase fiber intake, though it is less effective and less concentrated. To use pumpkin, mix in one to two tablespoons with each mean.
You could also try to increase your cat’s water consumption. It’s hard to make a cat drink more, but you can put more sources of water around your home in the hopes that your kitty will take advantage of them being there. If you currently use dry food, your cat might benefit from a switch over to canned cat food. This will introduce more moisture into your cat’s diet and help with their constipation and dehydration problems. If you have dry food and don’t want to switch, you could always mix in a little bit of water with the food to increase water intake.
Diet could very well be a factor in cat constipation. If your cat is overweight or appears to be an unhealthy weight, they might benefit from switching to a healthier diet. This can help not only constipation but their overall health and longevity.
Changes in Activity
The final thing that you can do to help treat your cat’s constipation from home is to increase the amount of time that you spend playing and being active. It is widely known that physical activity can help to relieve constipation and create the urge to poop. This is true in cats as well. Try playing with their favorite toys, having them chase you or their toys, and just generally stay active with them.
You could also try just putting more toys in the home to have them play by themselves if that’s more their style. Try filling your home with stimulating activities to get your cat moving more. Many people find success with more complex cat trees that your cat can have fun with and get moving. If it is a minor case of constipation, this might work.
Does Cat Constipation Massage Work?
If you’ve done any amount of research into home remedies for feline constipation, you may have come across something known as cat constipation massage. The basic theory is that you can help your cat pass stool easier if you massage their belly and abdomen to dislodge whatever is causing the blockage.
You may be wondering if this actually works. The answer is that sometimes, it can work. If your cat is experiencing very minor constipation and you believe there are no underlying issues, you can try to massage your cat’s abdomen as long as they’ll sit still for you.
If you are going to try massaging your cat to help with constipation, you need to be very wary and gentle. If you press in the wrong areas hard enough, you can certainly harm your cat and cause more problems that you’ll have to deal with. If you are going to use this method, make sure you understand where their intestines are located so that you don’t harm their kidneys or another organ. Press very gently and massage on the surface.
Medical Treatment for Cats With Constipation
You can try at-home methods for relieving some cases of constipation, but there’s too much at stake here to rely on it. If you suspect that your cat is having problems with constipation, you should bring them into a vet. Some people like to put it off because it can be expensive, but if health complications arise because it goes untreated, it will cost you even more.
The best thing that you can do when you start seeing signs of constipation or another serious medical matter is to call a vet to schedule an appointment. Be sure to describe all the symptoms. They may tell you what is going on right there on the phone and how you can fix it, but it’s most likely that they’re going to need to examine your cat and perform some tests to know exactly what’s going on.
Once you are at the vet, there are some treatment plans that are considered pretty standard for cats with constipation. The most common would be for the vet to manually administer fluids to your kitty using an enema. Using an enema should not, under any circumstances, be done at home. Be sure to get in to see a veterinarian if this is the solution that’s going to help your cat.
This is because some enemas are very toxic to cats. It takes a professional to know how to administer these safely to felines.
In addition to the fluids, your vet might also prescribe a synthetic sugar to help pull water into the colon. The water, once in the colon, helps break down and soften stools, making them easier to pass for your cat.
How to Choose the Best Cat Food for Constipation
If your cat is having frequent problems with constipation, your vet may recommend that you find a new cat food that is friendly to cats with constipation. However, with so many wet cat foods out there, how do you know which one is best or that will work for your cat?
We get it. There’s a lot of noise out there and it can be hard to identify products that are going to work well for your cat and you. Your cat’s health is the priority, and there are other factors that you’re going to want to know as well before you commit to cat food.
When shopping for the best cat food for constipation for your feline friend, you should be on the lookout for a few different factors. Primarily, you want to look at the moisture content of the foods you are deciding between. Constipation is often caused by lack of hydration, so naturally, you want a food that is going to introduce some more water to your cat’s diet.
For this reason, you are pretty much limited to wet cat foods. They have high water content and it’s also a bit easier to put more nutrients in them. There are exceptions, however. There are some dry cat foods out there that are designed for cats with constipation issues.
That brings us to the second thing that you want to look for when shopping for cat foods—nutrition. If your cat has had constipation problems in the past, you know how costly they can be when it comes time to see the vet. In a perfect world, you want to avoid the vet as much as possible in the future. A good way to do this is to ensure that your cat is getting all the health benefits and nutrients that it needs from its cat food.
Luckily it’s pretty easy to see ingredients on cat foods. All you need to do is look in the description when you are shopping online or the nutrition label when shopping in store. You should make sure that it doesn’t include any filler ingredients or ingredients that you know to be harmful to your cat. You should look for the inclusion of fiber, moisture, and quality ingredients. Avoid unhealthy byproducts and filler ingredients, which offer no nutritional value and can clog up your cat’s system.
Next up is affordability. You want to give your cat the healthiest food possible, but it doesn’t do either of you any good if you go broke trying to do it. You want to look at what the serving size is of the food that you buy and what you pay per serving to give you a good idea of the value that you are getting. Budget is a big concern, but don’t let it deter you from getting good quality food. There are good foods out there that are available to those on a budget, you just have to look a little harder and do your research. In the long run, spending a little more on cat food will likely save you money from all the vet trips that never happened as a result.
Finding the Best Dry Cat Food for Constipation
When it comes to dry foods for your cat’s constipation woes, you do have some limited options. This is because traditionally it is better to use wet cat food. However, there are dry cat foods out there to help with constipation. Here are some of the best options that we identified in our research.
The Best Cat Foods To Stop Constipation
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Dry Cat Food
- Iams Proactive Health Sensitive Stomach Adult Cat Food
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free
- Purina Beyond Indoor Grain Free Wet Cat Food
- Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Adult Wet Cat Food
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Dry Cat Food
This food is one of the few dry foods that are designed for constipation relief and gastrointestinal health. Though some medical-oriented cat foods can taste bad and be rejected by cats, we think your cat will actually find this one quite agreeable and tasty. It contains quality ingredients and proper nutrition to maintain a balanced diet for an adult cat.
Included in the ingredients of this food are the optimal levels of fiber, which helps promote the passing of stool and can help to solve your cat’s constipation troubles. This food is commonly used to treat fiber responsive colitis, diarrhea, and constipation.
You’ll also find prebiotics, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids in the ingredients. Each of these ingredients plays a role in keeping your cat happy and healthy. Probiotics in the food help to restore the cat’s natural intestinal flora, which has a big impact on your cat’s intestinal health and in turn, their stool.
Iams Proactive Health Sensitive Stomach Adult Cat Food
Highly Affordable Quality Food
Coming in at a much more affordable price is the Iams Proactive Health dry cat food. This is another dry cat food that is centered around having good ingredients. It’s not as expensive as the last option because it isn’t really intended for heavy medical usage.
This food isn’t just used for cats with special health needs—it’s used by millions of cats worldwide. Iams does have a great reputation for producing quality food and that can be seen in the ingredients. This bag is about 1/5 the price as the other bag with almost the same amount of food, meaning it’s definitely a good pick if you are on a budget.
This type of food is good for cats with digestive issues because it contains easy-to-digest proteins and won’t wreak havoc in your cat’s system. Since it’s a strong source of quality protein, it will also promote muscle growth and general health.
In the blend, you’ll also find fiber to help your cat avoid constipation issues and antioxidants to support the immune system. This is a must for adult cats, who are more susceptible to health problems and sickness as they get older.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free
Made with Real Chicken
This dry cat food from Blue Buffalo is also encouraging right off the bat due to Blue Buffalo’s impeccable reputation within the pet food industry. Blue Buffalo is notorious for using real, quality ingredients in the food that it makes and as a result, it is helpful for cats who have had past health problems in regaining their strength and helping to prevent future health problems.
This food also contains ingredients that help with hairball & weight control. The natural fibers help to eliminate hairballs and the carefully balanced ingredients in the food can also help to regulate weight.
This food is suitable for all ages and most health needs. The ingredients list contains healthy elements like cranberries, blueberries, and carrots which provide all the antioxidants that your cat will need to live happy and healthy.
Purina Beyond Indoor Grain Free Wet Cat Food
If you are looking for wet cat food to help your cat overcome constipation issues, this is a great choice. It comes in packs of 12 cans and contains quality ingredients while still being grain-free. The chicken in this wet cat food is real chicken, providing for a source of quality protein.
The well-balanced ingredients in this food help to promote healthy weight in your cat and the fiber will surely help with gastrointestinal and constipation issues that your cat may have.
Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Adult Wet Cat Food
Quality Ingredients & Impeccable Reputation of Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo once again lives up to its name with this wet canned cat food. It prides itself on containing quality ingredients and being grain-free, which is much easier on the stomach of your cat. This recipe, in particular, is aimed towards being protein rich. It includes cranberries and is balanced at the calorie level.
Cranberries will help to promote urinary tract health while dietary fibers promote intestinal health. It also helps to push hairballs through the digestion process and in turn, minimize litter box odor. This is the ideal cat food if your cat needs a moisture-rich food with quality ingredients.
In this article, we looked at dozens of products. We eventually narrowed it down to 5 that we felt met the criteria of being on the list. However, if you are looking for the BEST cat food for constipation, we believe there is one, clear choice.
The Purina Beyond Indoor wet cat food that we reviewed featured by far the most complete combination of all the features and considerations that we set out to achieve. It is affordable, contains plenty of moisture, and has quality ingredients to promote the continued health of your cat. For these reasons it is our number one pick for you and your kitty.
If you prefer dry food, we recommend the Iams bag of food. It also contains quality ingredients and is affordable, giving you the best possible value.
Remember, when looking to purchase cat food for constipation, always keeps your cat’s health your absolute number one priority. Consider all the variants when you are shopping for what works best for you and don’t be afraid to consult a vet! Good luck!