Cats are rarely constipated, but when the condition strikes, you may notice your cat straining to empty its bowels with no success. If the litter box remains empty for more than two days, it's time to see your veterinarian to rule out a blockage or an underlying disorder. However, if your cat is suffering from occasional or mild constipation, home remedies for cat constipation may provide him or her relief.
Video of the Day
Add fiber to your cat's diet
Adding non-digestible fiber to your cat's diet may offer relief. Sprinkle psyllium, the active ingredient in Metamucil, on cat food to soften your cat's stools. Use only non-flavored and non-sweetened psyllium products that contain no additives.
Psyllium powder causes the contents in the large intestine to become bulkier, which results in intestinal contractions and bowel movements, according to PetCoach. It may take up to 72 hours before you see constipation relief using psyllium powder.
Not only can psyllium powder be used to treat constipation at home, it can be used to increase stool size to assist with anal gland problems. The increased bulk of the stool places pressure on the anal glands so that they can express themselves. Alternatively, mix a little plain pumpkin puree into your cat's food. Most cats enjoy the taste, and the pumpkin will encourage moisture retention in the stool, making it easier to pass.
The fiber in pumpkin can also help absorb excess water in a cat's digestive system if he or she is having diarrhea, helping to firm up the cat's stool. Some commercial cat foods are higher in fiber content than others. Look for a high fiber percentage on the nutrition label of both canned and dry cat foods.
Encourage your cat to drink more water
Your cat's stools may become hard, compact and difficult to pass if he or she isn't getting enough water. Provide a constant source of fresh water, or try mixing a little water into your cat's canned or dry cat food to provide additional hydration. Some cats are not big on drinking plain water, but adding a little broth may convince them to drink more.
A pet fountain may also encourage your cat to drink more. If your cat prefers to drink out of a water bowl, place a few bowls throughout the house so your cat can easily get a drink when he or she is thirsty.
Keep your cat groomed to prevent mechanical constipation
In the case of mechanical constipation, a condition seen occasionally in long-haired cats when the fur surrounding their anus tangles tightly preventing a bowel movement, you may carefully cut away the offending matted hair.
Alternatively, you could take your cat to the vet or a qualified groomer to trim the hair for you. If your cat has been unable to have a bowel movement for a few hours, however, the stools may now be dry and compact and the cat may need additional dietary remedies.
Use a lubricant laxative
A lubricant laxative, such as a hairball gel, may also help ease constipation in cats. According to the MSPCA, lubricant laxatives inhibit the absorption of water in the gastrointestinal tract, which allows for easier passing of stools.
You can find hairball gel at your local pet store. Hairball gels come in many flavors, including malt, fish, and chicken. You can put the gel on top of your cat's food or put it directly onto your cat's paw for him or her to lick off. Alternatively, you can give your cat petroleum jelly as a lubricant laxative. Put a dab of petroleum jelly on your cat's nose. He or she will lick it off immediately.