Constipation is more common in elderly cats than in younger cats and kittens. This may be due to a lack of muscle tone in an older cat's large intestine. Constipation is uncomfortable and dangerous for your cat. One recommended natural treatment for constipation in cats is olive oil.
Symptoms of Constipation
Take note of your cat's regular bowel movements. If your cat is not passing stool on a regular basis, this may be a sign of constipation. A hard, dry stool can also be a symptom. Regular stools should be moist but firm. Keep in mind that cats being fed a low residue diet will naturally have a harder stool than those eating standard manufactured foods. If your cat cries in the litter box, and appears to be straining, this is also a potential sign of constipation. A bloated, or sensitive, stomach may also indicate constipation.
Causes of Constipation
Constipation may be caused by old age, lack of exercise, overeating, poor diet, dehydration, pelvic injury or an obstruction. The obstruction is often caused by ingesting bones, grass or fur. Parasites may also be a cause of the constipation.
Constipation can be deadly for your cat. If allowed to continue, it may create a fecal impaction which creates a build up of toxins in the cat's system. Constipation can lead to megacolon, where the colon enlarges and is no longer able to contract as needed. At the first time of constipation, your veterinarian should be contacted and options for treatment discussed.
A natural remedy for constipation in cats is olive oil. Add one half to 2 tsps. of olive oil to your cat's food on a daily basis for no more than one week. Regular ingestion of olive oil could cause a vitamin A deficiency.
As a constipation preventative, cats being fed only a manufactured dry food diet could have 1 tbsp. of olive oil added to their food a few times a week. Olive oil helps intestinal muscle contractions, stimulates bile flow and softens feces. However, some cats, especially those with compromised systems, may have a hard time digesting the olive oil. Watch your cats for any signs of distress.