It wasn’t a pleasant thing to see, but I was actually glad it happened right in front of me because I was able to act pretty quickly. One of my client’s cats sat down in front of me, scooted his butt on the carpet, and walked off, leaving a lump of poo for me to ponder.
Yuck! It was, as I said, not pleasant, but it alerted me to a problem with my client’s cat. I cleaned up the mess and clearly saw that there was fur in his poop. Knowing that too much ingested fur during grooming can lead to hairballs, and also constipation, I was actually happy that he did that so I could help him. Other signs that your pet is constipated:
- Small, hard stools
- Decreased pooping
- Straining while trying to poop
- Signs of discomfort, such as taking up a hunched posture
- Loss of appetite
I did some research and talked to the cat’s vet to see if I could try feeding him some extra fiber in the form of plain, canned pumpkin. Before this incident, I have done this with dogs, but not cats. I was skeptical that he would eat the stuff, but I was willing to give it a try.
I mixed a small can of moist cat food with a couple of teaspoons of pumpkin, which you can find in the grocery store. Be careful not to get the can used for making pies, as those contain sugar and spices. You want 100% pumpkin with no added sugar, spices, or flavors.
The cat food mixed with bright orange pumpkin looked pretty unappetizing, but the cat loved it! I usually feed him dry cat food, so he thought he was getting a great treat. After a couple of days of moist cat food with a teaspoon or two of pumpkin, he found relief.
He’s pooping regularly again and I notice that his poops are “normal” looking again, meaning they aren’t small, hard, dry lumps with fur. It’s not a fun task to be checking out cat poo, but staying aware of your cat’s bathroom habits is always useful in helping to keep him healthy and happy.
I still give him his pumpkin treats to keep him regular. I also increased his brushings to get rid of shedding fur, and feed him anti-hairball treats once in a while.
In the process of researching cats and constipation, I also found that if you only give dry cat food to your pet, he is more likely to get constipated. It’s a good idea to feed him canned food also because of the high moisture content. Talking about moisture, make sure your cat drinks enough water. And just like humans, exercising will also help keep pets regular.
You can also try feeding him some fiber such as Metamucil, mineral oil, oat bran, or special cat food with extra fiber. The vet mentioned that there is medication available to treat constipation. Talk to your vet about this. I also found that older cats tend to get constipated more easily. (My client’s cat is 14 years old.)
Dogs can suffer from constipation also, so if you encounter that problem, check with your vet and give pumpkin a try. As with anything, don’t overdo the fiber increase in your pet’s diet. You don’t want them to go the other way and end up getting diarrhea.
As with anything unusual in your pet, your best bet is always to take him to the veterinarian for a check-up to ensure that the problem is just constipation and nothing more serious.