Cats and constipation,what to give to a cat as a laxative

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Jeankit 2 years, 11 months ago.

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    This is a wonderful site to look into many things regarding cats.

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    “If people have a need to give cats laxatives you really need to know what you are doing. One is for simple constipation is what usually you use a laxative for. Cats majority of times don’t get constipated routinely. They might have a change in diet, and other things might be going on. But more than likely with those sorts of problems will cause stool to actually be very soft or have diarrhea more than being constipated. But if you do have a cat that is constipated, and you actually know that it is constipated then without, I mean you really do need to know that it is constipated. I mean there are lots of things that look like cats are constipated they could be straining, and they are going to the litter box a lot. With male cats could be actually trying to urinate or female cats could be trying to urinate, and they might have a urinary tract infection, and they might not be constipated. So if they actually are constipated there’s a few things you can do sometimes just as a one time usage, and at other times as something more on a management level. One of the things I like to use as sometimes just as using it once or twice a product called Laxatone. It’s a mineral oil based product, and this one is tuna flavored. And I have not found one that has mice flavored ones yet, but tuna seems to be pretty popular with cats. So this is a good product to use once a day for a couple of days that might help. You don’t want to use regular mineral oil. It use to be before these products came out that some people might just get mineral oil and use that for a cat. But it’s really, can be a really bad problem, because sometimes a cat actually aspirate the oil, and then you have got other problems in their lungs. So stay away from that. If you have a regular problem with cats being constipated for whatever reason sometimes just adding more fiber to the diet. One of the things they found by adding more fiber a product that people can take is called Metamucil. It’s just a little high fiber product, and I have a bottle of Metamucil, well it’s not Metamucil it is called Vetasyl. It’s another veterinary product. These are just little capsules that can be used, but basically they are just full of a powder of Metamucil non-flavored you don’t have to get the orange flavor whatever. And basically that much would just be a pinch or two, and you would start that with a cat. Now this takes a couple of days to take effect, so it would be more for long term management. More than just doing it as a one time use. The other thing is as far as fiber in a diet some people recently have been using canned pumpkin. The type of pumpkin you use for pumpkin mix as long as it doesn’t have a lot of sugar in it. And using that to mix it in. Some cats seem to like the pumpkin, and that also adds a lot of fiber. So on a basic dietary management thing you can add the fiber. If it’s one or two times or if you want to get rid of hairballs Laxatone is good. But be very, very careful that you absolutely know that your cat is constipated first before you do anything.”



    Home remedies for kittens;

    Feline constipation can happen to cats of any age, even newborn kittens. Symptoms of cat constipation include a cat not wanting to be touched around the abdomen, a distended abdomen and passing small, hard stools. The stools may be flecked with blood because the straining may break open rectal tissue.

    Home Remedies for Kittens

    1. It is important that newborn kittens (under one month old) defecate every day, otherwise toxins such as phosphorus build up in the body, which can potentially kill the kitten. The mother will usually stimulate her kittens to urinate and defecate by licking under their tails. If the kitten is orphaned, then a cotton ball dipped in warm water can be used in place of a mother cat’s tongue.

    If the kitten is constipated, first weigh the kitten. Smear a little petroleum jelly on the anal region, which is usually sore and inflamed in constipated kittens. This can help soothe the pain. According to, adding 3cc’s of milk of magnesia per ounce of the kitten’s weight to the kitten’s formula should get the digestive system moving again. But if 24 hours goes by and the kitten still has not excreted, call the vet immediately.

    Home Remedies For Cats

    2. Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook recommends Metamucil powder to treat cat constipation. Serve the powder with the cat’s regular dinner. Add 1 to 3 tbsp. of the powder to canned wet food or moistened dry food and mix. If the cat refuses to eat the food, then try milk of magnesia. Weigh the cat. For every pound that the cat weighs, give half a teaspoon of milk of magnesia. Only give it once a day. The cat will need to be wrapped in a towel or held in a person’s lap and the milk of magnesia given by eyedropper or pipette.

    Other Tips

    3. Feeding the cat food that is higher in fiber can help prevent constipation. Also, be sure the cat is drinking enough water, which promotes a more comfortable passage of stools. To encourage the cat to drink more water, place several bowls around the home. Be sure the water bowl is not near the litter pan, as the smell of the litter pan deters the cat from drinking the water. According to veterinarian Dr. Bari Spielman, you should encourage constipated cats to become more active, as exercise can also help stimulate the bowels. Brush the cat regularly to prevent hairballs, which may block the digestive tract. If the cat stops eating, begins vomiting or seems to be depressed, or if the home remedies do not work in 24 hours, call the vet.



    “In 15+ years of experience as a feline veterinarian, I have not seen constipation problems in cats who do not eat dry food. It’s logical, therefore, to think that diet plays a significant role in development of the problem.”

    Constipated Cats

    By Jean Hofve, DVM

    A surprising number of cats have problems with constipation (abnormal accumulation of feces and difficulty defecating), and similar but more serious conditions such as obstipation (complete obstruction of the colon by feces) and megacolon (damaged nerves and muscles in the colon causing an inability to defecate). Constipation is uncomfortable, even painful. Constipated cats may defecate (or try to) outside the litterbox, because they associate pain or discomfort with the box itself. Other signs of constipation include irritability, painful abdomen,cat colon lethargy, and poor appetite or even loss of appetite.

    The colon, the last part of the intestinal tract, is a large muscular structure ending at the rectum. It contains most of the intestinal bacteria that reside in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These bacteria finish up the digestion of protein. By-products of this process include short-chain fatty acids that nourish the cells lining the colon. Some of these lining cells absorb water, while others secrete mucus to lubricate the stool and keep it moving along.

    Most cats defecate about once a day. A constipated cat may only defecate every 2 to 4 days, or even less. Usually the stools are hard and dry, because their long stay in the colon allows for absorption of most of their water content. However, occasionally a constipated cat can appear to have diarrhea, because liquid stool is the only thing that can get around the stuck mass of feces.

    Causes for pooping problems include neurologic problems, pelvic injury, obstruction (by hair, bones, etc.), and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). (See this article for more info on IBD.) A dirty litter box may cause a cat to avoid the box and become constipated by holding the stool too long. Hooded litterboxes are a particular problem because they hold odor in, potentially making the box environment extremely unpleasant for the cat.

    dry cat food In 15+ years of experience as a feline veterinarian, I have not seen constipation problems in cats who do not eat dry food. It’s logical, therefore, to think that diet plays a significant role in development of the problem. (Since writing this article, I have heard from 2 readers whose cats developed constipation problems even on all-wet-food diets; so, it’s not impossible, but happily it is fairly rare.) Some cats may need more fiber than is present in very low fiber diets such as most canned, raw and homemade diets.You can always add a pinch of fiber (ground flaxseeds and ground chia seeds, aka Salba, are reasonably palatable and work very well).

    Indeed, the initial treatment for constipation is usually a change in diet. Historically, these cats have been put on high-fiber dry foods. Fiber modulates intestinal mobility. Depending on the type of fiber and the circumstances, fiber can either speed up or slow down digestion. It’s therefore used for both constipation and diarrhea. Light, senior, and hairball foods all contain increased fiber, and there are also several medical high-fiber diets.

    Usually the diet change helps, at least initially. However, eventually these foods often seem to lose their effectiveness over time. More fiber, such as canned pumpkin, may be added. Again, sometimes this produces a temporary improvement. Yet most of these cats continue to have problems.

    Since fiber encourages water absorption and increases the amount of stool produced (because it is indigestible), many experts have swung the other way and are recommending “low-residue” diets to minimize stool volume. “Low-residue” means that the food is highly digestible and produces minimal waste. Cats digest protein and fat best, but there is controversy about carbohydrates; it is clear that many cats are carb-intolerant. By this theory, the best food would be high fat, high protein, and low fiber, as well as high moisture. One would think that such a food would also be low fiber, but that is not necessarily true. For instance, Eukanuba Low Residue dry food contains 4% fiber, which is fairly high. However, most canned foods fit the bill, as do most homemade diets. However, Eukanuba Low Residue manages to incorporate a large amount of carbohydrate, even in its canned food. Reading the label is an important skill to develop (learn more about it in this article).

    waterbowl Water balance is crucial in constipated kitties. Most vets will give constipated cats subcutaneous (or even intravenous) fluids to boost their hydration.

    Treatment for constipation depends on the severity of the problem. For mild cases, occasional enemas may be all they need. For severe blockages, the cat must be anesthetized for manual extraction of the feces (a process my favorite tech graphically but accurately refers to as a “dig-out”).

    Once the cat is “cleaned out” by whatever means, it’s wise to take steps to prevent the problem from recurring. Several options are available; an individual cat may need only one of these, while others need several or all of them.

    * Canned or homemade diet. High-moisture diets keep the cat hydrated, and these diets are far more digestible – and produce far less waste – than dry food. Becaupet fountainse canned and homemade diets tend to be extremely low in fiber, addition of a small amount of rice bran or powdered psyllium (available in bulk at most health food stores) is helpful.

    * Water Fountain. Many cats will drink much more running water than they will ever take from a bowl. There are several types of pet fountains, from “cascades” to “waterfalls” to models that could be from Rome! I first noticed that my cats loved to drink from an inexpensive “feng shui” rock fountain from Bed, Bath & Beyond; but it was too hard to take apart and clean as often as was needed. We like the Drinkwell and PetMate brands.

    * Miralax. Start with 1/8 tsp twice a day in food, and increase as needed up to 1/4 tsp twice a day. Active ingredient polyethylene glycol; not the same as poisonous ethylene glycol; very safe for cats long-term, and more palatable than other products.

    * Lactulose. This is a sugary syrup that holds water in the stool and keeps the stool soft; therefore it’s easier for the cat to pass. Cats are usually not fond of the taste. Fortunately, lactulose now comes in a mild-tasting powder (Kristalose) that can be encapsulated by a compounding pharmacy, or simply added to canned food.

    * Other stool softeners, such as DSS (docusate sodium). Your veterinarian can prescribe these.

    * Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. The primary ingredient in most over-the-counter hairball remedies (Laxatone, Kat-a-lax, Petromalt), petroleum jelly can be given to the cat by mouth. Most cats tolerate it, many cats come to like it, and a few even enjoy it. The Vaseline brand is, according to my cats, the tastiest; but other cats prefer one of the flavored hairball types. Give 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon per day. It can also be mixed with a small amount of canned food. However, it can interfere with nutrient absorption so giving it on an empty tummy is best.

    * Cisapride (Propulsid). This drug was withdrawn from the market for humans because of dangerous side effects, but it is considered safe for cats. Your vet can order it from a compounding pharmacy. It seems to work best in combination with stool softeners.

    * Pediatric glycerin suppositories. Although they may not appreciate having a suppository pushed into their rectums, most cats tolerate it. Your vet can advise you on technique and frequency.

    * Enemas. Many cat guardians have gotten good at giving enemas at home. Mineral oil, K-Y jelly, soapy water, and plain warm water are all fine; you may have to experiment to see which one works best for your particular cat.

    * Slippery elm bark



    * Slippery Elm Bark. This powdered herb can be added to canned food (add extra cool water) or made into a syrup. Its mild taste is well tolerated by most cats. See this article for more information. There are many herbal formulas available for people, but many herbs, such as Cascara sagrada, are too harsh for a cat.

    * Exercise. Staying active helps stimulate the intestines and keep things moving. If your constipated cat is also a couch potato, try Play Therapy.Happy Tummy

    * Stress Management. There is always an energetic or emotional component of any chronic disease, and stress plays a significant role in many gastrointestinal conditions. The essence remedy “Happy Tummy” was designed by SpiritEssence to help address the energetic underpinnings of constipation and other GI diseases.

    * Fluid Therapy. Some cats do very well with occasional (daily to weekly) infusions of subcutaneous fluids. Your veterinarian or vet tech can show you how to do this at home. Give fluids whenever you notice your cat’s behavior indicate oncoming constipation.

    * Surgery. If there is damage to the nerves and muscles of the colon, a “sub-total colectomy” is the last resort. This surgery removes the colon, and joins the small intestine to the rectum. Unless and until the small intestine develops more colon-like functioning, the result is chronic diarrhea. However, the cat will be much more comfortable.

    If your cat is chronically constipated, the most important thing for you to do is be observant. Look for early signs of constipation; straining, abdominal discomfort, decreasing appetite, etc. Be aware of how often the cat is defecating. If he does not produce adequate stool for more than 2-3 days, call your vet, or begin home treatments if you have established this routine. Kitty constipation is far easier to treat when it’s caught early. If you wait, treatment will be far more expensive, and there is a greater chance of irreversible colon damage.



    Wow,BC……That’s alot of informative info…..thank you……will save the data. Love your new(?) avatar pic……those orangies are so photogenic. 🙂



    Thanks 12Pawz,yes my Chester really likes the camera. 🙂



    Good info here.



    I just read an article that Miralax and others containing polyethylene glycol are actually harmful. Please read this:

    Look here instead



    Never give anything that has polyethylene glycol to a kitty! It’s antifreeze, and highly toxic!
    Thanks for all of this info, BC! And yes, your avatar is awesome!


    our go to was always a little vaseline, or even better, a little mineral oil. also, make sure to give your cat plenty of fluids. it may be a good idea to encourage the cat to drink a bit more, or feed it a nutritional supplement specially designed for cats.



    Bumping for newbies…great info



    Thanks for bumping Jeankit,I had forgotten this. Yes, I don’t believe I’d use Miralax for constipation when there are safer,natural products to use like pureed pumpkin,not pumpkin pie filling for cats and kittens.


    JoNea R Swatsworth

    Hello. I was wondering if any of the things listed could be given to a (roughly) 12 week old kitten? My little Da Vinci thought it would be a good idea to eat dog food and is now have a lot of trouble passing it. When he tries going he will start screaming and hissing out of pain and can’t put his tail down since it hurts to much. Being so young and small I was just curious if any of those could be deadly. Also today (7/11/2014) is day 3 that he hasn’t been able to go very easily without pain and I am getting worried.



    If you aren’t feeding him wet food, then I would. It has lots of moisture and I would mix a little olive oil in with it to help soften his stool and help him to pass it. Here is are a couple of good sites about cat nutrition and A male cat should not be fed dry food only because of the possibility of developing crystals in his bladder. They are excruciating and cause UTI’s.


    I have 4 2-3 week old kittens that are being bottle fed.After feeding we stimulate them to potty,urinating is great,clear color but they still Havnt deficated. It’s been 3 days with a BM.They are on raw organic goat milk.Thank


    I have 4 2-3 week old kittens that are being bottle fed.After feeding we stimulate them to potty,urinating is great,clear color but they still Havnt dedicated. It’s been 3 days with a BM.They are on raw organic goat milk.Thank



    Warm welcome to TDK KBP! Here is a link that may help:


    Thank you for the link.I think we will call the vet.Their tummies are distended so I feel it may be becoming an emergency. We want the best possible outcome



    Good luck!


    Sandra Nieves

    Hi, i was surprised with 4 kittens for me, my 2 brothers and my mom and i was so happy with them, since my last one passed away:( but anyways i got these four kittens they are two weeks old gonna be 3, my mom took them from a lady who gave them to us cause the mom wasnt taking good care of them and full with tics and so were her kittens. Ever since we got them we feed them but they fight us to not to drink it i dont know cause its the baby formula and they seems to work at times where they drink it but most of time they don’t, im not sure if its the milk or they just dont want it i need help with this problem. Other problem is the dont poop or they are constipated all four of them expect one time one of them pooped, its 2 days now im really worried i need your guys help please i dont wanna give up on these beautiful kittens, i want them to grow up and have a life of happiness! ive heard of olive oil in their milk but not sure if its works excalty havent. Im happy i found this site. im counting on you guys and trusting the help too! Thank you. 😉



    Bumpity bump for newbies – poop problems

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