What Are The Signs That A Cat Is Constipated?

As a devoted cat lover, it’s crucial to keep an eye out for any potential health issues that could be affecting your feline friend. One of the most commonly overlooked problems is constipation in cats. While it may seem like a minor inconvenience, this condition can cause immense discomfort and even lead to severe complications if left untreated.

So how do you know if your cat is constipated? Look out for signs such as infrequent bowel movements, straining during defecation, dry or hard feces, decreased appetite, and lethargy. These symptoms suggest that your furry companion may be experiencing difficulty passing stools and is struggling with constipation.

But don’t fret. There are several ways you can help alleviate your cat’s discomfort and prevent constipation from occurring again. From dietary changes to increasing hydration levels, there are various methods you can use to regulate your cat’s bowel movements.

In this blog post, we’ll delve deeper into the signs that indicate your cat is constipated and provide practical tips on how to make them feel more comfortable and content. So let’s get started on ensuring that our furry friends stay happy and healthy.

What is Constipation?

Constipation occurs when your cat has difficulty passing stool. Some common causes of constipation in cats include dehydration, lack of fiber in the diet, and certain medications. However, it’s important to note that some cats may naturally have a slower digestive system than others.

As a pet parent, you should look out for signs of constipation in your cat. The most obvious sign is a lack of bowel movements for more than two days. Other symptoms may include straining to defecate, passing small or hard stools, and showing discomfort when using the litter box. You may also notice behavioral changes such as lethargy, irritability, decreased appetite, or dehydration.

If you suspect your cat is constipated, don’t wait to seek veterinary care immediately. A veterinarian can perform an examination and recommend appropriate treatment options. Treatment options may include dietary changes, increased hydration, medication to soften the stool or promote bowel movements, and in severe cases, manual removal of the impacted stool.

Physical Signs of Constipation in Cats

You’re familiar with their behavior, habits, and quirks. And when it comes to their health, you’re always on the lookout for any signs of trouble. One condition that can be particularly worrisome is constipation. But how can you tell if your cat is experiencing this uncomfortable ailment? Look for these physical signs:

First and foremost, straining or difficulty when passing stool is one of the most common signs of constipation in cats. Your feline may spend an extended amount of time in the litter box, trying to do their business, but producing little or no stool. You may also notice discomfort or pain while they attempt to defecate, which can manifest in their facial expressions, posture, and vocalizations.

Another telltale sign of constipation is a decrease in appetite or even refusing to eat altogether. This could be due to the discomfort and pain caused by constipation. Additionally, your cat may become lethargic or show signs of fatigue as their bodies work harder to eliminate waste.

Physical changes in your cat’s abdomen can also provide clues about constipation. The area may appear distended or bloated due to the buildup of fecal matter in the colon. This can cause discomfort and pain for your cat and lead to decreased mobility or activity levels.

Finally, some cats may experience vomiting as a result of constipation. This is because the buildup of fecal matter in the colon can put pressure on other organs, such as the stomach, leading to nausea and vomiting.

Behavioral Signs of Constipation in Cats

Constipation is a common issue that can cause discomfort and potentially serious health issues in cats. Therefore, it’s crucial to know the behavioral signs to look out for.

One of the most common behavioral signs of constipation in cats is changes in their litter box habits. You may notice your cat spending more time than usual in the litter box or avoiding it altogether. Additionally, straining or crying out while attempting to defecate is another red flag. In some cases, your cat may even defecate outside of the litter box.

Another behavioral sign of constipation in cats is increased vocalization. If you notice your cat meowing more frequently or making other sounds of discomfort, it could be due to pain or discomfort while trying to pass stool.

Lastly, decreased appetite can also indicate constipation in cats. Your feline friend may lose interest in food due to the discomfort associated with constipation, which can lead to weight loss and other health issues if left untreated.

Therefore, it’s essential to pay attention to your cat’s behavior and seek veterinary attention promptly if you notice any of these signs. Early detection and treatment can prevent further complications and improve your cat’s overall health and well-being.

Other Health Issues that May Mimic the Symptoms of Constipation

While constipation is a common problem among cats, it’s crucial to remember that other health issues can mimic its symptoms.

For example, a urinary tract infection (UTI) can cause a cat to strain while defecating, leading to confusion between constipation and UTI symptoms. Similarly, cats with gastrointestinal problems such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may experience vomiting and diarrhea, making it difficult to distinguish between the two conditions.

If your cat is exhibiting symptoms of constipation but doesn’t seem to be responding well to traditional treatments, such as increased fiber intake or medications, it’s crucial to take them to a veterinarian for a thorough examination. The vet may perform tests to rule out other health issues that could be causing your cat’s discomfort.

Some other potential health issues that may mimic constipation in cats include tumors or growths in the colon or rectum, nerve damage or spinal cord injuries, and pelvic or hip fractures. These conditions can cause similar symptoms such as difficulty defecating, straining, and discomfort.

Moreover, cats may also have an obstruction in their digestive tract caused by ingesting something they shouldn’t have, such as a foreign object or hairball. In such cases, seeking immediate veterinary care is vital.

When to See a Veterinarian

A crucial aspect of your cat’s well-being is their bowel movements. If you suspect your cat is constipated, it’s imperative to know when to seek veterinary care.

Mild constipation can often be remedied at home with dietary changes or over-the-counter medications. However, if your cat has not had a bowel movement in two or more days, it’s time to get professional help. Additionally, if your cat is exhibiting signs of discomfort such as excessive meowing, hunching over, or straining in the litter box without any results, this could indicate severe constipation, and you should seek prompt veterinary attention.

Other indications that your cat may require veterinary attention for constipation include vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and a distended abdomen. These symptoms could be signs of an underlying health issue that needs immediate medical attention.

It’s essential to recognize that some cats may have chronic constipation issues that necessitate ongoing veterinary care and treatment. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are necessary to prevent complications from arising.

If you observe any signs of constipation in your cat or if your cat has not had a bowel movement in two or more days, don’t hesitate to seek veterinary assistance promptly. Early intervention can prevent more severe health issues from developing and ensure the long-term health and well-being of your feline friend.

Treatment Options for Cat Constipation

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for cat constipation, depending on the severity of the condition.

For mild cases of cat constipation, a simple dietary change may be the solution. Increasing fiber intake by adding canned pumpkin or fiber supplements to your cat’s diet can help soften their stool and make it easier to pass. It is essential to ensure that your cat drinks enough water when increasing fiber intake to aid in digestion.

Exercise and activity levels are other effective treatment options that can promote healthy bowel function. Interactive playtime with your cat can stimulate their bowel movements and encourage regularity.

In more severe cases, medication may be necessary to address the underlying cause of constipation. Laxatives or stool softeners may be prescribed to help your cat pass stool more easily, while enemas may be used to eliminate any blockages in the colon.

If the root cause of your cat’s constipation is an underlying medical condition like megacolon or intestinal obstruction, surgery may be necessary. It’s crucial to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment and ensure that your cat receives appropriate care.

Also Read: Why My Cat Not Pooping But Acting Normal?


As a responsible cat owner, it’s your duty to keep an eye on your feline friend’s health and wellbeing. However, constipation in cats is often overlooked, and the consequences can be severe if left untreated. That’s why it’s crucial to know the signs of constipation in cats so that you can take immediate action.

The physical symptoms of cat constipation include infrequent bowel movements, straining during defecation, dry or hard feces, decreased appetite, lethargy, and a bloated abdomen. Behavioral indicators may include changes in litter box habits, increased vocalization, and loss of appetite.

It’s important to understand that other health issues may mimic the signs of constipation in cats. Therefore, if your cat exhibits any of these symptoms but doesn’t respond well to traditional treatments or hasn’t had a bowel movement in two or more days, seek veterinary care immediately.

For mild cases of cat constipation, dietary modifications and increased exercise levels may suffice as treatment options. In severe cases, medication or surgery may be necessary.

In conclusion, recognizing the signs of constipation in cats is vital for their long-term health and happiness. By taking proactive measures such as working closely with your veterinarian and making necessary lifestyle changes for your furry friend, you can help alleviate their discomfort and prevent future occurrences of constipation.