Constipation is a fairly common occurrence in domestic cats, especially older cats. It can be quite uncomfortable for the cat, and, if left untreated, could even lead to more serious health problems. It is a condition that should not be ignored. One of the most effective and easily obtainable home remedies for this ailment is common canned pumpkin.
The average domestic cat has one to two bowel movements per day. A cat that is constipated, on the other hand, will often have a bowel movement only every two to four days. Any stools the cat is able to produce may be small, hard and dry, or the cat may be able to pass only liquid fecal material. A constipated cat will usually make frequent and unproductive trips to the litter box, and may also be observed frequently licking its anal area.
Use plain, unsweetened canned pumpkin--the puréed kind--which is readily available at any supermarket or grocery store. Do not use pumpkin pie filling, which has added spices and sugars. Give the cat one to 2 tsp per day. Most cats will readily consume the pumpkin when mixed with their regular food. Some will even like the taste enough to lick it off a spoon.
Pumpkin is an excellent stool softener and is rich in fibre. By making the stool softer and bulkier, it helps the cat pass the waste more easily and with less pain and also promotes more normal functioning of the bowel.
While simple constipation in cats can often be successfully treated with canned pumpkin, untreated constipation can lead to dangerous health conditions such as fecal impaction or serious dehydration. In addition, other serious health problems, such as urinary tract infections and intestinal blockages, often mimic the symptoms of constipation. Any cat that has repeated bouts of constipation, or experiences constipation lasting more than 24 to 36 hours, should be seen by a veterinarian in order to be checked for more serious illnesses and to determine the underlying cause for any chronic constipation.
Canned pumpkin is widely considered by veterinarians and pet lovers alike to be a safe and effective home remedy for the treatment of simple constipation in cats. Still, prevention of the problem in the first place is always preferable. You should work with your vet to ensure a healthy diet and lifestyle for your pet.