Cat constipation can range from mild straining to severe impaction. "The Merck Veterinary Manual" explains that physical conditions such as tumours or narrowed pelvic openings can cause chronic constipation. These conditions are beyond the scope of home treatment and require a veterinary visit. Mild or transient constipation, however, can respond well to home remedies.
Identifying the Cause
The easiest way to treat cat constipation at home is to identify and remedy the cause. If constipation coincides with new food or litter, that may be the problem. Similarly, built-up mats near the anus or undigested hair in the colon are easily prevented by more frequent grooming. According to "The Merck Veterinary Manual," some cats may even withhold faeces in reaction to stress, injury or a dirty litter box, causing constipation or possibly even bowel obstruction.
Inadequate water intake can lead to hard, dry stools. In "Feline Medicine: a Practical Guide for Veterinary Nurses and Technicians," authors Cannon and Forster-van Hijfte note that constipation from dehydration is most common in older or middle-aged cats, especially those suffering from kidney disease or similar ailments. Ensure the affected cat has access to fresh water at all times.
Together with added fluids, increased fibre is often enough to relieve mild constipation. "The Merck Veterinary Manual" recommends one to six teaspoons of psyllium hydrophilic mucilloid or one to four tablespoons of wheat bran at each feeding. Begin with the smallest amount mixed with moist feed and build up to higher doses once the cat's tolerance level is established.
Mineral oil is a lubricant that eases the passage of stools. This is especially useful when a cat has experienced painful stools due to injury or obstruction and is withholding out of fear. "The Merck Veterinary Manual" suggests one to five teaspoons of flavoured mineral oil twice daily between meals.
Canned Pumpkin or Creamed Corn
Some readily available products provide hydration and fibre at the same time. "Problem-based Feline Medicine" by Jacqui Rand recommends one to four tablespoons of canned pumpkin or creamed corn mixed with the cat's regular feed. This is an affordable, low-risk therapy many cats find more palatable than other fibre supplements.
According to Rand, most cats are lactose intolerant. A small amount of milk reduces the cat's intestine's ability to absorb water from faeces, resulting in softer, looser stools that pass more easily. This is an easy home remedy, and is one the affected cat is likely to enjoy as well.