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    The Scoop on Cat Poop

    (continued)

    Cat Poop Problem: Constipation

    As is the case with diarrhea, you don’t need to worry if your cat has an occasional, brief bout of constipation. But if your cat frequently strains excessively to poop or is unproductive in her attempt to have a bowel movement, you should contact your veterinarian.

    There are a number of things that can cause cats to become constipated, including:

    • Over-grooming, which leads to extra hair in the digestive tract
    • Kidney problems
    • Feline megacolon -- an enlargement of the colon with retention of hard, dry stool
    • Some type of obstruction, including string or bones
    • Diets that are low in fiber
    • Colon abnormalities such as tumors or strictures (or narrowing of the colon)
    • Spinal problems or pain

    To help ease your cat’s constipation, your veterinarian may suggest increasing the fiber in the diet, such as by adding canned pumpkin to your cat’s regular food. Or your veterinarian might recommend switching to a diet that is very easily digested, thereby lessening the amount of poop in your cat’s digestive tract.

    Encouraging your cat to get more exercise and drink more water may also help poop move through her system more readily.

    The chart below may help you to identify the cause of your cat’s poop problems:

    Symptom

    Appearance

    Frequency

    Possible causes

    Constipation

    Small, hard, dry stools

    Less than once a day

    Dehydration, megacolon, dietary issues

    Constipation

    Small, hard, dry stools containing large amounts of hair

    Less than once a day

    Hairballs, over-grooming

    Constipation

    Thin, ribbon-like poop

    Less than once a day

    Tumor or stricture

    Diarrhea

    Black, tarry, loose stools

    Variable

    Stomach or intestinal bleeding. Seek immediate veterinary attention.

    Diarrhea

    Smelly, pudding-like stools

    2-3 times daily

    Dietary intolerances, inflammatory bowel disease

    Diarrhea

    Gooey poop filled with mucus

    Multiple times daily

    Inadequate dietary fiber; colitis

    WebMD Veterinary Reference

    Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on April 25, 2015
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