Kittens are very sensitive and vulnerable which is why they require special care. During that life stage, they’re prone to many different health issues as their immune system and the overall organism aren’t yet developed.
One of the most common problems that cat parents deal with is kitten constipation. But, what is kitten constipation, and how to deal with it? This article will help you learn more about this issue, good kitten care and help you keep your furbaby healthy and safe!
What Is Kitten Constipation?
When kittens finally start pooping, they should poop up to three times a day. Any changes in their stool may indicate different issues. Therefore, if you noticed that your kitten hasn’t pooped for more than 10 or 24 hours, it’s possible that it suffers from constipation and needs proper help.
Kittens who suffer from constipation usually have a hard stool and they have difficulties passing it out. The causes for constipation in kittens may be various, but the crucial thing is to find the underlying cause and treat it properly so that your kitten could poop normally again.
Signs Of Kitten Constipation
If you notice that the kitten hasn’t pooped for more than 10-24 hours, it means that something’s wrong. Aside from that, there are many signs of kitten constipation that can help you react on time:
- Weakness and lethargy
- Loss of appetite
- Going to the litter box but struggling to poop
- Crying while trying to poop
- Painful abdominal area
- Avoid using the litter box
- Hard and dry stool
- Frequent behavior changes
- Loss of energy
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your vet. It’s important they examine the kitten, determine the underlying cause and provide the kitten with an appropriate treatment.
Can Newborn Kittens Suffer From Constipation?
Constipation is a common condition in newborn kittens. They cannot poop or pee by themselves until they reach around 4 weeks of age. Therefore, they poop and pee with the help of their mother or their owner.
A mother cat stimulates the kitten to poop or pee by licking them. In case you have an orphaned kitten, then you should take over the mother cat’s role and stimulate the kitten to poop and pee in order for it to survive.
Possible Causes Of Constipation In Kittens
- Dehydration – this is one of the most common causes for constipation in adult cats, but also in young kittens. If the cat or a kitten doesn’t drink enough water or isn’t provided with a balanced diet, that may lead to dehydration which also leads to hardening of the stool and constipation.
- Stress and anxiety – these are common causes of many different health issues in cats, including constipation. Young kittens may often be stressed, especially if they are separated from their mother and other littermates, traumatized by a new environment, other new animals, unknown people, and similar.
- Feline inflammatory bowel disease – this issue refers to a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, and kittens can develop this issue too. If that is the case, it would be best to consult with your vet and let them treat it.
- Feline megacolon – feline megacolon refers to a condition where the cat’s or kitten’s intestine is larger than normal. This condition is caused by defective muscle tissue within the colon which may disrupt the kittens’ normal bowel movement, and lead to constipation or other issues.
- Severe health issues – kitten constipation may often appear due to health issues, such as kidney disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism. All of these issues require a vet’s attention in order to be treated properly.
Treating Kitten Constipation
Kittens with constipation require appropriate treatment based on the exact underlying cause. In minor constipation cases, you will be able to treat the kitten at home, of course, by following the vet’s instructions. On the other hand, in severe cases, a professional treatment by the vet will be inevitable.
- Hydrate your kitten – if your kitten is suffering from constipation or has a hard stool you should increase the water intake. Young kittens rarely drink water, so you should find a way to encourage the kitten to drink more water.
One of the useful things is to provide the kitten with a water fountain and that way it will always have a source of fresh and clean water. You can also offer your kitten a flavored water which will attract it to drink it more.
- Provide your kitten with a healthy diet rich in fiber – a healthy and balanced diet is of great importance if you want your kitten to have a healthy bowel movement and a normal regular stool. Because of that, it would be best to provide the kitten with wet food which is rich in moisture, or other types of food that are rich in fiber.
- Take the kitten to the vet – the vet visit is inevitable in case of kitten constipation. A kitten may have constipation due to food allergies that cause the inflammation of the intestine, or some other health issues which require vet’s attention.
In such cases, the vet will examine the kitten and perform an x-ray to determine the exact underlying cause and after that, decide what type of treatment your kitten needs.
- Deworming – if you determine that the intestinal worms cause the blockage, then you should visit the vet and appoint a deworming procedure. In case you want to avoid this issue from happening again, it would be best to deworm your kitten regularly.
- Try using laxative – your vet may recommend you to use laxative to help your kitten with constipation. One of the most common laxatives for cats is Miralax, but make sure you follow the vet’s instructions when using it.
- Calm your kitten – if your kitten has constipation due to stress and anxiety, reduce all the possible stressors from your environment and make your kitten comfortable. You can also gently massage its belly and encourage it to play and exercise.
Home Remedies For Kitten Constipation
If you notice that your kitten’s poop is hard and dark in color, you can try some of these things, in order to prevent further complications.
- Increase the water intake to lower the risk of dehydration
- Exercise your kitten regularly
- Feed your cat wet and fiber-rich food
- Mix your kitten’s main meal with a teaspoon of canned pumpkin as it’s rich in fiber.
- Mix your kitten’s food with a small amount of licorice or ginger as they have natural laxative properties.
- Brush the kitten regularly in order to reduce the amount of hairballs.
Can A Kitten Die From Constipation?
Most new cat parents wonder, is constipation in a kitten an extremely serious issue, that is, can a kitten die from constipation?
The answer is yes, cats can die from constipation, precisely from consequences of untreated constipation.
Kitten constipation is an issue that needs to be taken seriously. As they’re very sensitive, they need to be treated right away.
First you should determine the exact cause of constipation and based on that, choose the right type of treatment.
This article provides you with signs, causes, and treatments of kitten constipation that may help you in taking good care of your furry companion!