Nobody likes to talk about it, but sometimes abnormal poop problems happen, and cats are no exception to the rule. If your cat can't seem to get a stool all the way out of their body, they may have a serious constipation problem. Here's a guide to what your cat is going through, how you can help, and what you can do to prevent it from reoccurring.
Despite the fact that most cats are physically active and eat a fairly regular diet, constipation can still happen. There's a wide variety of potential causes for it, but some of the most common ones include:
- Hair - Consumed hair that isn't vomited up may pass through the digestive tract and into your cat's colon, where it can become tangled up in stools.
- String - Yarn, string and other fabric strands are some of cats' favorite things to play with, but if they eat them, they can cause the same problem as consumed hair.
- Low Fiber Or Dehydration - Not eating enough fiber and not drinking enough water can both, individually or together, cause stools to harden and make them harder to pass.
If your cat isn't having chronic constipation problems, but just an occasionally stuck stool, the chances that it's something obstructive like hair or string increases. Cats who are having constipation due to a poor diet will be more likely to have this problem every time they go to the litter box.
What To Do
Cats who have a stool sticking out of their rears may seem panicked and run around, trying to get away from the odd feeling. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult to help them. Approach your cat slowly and gently, and soothe them by speaking gently and petting them.
While your gut impulse may be to pull it out, don't! If there's string or hair causing the problem, you could break it off inside their body and worsen the problem.
Instead, put a towel under your cat, and using a warm, dampened wash cloth or towel, cover the stool and your cat's rear. The warmth and moisture will help to loosen it up and make it easier for your cat to finish pushing it out. If you have dish-washing gloves or something similar, consider using them: this could get messy and gross, and cat feces may carry toxoplasmosis, a dangerous disease.
After a minute or so, see if your cat returns to the litter box to finish the job. If they still can't get the stool out, you'll need to take them to a vet right away. A blockage in their bowels can become a life-threatening problem in a short period of time without medical treatment.
Make sure that your cat always has enough water available, and that you're feeding them a fiber-rich cat food. Giving them a grass plant can also help to provide insoluble fiber to their diet. Grooming your cat regularly and making sure that there isn't hair or string lying around where they can eat it will also help to prevent this problem.
If your cat can't pass their stool, there's no getting around it: it's an icky problem that you have to help with. If you're successful with these tips, make sure that you still see a veterinary specialist for a regular checkup soon to make sure there isn't any other underlying problem.