If you’re one of the millions of cat owners around the world, you’ve probably asked this one yourself, “how long can a cat go without pooping?”
Before we answer the question, it’s important to understand that each cat is quite unique to one another. Personalities aside, each feline’s rate of digestion may differ depending on several factors.
How Long Can a Cat Go Without Pooping?
In reality, cats poop less often than their canine counterparts and for some reason, owners seem to be dumbfounded by the fact that they seldom see their feline pets defecate.
Normal cats poop once a day and have a preferred place to do so.
At the average, kittens usually excrete waste multiple times a day. Interestingly, felines usually prefer to do it in a litter box, and since it’s important for a cat to excrete at least once daily, you should be aware that cats that poop longer might actually have an underlying medical issue.
Your cat might have constipation or worse a gastric or a digestive condition. But certainly, other factors should also be considered aside from some of the obvious medical ailments.
Factors That Influence a Cat’s Bowel Movements
Before jumping on to conclusions you should know some factors affect their daily excretions.
It could likely go down due to a number of things that include:The age of your kitten or adult cat.
The amount of exercise they have in a day
Their feeding schedule and how much they are fed in a daily
If they have any underlying medical issue that affects their health and gut motility
If your cat is currently taking any supplements or medications that may affect digestion
Taking all of these factors into careful consideration when viewing the gut and bowel health of your cat is very important. Your vet will also be able to give you additional factors to consider as well.
The Problem With Cat Constipation
The most usual suspect for delayed poop is constipation. The problem with this medical condition is that the longer the stool is set into the cat’s colon, the harder and larger it will become over time. Even a day of delay can cause a blockage that turns into a large obstacle.
So if you’d ask what causes constipation, it’s caused by the amount of food that your cat eats, irrelevant if it’s wet or dry food. A large meal can often cause a blockage that prevents the other waste materials to pass when it’s time deposit them in the kitty litter box.
Symptoms of Cat Constipation
If you think your cat might actually be constipated, you should start to check each time your feline poops. Because you change their box daily – it should be easy for you to see the changes in their poop.
You’re also going to need to look at a couple of things to figure out the whole situation and see what treatment – if any – is needed to help bring your cat relief.
Below are some signs of constipation:
- No stools at all
- Hard and smaller than normal stools
- Some liquid in hard stools
- Visible decrease in activity or abnormal behavior
- Straining when trying to poop
If the odor, color, and frequency of your cat’s poop are not its usual, then there is a big chance that your feline is constipated. If it lasts longer than two days without any improvement, make sure to book an appointment with your preferred vet as soon as possible.
A cat straining to pass poop is very hard to watch, even harder for your cat to go through. So it’s important to take action as soon as you see that it’s having difficulty with its bowel movement.
Causes of Constipation in Cats
So if you think your cat may in fact be constipated, then lets look at a few things that can cause them to be blocked and unable to poop properly. Try to note the day your cat started having troubles and see if any of the below causes seem to coincide with that day.
One of the most common causes of constipation – not just in cats, but also dogs as well as people. Cats are not excessive drinkers by nature – but if you notice you do not need to fill their water bowl as much as normal, this may be the root cause of their constipation. A decrease in their want to drink can be a sign of other issues though so we do recommend you visit your vet for a full evaluation to make sure something more serious is not going on.
Because cats are notorious groomers – hairballs are a common reason for their blockage issues. If you have had the thrill of cleaning up hairballs like we have – you know how big and solid they can be, so it is understandable that it is hard to pass. If you feel your cat has had excessive hairballs – try Nutri-Vet Hairball Gel which works well at reducing hairballs. There are also cat foods that can help with shedding issues.
A change in food may be all your cat needs to be on the way to a healthier pooping schedule. Cat foods that are lacking in fiber or even have too much can all contribute to their constipation. Talk to your veterinarian about the best options for feeding your cat a diet that will supply them with their specific needs.
For longer haired cats matting is sometimes common around those hard to brush areas. A matted buttock can wreak havoc and be painful for your feline friend. It is important to make sure the hair around their anal area is not matted or pulling their skin in uncomfortable ways.
If your cat is on medication for another ailment, the inability to poop properly may be a side-effect. If you noticed the lack of poop started around the time they started the medication, we recommend calling your vet immediately.
Cats are mischievous and seem to enjoy playing with even the smallest of items. Our cat loves hairbands – no matter how many we buy, they go missing! We hope they are not in her belly – but we have seen stories of cats who had a lot of them in their bellies and had to have them surgically removed. But it could also be a chicken bone, string, piece of a toy or any small item!
But My Cat Has Diarrhea – She/He Is Not Constipated!
It does not sound possible that they are constipated if your cat is having a stool blockage. However, according to experts the hard stool causes fluid to be produced in the colon through the ongoing irritation, which is where diarrhea comes from.
So if you see your cat having issues with diarrhea – do not be fooled into thinking they are OK!
It’s surely a painful condition for your cat to go through and if you’re far from the nearest vet, chances are you need to do the first aid yourself. Aside from a variety of meds that you can administer to your cat there’s a couple of things that you can do at home to help your cat.
How You Can Treat Your Constipated Cat
Of course this depends on what you decide is the cause of the constipation. We are offering options below that you can try at home – as well as what a veterinarian may do depending on the severity of the constipation.
We always recommend checking with your vet before providing any medical treatments at home.Increase in playtime and exercise
Add bran cereal, pumpkin (canned) or Metamucil for their food.
Increase their consumption of water
Give your cat a stool softener
Offer your cat a laxative
How Your Vet May Treat Your Cat
If your cat is not eating or drinking and is showing any type of odd behavior – we recommend taking them right to your veterinarian. The veterinarian may offer one of the following solutions to help bring your cat relief.Surgery to remove an obstruction
Manual evacuation of the bowels
You KNOW your cat! You know what is normal and what is not – if your gut is telling you something is wrong with your baby, then listen to your gut and visit your vet ASAP. But as a mom you also know if it is something you can try to handle on your own.
Is your cat acting normally and just not pooping?
Then try a hairball remedy, increase their exercise to get that poop moving or give them a stool softener to get that stool moving. But if they are still not going to the bathroom in a day or 2 – a vet visit is a must!
Is your cat crying or acting very differently?
Then we would recommend a vet visit before even trying anything at home to ensure it is not something more serious!
Have you had an issue with constipation with your cat? Have any tips or tricks you can offer our readers? Then leave a comment and let us know!