Cats can have any number of bowel movements on a daily basis. In general though, they typically have no more than two a day. Whenever they can't pass stools like they're supposed to, it's known as constipation, just like the condition that affects dogs and humans.
You should know that feline constipation is a sign that something is wrong with your cat, but it isn't exactly a disease itself. It doesn't matter the age, as any cat can be affected. However, it's more common for older cats to be affected.
Constipation in cats is usually a minor problem. If your cat suffers from it quite often though, it can lead to more serious problems. The colon may eventually become completely blocked, which really means that your cat won't be able to pass any stool.
There are many different things that can lead to feline constipation. Drinking plenty of fresh water is vital for avoiding dehydration. Dehydration means that there won't be as much water in the stool which can lead to constipation in cats. Dietary fiber is also important for avoiding cat constipation. If the food that you're feeding your feline doesn't have an adequate amount of fiber, the condition may develop.
Behavioral issues may be the reason your cat has constipation. If you have multiple cats but only one litter box, one or both cats may not be inclined to use the box. It's important to keep the litter box clean no matter how many cats you have, as felines don't want to use dirty boxes.
Feline constipation can also be brought about because of anal glands that are impacted. If this happens, it will be painful for your cat to defecate. The colon can become obstructed due to ingestion of foreign objects or hairballs. Tumors may also lead to an obstruction.
It's pretty easy to tell when constipation in cats occurs. Your kitty won't be in and out of the litter box like normal. Instead, he or she will strain to defecate. Only a small amount will come out at a time, if any comes out at all.
Constipation may also cause your cat to use the bathroom outside of the litter box even if he or she has always used it without problems. It's also common for constipated cats to experience other problems such as appetite loss, weight loss, and depression.
Mild feline constipation should be pretty easy to treat at home. Laxatives like Metamucil or wheat bran will effectively handle most cases. Other options include lubricants, stool softening medications, and plenty of fresh water. Constipation can be a problem for cats that eat dry food all of the time, so they'll especially need more moisture in their diet.
An easy way to treat cat constipation is pumpkin since it adds dietary fiber. You can simply open up some canned pumpkin and add a little bit to your cat's food.
Hairballs are commonly responsible for constipation in felines as you have already learned. To keep your cat from swallowing as much hair whenever he licks himself, you should brush him on a daily basis. Your veterinarian may also suggest that you switch to a special food that minimizes hairballs.