Get a move on

By Connie Orcutt • Published: October 1st, 2013
Category: Animal Airwaves

Beneath their cool exterior, cats may have a hidden problem … constipation. Over time, this slowdown can progress to a more painful syndrome called obstipation. This is when retained stool becomes so firm and dry that it cannot be passed.

Obstipation has many causes. Dehydration and lack of exercise are major ones. Some cats avoid a dirty litter box or a box moved to a new location. Others may be avoiding another cat using the same box. Low levels of hormones or minerals, like calcium, can lead to obstipation, as can nerve damage that leads to reduced intestinal movement or difficulty reaching the litter box. A cat that eats dry or hard foreign material or too much dietary fiber can also develop problems.

Obstipation is painful. Affected cats may strain, act depressed, stop eating or vomit. Contact your veterinarian to help get things moving.