Cat with Bowel Problem
I have a 7-year-old cat, Fluffy, that has recently had a problem with moving her bowels. She sits in the litterbox and strains to pass stools. What can I do to help her?
Fluffy should be seen by your veterinarian to determine the cause of her problem. Some problems may be minor, others more serious. Your veterinarian will question you about your cat's litterbox habits to be sure that she is urinating normally. (Some cats will appear to be straining to defecate when actually they are straining to urinate.) Next the veterinarian must determine whether she is having abnormally large, hard stools, small stools, or loose stools. Some cats will be straining to pass stools because of constipation, but some will strain with loose stools due to colitis (when the colon is inflamed, the cat feels as though stools are present even when the colon is empty -- similar to the urge to urinate frequently with a bladder infection even though the bladder is empty.). Your veterinarian may be able to determine the likely cause of Fluffy's problem by talking with you about the specifics of her symptoms. Some causes of straining may be simple and easy to correct -- perhaps a change of food to more or less fiber in the diet will fix the problem. Other more serious causes of constipation or colitis may require x-rays, bloodwork, etc. to diagnose. Also, have a stool sample checked for intestinal parasites that may be causing the straining. Once your veterinarian determines the cause of Fluffy's problem, the proper course of treatment (surgery, medications, food trials, etc.) can be instituted to make her comfortable again.