Cat Behavior Changes
Cats and Kittens Behavior Changes
Cats and kittens may indicate infection, disease, or injury through behavior changes:
- Grooming the same part over and over
- Panting during play or exercise
- Increased thirst or appetite
- Weight loss (especially if still eating well) or picky eating habits develop
- Reluctance to move around or not chasing the sun to nap
- Easily agitated
- Isolation or hiding (beyond their normal behavior)
- Increased anxiety when you leave or guests come over
- Eliminates outside the litter box
- Pacing or seeming inability to get comfortable/stay in one location
If you notice any of these behavior changes or physical symptoms, contact the Animal Wellness Center nearest you to schedule an immediate appointment for your cat or kitten. Felines are more likely to hide their illness and injury, so if they are in noticeable pain you must take them to the vet immediately.
By knowing what is “normal” in your pet’s routine and behavior, we can uncover “abnormal” behaviors more quickly and catch disease early on or treat injuries more effectively. YOU are your pet’s best advocate.
Click on the following to learn more about symptoms cats & kittens exhibit that may require a visit.
When Is a Hairball a Sign of Sickness?
Every cat owner knows the telltale sound of an incoming hairball. For many, cleaning up vomit is just another part of feline care. However, hairballs and vomiting can indicate health conditions in cats ranging from cancer and kidney disease to allergies or internal obstruction. If your cat only vomits occasionally and does not exhibit any other symptoms, it is most likely not a cause for concern. The only exception is if the vomit consists mostly of blood, in which case you should immediately make an appointment with Animal Wellness Center for diagnosis and treatment.
Cats can throw up any of the following:
- Bile or other bodily fluids
Fur or hairballs are the most common thing for cats to vomit. Since cats clean themselves by licking their fur, strands can be accidentally ingested. They gather in the esophagus or stomach and your cat cannot digest it. Eventually, the collection gets big enough that your cat has to throw it up to prevent forming a blockage in their intestines. Fortunately, hairballs are harmless and normal for all cats.
Brushing your cats will help reduce the amount of hairballs your cat vomits. Cats with long fur or in multi-cat households should be regularly groomed to prevent ingesting too much fur. There are also special cat hairball remedies you can feed your cat to help.
Cats can vomit as a result of a food allergy. If your cat eats the same brand and type of dry food, their body may begin to reject it. The solution here is to simply provide new food for your cat every few weeks. If your cat is a picky eater, begin by mixing the new food in with the old so they can get accustomed to the new flavor. After a few months of the “new” food, you can try switching back to the original food to see if it still causes an allergic reaction.
Milk and dairy products are another possible culprit. While cats love a chance to eat anything dairy related, they cannot digest it properly. While they aren’t entirely lactose intolerant, this usually results in vomit or diarrhea. Certain plants will also cause a toxic reaction in cats, leading to vomiting.
Finally, eating too fast can lead to vomiting. If your cat gulps down their food and then immediately runs off to play, the food doesn’t have a chance to settle in their stomach. The solution here is to keep your kitty contained while they eat so they have time to digest. This behavior is more common in energetic kittens, though older cats can have the same problem.
Vomiting Blood (Hematemesis)
If your cat is vomiting blood, known as hematemesis, you need to take them to vets of Animal Wellness Center immediately for treatment. Blood may be either dark or bright red, depending on the source. They may have an internal injury from something they ate, poisoning, worms, or an infection. Any of these conditions can be fatal for your pet.
Note: If your cat vomits something which is very dark in color and resembles coffee grounds, this is blood from the lower digestive system.
Vomiting Bile and Other Bodily Fluids
If your cat is hungry and does not eat, they may begin to throw up a white fluid resembling foam. This is stomach acid. Just like people, cats produce stomach acid when they are hungry. If they do not eat food, the acid can rise and escape as vomit.
Treating a Vomiting Cat
Once the cause of your cat’s vomiting has been determined, treatment can begin. Animal Wellness Center veterinarians have the latest medical technology to provide an accurate diagnosis for your feline friend. Ultrasounds and X-rays will show us what is causing your cat to vomit.
Surgery may be required to stop internal bleeding or remove an obstruction. The surgical staff of Animal Wellness Center will walk you through the procedure so you fully understand the options available for your cat.
Contact Animal Wellness Center to schedule a veterinary appointment and ensure your pet is healthy and meets the requirements of your area.
What Does Sneezing Mean for Cats?
Cats can sneeze for a variety of reasons. If you hear your cat sneeze occasionally, there is no need to panic. Like humans, cats sneeze to remove mild irritants or allergens from their nasal cavity. However, if your cat has been sneezing much more than usual or has discharge from the eyes or nose, there may be a health problem. It’s best to bring your kitty into the vet for a wellness exam at Animal Wellness Center if you suspect something is wrong.
Common Sneezing Causes for Cats:
- Irritants in the air
- Upper respiratory infections
- Intranasal vaccinations
When your cat sneezes once in a while, it is usually due to irritants tickling your cat’s nose. Your cat will let out a reflexive sneeze when they inhale a mild irritant like dust, catnip, litter, or other small particles in the air. Cats can be allergic to things like mold, dust, and pollen, just like people. Some cats are even allergic to certain brands and types of litter, though this is uncommon. Along with sneezes, allergies are often accompanied by watery eyes, coughing, wheezing, itchy skin, and snoring. You should bring your cat in for a physical exam, so we can determine what your cat is allergic to and how to reduce or alleviate the symptoms.
When your cat is sneezing frequently, the most common cause is a respiratory infection. Your cat should be brought to our offices for a proper exam and treatment as soon as possible, especially if the sneezing is accompanied by watery eyes or colored discharge coming out of the eyes or nose.
Other types of infections that can cause sneezing include:
- Feline herpes virus
- Feline leukemia
- Feline Calicivirus
- Bacterial infections like Bordetella or Mycoplasma
If your cat just received intranasal vaccinations to fight a respiratory infection, sneezing may continue for a few days after, so don’t panic! If the sneezing doesn’t let up after a few days, call your vet to see if any further treatments are required.
Are Your Cat’s Sneezes Cause for Concern?
Be on the lookout for sneezing accompanied by lethargy, loss of appetite, and blood or excess mucus in the nose. If you notice any of these symptoms, call us right away.
Animal Wellness Center has animal clinics in Oak Creek, Waukesha, Fond du Lac, and Burlington. If your cat has been sneezing more than usual, give one of our veterinary offices a call. We’d be happy to answer questions and setup an appointment to make sure your kitty is back to their usual self and give you peace of mind.
Contact Animal Wellness Center to schedule a veterinary appointment and ensure your pet is healthy and meets the requirements of your area.
Are Cats Supposed to Pant?
Cats do not usually pant, though this behavior is not always a cause for concern. For some cats, panting is how they cool down after exercise and play. In others, it’s a sign of stress. Panting or labored breathing can also indicate respiratory or cardiovascular health problems in your kitty. If you are worried about your pet panting, take them to an Animal Wellness Center veterinary clinic for a checkup.
Panting from Stress and Anxiety
Cats can be easily stressed out by changes to their routine. Having visitors over, moving to a new home, or adding a new pet to the household can all cause your cat to feel anxious. Their panting is similar to a human hyperventilating during a panic attack. Monitor your cat once the source of stress is gone to ensure they return to breathing normally. A big change like a new home or pet may take a few days of adjustment. There are many treats, toys, and methods for helping your cat stay calm during times of change. Our vets will be happy to recommend tactics for keeping your kitty comfortable during stressful situations.
Feline Respiratory and Cardiovascular Problems
Issues with the heart and lungs can cause your pet to start panting as they struggle to breathe normally. There are many severe medical problems which directly affect the airways. If your cat is panting due to respiratory issues, they may also cough, lose their appetite, and have problems eliminating.
Other symptoms of cardiovascular diseases include:
- Low appetite
- Abnormal heartbeat
Heartworms in Cats
Despite the name, heartworms reside in the lungs and can cause respiratory issues leading to panting and frequent vomiting. Fortunately, heartworm is rare in felines. An examination by the veterinarians of Animal Wellness Center will determine if your kitty has heartworms and how to best manage your cat’s symptoms. Heartworm can be fatal, which is why we recommend annual preventative treatment for all pets.
Overheating or Fever
While dogs pant to cool down, this behavior is rare in cats. Yet many pet owners have noticed their cats panting after a long play session. In these situations, panting is likely just a quirk your kitty uses to stay cool and catch their breath.
However, panting can indicate your cat is overheated as a result of high temperatures or a fever. If they are allowed outside without access to shade or water, they can quickly overheat. Untreated fevers will continue to grow as your kitty’s immune system fights off their illness. In each case, a trip to Animal Wellness Center is the first step to cooling down your kitty safely. Our advanced medical technology makes diagnosing disease faster than ever, letting us quickly start treatment of heatstroke and infection.
How to Treat Panting Cats
Temporary panting after play or a stressful situation should not be a cause for concern. Panting from stress will likely pass on its own. If your kitty begins panting while you play, stop until they are breathing normally. This should only take a few minutes.
If your cat has been panting and experiencing other symptoms like lethargy or trouble eating, bring them to Animal Wellness Center in Waukesha, Burlington, Oak Creek, or Fond du Lac for an exam. We use the latest veterinary technology to determine the underlying cause of their breathing difficulties. We then devise a treatment plan based on their diagnosis.
Contact Animal Wellness Center to schedule a veterinary appointment and ensure your pet is healthy and meets the requirements of your area.
When Are Cat Naps Not Normal?
Cats often sleep for hours upon hours a day. As a symptom, lethargy in cats is hard to diagnose. They may just be tired from playing all day or act lazy for no particular reason at all. But if your kitty is unusually drowsy or inactive even after napping, there may be an underlying medical issue. As a rule of thumb, you should make a veterinary appointment if uncharacteristic lethargy lasts for more than 24 hours.
Lethargy is often accompanied by other symptoms if there is an underlying sickness. Some signs to look out for include:
Cats can be allergic to many things from pollen and mold to the type of litter you’re using. In addition to lethargy, allergies are often exhibited by sneezing, watery eyes, ear infections, vomiting and diarrhea, snoring, and increased scratching. If your cat has asthma, they will also cough when having an allergic reaction. We will help you determine what your cat is allergic to and prescribe treatments or solutions to get them feeling great.
Anemia is caused by decrease in red blood cells. This could be from a wound, an autoimmune disease or cancer, ingestion of toxic chemicals, or a parasitic infection. If there is not any sign of bleeding, check your cat’s gums for paleness. If your cat is lethargic, not eating well and has pale gums, we will perform a blood test to determine the cause. There could be a more serious problem like lead poisoning, feline leukemia virus, parasites like Hemobartonella, or cancer.
As a cat ages, they are more likely to develop arthritis. If your cat is suffering from arthritis, it will be painful for them to move around, making simple activities like getting in and out of the litter box, climbing stairs, or jumping on and off the couch very difficult. Animal Wellness Center will examine your cat to determine the source of your cat’s discomfort.
Cancer is much less common in cats than it is in dogs; however, if a cat has cancer it is more likely to be more aggressive. The most common types of cancers in cats include lymphoma associated with feline leukemia virus, oral squamous carcinoma, and injection site sarcoma associated with some vaccinations (this is extremely rare). Since cats hide their problems well, it is important to look out for lumps on or under the skin, diarrhea or vomiting, difficulty breathing, and not eating. If your cat has any of these symptoms, take them to your veterinarian for an exam, diagnosis, and treatment options.
Cats can suffer from depression much like humans can. The most important signs and symptoms to look out for are lethargy, loss of appetite, excessive grooming, irritability, excessive meowing, and spraying. Your cat could be depressed for a number of reasons like lack of attention, death of another pet or family member in the household, or an untreated medical issue. Animal Wellness Center will help you determine the problem and provide proper solutions to alleviate your cat’s depression. In extreme cases, some cats may need antidepressants.
It is normal for your cat to develop hairballs occasionally. As they groom themselves, hair can build up in their stomach and be expelled through vomit. However, if your cat is lethargic, retching or gagging without throwing up a hairball, not eating, and has constipation or diarrhea, you should bring your cat in for a vet appointment. These may be symptomatic of a blockage, which can be life-threatening if not dealt with by a professional.
Heatstroke and Dehydration
Heatstroke, also called hyperthermia, is a very serious condition when your cat’s body is overheating. This is usually caused by prolonged exposure or high levels of activity in high temperatures. Cats who are very old or very young, sick, obese, or pregnant or who have a heart or breathing problem are at a greater risk. Some common symptoms of heat stroke include lethargy, drooling, panting, red tongue and gums, vomiting and diarrhea, bleeding from the nose, and muscle tremors. Heatstroke can also lead to organ failure if not treated as soon as possible.
Dehydration is caused by a severe lack of fluid intake. If your cat doesn’t have a fresh supply of water or isn’t drinking, especially after playing in hot weather, they are at risk of becoming dehydrated. Some symptoms of dehydration include lethargy, loss of appetite, dry mouth, panting, sunken eyes, and increased heart rate. Contact your veterinarian if you suspect your cat is dehydrated. Only a vet can determine the level of dehydration and can give an IV solution if needed.
Although heartworm is significantly more common in dogs, cats can still be affected, especially if they haven’t had preventative medication and live outdoors. The risk of indoor cats getting heartworm is extremely low. Symptoms of heartworm include lethargy, vomiting, labored breathing, and coughing. Your cat should be brought to the vet for an examination and proper treatment.
Heart disease in cats is caused by cardiomyopathy, which is when their heart muscles become too thick and rigid to perform normally. Cardiomyopathy is usually found in adult cats and is usually passed down genetically. Lifestyle and overall health usually doesn’t affect whether or not your cat will develop it. The disease is progressive and doesn’t respond well to treatment, but there are things you can do to improve your cat’s quality of life—make sure your cat is comfortable and as stress-free as possible and give them medications recommended by our veterinarians.
Other symptoms of heart disease include loss of appetite, irregular heartbeat, rough breathing, bluish discoloration in the nailbeds and foot pads, and sudden heart failure. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action.
Infections and Parasites
If your cat is acting differently than usual, they might have a hidden infection. Depending on the type of infection, your cat could be sneezing, scratching, or vocalizing more than usual. They will also likely be lethargic and sleeping more if they are feeling sick.
Types of infections in cats include but are not limited to:
- Parasitic – Ear Mites, Worms, and Fleas
- Bacterial – Bordetella and Staphylococci
- Fungal – Roundworm
- Viral – Feline Leukemia, Calicivirus, and Feline Herpes
- Protozoan – Toxoplasmosis and Giardia
If your cat has a fever, isn’t eating, has discharge from the eyes or nose, is vomiting, has diarrhea, or has skin sores, take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.
Ingesting Toxic Food or Foreign Objects
If your cat ate something it shouldn’t, you should take it to the vet right away. Whether your cat ingested something toxic or a foreign object, it is important to get treatment as quickly as possible to prevent serious illness or death. Some symptoms your cat ate something bad include lethargy, constipation or diarrhea, and hissing or biting when you touch their stomach.
Very important – If your cat is passing an item it ate, do not attempt to pull it out. While you may think you’re helping, this can do a lot more harm internally if the item becomes stuck. Your cat should go to the vet for an exam and surgery if needed.
Over 50% of cats over 15 years old are affected by kidney disease. The exact cause of chronic kidney disease in cats is unknown, but getting proper treatment is important for slowing the progression of the disease and preventing other serious health problems. Cats of any age can be affected by acute renal failure if they ingest harmful substances like certain plant species, pesticides, antifreeze, and some medications meant for humans.
Symptoms of kidney disease include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, increased urination, and increased thirst.
Malnutrition, Obesity, and Diabetes
Cats are obligate carnivores, so they need a diet made of mostly meats. Their bodies are able to process protein from meats better than proteins from plants. As a result, cats should not be fed predominantly vegetarian or vegan diets since they will not receive enough potassium, zinc, and calcium. It’s also important to not feed your cat too much liver or fish, as liver and fish can lead to serious health problems if consumed too often. Consult with your vet if you think your cat isn’t receiving proper nutrients. We can help you setup a proper diet, so your cat can get the nourishment it needs.
Obesity in cats is becoming a serious problem. Along with constant access to food, cats prefer to spend their time lounging around your home rather than exercising through play. If your cat is extremely overweight, there is a greater risk of developing diabetes mellitus. Some symptoms of diabetes in cats include lethargy, dehydration, motor function problems, vomiting, and loss of appetite. If left untreated, your cat can go into a coma or die. Get in touch with your veterinarian to develop a treatment plan and improve your cat’s dietary health.
Recovery from Surgery and after Shots
A visit to the vet, especially if it involves undergoing surgery, can be stressful for any kitty. It is normal for your cat to be sleepy and lethargic after a surgery, especially when there are still painkillers in their system. Your cat should be back to normal within 24 hours.
Cats can also be lethargic after getting routine vaccinations. Your cat should be back to normal after approximately 24–36 hours. Serious reactions to vaccines are rare but can occur. Be on the lookout for things like excessive vomiting, swelling in the face, and difficulty breathing. Contact your vet right away if you notice any of these symptoms.
Visit Our Veterinarians and Schedule an Appointment
Visit Animal Wellness Center in Waukesha, Oak Creek, Burlington, or Fond du Lac if you have any concerns about your cat’s health or if you want to setup a routine examination. Our veterinarians will be happy to answer any questions you have and ensure your cat is healthy.
Can Cats Drool like Dogs?
Cats don’t typically drool the way dogs do. Occasional drool while eating isn’t usually a problem, but there might be a more serious problem causing if the drooling is excessive. Some of the most common causes of excessive drooling in cats include:
- Dental Problems
- Mouth Diseases
- Ingesting Harmful Substances
- Kidney Failure
How to Identify the Cause of Drooling
Dental problems and mouth diseases
Your cat might not like getting their teeth brushed, but a mouth clean will prevent tartar buildup and tooth decay. If your cat is drooling, check their mouth for red or swollen gums, brown teeth, and bad breath. Animal Wellness Center can provide dental cleanings and surgeries as needed to keep their teeth and mouth healthy.
Ingesting harmful substances
Many household plants, cleaners, and medications are toxic to cats if they ingest them. If your cat eats something toxic, they will often exhibit excessive drooling. If you even suspect your cat of eating something harmful, take them to the vet right away! Remember, some plants are deadly to cats. The most dangerous are lilies of the Hemerocallis and Lilium species like Easter Lilies, tiger lilies, day lilies, Japanese show lilies, Western lilies, and stargazer lilies.
When a cat suffers from heatstroke from being left in a hot room or overexerting themselves in high temperatures, they may exhibit excessive drooling, panting, vomiting, redness of gums, and lethargy. Make sure your cat has a fresh supply of water at all times on hot days and let them have access to cool areas around the house. Never leave your pet in a car, even if it feels cool outside. Call your vet right away if you suspect your cat has heatstroke and keep them cool.
Many aging and elderly cats will experience kidney failure. Kidneys are used to filter waste out of the body through urination; when the kidneys fail, the waste builds up in the blood stream. This can cause uremic ulcers to form in the cat’s mouth, leading to drooling. Other symptoms of kidney failure include increased thirst, increased urination, lethargy, and weight loss.
Certain cancers can cause excessive drooling in cats, particularly squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cancer usually develops in the mouth, eyes, and ears. Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma include drooling, loss of appetite, weight loss, bad breath, and inability to close their mouth. Set up an appointment with Animal Wellness Center for diagnosis and treatment.
Just like people, cats can experience anxiety. If your cat is under extreme stress, they may exhibit panting, drooling, and general nervousness. Causes include being in the car, having strangers in their home, significant changes in their environment, or being rehomed. If your cat is suddenly exhibiting symptoms of anxiety without any of these common stressors, they might have an underlying illness. Contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your cat’s wellbeing or if their anxiety continues.
Dependable Veterinary Services in Waukesha, Oak Creek, Burlington, and Fond du Lac
Schedule a veterinary appointment at any one of our local offices in southeast Wisconsin. Our staff of veterinarians and vet techs love animals and will do everything it takes to make sure your cat is healthy. Whether your cat just needs a tooth cleaning or needs to begin treatment for kidney failure, we’re here for you.
How to Identify Diarrhea in Felines
Cats are generally able to eliminate without problems. Since cats instinctively bury their waste in a litter box, it can be hard for cat owners to tell when their pet has diarrhea.
When you scoop the litterbox, check the stool for unusual color, consistency, or size. This will make it easier to notice changes when your cat has diarrhea or digestive health problems. Contact Animal Wellness Center for treatment if your cat is experiencing diarrhea.
Examples of Unusual Cat Stool Samples:
- Black color
- Tarry consistency
- Liquid (any color)
- Blood present
Symptoms of Small Intestine Diarrhea vs Large Intestine Diarrhea
The cause of cat diarrhea can sometimes be determined by the location of the problem. Diarrhea which originates in the small intestines may cause flatulence, weight loss, and vomiting. The diarrhea of the large intestine will not have these additional symptoms, though there will most likely be more stool and more frequent trips to the litter box.
By paying attention to your kitty’s symptoms, our vets will better be able to determine the exact cause of their illness and make them well. Schedule an appointment at the Animal Wellness Center closest to your home to find the cause and best treatment plan for your cat’s diarrhea.
Common Causes of Diarrhea in Cats
A change in diet can upset your cat’s digestive system, leading to diarrhea and vomiting. Whenever you switch your pet to a new food, introduce it to your kitty slowly by mixing it with their old food first.
If they have eaten an item they cannot digest, like a toy, a blockage can form in their gastrointestinal tract. Surgery may be needed to safely remove the item. Many cats cannot digest properly dairy, so a yogurt, ice-cream, and milk treat may also cause diarrhea.
Additionally, infection from bacteria, parasites, or viruses may lead to diarrhea. Regular feline vaccinations will prevent many of these health problems for your cat.
Signs of Severe Diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Eliminating outside the litterbox
Kittens under one year old should always be checked out by our vets when they experience diarrhea. Due to their size, it is easier for them to become severely dehydrated by even a small amount of diarrhea.
How to Treat Cat Diarrhea
One of the big concerns of diarrhea is dehydration. Make sure your cat gets plenty of water as they recover. If they are not interested in their water dish, try giving them ice cubes or flavored broth.
For the first few hours, only feed your cat bland foods like chicken, rice, and pumpkin. These are easier to digest and less likely than other treats to cause additional diarrhea. If your cat was vomiting, wait 12-14 hours before feeding them again.
Never give human medication to cats, as these can be toxic.
The vets of Animal Wellness Center, with offices in have years of experiencing helping pet owners. We have the latest veterinary technology to provide more accurate diagnoses for our pet patients. Visit our offices in Waukesha, Fond du Lac, Burlington, or Oak Creek when your cat needs treatment for diarrhea.
How Do I Keep My Cat Hydrated?
Dehydration in cats is caused by a severe lack of fluid intake. While it may seem obvious to set out a bowl of water, there are reasons your cat may refuse or be unable to drink. Some symptoms of dehydration include lethargy, loss of appetite, dry mouth, panting, sunken eyes, and increased heart rate. If your cat is severely dehydrated, they could begin to enter organ failure and die. Fortunately, a quick diagnosis and treatment at Animal Wellness Center will keep your kitty happily hydrated.
To test for dehydration, try skin tenting. If your cat is a healthy weight, carefully lift the skin on the back of their neck. The skin should return to its normal position right away when you release the “tent”. If they are dehydrated, the skin will be very slow to move back to its usual position. You should also check if their gums are dry. Only a vet can determine the severity of the dehydration and provide an IV if needed.
My cat won’t drink from their water dish. Why?
Cats do not like drinking water close to their food source. If you place a water dish next to your cat’s food bowl, they’ll avoid drinking from it due to instinct. This is because cats used to hunt their food, and nearby water could be contaminated by the kill. Even when their water is fresh and clean, your cat would rather be safe than sorry. Place their water dish somewhere else and see if they start drinking from it more.
Many cats prefer to drink running water because they know it is fresh and uncontaminated. There are specially designed water fountains made just for cats, so consider getting one to encourage healthy hydration. If you feed your cat wet food on a regular basis, this will keep them hydrated without having to drink water often.
Dehydration as a Side Effect from Other Diseases
Cats can become dehydrated due to other medical issues. Diabetes, heatstroke, and advanced age can all cause cats to become dehydrated. A visit to Animal Wellness Center will determine if another health problem is causing your cat’s hydration issues.
Heatstroke is one of the more likely causes of dehydration. Keep multiple water dishes around your home to ensure your cat has plenty of access to clean water while you are away. On hot days, consider setting up a cooling corner for your cat with plenty of shade and extra water to keep them from overheating.
Treat Dehydration in Cats
If you believe your cat is dehydrated, the first step is to try to get them to drink water. You could offer them wet food or “flavored” water from a can of their favorite fish. If they still refuse to drink, you need to take them to our veterinarians as soon as possible.
With proper diagnosis from Animal Wellness vets, treatment and recovery can begin for your cat. Set up an appointment as soon as you notice signs of dehydration.
What Do I Do if My Cat is Constipated?
Constipation may not sound like a big deal, but cats can suffer severe, life-threatening complications from being constipated. Severe constipation can become obstipation, when it is almost or completely impossible for your cat to poop. Obstipation is a very serious condition, since a buildup of waste can lead to internal infections.
Signs and Symptoms of Constipation in Cats
Since your cat can’t tell you when there’s a problem, you’ll have to observe their behavior and take a look at what is or is not in the litterbox. Some signs your cat may be constipated include:
- Little or no defecation
- Small, dry, hard feces
- Small amounts of feces
- Loose stool with blood or mucus
- Defecating outside the litterbox
- Not eating
Some cats develop a condition known as megacolon, in which the muscles of the colon have trouble contracting and moving fecal matter along. This causes an accumulation in the colon, causing constipation.
Urinary Tract Blockage
A blocked urinary tract in a male cat may be mistaken for constipation since the cat may be straining in the litterbox. If you notice your cat straining and don’t see any urine, or a very small amount, contact your vet right away—a urinary tract blockage needs to be treated immediately.
Causes of Cat Constipation
Your cat could become constipated due to any number of reasons, such as:
- Intestinal blockage (like a hairball)
- Stress or trauma
- Lack of exercise
- Kidney disease
- Nerve damage
- Anesthetics and other drugs
Cat Constipation Remedies
Consult your vet before giving your cat any supplements or medications for constipation. Never give your cat medication meant for humans or dogs, as many of these are toxic for felines. For mild constipation, our veterinarians may recommend fiber or medications such as:
- Stool softeners
In more severe cases, an enema may be needed to remove the impacted feces. If a cat develops megacolon and the muscles are damaged beyond repair, parts of the colon may have to be surgically removed.
Animal Wellness Center: Constipated Cats’ Favorite Vets
Hopefully your cat’s constipation can be cleared up with some extra fiber and water in the diet. Talk to your veterinarian to find out the best remedy for your cat. If you suspect severe constipation or obstipation, visit Animal Wellness Center.