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Could a cat become constipated from refusing to use the litter box?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

My 2.5 yr old female, Babs, is having issues with constipation. She threw up some clear, slightly mucusy liquid (gastric acid?) on Wednesday and hasn't been quite herself since. On Saturday we noticed she hadn't pooped since she threw up so we took her to the vet. They ran a radiograph which revealed a significant amount of backed up poo (though no other issues) so they gave her an enema, cleared a lot of poo and sent her on the way with some lactulose. 


Since then her eating and drinking have been completely normal but she still has not pooped. 


Originally my thinking was that the constipation was the result of a dietary change and stress. She stayed with a friend of ours for a week over New Year's. That friend has 2 other female cats and Babs had unfettered access to their dry food, which she probably pigged out on. The vomiting incident was 2 or 3 days after her stay there. 


Now that she still seems to be constipated, I'm wondering about other potential causes. We took in a stray now 3-month-old kitten, Frank, a month ago. We only started letting him out of his room at the beginning of last week, as he was dealing with a coccidia infection and a leaky bum. This means that him having access to the house (and theoretically Babs' litterbox) coincides with the beginning of her constipation. Thinking on it this morning, I think she is peeing less even though her fluid intake is completely normal. 


My question then is: is it possible that she now doesn't want to use the litterbox because he has access to it? I read somewhere that cats can feel cornered in a covered litterbox, which hers is. Even if that is the case, would she hold her poop in to the point of being constipated or would she simply defecate elsewhere in the house?


Babs and Frank are friends and they play for hours, but I know that cats can be neurotic. 

post #2 of 14

Do you have more than 1 litterbox?  Realistically, you should have 3 if you have 2 cats. That would provide her an option, if this is one of her issues.

The dry food probably didn't help.  My older guy will vomit and get constipated if he eats dry.  If he eats wet he is fine.

Can you water down her wet food, maybe to a slurry consistency, as a tactic to get some more water into her?  Just suggesting that since you say she hasn't decreased her water consumption, yet she isn't peeing as much.  That would help with the constipation as well.


If she still isn't pooping, you should probably call your vet and ask if you can give her something to help move things along.  I had to give my elderly cat a daily, tiny, tiny dose of laxative to keep her going, and it was on a long term basis.  I also added a bit of a fiber capsule to her diet, just sprinkled it on top.  They might let you do that as well if you ask.


Hope poor Frank is feeling better!

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Each cat has their own litterbox. However, I've gone ahead and put a third litterbox in a completely different part of the house, and will ensure that Frank doesn't have access to it. 

post #4 of 14

We had 2 in the house at first after we brought in Shortstack to live, then I got a 3rd one and put at the other end of the house and they do seem happier.


Best of luck to you, love their names! 

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Tried putting out another litter box in a different part of the house but alas, nothing.


Is it possible that she simply doesn't need to poo yet after receiving an enema on Saturday? That seems strange to me, but she doesn't complain if I apply pressure to her belly. 

post #6 of 14

Has there been nothing since Saturday?  That's a pretty long time.  Why don't you give the vet a call and ask if you can give 1/8th or 1/4th teaspoon of Miralax over her food.  That is what we used, and it's commonly used.  Might prevent having to have another enema--which a cat getting an enema cannot be a pleasant experience for either the cat or the tech!! cringe.gif

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

I called. They want to give it another day, as apparently the enema cleaned her out pretty thoroughly.


I'm still a bit concerned though. She has been kind of mopey, and 3 days seems awfully long, even if she was cleared out. 

post #8 of 14

3 days, now 4, does seem to be an awfully long time.  You would think they would have had to clear out from her throat down for it to take that long!!


Anything overnight???

post #9 of 14

how much of the lactulose are you giving her? My instructions are 1-2 cc twice a day.. but we cannot prescribe; but it may give you a guideline.. 


If I were you, I would most likely give the lactulose and keep adding water to her wet food..


I am currently going through this with my guy..It is nerve wrecking.. I want him to poop.. only got a couple of small hard chunks yesterday. If he does not go today, I am calling the Vet tomorrow.. I will probably give my guy a bit more miralax.. I think tomorrow will be the lactulose for me...


(((((((hugs)))))))  I am going to be talking to the POOP GOD/GODDESS for both of us!!!!

post #10 of 14
Originally Posted by Artiemom View Post



(((((((hugs)))))))  I am going to be talking to the POOP GOD/GODDESS for both of us!!!!

That absolutely tore me up!  I used to do that with our dear old Fuzz too!  Please poop, please poop.....

Hope Artie baby is doing better and you are doing well with the subq!!  Following the other thread.  Artie is precious.


@Arkansawyer let us hear from you :vibes:

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

She thankfully pooped last night. It was grey in color and kind of a clay-like consistency. This concerned me a bit, as a quick Google search mentioned liver issues, but the vet said as long as she is eating/drinking and acting normally it's fine. She was quite playful last night. 

post #12 of 14

YAY! She probably feels better. 

The color would have frightened me...but I know one of my dogs had to have a motility test done, and whatever they gave her to drink made him poo an odd color, a weird tan-grey.  Wonder if her being cleaned out, or the enema solution could have done that?

post #13 of 14
You can try adding pumpkin to her diet. It's a natural stool softener, maybe that will make it easier for her to pass it
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
The poop issue with Babs has resolved. However, she is still not feeling 100%. She is relatively lethargic, sleeping much of the day and only rarely playing with our other cat Frank and in short bursts at that.

I've also noticed that she is eating more recently and that she is walking slowly if she's not playing. Her drinking and urinating seem normal.

Any guesses what could be going on?
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