Tackling cat constipation by focusing on thinning and trimming the coat

By Sandra Murphey with intro by Michael.

There is a page on PoC written years ago about home treatments for cat constipation. Sandra has added to the page in a useful comment, which I believe should seen by more visitors than are likely to read her comment. Hence this article. Sandra tackled her cat’s constipation by focusing on thinning out her coat together with some judicious trimming.


Mitzy has constipation

Mitzy is prone to constipation

Sandra writes:

I have a 5-year-old long haired cat that I took to the vet for constipation. She got an enema, and was put on Royal Canin Hi Response DRY (hi fiber), Hill’s WD and Lactulose. After much research, I discovered that these “prescription” foods are not healthy. She was still only having movements every other day.

I transitioned her completely off DRY food, and started to discover the “difficult” truths of how pet food is made. I began to really read labels! I’ve tried some high quality foods, adding water. Also supplement with raw ground chicken/turkey combined with a “pre-mix” for more nutrients.

Another thing I did was give a “little” goat milk and plain goat yogurt. She loves them, and they are good for the belly. Also, she’s developed a taste for coconut oil, and eats 1-2 teaspoons a day.

I’ve also added these things to food: oat bran, ground chia seeds, and various other hi-fiber. She still only poops every other day. I’ve been using Laxatone, but it’s for hairballs, which she doesn’t have.

The Hair Factor in Constipation

I did something I never read about anyone doing. I broke open her stools, to find “long hair”. This is the “root cause” of her constipation! This led me on a search for a tool to get rid of the excess hair. I tried the Furminator, but it didn’t work for her. So, I got the ShedMonster at Walmart, and that really gets the fur out. It’s about a 4th of the price of Furminator, and works better for her.

This is only the 2nd day of using it. I wipe her down with a damp towel afterwards to get rid of excess. I’m also going to clip some of the long hair on her sides and butt area.

I just wanted to share this because I haven’t seen any posts that mention getting rid of excess fur with a de-shedding tool. I always combed and brushed her daily, but it wasn’t enough.

I hope this information helps other long haired cat guardians.


Associated: recycling cat hair.

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Comments

Tackling cat constipation by focusing on thinning and trimming the coat — 15 Comments

  1. OMG!
    To only have hard, or even formed, stools here would be a dream.
    I’ve never had to deal with constipation at all, but your article is very informative.
    Wet cat food really only delivers very soft stools, even diarrhea.
    My boxes overfloweth!

      • Nope. Wet cat food always causes soft stools. It may not be obvious for caretakers of outside cats, but it’s a norm for indoor ones. It’s maddening.

        • An interesting article. It makes sense that excess hair swallowed through grooming could cause constipation. Hope the de-shedding comb helps provide a long term solution for Sandra’s cat.

          Dee, perhaps it’s the brand of wet food you’re using? Maybe it’s a little too rich for them? My cats eat wet food and they always have firm stools.

        • Dee,
          I’m curious about your statement that “wet food causes soft stools” because that’s not my experience. My cat is indoors only, and after much extensive research on how pet food is made, I’ve decided to read labels very carefully!

          Not all wet food is created equal, and I’ve tried various brands. I’m curious what you feed your cat. My long hair cat ingests a lot of fur, which creates constipation. My main focus is to find the best solution to helping her move her food out with normal stools. Too soft or too hard are both problematic, as they would be with humans. It mostly has to do with what’s ingested, unless there’s a more serious underlying problem, which only a vet can diagnose.

          I’m curious, do all your cats have soft stools? Have you talked to a vet about this?

          • I tend to agree with you Sandra. Wet food shouldn’t cause loose stools. It should replicate natural prey and does in terms of water content (about 70%). My cat eats 80% wet (best quality I can get) and his stools are a little on the hard side but acceptable.

  2. Dee’s right. The only wet food ours can tolerate is Sheba. And that goes for the expensive brands as well. Sealy and our elderly cats share a few cans a day but other than that eat Dad’s Gourmet blend in the yellow bag. Its dry and none have had problems after 5 years on it.

    • I was curious about Dad’s Gourmet Blend, since I hadn’t heard of it. It wasn’t easy to find the ingredients, but here they are:

      DAD’S® Gourmet Blend® Natural gives your cat the tasty combination of chicken and seafood flavors he craves with no artificial flavors or preservatives. It is also formulated with added vitamins and minerals and taurine for complete and balanced nutrition. Keep your cat both happy and healthy with DAD’S® Gourmet Blend® Natural.

      Ingredients:
      Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Whole Wheat, Ground Yellow Corn, Animal Fat (Preserved with BHA), Brewers Rice, Dried Brewers Yeast, Dried Whey, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavor (Poultry, Seafood, and Liver), Taurine, Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Supplement, Artificial Color, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K Activity), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Cobalt Sulfate, Potassium Iodide.

  3. I want to report on a solution to Mitzy’s constipation. I’d been giving her 1cc Lactulose stool softener each day, and feeding a variety of quality wet foods. Still she was only having stools every other day. The vet wanted to increase the Lactulose to 3 times a day! I refused.

    I began the “de-shedding” a few times a week, since I had seen a lot of fur in her stools. I figured the less she gets in her intestines, the less there would be in the stool, which I thought was slowing things down. It helped a little.

    I had the thought that she might not be getting enough fiber with just wet food, even though I was adding various kinds of fiber, except for pumpkin,
    which she didn’t like.

    I resorted to trying a high fiber dry food for weight loss, even though she doesn’t need to lose anymore weight. So, I’ve been giving her about a 1/4 or less a day on top of the wet food.

    The dry food is Blue Wilderness High Protein Grain Free. It’s got some ingredients I’d rather not give her, but since she’s eating so little, I’m giving in on that. Constipation can be serious, and it’s been very stressful for me, not knowing what to do.

    And, she eats it, since it’s got addictive animal digest. I’d love to hear from those who have cats
    that won’t eat dry food, if offered, and what that dry food was.

    This has helped so much! She’s been going every day! I’ve stopped the Lactulose. But keep it on hand, just in case.

    The “de-shedding” is removing lots of undercoat, and her fur looks better. She even enjoys it!

    • Wow, I find that very interesting. A benefit in dry cat food 😉 . That’s nice to read. So the dry cat food was the last jigsaw piece that cured her constipation.

      Could you list out the remedies in order of importance? We could make that a follow up article if you like.

  4. It seems that Mitzy needed more fiber. When she first went to a vet in November, they kept her for a week, and fed Royal Canin High Response Dry, along with Hills WD. When I picked her up, they said she was having good stools every day. The RC is high fiber, but I’d been doing my research, and knew I wanted to get her off dry food. Especially the “prescription crap”.

    I had tried many sources of fiber: psyllium, oat bran, Miralax, Metamucil, and crushed chia seeds. I also give her goat yogurt and goat milk, since she stopped drinking water. The past month, she’s developed a liking for hardened coconut oil. Any of these things should work, but didn’t.

    So, I had to give her daily Lactulose, which worked, but only every other day.

    The Blue hi-protein, grain free dry weight control
    seems to have made the difference. And, now she’s drinking water again! I’ve stopped the Lactulose.

    In order of importance I’d say:

    De-shedding -much less fur in stools
    Blue dry weight control- fiber means daily stools
    Goat milk/yogurt-pro-biotic moisture
    Water-more moisture for high fiber dry food
    Wet foods- variety of high quality nutrition

    This morning she had her FIRST “hairball”, and she’s 5 years old. Another feline mystery!

  5. FYI: The ingredients of Blue High Protein/Grain Free Dry Weight Control

    BLUE Wilderness® Weight Control Chicken Recipe For Adult Cats

    With LifeSource Bits “cold-formed” to help retain the potency of their ingredients. This means that we minimize the amount of heat that LifeSource
    Bits are exposed to during the manufacturing

    Ingredients:

    Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Tapioca Starch, Tomato Pomace (source of Lycopene), Pea Fiber, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Powdered Cellulose, Potatoes, Calcium Carbonate, Pea Protein, Alfalfa Meal, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, Potato Starch, DL-Methionine, Caramel, Salt, Taurine, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Mixed Tocopherols (a natural preservative), L-Carnitine, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Oil of Rosemary, L-Lysine, Parsley, Kelp, Blueberries, Cranberries, Apples, Spinach, Blackberries, Pomegranate, Pumpkin, Barley Grass, Turmeric, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Beta Carotene, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Sodium Selenite.

    Crude Protein 36.0% min Crude Fat 12.0% min Crude Fiber 8.0% max Moisture 10.0% max Magnesium 0.08% min Taurine 0.15% min Omega 3 Fatty Acids* 0.50% min Omega 6 Fatty Acids* 2.0% min L-Carnitine* 150 mg/kg min `

  6. Some common causes of cat constipation:

    Dehydration— dehydration causes the colon to absorb more water from the stool and pets that become dehydrated may suffer from mild to severe constipation. Aging pets frequently experience mild dehydration and can benefit from supplemental water (see remedies below).

    Excessive ingestion of hair—some animals excessively groom themselves which can clog their digestive system with hair. Keeping hair clipped and routine brushing can help cut down on hair ingestion.

    Foreign body ingestion—some pets eat unusual substances such as gravel, stones, dirt and plants. Stools produced can be sharp or painful to pass, resulting in straining and constipation.

    Medications—certain prescription medications may cause constipation. If your pet becomes constipated, ask your veterinarian about any medications your pet is taking.

    Kidney disease or Diabetes—pets with Kidney disease or Diabetes lose excessive amounts of water in their urine (even though they drink a lot) and live in a perpetual state of mild dehydration and are at risk for chronic constipation. They may also have electrolyte imbalances that lead to poor colon function.

    Electrolyte imbalance—there are many electrolytes that are necessary for normal digestive system function. For example, low levels of potassium or magnesium may lead to severe constipation.

    Intestinal disease—inflammation may cause the intestine to malfunction and not move food properly. A cancerous mass or polyp may act as an obstruction to the passage of stool.

    Orthopedic/neurologic problems—arthritis, incorrectly healed pelvic or back fractures, disc problems or anything that may cause pain will often prevent pets from posturing normally to defecate and result in constipation.

    Perianal hernias—this is a rip in the muscle around the anus that may allow the colon and feces to become trapped inside. A hernia may be present if there is a swelling under the tail. Hernias can cause constipation or be a result of long-term straining to defecate.

    • Sandra, I’m so pleased to hear that you’re having some success with finding a solution to help Mitzy. She’s fortunate to have such a dedicated lady caring for her. I hope she continues to thrive on the regime of de-shedding and her new diet.

      Although I feed my cats wet food, I did try offering them some Applaws Adult Chicken dry food, so that they would have something to snack on when I’m out. I also wondered if they might enjoy the variety in texture. It’s a good quality food, but they weren’t interested. They were more than happy to eat the Applaws chicken breast wet food though 😉

      I recently adopted a young cat Phoebe from a rescue and the foster carer was feeding her Applaws dry. They said she wouldn’t touch wet food. (She was being offered Iams.) I continued giving Phoebe Applaws dry, but I also began offering her wet food. Now she won’t touch the Applaws dry.

      Applaws is a British brand although I believe it’s slowly becoming available in the US. I can’t figure out whether it has a slightly different composition in the USA.

      UK version;

      http://applaws.co.uk/product/dry-cat-adult-chicken/

      USA version;

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