You’re cleaning out the litter box and notice that your cat’s poop is small, dry, and hard. Your cat may be constipated. The first treatment that most people think of is Metamucil. It works for humans, so does it work for cats too?
The short answer is, yes, Metamucil works on cats. Read on for details on safety, dosage, and more.
But before we talk about Metamucil, let’s learn a little more about constipation in cats.
Symptoms and Signs of Cat Constipation
Constipation is defined as decreased frequency or difficulty passing bowel movements. You may see your cat straining in the litter box, hunched over, and meowing in pain. The stool in the box may look hard and dry, and sometimes there is blood in the stool. With some cats, your cat may have diarrhea. This can happen when fecal impaction occurs and watery diarrhea bypasses the fecal ball.
Many cats are secretive about defecating and will run away as soon as anyone approaches the litter box. This can make it difficult for cat owners to realize that their cat is constipated.
Get in the habit of cleaning your litter box every one to two days. If you notice a decrease in the amount of poop in the crate, or if the poop is very dry and small, your cat may be constipated.
When cats have trouble defecating, they may associate the pain and difficulty with the litter box. It is not uncommon for constipated cats to defecate outside the litter box. It could be next to the box, on their bed, or in a corner of your house.
Causes of Constipation in Cats
Constipated cats are often dehydrated. One job of the colon is to absorb water from waste. If your kitten is dehydrated, the colon will draw out more water from the waste, resulting in hard, dry stools.
Dehydration is often caused by another underlying medical condition, such as kidney disease or diabetes.
Cats that spend a lot of time grooming, especially longhaired cats, may develop hairballs. Hairballs may be vomited or passed through the bowel into the colon, where they mix with stool and cause bowel problems.
Constipation in cats can also be due to mechanical obstruction of the lower GI tract. A pelvic fracture can put pressure on the colon, making it difficult for stool to pass. Polyps or masses in the colon may also cause partial or complete blockage of the colon.
Complications of Chronic Constipation
Chronic constipation can be a very serious condition. The term constipation is used when a cat is unable to defecate at all.
Constipation can cause bacterial toxins in the stool to be absorbed into the blood, causing endotoxemia. Endotoxemia causes lethargy, anorexia, and in severe cases, organ damage that can be life-threatening.
Chronic constipation and constipation can also cause irreversible damage to the muscles and nerves of the colon. Over time, megacolon may develop.
Hirschsprung is a serious problem in which the colon expands and cannot contract to pass stool. In severe cases, the colon may need to be removed.
What is Metamucil?
Metamucil is the brand name for a fiber supplement that contains psyllium husk. Psyllium husk passes through the digestive system and absorbs water.
It increases stool mass, softens stool, and stimulates the colon to contract to help pass stool. Metamucil is safe to use on cats and is available in pharmacies, grocery stores, and over the counter at supermarkets like Walmart and Target.
There is an unflavored version that can be mixed with food.
Metamucil Dosage for Cats
The starting dose for cats is ¼ teaspoon once daily for cats up to 8 lbs and ¼ teaspoon twice daily for cats 8 lbs and over.
If you do not notice improvement, you may increase your dose Reduce by 1/8 -1/4 tsp.
If it’s going to work, you should see an improvement in your stool within a few days. Metamucil is very safe for cats. Cats may experience abdominal pain and/or diarrhea if overfed.
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If you notice these signs, reduce your dose or stop the drug completely. Psyllium is also available in capsule form.
capsules may contain 500 mg or 1000 mg, so be sure to read the bottle carefully.average value Cats over 8 lbs should get 500 mg per day。 You may take the capsule whole or open the capsule and mix it with food.
Cats under 8 lbs should accept 250 mg of psyllium per day. Since there is no such strength, you can open the capsule and mix about ½ of the powder in the capsule with food.
Is Metamucil safe for long-term use?
Fiber supplements such as psyllium and Metamucil do not work for every cat and are not recommended for long-term use. Increased stool bulk can lead to dehydration and can worsen constipation over time. Cats with chronic constipation often have an underlying medical cause.
Possible medical causes include chronic kidney disease leading to dehydration causing constipation, other internal factors (such as enlarged bladder or prostate, enlarged lymph nodes, or pelvic trauma) compressing the colon, colon hyperplasia, or megacolon – a condition in which the colon no longer contracts to pass stool.
In all of these cases, long-term use of fiber additives can make the situation worse.
Alternatives to Metamucil for Cats
MiraLAX is a good over-the-counter alternative to Metamucil or psyllium. The active ingredient in MiraLAX is polyethylene glycol 3350.
I know PEG sounds scary, but it is a very safe product that is not easily absorbed into the bloodstream.
MiraLAX works as an osmotic diuretic, which means it draws fluid into the stool to soften it. There is a wide range of dosages – I usually recommend starting with 1/8 teaspoon twice a day and gradually increasing the dose as needed, up to a maximum of 1 teaspoon twice a day.
Also read: Cat Stool Chart: Decoding Your Cat’s Stool
If the dose is too high, your cat may experience diarrhea, nausea, or abdominal pain. MiraLAX is available as an orange flavored or unflavored powder that can be mixed with your cat’s food for convenience.
You can also mix it with water and inject it into your cat’s mouth. MiraLAX should produce a laxative effect within one to three days.
If you’ve tried over-the-counter medications and your cat is still passing only fine, dry, hard stools, you should see your veterinarian.
Constipation Home Remedies
The first thing to try to help your constipated cat is to increase his water intake. Many cats don’t like drinking from small bowls. Use a larger bowl so the whiskers don’t touch the rim of the bowl. Other cats like running water.
Some cat owners will turn on the tap several times a day to give their kittens a drink. A Kitty Water Fountain is also included so your cat always has running water. Regular cleaning of drinking fountains is important to prevent mold and algae.
A high-fiber diet can also help relieve constipation. A spoonful of canned pumpkin once a day is a good source of fiber.
You can also find good over-the-counter high-fiber diets. Commercially available hairball diets tend to be higher in fiber and may help relieve constipation.
Veterinary Treatments for Cat Constipation
Your veterinarian may recommend an abdominal x-ray to see how much stool is in the colon, to determine if the colon is dilated (such as megacolon) or if there is a physical blockage causing constipation.
She may recommend blood tests to check for an underlying cause of dehydration, such as kidney disease. She may recommend fluids to help rehydrate your cat, and may give a warm water enema. (Note that I do not recommend giving your cat an enema at home.
Certain enemas contain phosphates, which can kill cats and can cause a tear in the colon if the enema is not done properly.
Your veterinarian may prescribe lactulose. Lactulose is a sweet liquid that adds moisture to the stool so it doesn’t harden and dry out.
Fiber supplements, such as Metamucil, are safe and easy to find. They can help relieve mild constipation in most cats.
Don’t forget to make sure your cat is drinking enough water to prevent dehydration and contact your veterinarian if the condition does not improve within a few days.
frequently asked questions
How much Metamucil can I give my cat for constipation?
If your cat weighs less than 8 lbs, start with ¼ teaspoon once daily. If your cat weighs more than 8 lbs, give ¼ teaspoon twice daily. Look for an unflavored powder and mix it with canned foods. Cats eight pounds and over can consume 500 mg per day.
Cats under eight pounds can consume 250 mg per day. Psyllium is usually available in 500 mg and 1000 mg capsules. I recommend finding the 500 mg capsules. Open the capsule and mix the powder in the capsule with the canned food.
For smaller cats (under eight pounds), use your best judgment to mix approximately ½ of the 500 mg capsule with food.
What can you give your cat to treat constipation?
If your cat is constipated, the most important thing is to increase his or her water intake. Make sure fresh water is available and your cat is drinking. Feed canned food, which contains more than dry food.
You can also try over-the-counter medicines for humans, such as Metamucil, Psyllium, or MiraLAX. Do not use stimulant laxatives such as bisacodyl, senna, or castor oil on cats. If you are unsure whether a product is safe to use, call your veterinarian.
What Is Good Fiber For Cats?
If you want to increase your cat’s fiber content, I recommend starting with food. Over-the-counter diet foods tend to be higher in fiber. Your veterinarian also offers many prescription foods that are higher in fiber.
If you want to add fiber to treat constipation, you can take Metamucil or psyllium short-term. Long-term use of these supplements is not recommended, as they can cause dehydration and make constipation worse over time.
Can Metamucil harm cats?
Metamucil is safe to use as a short-term solution for constipation. Metamucil increases the bulk of stool in the colon. Over time, this can lead to dehydration and worsen constipation. Contact your veterinarian if you do not notice an improvement in your cat’s litter box habits after one to two weeks of using Metamucil.
Will Metamucil help my cat poop?
Metamucil is a fiber supplement. Fiber adds mass to the stool, softens the stool, and stimulates the colon to contract to help pass the stool. If your cat is mildly constipated, Metamucil should help. However, if your cat is still unable to poop after a few days of treatment with Metamucil, contact your veterinarian. Your cat may have an obstruction or blockage preventing him from having a bowel movement.
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