First, to ensure we are on the same page, here are several definitions and/or possible symptoms of constipation:
*Note that straining to urinate could be confused with straining at stool. A cat who is unable to urinate is experiencing a medical emergency and must be seen by a vet immediately. If the regular vet is not open, if it is a weekend or holiday, find the nearest veterinary emergency clinic.
Constipation is not only miserable for cats, it is unhealthy. Constipation can be the result of illness or disease and/or it can contribute to illness or disease. Constipation can be acute (temporary) or chronic (ongoing). A constipated cat can be helped.
The best treatment for a constipated cat is a human who understands how things work – how the digestive tract works, what poop is and is not, which remedies can help and which can harm or be ineffective. We need a foundation upon which to pin various facts and details, like that familiar childhood game of Pin The Tail On The Donkey. I hope to provide a serviceable donkey as well as some tails and that the tails hit the mark.
While I have tried to keep the writing as straightforward as possible without oversimplification, gut health and constipation can be a complex subject. The Glossary is included to help with unfamiliar terms. Illustrations enhance the text. Each topic offers a Quick Review of highlighted points which are all gathered together in the Review section.
The general topic is divided into several subheadings intended to help you to better understand gut health and constipation. We usually focus on results or lack of results in the litter box; we put our focus on the end product. Since that is not where trouble starts, I encourage you to read the topics in order. The two longest chapters, Gut 101 and Gut 102, offer both full and condensed versions for those who want more or less detail.
There is a search window at the bottom of each of the main pages which searches the entire site. Enter your search term, select the resultant hit you want to follow up, then use your browser's page search function to zero in. Hitting Command-F should bring up your browser's page search function, an extra little window in one corner or another of the browser window. This little window sports arrows to click backward and forward between the search terms on the page.
No one needs to pass a written test. Take your time, give yourself credit for any gain in understanding how things work. Confusion precedes learning so initial confusion is a good thing!
Most of what I have learned, I learned after our cat SEM died of Chronic Renal Failure in 2001. I surely wish I had known and understood more when SEM was alive and hope this information will help you to help your own cat.
This information is not a substitute for proper veterinary diagnosis and treatment. My intent is to inform. It is your responsibility to seek an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment for your cat from a trained professional.
Errors of omission or commission remain my own.
To appreciate the graphics of this site, let your mouse pointer hover over the graphics at the top of every new topic.
The First Lesson starts us off . . . . . .
“Cats require purity and simplicity.” – SEM