Constipation in a cat is often misdiagnosed by vets and the public alike. You need to understand who cats are, where they are from as well as their anatomy and physiology. Cats are not the same as humans, even though their biology is similar. There are significant differences.
A healthy human should have a diet high in natural fibre. That makes for very good digestion and daily bowel movements. So people tend to think that a cat needs a lot of natural fibre to help their digestion. They get worried if the cat is not pooing/pooping every day.
So let’s look at why this is not a good idea and what is healthy digestion and bowel movements in a cat.
Cats come from the arid areas of the world
The arid areas of the world have little to no water or only have seasonal water. That means that any animal who is adapted to these areas have different needs or abilities regarding their water intake.
Cats are hunters. Everyone knows that. Every being contains a fair amount of blood. Humans have an average of eight pints. That’s a lot of blood. Cats eat the whole catch, blood and all. And that is the major source of their liquid needs. They don’t need much more.
This means they don’t have much of a natural thirst. This is one, but only one, reason why dry food for cats is so harmful to them. They never drink enough to make up the shortfall, so they develop renal degeneration – UTIs, kidney stones, kidney failure, etc.
In addition, cats intestines absorb as much liquid in the stool as they can. This far exceeds the extraction of water from our own poo/poop. They can’t afford to waste any liquid, so they have developed strategies to hold on to as much as possible.
The differences in cat poo/poop
Let’s look at the poo/poop of a cat on a diet of commercial cat food. This food is typically high in cooked food, plant based protein (and so fibre) and synthetic additives, all of which is totally unnatural for them. So they tend to have daily bowel movements, very smelly poo/poop and bulky, soft stool.
This is considered normal and healthy, but it is far from that.
Cats in the wild, and domestic cats fed a healthy raw food diet tend to have a bowel movement every two to three days, it is almost odourless and it is hard, dry and crumbly.
Even though it is passed easily, people tend to think their cat is constipated. But they are not.
THIS is normal and healthy.
Cats don’t need fibre in their diet. They are not equipped to deal with it. It adds to their burden when they have it in their food.
True constipation in a cat is when they struggle to pass a stool, when they constantly try to poo/poop, but it is unsuccessful or when there is obvious pain.
That tends to happen more in cats who are on a lot of veterinary medication as this blocks the pathways of nutrition absorption and increases the work of the liver, a key component in healthy digestion.
Learn how to feed your cat a healthy, natural diet that can remove the need for veterinary drugs. Your cat will be happier and healthier and the strain on your wallet will disappear.