Cats, therefore, require a well-functioning digestive system to stay healthy. However, it may be difficult to tell what is ‘normal’ and what requires medical treatment, especially since cats defecate far less frequently than humans. When it comes to cats, how long can they go without pooping?
Cats may go for up to 48 hours (two days) without pooping before requiring medical attention and a visit to the veterinarian. Each or every other day, a healthy cat will defecate. Depending on their food and intestinal condition, some cats may defecate twice a day.
Let’s go into details about how long cats may go without pooping, how to keep your cat on a healthy bowel movement schedule, and what you can do to help your cat poop.
How Long Can Cats Go Without Pooping?
While most cats defecate every 24-36 hours, this can vary and still be healthy. Felines with varying diets and exercise levels will have varying bowel movement rates.
An outdoor cat who consumes more leftovers and is more active may defecate more frequently. Indoor cats who consume mainly dry food and have a more sedentary lifestyle may use the restroom less frequently.
While the frequency of a cat’s bowel movement can vary widely and still be healthy, there is a limit to how long a cat can go without pooping. This should raise a red alert if your cat hasn’t pooped in two days.
You don’t need to rush your cat to the vet right away, but you should keep an eye on them for the following 12 hours to see whether they go to the potty. You may also begin using some natural tactics to get your cat to defecate.
If your cat hasn’t pooped after 12 hours, you should take them to the veterinarian.
Why a Cat May Not Be Pooping
There are a variety of reasons why your cat’s digestion may be delayed. Some of these issues may resolve themselves over time, while others may necessitate surgery. Constipation in cats can be a symptom of illness.
1. Low Fiber Diets
Fiber is an important component of a cat’s healthy digestion. Dietary fiber may be found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans, but it is not digested by cats. Instead, the fiber is preserved, which aids in the formation of a firm stool and the retention of water for easier passage. Your cat’s excrement might become hard and uncomfortable to push out if it doesn’t get enough fiber in its diet.
Constipation is caused by dehydration in both cats and humans. Severe dehydration causes the body to extract as much fluid as possible from its internal systems, including the intestines, resulting in a hard and compact stool.
To conserve energy, your cat’s body may go into survival mode and slow down some of the more extreme behaviors, such as defecation. Rehydration can be as simple as drinking water in certain cases, but in others, your pet may require IV therapy to restore its nutrients.
3. Excessive Grooming
Over-grooming is one of the most prevalent causes of constipation in cats. Cats clean themselves by combing over their fur with their sandpapery mouths to remove dust and dirt. This also helps to prevent matted fur from forming, which may be irritating for our four-legged friends. Longer-haired cats are more prone to stomach problems caused by their fur.
Cats swallow part of the hair they brush through when they clean themselves. These clumps will frequently reappear as sticky furballs. If they do not vomit the furball up, it may become trapped in their digestive tract, preventing or delaying a bowel movement.
This problem may resolve itself over time, but more serious situations may necessitate medical care.
4. Spinal or Pelvic Injuries
If your pet has had a recent spinal or pelvic injury, it may be difficult for them to use the litter box. A pelvic injury can constrict a section of the pelvic canal, limiting the flow of feces through the digestive tract. Defecating may become uncomfortable as a result of a spinal injury, and your cat may get constipated instead.
5. Feline Megacolon
A huge abnormally dilated colon in cats is known as feline megacolon. When the colon’s diameter is too enormous, it produces feces that are too huge to pass through the cat’s pelvis. Cats become critically constipated as a result and are unable to pass their excrement.
The obstruction in the feline megacolon is usually removed with surgery, but it can also be eliminated or reduced to passing size with an enema.
6. Colon Blockage or Growths
Constipation and the inability to defecate can also be caused by physical obstructions in your pet’s intestines. Any foreign material swallowed, on the other hand, might clog your cat’s digestive tract.
If ingested, sticks, bones, and shards of plastic are all deadly. Internal growths or tumors developing throughout your cat’s digestive tract can also create obstructions. In either situation, you’ll need a veterinarian to clear the obstruction or identify the growth.
Kittens excrete more often than adult cats. Due to their rapid development, their cells are actively dividing. This is compounded by the fact that they are quite playful, necessitating a lot of energy. As a result, the only method to get this extra energy is by supplementary food, which also leads to higher excretion.
8. Amount Of Exercise
Regular exercise will boost the body’s metabolism, ensuring that food is properly digested. There’s a chance that when cats spend more time napping, they’ll develop stomach issues. You must discover an appealing manner for cats to play for them to exercise and stay healthy.
Is It an Emergency If My Cat Can’t Poop?
You should contact your veterinarian if your cat hasn’t pooped in more than 48 hours. Although a visit to the veterinarian may not be necessary, chatting with your veterinarian over the phone will allow them to provide you with recommendations on how to assist your cat. Your veterinarian will also be aware of your pet’s medical history and will inform you if they have any other medical issues that might cause constipation.
If you need to bring your pet in a hurry, contacting your veterinarian early will give them a heads up if anything is wrong. If your cat does end up pooping, you may always contact your veterinarian to inform them. They’ll be able to note the scenario in your pet’s file if the symptom reappears in the future.
How Long Can Cats Go Without Pooping While Traveling?
Cats dislike change because it causes them to get agitated. They prefer regularity and familiar settings instead.
They want to feel protected and secure.
When they travel, it is common for them to not defecate for more than 48 hours. Even if you stop often and provide them with their litter box, they may refuse to use it. They are hesitant to defecate until they are in a more secure and familiar setting.
Check to see whether your cat poops once you’ve arrived at your location. There’s no reason to be concerned if she does. If she doesn’t, though, you may need to give her a little more time to acclimate. It’s not a good indication if you refuse to defecate after you’ve arrived at your location.
If the condition persists, visit a veterinarian.
How To Get Your Cat To Poop.
Your cat is yet to poop in two days and you want to urge them to do so, there are a few simple tactics you may try.
The following are some of the various therapy methods for making the cat poop regularly:
1. Increase Water Consumption
Constipation is caused by dehydration, so drinking more water and staying hydrated can help avoid it. Because cats have a hard time drinking standing water, providing them with wet food is the greatest approach to enhance their water consumption and keep them hydrated. This considerably boosts their water intake and lowers their chances of constipation.
Set up multiple water dishes in different places of your home, try pet water fountains, leave a faucet dripping, and flavor the water with items cats like, such as clam juice, tuna juice, or beef broth, to encourage your cat to drink more water. If you flavor your cat’s water, be sure to leave a plain water source nearby in case they don’t enjoy it.
2. Increase Exercise and Enrichment
Exercise can aid in the treatment and prevention of constipation by promoting regular bowel movement. Cat toys, cat trees, window perches, and more playtime with you may all help your cat become more active. Exercise will also give enrichment and alleviate anxiety in your cat, as well as aid with weight loss.
3. Try a New Diet
In cats, food allergies can result in intestinal irritation and constipation. Changing your cat’s protein supply (chicken, lamb, etc.) can decrease inflammation and allow the intestines to function more regularly, resulting in less constipation.
There are also specific restricted ingredient diets and hypoallergenic diets available for cats who may be sensitive to a variety of items. A diet modification takes roughly 8-12 weeks to take effect, thus this is part of long-term treatment.
Follow the indicated transition period on the cat food packaging, which includes mixing the old and new food.
4. Try Fiber or Probiotics
Probiotics are “good bacteria” that aid in gut health. Constipation may be avoided by having healthy intestines that transport stool along properly and keep stools soft.
Fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria in the intestines and aids in proper bowel movement. It can also aid in the retention of water in the intestines, which aids in the treatment and prevention of constipation.
Because there are numerous kinds of fiber, what works best for each cat will vary. Psyllium husks (Metamucil) and wheat bran are two major sources. Canned pumpkin is popular, but it’s low in fiber and high in sugar, so it’s not the ideal option for most cats.
5. Minimize Stress and Anxiety in Your Cat
When their habits are interrupted, cats may quickly feel upset. There might be a more obvious cause, such as getting a new pet or relocating, or a less obvious cause, such as a shift in your schedule, nearby construction noise, or a new dog barking in the neighborhood.
It might take a cat some time to acclimate to new situations. However, soothing pheromones (Feliway), vitamins (Zylkene and Solliquin are popular), herbs, and/or pharmaceuticals can all assist to relieve tension and anxiety.
6. Help Your Cat Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity increases intestinal inflammation, which slows down the digestive process. Constipation is caused when too much water is absorbed from the stool. In extreme situations, there is so much fat in the stomach that it prevents feces from moving. Your veterinarian can help you determine if your cat needs to reduce weight and develop a diet plan with you.
7. Add More Litter Boxes
Cats may be picky when it comes to their litter boxes. If cats don’t like the placement of a litter box, or even the sort of box or litter, they may use it less frequently, resulting in constipation. You should have at least one litter box for every cat you have, and one litter box should be on each floor of your home. You may have to try a few different types of boxes and litter to figure out what your cat prefers.
Before seeing a veterinarian, try several at-home cures for your cat’s health issues. It’s comforting to know that you may always get aid with a cat’s health problems, such as constipation or infections.
Cats may go far longer between bowel movements than humans, making it more difficult to detect constipation. It’s also more difficult to tell whether a cat with outside access is constipated since they have so much uncontrolled freedom.
A healthy cat will defecate on a daily or biweekly basis. If your cat hasn’t pooped in more than 48 hours, contact your veterinarian; they may prescribe a cat laxative for you to take at home before bringing your cat in for an inspection.