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Old 07-01-2010, 12:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Pumpkin and constipation -- amounts

I've just visited a site that advises 1 to 4 tablespoons of pumkin a day. I've just upped Missy to about a teaspoon and a half. Have I been giving to little? (She still has problems.) I was afraid she'd reject it if I gave her too much. How much do you feed your cat when it's needed?
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pumpkin and constipation -- amounts

Try a tablespoonful, Jim. Good luck.
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pumpkin and constipation -- amounts

Hi Jim. Whenever I see a constipation topic now, it makes me cringe. If you've seen my other thread, I've had an ongoing nightmare with constipation in my cat for a month now too.

Given such, I have googled this topic forward, backwards and sideways. And everything I've read regarding pumpkin/fiber can be quite confusing. All sites I've read say that it can help constipation, but if you give too much.. it can contribute to constipation, because pumpkin bulks up their stool. So be careful that you don't bulk it up too large for her to get out. Its kind of trial and error to see what works for your cat. I give my girl 1 tsp of pumpkin daily, and I previously gave her 2 tsps daily, neither amounts resolved her constipation, and I was forced to resort to stronger medications prescribed by the vet.

I think 4 tablespoons of pumpkin would be way overkill, but ask your vet. I don't know much about that, just going by what I've read, and what I was told by my vet.. and the most my vet told me to give was 2 teaspoons. And normally if pumpkin doesn't work within the first few days to a week, it probably won't work solo. Have you tried any stool softeners for Missy in addition to the pumpkin, like Miralax? This didn't work for my cat either, but its worked for many others cats. So if not, its worth a shot, especially if she's had constipation for awhile... as we know, thats very uncomfortable for our furbabies. Please consult your vet and make sure its ok to give her Miralax first though, if you decide to try it. And your vet will give you the required dosage to give her.

I know how stressful and frustrating dealing with cat constipation can be. Good luck!
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Old 07-01-2010, 02:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pumpkin and constipation -- amounts

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Originally Posted by Kattt
Hi Jim. Whenever I see a constipation topic now, it makes me cringe. If you've seen my other thread, I've had an ongoing nightmare with constipation in my cat for a month now too.

Given such, I have googled this topic forward, backwards and sideways. And everything I've read regarding pumpkin/fiber can be quite confusing. All sites I've read say that it can help constipation, but if you give too much.. it can contribute to constipation, because pumpkin bulks up their stool. So be careful that you don't bulk it up too large for her to get out. Its kind of trial and error to see what works for your cat. I give my girl 1 tsp of pumpkin daily, and I previously gave her 2 tsps daily, neither amounts resolved her constipation, and I was forced to resort to stronger medications prescribed by the vet.

I think 4 tablespoons of pumpkin would be way overkill, but ask your vet. I don't know much about that, just going by what I've read, and what I was told by my vet.. and the most my vet told me to give was 2 teaspoons. And normally if pumpkin doesn't work within the first few days to a week, it probably won't work solo. Have you tried any stool softeners for Missy in addition to the pumpkin, like Miralax? This didn't work for my cat either, but its worked for many others cats. So if not, its worth a shot, especially if she's had constipation for awhile... as we know, thats very uncomfortable for our furbabies. Please consult your vet and make sure its ok to give her Miralax first though, if you decide to try it. And your vet will give you the required dosage to give her.

I know how stressful and frustrating dealing with cat constipation can be. Good luck!
Thanks for the answer, Katt.

Going from your thead, I was on a search for Miralax when I ran into the pumpkin statement. I was wondering where I could get the Miralax. Missy isn't too bad, but sometimes her stool is quite hard, and I know that's not right. I'm going to up the pumpkin just a bit. Missy seems healthy at the moment otherwise. She hasn't been with me long so I'm testing. She drinks plenty of water, but... If she doesn't improve I will be taking her to the Vet.

She's a senior cat and I think she'd been at the shelter a while and I think they feed mostly kibble. She's getting a mix at the moment, more wet than Kibble though.
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Old 07-01-2010, 02:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pumpkin and constipation -- amounts

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Originally Posted by Jeanie
Try a tablespoonful, Jim. Good luck.
Thanks, Jeanie. I'll try in divided doses.
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pumpkin and constipation -- amounts

You can get Miralax at any drugstore or supermarket. Miralax is a dose-to-effect drug, and the normal starting dosage is 1/8 tsp. You can increase up to 1/4 tsp if necessary, or decrease according to her needs.

The first time I used it for my girl, it worked. Sadly though, it didn't keep working for her. But many others have had luck with with long-term usage.

Does your cat strain lots to get her stool out, or just take days to go? Mine would only go about every 2 days, sometimes 3 days.. and it took massive straining and multiple trips to the litterbox to get her stool out. Sometimes up to 5 or more straining episodes. I felt horrible for her.

Laurie, who has been my book of knowledge and sanity throughout all of this, provided this useful site about constipation: http://www.felinecrf.org/treatments.htm#constipation
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pumpkin and constipation -- amounts

Since Missy is a senior cat with constipation problems, I STRONGLY advise you to get her to your vet ASAP for a full blood panel. Constipation is a common symptom of CRF (as is drinking "plenty of water", since cats naturally have a low thirst drive), and CRF is all too common in older cats. This is something you should have checked right away.

If she does have kidney disease, the earlier it is diagnosed, the more successfully you should be able to manage it. If she has CRF and you wait to have it diagnosed until more serious symptoms arise, you my not be able to stabilize her condition. I know because I missed my Bitsy's CRF symptoms until the disease had progressed so far that I couldn't get him stabilized and had to euthanize him a few short months after diagnosis.

As far as adding fiber to Missy's diet is concerned, it's probably a good idea, but not at the amounts you are suggesting. Too much fiber can worsen constipation. I recommend no more than 1 tsp daily, if you are using canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling) or mashed peas. MUCH more important than fiber, however, is increasing her water intake. The best way to accomplish that is to eliminate ALL kibble from her diet, and mix warm water into her canned food meals to make it a thick gruel that she can lap up. Kibble absorbs fluid out of the gut during digestion, leaving a cat chronically dehydrated and more prone to problems like constipation. Canned food, however, esp. when mixed with extra water, adds fluid to the digestive tract, improving stool consistency and overall hydration. Canned food is the way to go.

BTW, Miralax should not be given to a cat who is not fully hydrated, and it shouldn't be given without consultation with your vet.

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Old 07-02-2010, 11:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pumpkin and constipation -- amounts

Canada Pharmacy says that Miralax is unavailable in my location.

I do think that something that draws water into the colon might help. If she doesn't improve with the pumpkin I might try the Lactulose. She straight out rejected water with her food yesterday, I'm going to try a little tuna with her food and the water. She's reasonably active given that she's a bit on the tubby side. Chases the laser when she's in the mood. Throws the furry mouse toy around at times when she's annoyed/bored. Jumps to the back of the armchair to get to the windowsill etc. She likes to chew and wrestle with a piece of cord that broke away from the curtain draw. She rolls sometimes with the cord; as I said, she's a bit tubby. I'm cutting her off all kibble except that I'm putting a little Fancy Feast kibble out for her overnight. I need my sleep.
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Old 07-02-2010, 11:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pumpkin and constipation -- amounts

How old is Missy? You said a senior cat, but I don't think you said an approximate age.

I fully agree with Laurie, that if you have not gotten her into the vet.. I strongly encourage you to take her ASAP. My cat is only 7, and she's a bit on the chunky side as well.. and even while she was severely constipated, she still played, ate and drank as normal. So there were no visual signs that she was so backed up, other than the fact that I caught her in the act of multiple straining sessions.

So given you know that your cat is constipated, I'm assuming you've caught her straining as well. And if she's going 2-3+ days without a bowel movement, I would get her checked out immediately. Because the longer the straining goes on.. the bigger the risk for megacolon as well as other health related issues as Laurie mentioned happens with senior cats. Plus its extremely uncomfortable for the cat. She most likely has stool stuck in her colon like my cat did, and using Miralax or Lactulose won't help her pass stool thats already stuck, it'll just create pressure behind whats already formed in there.

My vet finally put my cat on Lactulose mixed with Cisapride, and so far after a month of constipation.. she's finally been going daily with ease. And she's much happier and relaxed. So again, I really encourage you to get Missy checked out, since its been an ongoing issue for her. Its always better to be safe than sorry.
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pumpkin and constipation -- amounts

As Katt said, an osmotic laxative like Lactulose or Miralax won't soften or help already constipated stool to pass. It'll only help retain water in newly forming stool. So it's important to get any constipated stool out of her system BEFORE giving an osmotic laxative. A hairball remedy or dollop of vaseline may help existing constipated stool to pass, but if it doesn't, your vet may need to administer an enema or perform manual extraction.

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