How To Give A Cat Constipation Massage

feline pooping in alley

Massaging cats to relieve them of constipation is a debatable topic.

Some owners swear by giving their constipated cats a massage or acupuncture to help, while others believe there are better ways to deal with constipation.

What both sides agree on is that constipation can be stressful for these cats.

In worst-case scenarios, feline constipation may be a symptom of a more serious medical condition.

Learning what to do when your feline is constipated may mean the difference between life and death, so this condition is something pet owners shouldn’t ignore.

Before we tackle the usefulness of massages in constipated cats, we should first understand the symptoms and causes of constipation.    

5 Symptoms of A Constipated Cat

As owners, we may overlook our cat’s constipation unintentionally. Day-to-day life happens, and it can be impossible to be on top of our beloved pets’ life and know instantly that they can’t relieve their stool.

But there are signs of constipation you should be on the lookout, including:

  • Lack of excrement – Check the kitty litter and note when the last time you cleaned it out.
  • Straining or crying in pain – Follow your cat carefully, and if they keep on going to the litter box without peeing or pooping when your cat stands on her toes while straining and crying in pain, there’s a good chance he/she has constipation.
  • Something weird about the stool – Dig for signs that something is wrong. A kitty with constipation has a stool that’s smaller-sized, dry (instead of wet), or harder-than-usual.
  • Check for UTI signs – Urinary tract infection in cats is just as painful as the human version. Make sure your cat can pee and poop properly. If there is little to no urine spots, be concerned, and visit your vet.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss – Your cat may feel bloated and refuse to eat entirely, which leads to weight loss pretty quickly.

Generally, your feline should produce stool every 48 to 72 hours. Bowel movements remove toxins from the body, so imagine what problems constipation could cause a cat’s tiny frame. 

Should I Trust Massages and Acupuncture To Cure Feline Constipation?

Massage and acupuncture are ancient Asian healing practices in Asia that have been used for humans and pets for centuries.

Some owners give their cats acupuncture or massages to manage chronic constipation.

According to the Veterinary Practice News, Swedish massage has been used in the U.S. and Europe since the 19th century. The report states that if you do this to your cat’s belly:

  • It will reduce pain or discomfort your pet is feeling due to constipation,
  • Decrease the amount of time that it takes for a substance to move through your colon,
  • Encourage peristalsis (the involuntary relaxation/constriction of intestinal muscles), and
  • Increase the frequency of bowel movements.

However, massaging cats to ease their constipation can be tricky – or even dangerous – if done wrong.

If you’re planning to go this route, I recommend you learn how to do this at the vet first.

Cats have unique and flexible bodies – their intestines and colon may feel like the kidneys and vice versa to the untrained.

Learning cat anatomy (hopefully from a vet) removes the possibility of damaging organs with high-pressure massages.

Massaging your cat’s lower belly could also help them relax.

As such, you can combine this healing technique if you’re trying to give her meds or distracting her while the vet checks her up.  

Treating Kitten Constipation: How to Help Your Cat Poop With Massage

For younger cats that are smaller and more sensitive, the triangle method is used to stimulate normal intestinal peristalsis and cure constipation.

The following instructions are for kittens and smaller cats. Here’s how you do this:

1. Prepare a white or light-colored washcloth

Get a cloth that you won’t use anywhere else (the kitten will pee or poop here if you’re successful). You need to make this washcloth damp with warm water.

Mom cats usually give their babies a tongue bath with their warm tongues. This is precisely what the washcloth will try to replicate.

* If you don’t have a cloth available, use gauze or cotton balls (moistened with warm water) instead.

2. Go to a warm area ​(not hot!)​​

Before starting, find a warm area. This is especially true if you’re handling days-old kittens who might get severely sick or die from the intense cold.

3. Hold your kitten belly-down

Prepare your kitten by making it lay down on its belly. Grip gently, but firm enough to prevent your cat from escaping.

4. Massage your kitten

With a kitten, on the one hand, use your other hand to move the washcloth up and down your cat’s anal region. Your thumb should carry most of the pressure when doing so.

Now and then, check the washcloth to see if the cat already has pee or poop. In most cases, the stimulation successfully makes the kitten poop within 60 seconds.

5. Clean your kitten

To prevent infection or skin problems, make sure to clean your cat’s bottom with water. Dry it off with a clean, used cloth.

If you see blood, or pain in your cat’s eyes and body language, go straight to the vet.

This isn’t the best time to try massaging a cat with constipation or see how feeding her fatty tuna would help.

Your cat might be suffering from a more serious medical condition that is beyond your control, such as a prostate abscess or foreign objects inside your cat’s body.

So better go to the veterinarian for help. 

Preventing Feline Constipation: Easier Said Than Done

Although constipation isn’t a common condition of cats, it does happen, especially to older cats whose diets and activities are changing.

  • Provide drinking water at all times to prevent dehydration
  • Try to change their diets with more fiber and nutrient-rich foods known to keep the gut healthy. If your cat currently eats dry cat food, try switching to canned cat food that has 80% more water content than pellets. We have a short buying guide to help you find the best cat food for constipation here.
  • Give your cat some pumpkin. It is one of the most effective natural laxatives ideals for cats
  • Cereal, oatmeal, and other fiber-rich food can be added to your cat’s meals to improve gut health. Fiber supplements are another option you can take.
  • Don’t forget to play with them, even if they’re senior cats. Physical activity is essential, no matter what age your cat is.
  • Hairballs may cause constipation, so prevent hairballs from happening by brushing your cat regularly.
  • If your constipated cat is new to your household, he/she may not be used to another cat’s litter box. Try to give the new cat an original litter box.

If none of these works, a veterinarian could surely help to diagnose your cat’s constipation. The vet can also try other treatment options, such as supplementation, medication, a change in diet, manual evacuation of bowels, enema, or surgery.

And while you’re at the veterinarian, discuss if your cat needs daily laxative to prevent constipation this severe from reoccurring.