Can I Give My Cat Olive Oil for Constipation? The Ultimate Guide

Witnessing your feline friend struggling with constipation can be distressing. Such distress can tug at your heartstrings, leaving you with one burning question, “Can I give my cat olive oil for constipation?” This question may arise because olive oil is effective for cat dandruff and other health issues. 

You can give your cat olive oil for constipation because it’s a safe, efficient, and effective remedy. It’s a lubricant and a laxative. It helps soften the stool and lubricate the digestive tract, smoothening bowel movements

If the question, “Can I give my cat olive oil for constipation?” has ever occurred to you, keep reading this post. You’ll learn everything about constipation in cats, including how to tell the signs, its causes and preventions, and how to use olive oil to treat it.

Olive Oil for Cat Constipation: Is It Safe?

Olive oil is safe and effective in treating cat constipation. It is non-toxic and healthy for cats as it’s in humans. Therefore, it can be consumed and even applied topically.

However, in extremely rare cases, some feline’s immune systems might reject some elements in olive oil, eliciting an allergic reaction. 

It’s best to stop giving your cat the product and get them checked by a vet if they exhibit any of these symptoms:

  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Skin itchiness
  • Stomach upset
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Alopecia 

These signs can occur immediately after your cat ingests olive oil or over time.

Also Read: Why Is My Kitten So Hungry All the Time? 5 Reasons and What to Do 

How Does Olive Oil Help In Cat Constipation?

Can I give my cat olive oil for constipation

Olive oil has laxative properties. It helps relieve cat constipation in the following ways:

  • Olive oil makes the cat’s fecal matter retain water, softening and making it easier to pass.
  • The fats in olive oil help lubricate the bowels. This allows the stool to move through the digestive tract smoothly.
  • Olive oil may also stimulate the liver to release bile, which helps digest dietary fats, increasing their absorption.
  • The oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can help alleviate pain in case of intestinal flare-ups. 

It’s worth noting that although treating your feline with olive oil is an easy and less stressful alternative, it’s only a temporary fix. If your feline has recurrent constipation issues, it’s often due to an underlying problem that needs correction.

Find Out: Do Antibiotics Make Cats Sleepy? 4 Things to Do

How Much Olive Oil Should I Give My Constipated Cat?

Since olive oil is not medicine, there isn’t an established dose recommendation for treating constipation. However, experts recommend ½ to 1 tablespoonful or 5 – 10 drops due to its high-fat content. 

Your cat should feel relieved within a few hours of taking olive oil. If the condition continues beyond 72 hours after using olive oil or other natural remedies, it’s best to get your kitty checked by a vet so they can prescribe an alternative treatment. 

Constipation can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. It can cause megacolon ( a distended colon) and obstipation, a condition indicated by permanent damage to the colon. Such cases will require surgical removal of the affected colon parts.  

Keep in mind that administering excessive amounts of olive oil to your cat can cause side effects. Since felines lack enough enzymes to digest large amounts of fat at once, too much olive oil will likely trigger diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.

Also, felines with a weak disposition, such as ailing cats, weaning kittens, or frail seniors, may have difficulty digesting oils. It’s, therefore, best to consult your veterinarian before giving them olive oil.

How to Use Olive Oil for Cat Constipation

The best and easiest way of using olive oil for cat constipation is by administering it together with your pet’s meal. 

Add not more than a teaspoon of olive oil to the food once or twice a day. Ensure to mix it properly so the oil gets absorbed into the food. Continue with treatment until you notice the cat defecates normally; typically, it should happen within 24 hours of treatment.

Alternatively, you can put the recommended dose in a dish and let your cat lick it. Cats are attracted to and enjoy licking oils because of the fatty acids present. 

Quick Tip: You should consider giving your cat extra virgin olive oil, as it’s the purest form of olive oil with the most nutritional value and health benefits. Thankfully, your feline friend will also enjoy its flavor. 

What Causes Constipation in Cats?

Various factors can cause constipation in cats. These include:

  • Low-fiber and dry food diet
  • Dehydration 
  • Excessive grooming resulting in fur balls ingestion
  • Obstruction of the digestive tract by foreign materials, tumors, or strictures
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Obesity 
  • Adverse effects of certain medications
  • Hormonal changes
  • Electrolyte disturbances
  • Certain underlying health issues, such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, kidney disease, irritable bowel syndrome, neuromuscular disease, and anal gland disease.

Sometimes, there may be no distinct cause of feline constipation. Aging cats are more likely to suffer than kittens.

Kindly note that the above list is not exhaustive. If your kitty has chronic constipation, you must see a vet to identify and fix the underlying problem. The inability to defecate or pain during defecation is considered a veterinary emergency and should be treated as such.

How Do I Know If My Cat Has Constipation?

The easiest way to know if your cat has constipation is by checking its litter box. If your kitty has gone over 48 hours without defecating or is excreting hard, dry, thin, or small stools, they might be constipated.

Typically, cats defecate every 24 to 36 hours. The stool is usually well-formed, moist enough, and rich brown.

You can also tell that your cat is constipated if they show the following symptoms:

  • Straining or crying while trying to pass stool
  • Blood traces in the litter box
  • Red, swollen anus
  • Avoiding the litter box

Since constipation can be a sign of an underlying health condition, you might also observe the following associated symptoms in your cat:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Hiding 
  • Drinking more or less water
  • Nausea
  • Constipation 
  • Frequent urination
  • lethargy

How Do I Prevent Constipation in My Cat? 

You can prevent constipation in your cat by taking the following measures.

Encourage Water Consumption

Hydration is the most crucial part of dealing with constipation. Drinking enough water helps maintain hydration and reduce the risk of constipation in cats. Experts recommend daily water consumption of about 3.5 – 4.5 ounces for every 5 pounds of body weight.

However, cats are known to be poor water consumers, particularly if the water is still. So, the best way to improve their water consumption is by giving them wet food since it can contain up to 80% water.

If your feline primarily feeds on dry food, they should get hydrated by drinking more water. Encourage water consumption by doing the following:

  • Set up several water dishes in different areas of your home.
  • Leave a faucet dripping.
  • Try using a pet water fountain.
  • Flavor your kitty’s water with things they like, such as tuna juice and beef broth.

Provide Fiber-rich Diet

Dietary fiber plays a significant role in gut health. They help keep the stool soft and bulky, and the intestines retain water. Dietary fiber is also food to the “good bacteria’ in the intestines that promote a healthy gastrointestinal tract. 

A healthy gut digests food properly, keeps stool soft, and moves it along normally, preventing constipation.

Consider adding fiber to your cat’s diet if they experience frequent constipation. Some common sources of fiber include purified cellulose, wheat bran, cooked carrots, psyllium husks, and pumpkins.

Experts recommend 2% to 8% fiber in a cat’s diet, but not more than 10%. Too much fiber causes diarrhea. On a similar note, avoid increasing their fiber intake too quickly, as it can 

upset their digestive system. Consult your veterinarian for advice. 

Regular Grooming

While cats are excellent groomers, it’s best to brush them frequently. This helps to remove loose fur, dirt, and dander that would otherwise be ingested, form a hairball, and cause constipation.

Most kitties enjoy being brushed, while some don’t. If such is the case for yours, consider these helpful tips:

  • Allow your cat to sniff and familiarize itself with the brush before you begin grooming.
  • Brush them when they’re calm, especially after playtime when they feel tired.
  • Provide treats and praises for calm behavior during and after grooming. 

It’s also vital to discourage excessive grooming by interrupting those extensive sessions with an interactive game or cuddle.

Help Your Cat Maintain a Healthy Weight

Overweight cats are highly likely to have intestinal inflammation due to accumulated fat. This drags bowel movements. As a result, the body reabsorbs too much water from the stool, resulting in constipation.

It’s, therefore, essential that your cat maintains a healthy weight. Your vet will help determine whether your kitty needs to reduce weight and recommend a diet plan.

Additionally, you’ll want to provide them with plenty of physical exercise and enrichment activities. Keeping them active will help them lose weight and reduce the risk of constipation. Consider providing them with toys, cat trees, and more playtime with you. 

Minimize Your Cat’s Stress and Anxiety

When cats get stressed, they can hold their stools longer than normal, making their colon reabsorb more water, hence, constipation. 

Cats are sensitive to changes in their environment, including routines. Things like car rides, location and type of litter box, a new housemate, hosting large gatherings, loud noises nearby, and moving houses can easily get them stressed. 

While cats can adjust to changes with time, consider maintaining their routine. Calming pheromones, natural herbs, supplements, and some medications can help reduce stress and anxiety. Follow up with your vet for the best options.

Additionally, consider setting up several litter boxes in different areas of your home, so your cat can relieve itself where it feels comfortable. You can experiment with different types of boxes to determine what your kitty likes.  

Benefits of Olive Oil for Cats

Olive oil for cats

Olive oil has often been deemed a superfood due to its nutritional value and health benefits. It’s, therefore, a great supplement in a feline’s diet. Here are the main benefits of olive oil for cats.

Promotes a Healthy Skin and Fur

Olive oil is a natural remedy for various feline skin conditions, including dry skin and dandruff. It is filled with healthy fats, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and vitamins, ensuring the skin stays moisturized, supple, soft, and healthy.

Additionally, the oil promotes the growth of a shiny, thick, and healthy coat and can be used to remove matted fur in cats.

If your cat has itchy, dry skin or dandruff, you can massage a bit of warm olive oil on the affected areas daily until the issue is resolved. You can also drizzle ½ to 1 teaspoon of olive oil on their food 2 – 3 times a week to boost their overall health.

To remove matted hair, apply olive oil under the mats, gently rub it in and leave. The mats should come off on their own within three days. 

Improves Digestion

Olive oil can benefit felines with digestive issues, such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

As mentioned, it contains softening agents and laxative properties that help enhance digestion. Adding olive oil to your feline’s diet will help lubricate the gut and soften the stool, promoting healthy bowel movements and preventing constipation.

Moreover, olive oil can help cats expel hairballs easily by lubricating and binding them with stool. Experts suggest one teaspoon every week. Alternatively, you can provide your cat with a high-fiber diet.

Boosts the Immune System

As mentioned, olive oil is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It contains healthy fatty acids, polyphenols, and vitamins that reduce inflammation and boost immunity.

Antioxidants also help neutralize harmful free radicals from the body cells that would otherwise damage the organs. This helps prevent metabolic-related issues like urinary tract, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and cancer.

Anti-oxidants have also been proven to optimize feline brain function, reducing risk factors associated with dementia, brain aging, and stroke. 

Eliminates Ear Mites

Does your kitty constantly scratch its ears or shake its head? Do you notice any black discharge or odor from their ears? Your cat could have ear mites.

These are tiny parasites found in the skin and ear canals of cats and dogs. They feed on the skin cells, oils, and ear wax. They can cause severe irritation, infection, and inflammation of the inner and outer ear if left untreated.

Fortunately, a few drops of olive oil can provide temporary relief by soothing the ear and suffocating the ear mites. Note that this may not be the best long-term remedy, as oils enhance yeast growth in ears. 

You should also consult your vet before conducting any ear treatments at home.

Bottom Line: Can I Give My Cat Olive Oil for Constipation?

Now that you know the health benefits, you can give your cat olive oil for constipation. However, ensure you do not exceed the recommended dose, which can cause diarrhea and stomach cramps.

Also, olive oil should be a supplement, not a complete diet. You should give your cat in moderation and not use it as a sole treatment for severe health conditions.

Remember, chronic constipation is mainly due to an underlying health condition. Therefore, check in with your vet before treating it with olive oil.

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