Saline Laxatives For Cats: Safe?

can I give my cat saline laxative chews

Can I Give My Cat Saline Laxative Chews?

It's never fun to see your cat struggling to pass stool. While saline laxatives can be an effective solution for constipation in humans, the same cannot be said for cats. Human laxatives can be lethal to cats, so it's important to only give your cat a laxative that has been prescribed or approved by a veterinarian.

If your cat is constipated, there are several over-the-counter options available that can help ease their discomfort, such as increasing their water intake, making dietary changes, and reducing their stress levels. However, if these methods don't work, it's best to consult a veterinarian for guidance on the appropriate treatment option for your cat's specific needs.

Characteristics Values
Product Name Dulcolax Saline Laxative Soft Chews
Flavor Mixed Berry
Active Ingredient Magnesium Hydroxide
Count 60
Age Adults and children 4 years and older


Are saline laxatives safe for cats?

Saline laxatives are not mentioned in the sources. However, the sources do provide information on the safety of laxatives for cats in general.

Laxatives can be an effective way to relieve constipation in cats, but they may also cause several side effects. Human laxatives can be extremely toxic and even lethal to cats, so it is important to only give your cat laxatives that have been prescribed by a veterinarian.

Veterinarians recommend several safe over-the-counter laxatives for cats, including Katalax, Cat Malt, and Laxapet. Katalax contains soft paraffin, cod liver oil, and malt extract. It is useful for easing blockages caused by hairballs and softening stools. Cat Malt and Laxapet are also helpful for hairballs and act as stool softeners.

Some laxatives for cats require a prescription, such as Microlax, which is administered as a mini enema, and Lactulose, a hyperosmotic laxative that draws water into the bowel.

It is important to note that constipation can be caused by dehydration, so increasing your cat's water intake may help prevent and relieve constipation. A wet diet that is high in fibre can also help to improve hydration levels and prevent stools from becoming too hard.

If your cat is constipated, it is important to seek veterinary advice. The veterinarian will be able to determine the cause of your cat's constipation and recommend the most appropriate treatment option.

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What are the alternatives to saline laxatives for cats?

Saline laxatives can be used to treat constipation in cats, but they should only be given to your cat if they have been prescribed by a veterinarian. Human laxatives can be lethal to cats, so it's important to only give your cat a laxative that has been specifically approved for cats by a qualified vet.

If your cat is constipated, there are several alternatives to saline laxatives that you can try. Firstly, it's important to ensure that your cat is getting enough water. Increasing their water intake can help to prevent stools from drying out and lubricate their passage through the bowel. You can encourage your cat to drink more water by providing water fountains or extra water bowls, or by adding water to their food. Additionally, keeping their litter box clean and providing more than one litter box can help to reduce stress and encourage your cat to defecate.

If your cat is prone to hairballs, you can give them over-the-counter medications such as Katalax or Cat Malt, which contain soft paraffin, cod liver oil, and malt extract. These medications act as stool softeners and can help to ease blockages caused by hairballs. Another option is Laxapet, which contains fish oils, vitamins, and lecithin and is used for both hairballs and constipation. It is also available over the counter.

In more severe cases of constipation, your veterinarian may prescribe a laxative such as Lactulose or Microlax, or administer an enema. Lactulose is a human laxative that contains a non-absorbable sugar and draws water into the bowel through osmosis. It can be used in cats under veterinary supervision but is not specifically approved for cats by the licensing authority. Microlax, on the other hand, is administered as an enema and contains Sorbitol. It helps to loosen blockages and lubricate the bowel, making it easier for your cat to pass stools.

It's important to remember that constipation can become a vicious cycle, so it's best to seek veterinary advice as soon as possible. If your cat hasn't passed any feces for two days or is straining and in distress, you should contact your veterinarian right away.

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What are the symptoms of cat constipation?

Constipation in cats is a common condition, usually characterised by infrequent or absent bowel movements, and hard, dry stools. If your cat is constipated, they may be in pain or discomfort, and you may notice them straining or crying out when using their litter box. They may also be going in and out of the litter box without passing anything.

Other symptoms of constipation in cats include:

  • Passing small amounts of liquid faeces or blood
  • Lethargy
  • Reluctance to eat
  • Abdominal pain and distension
  • Vomiting
  • Increased visits to the litter box with non-productive straining
  • Loss of appetite

If your cat is constipated, it's important to address the issue promptly to prevent the condition from worsening or leading to more severe complications such as obstipation or megacolon. While mild cases of constipation may be relieved by increasing your cat's water intake and making changes to their diet and exercise routine, it's always best to consult a veterinarian for guidance and to rule out any underlying health issues.


What are the causes of cat constipation?

Constipation in cats is a common condition that can occur due to various factors, including dietary issues, dehydration, lack of exercise, chronic conditions, and certain medications. Understanding the potential causes of cat constipation is crucial for preventing and treating this issue effectively. Here are some of the most common causes of constipation in cats:

Dietary Problems

A cat's constipation can often be attributed to their diet. For instance, a lack of fibre in their diet can lead to constipation. Fibre helps add bulk to the stool, stimulating the colon to contract and facilitating bowel movements. On the other hand, too much fibre can also contribute to constipation, as it may reduce the water content in the stool and negatively affect nutrient absorption. It's important to consult a veterinarian before making significant changes to your cat's fibre intake.


Dehydration is another common cause of constipation in cats. As the colon absorbs water from the stool, dehydration can lead to drier and harder stools, making them more difficult to pass. Ensuring your cat has access to plenty of fresh water can help prevent dehydration and alleviate constipation.

Ingestion of Indigestible Material

Cats may also become constipated due to ingesting indigestible substances such as hair from excessive grooming, foreign objects like bones or string, or hairballs, especially in long-haired cats. These obstructions can block the colon and rectum, impeding the normal passage of stool.

Chronic Conditions and Medications

Certain chronic health conditions and medications can also lead to constipation in cats. For example, pelvic injuries resulting in a narrowed pelvic canal, neuromuscular diseases, arthritis, myositis, and inflammatory bowel disease can all contribute to constipation. Additionally, some drugs can have constipation as a side effect.

Obesity and Lack of Exercise

Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle can also be factors in cat constipation. Exercise helps promote normal intestinal movement, so a lack of physical activity can contribute to constipation.


Megacolon is a common condition in cats, characterised by a dilated and weak colon that causes severe constipation. The weakened muscles of the colon fail to propel faecal matter out, leading to an accumulation of hard, dry stool. Megacolon can be a primary condition or develop as a result of long-term constipation.

While this list covers some of the most common causes of cat constipation, it is not exhaustive. If you suspect your cat is constipated, it is important to consult a veterinarian, especially if the condition persists or is accompanied by other symptoms. They can help identify the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment options, which may include dietary changes, increased water intake, laxatives, or, in severe cases, surgery.

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What are the health risks of cat constipation?

Constipation is a common problem in cats, and it can have several health risks and consequences if left untreated. Here are some of the health risks associated with cat constipation:

  • Megacolon: This is a condition where the colon becomes dilated and weak, resulting in severe constipation. It is often characterised by a large and weak colon that fails to propel faecal matter out. Megacolon can be caused by neurological issues, problems with the muscles lining the colon, or both. It may also develop as a result of long-term constipation, where the colon becomes distended with faecal material and loses its ability to contract. This condition can be life-threatening and may require surgical removal of the affected portions of the colon.
  • Obstipation: Obstipation is a severe form of constipation where dry, hard stool becomes impacted in the colon and rectum, making defecation painful. It can occur when constipation is left untreated for several days.
  • Tenesmus: This condition occurs when a cat strains to pass faeces but is unable to do so. It is often caused by large intestine disorders.
  • Dyschezia: Dyschezia results in painful defecation and is usually caused by anal and perianal tissue disorders.
  • Dehydration: Constipation can be caused by dehydration, and if left untreated, it can worsen dehydration and lead to further health issues.
  • Underlying Health Issues: Constipation in cats can be a symptom of more serious underlying health issues such as kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, arthritis, or myositis. These issues can become very serious or even deadly if left untreated.
  • Inactivity and Obesity: Constipation can be caused by a lack of exercise and inactivity, which can also contribute to obesity and other health issues in cats.
  • Stress: Stress can be a factor in constipation, and it can also lead to other health issues in cats.
  • Foreign Bodies and Ingestion: Ingestion of foreign bodies, such as bones or indigestible materials like fur, can cause constipation and intestinal obstruction. This can be dangerous and may require veterinary intervention.

It is important to note that constipation can become a vicious cycle, as the longer the faeces remain in the colon, the drier and harder they become, making it even more difficult for the cat to pass them. Therefore, it is crucial to address constipation promptly and seek veterinary advice to prevent these health risks and ensure the well-being of your cat.

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