Stool Softeners — Which Are the Best?

CatChannel veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, shares tips to help cats with constipation.

Posted: October 22, 2010, 3 a.m. EDT

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Q: Our vet said our new stray cat has an old pelvic fracture that caused constipation or difficulty moving the feces through the fractured area. The vet advised me to grind pumpkin seeds and feed canned food. Unfortunately, my cat won't touch the food. My vet then suggested lactulose-but said I would need to play with the dosage.  What should I start at for a 10-pound cat? This will be a lifelong problem.

A: Ideally, if an underlying cause for your cat's constipation can be identified it should be corrected if possible. Unfortunately, the underlying cause in your cat’s case – an old pelvic fracture — cannot be corrected. A change in diet may be advisable. I’ve never heard of grinding pumpkin seeds and putting them into cat food. I imagine most cats wouldn’t like the taste. Adding a tablespoon of canned pumpkin to the food, however, is a good way of adding fiber to helps constipated cats, and many cats actually like the taste. 

Laxatives or stool softeners may also be prescribed. I’d first try hairball remedy. This is the brown gooey ointment, like Laxatone or Petromalt.  When given two or three times a week, it helps  prevent  hairballs. When given every day, however, it works well as a laxative and may soften your cat’s stool. Also, milk tends to give cats diarrhea. You might want to give your cat a little milk every day and see how it affects the consistency of the stool. If the pumpkin, milk, and/or hairball medicine don’t soften the stool, you can try lactulose. I’d start with 1 or 2 milliliters twice daily. If the stool is still firm, you can give a little more. If the stool gets too soft, give a little less. You have to modify the dose until it gives the proper consistency of stool.

I have a feeling this will indeed be a lifelong problem; the cause of the problem — a narrowed pelvic canal — cannot be fixed. A combination of diet and stool softeners, I hope, will result in a stool consistency that allows your cat to defecate comfortably. 

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Stool Softeners — Which Are the Best?

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Reader Comments

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

3/25/2013 11:56:20 AM

Maashua -- Ask your vet if this is all right.

A definitely approved natural food additive for constipation is pumpkin. Add a spoonful of canned pumpkin to your cat's food and you could see a difference.

You can also reach out to other cat owners on our forum at Good luck!

Maashua    San Diego, CA

3/21/2013 8:11:39 AM

is it ok to add a little olive oil or vegetable oil into their food? might that help with constipation, too?

elizabeth    mamaroneck, NY

12/7/2011 3:58:23 PM

my boy has haad an on and off problem with what my vet and i say is constipation. after enema there seemed to be a collasal amount of FUR!!!
after that, tried pumpkin, olive oil and fur ball remedies. all working for a while and then again, he starts to strain!!! and yes, even lactulose which i feel he has a reaction to, BREATHING and just not himself on it, but it seems to be the only thing that makes him GO!!! ALSO, cisapride that really did more harm. i am hoping to find another STOOL SOFTENER that can help him GO without any other effects!!!

KI    OJ, MA

11/4/2010 1:19:05 AM


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