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Published: Jan 09, 2012

If you haven't been scooping as much waste from your cat's litter box as usual, this could be a sign that your feline friend is not feeling well or may be having a problem with constipation.  Feline constipation may be due to the animal's diet or there could be an underlying medical condition, such as megacolon, that could be causing the issue. In addition to an empty litter box, if you notice your cat is lethargic, isn't eating as much as usual, vomits after trying to use the litterbox or after eating or seems uncomfortable if you touch its abdomen, these could be clinical signs of feline megacolon, according to The American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS).

Feline megacolon is a fairly common cat illness that can lead to constipation. Some cats who develop megacolon have a history of trauma or old pelvic bone fractures or even hernias that predispose them to this condition.  The ACVS reports that megacolon involves a massively enlarged poorly functioning colon.  When fecal matter forms in such a colon, it is larger than the pelvic area it must pass through to leave the body. This makes it difficult to pass the waste and leads to constipation and fecal retention, which can make the feline feel even worse.

If you notice any of these problems, the ASPCA recommends bringing your pet to a veterinary hospital as soon as possible. A veterinarian will help determine the nature of the problem and help get your cat back to regular bowel habits.  Medication to help soften stool and ease passage of stool will be attempted first, however, in advanced cases, surgery is sometimes required.