If you have ever gotten an enema procedure done before, you’ll know that it isn’t the best feeling in the world. As necessary as an enema can be at times, try telling that to your cat who just had its butt ‘assaulted’ by a foreign object.
An enema procedure is generally safe and painless for cats but we can expect them to not be themselves after getting one given how sensitive they can be.
Understanding what to expect after a cat enema is vital for your pet’s recovery and well-being.
This post will guide you through the immediate after-effects, long-term care and provide tips for comfort and support.
What Is A Veterinary Enema Procedure?
Before we get into that, let us take a quick look at what an enema is exactly.
An enema is an insertion of saline solution or a laxative into the rectum to encourage and stimulate bowel movements.
Such a procedure can be crucial especially if your cat has eaten something dangerous like rubber bands.
Enemas are given to constipated cats who have not been able to have a proper bowel movement for a few days.
It is a good way to treat constipation and the effects are rather immediate.
What Are The Possible Cat Enema Side Effects?
Your cat getting an enema might sound like a serious event but it is actually quick and safe.
The majority of cats will experience a couple of the below side effects after getting an enema.
Runny And Leaky Poo
The main aim of an enema is to get the cat to empty its bowels as much as possible.
There is harden stools that has been stuck in your cat’s intestines and digestive tract that needs to be expelled.
You can expect runny poo or brown liquid to leak out of your cat’s anus right after the procedure.
It might take twenty to thirty minutes for your cat to start defecating normally.
It would be best to have a bunch of paper towels or pet diapers in the carrier on the way home as things will get messy.
For vomiting to occur, it depends on how sensitive your cat’s digestive system is. An enema can affect the digestive system of your cat and make it feel nauseous.
From what I understand from cat owners, vomiting after an enema is common for cats and not to get too panicky about it.
If the vomiting continues for more than 24 hours, please let the vet know. You might have to bring your cat back for an examination.
Short Term Diarrhea
Diarrhea is a side effect that usually comes after an enema or after taking laxatives.
Your cat’s bowel movement might have been turned up a notch after the enema and is busy expelling all the backed-up bowels.
You can expect your cat’s litter box to look rather ‘used’ for a day or two after the enema.
The diarrhea should stop after a day or two, depending on how severe your cat’s constipation was.
If it continues longer than that, you need to bring your cat back to the vet. Excessive diarrhea isn’t good and can be fatal in some cases.
You wouldn’t be feeling in the best of moods if you just had your bum prodded, filled with fluid and with runny stool flowing out of you.
Most cats won’t be their usual affectionate or sociable selves after coming back from the vet.
Expect your cat to be somewhat grumpy and unfriendly for a few days after the vet visit. Just leave your cat alone for now and let it slowly decompress.
Vet visits are always dramatic for cats.
Lack Of Appetite
If your cat has been having severe constipation before the enema, it probably didn’t have much of an appetite.
You can also expect this to continue after the enema procedure.
My cat didn’t eat for almost 24 hours.
It is hard to feel hungry when all he did was go in and out of his litter box to try and clear his bowels.
Your cat’s appetite should start to return after a day and slowly progress back to normal after a few days.
You need to let your vet know if your cat’s appetite isn’t improving after a day or two.
It can be very dangerous for cats to not eat after a few days as it can result in liver failure.
How Long Does It Take A Cat To Poo After An Enema?
When it comes to treating constipation, giving your cat an enema is the fastest way to help it clear its bowels.
The fluid that is pumped into your cat’s butt can be a laxative (Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate) that does its magic within 20-30 minutes.
There are some cases when it did take a while for it to work. Especially if the constipation was severe or if there are underlying health issues that need to be addressed
Some cat owners would rather try to feed their cat an oral laxative like Miralax before having to resort to an enema.
But if your cat needs to clear its bowels urgently, this is the best way.
Do Enemas Hurt Cats?
Enemas might sound intrusive but they don’t cause your cat any harm when done properly.
The only discomfort that your cat will feel is an uncomfortable feeling of the nozzle in the rectum followed by the sensation of the fluid being pumped in.
If you plan to give your cat an enema, make sure it is one that is meant for cats.
Do not use any over-the-counter enemas as they can be toxic to cats like Fleet.
It is best to get the procedure done at the vet once to learn the steps before doing it at home.
Some cat owners use Laxatone to treat their cat’s constipation. But it is best to speak to your vet before doing so.
How To Prevent Constipation In Cats?
Prevention is better than cure and here are some ways that you can help prevent constipation in your cat.
Stop Feeding Dry Food
If you are currently feeding dry food to your cat, stop!
Dry cat food or kibbles is a very poor diet for cats. It contains a high amount of low-quality ingredients and carbohydrates which are bad for cats.
Dry food also has no moisture which is a cause of feline constipation and leaves your cat dehydrated.
Cat fecal matter starts to harden in the intestines if the cat isn’t getting enough water.
The harder and drier they get, the harder it will be to expel it.
Get Your Cat To Drink More Water
It can be challenging to try to get your cat to drink more water. Cats have a high thirst threshold and get most of their moisture from food.
You can try putting more water bowls around the house to encourage your cat to drink more water.
The best way to hydrate your cat is with wet food or a raw meat diet for cats. Such diets contain a higher level of moisture which is what your cat needs.
Add Some Fiber To Your Cat’s Diet
If your cat is prone to getting constipation, try adding some fresh pumpkin or psyllium husk into your cat’s wet food once every few days.
Only a small amount is needed per serving, 1/4-1/5 teaspoon.
Don’t feed pumpkin puree that has added sugar or ingredients.
Use fresh pumpkin.
For psyllium husk, do not add it to dry food as it needs to be mixed with water to work effectively.
Never overfeed your cat with psyllium husk as it can clog up the digestive system.
My Cat’s Personal Experience With Getting An Enema
Here’s a rather funny story about my cat’s enema experience.
A few years back, I had to take my cat to the vet due to constipation. The vet suggested an enema since my cat has not had a bowel movement for three days.
The vet took a small tube with a rather long nozzle and slowly inserted it into my cat’s bum.
The sudden rush of the fluids freaked him out and he squeezed out the contents of his bowels in a giant explosion.
Thankfully, I was standing at the side but I can’t say the same for the vet.
Getting an enema for your cat’s constipation isn’t the end of the world. It can be a rather drastic experience for your cat but it won’t cause any major side effects.
Make sure to monitor your cat’s appetite to make sure that it doesn’t go too long without food.
Let your vet know if your cat is showing any other symptoms that persist.