Why Does My Cat Have Diarrhea All Of A Sudden Causes And Management Options
You walk into your home after a long day of running errands and work to the foul smell of cat poop. On closer examination, you spot that your 5-year-old cat has defecated outside the litter box and it looks soft, jelly-like cat diarrhea with or without some bloodstains in it.
Cat diarrhea of any kind, form, or shape is unpleasant and I wouldnt wish that for your cat. However, when it happens, this is an indication that your kitty needs help.
If you notice that your cat is having trouble going to the bathroom or if youve noticed your cats diarrhea outside her litter box, then this blog post will come in handy with 7 solutions for fixing the problem!
Diarrhea is the rapid movement of ingested food through the gut, resulting into:
- Watery stool thats usually unformed or simply loose.
- Increased frequency of bowel movements
- Increased amounts of stool
A cat will normally have 1-2 bowel movements in a day and the stool is well-formed and appear moist.
What Should You Give A Cat With Diarrhea
Diarrhea can cause dehydration, and many cats struggle to drink enough water as it is, so ensure fresh water is readily available. Try a wide and shallow water bowl or even a cat water fountain to help prevent dehydration.
Dont try any new foods, treats, medications or supplements without your veterinarians recommendation. Anything new or out of the ordinary could worsen your cats symptoms.;
How Do You Treat A Cat With Diarrhea
Unlike vomiting, diarrhea doesnt require the cat owner to withhold food for an extended period of time. In fact, withholding food during this time can actually do more harm than good and can put your cat at risk of developing a fatal type of liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis. Additionally, keep your cat hydrated with water.
Read Also: Why Do Cats Roll On Their Backs
Old Cat Diarrhea: Causes And Treatment For Diarrhea In Senior Cats
After practicing as a veterinarian for more than 20 years and being chief of staff at;Animal House of Chicago, I have treated my fair share of old cat diarrhea. These cases have ranged from something simple, like a cat eating too many cat treats, to something more complex, like a senior cat with an overactive thyroid condition. I dont like to see any cat suffering from diarrhea, but it can be especially difficult for senior cats to handle.
When a senior cat has diarrhea, its most likely a sign of another ailment, such as pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism or stress. Stress can be triggered by a recent move, new pets in the house, the loss of a pet and many other things. Think about anything that might have changed recently in your cats life. You and your veterinarian might have to play detective to determine the cause of your elderly cats diarrhea.
Knowing the cause of the diarrhea is the first step to preventing any recurrence. Overactive thyroid, food allergies, kidney failure, cancer, poisoning , can all result in diarrhea. Obtain veterinary assistance if the cause isnt apparent or it is an ongoing problem. A;cat food with fewer allergens or treatments for a disease might reduce or eliminate the diarrhea.
Recovery Of Diarrhea In Cats
As your cat recovers from diarrhea, it is important that you take the necessary steps at home to ensure its health. You should follow the advice of and maintain contact with your veterinarian so that your cat avoids falling ill with diarrhea in the future.
If your vet recommends that you change your cat’s diet, for example, it is important that you remove the food that caused the illness in the first place. Your vet may sell the recommended food for your cat in his or her office or animal hospital.
You also should keep your pet’s litter box cleaned out, provide fresh water and food, and sweep and mop around the cat’s feeding area regularly. These simple precautions can keep away parasites, viruses, and bacteria that cause diarrhea in cats.;
If your cat has undergone surgery or suffers from a serious underlying condition like liver disease or cancer, it is important that you give your cat’s prescribed medications as recommended by your vet. You should also follow up with veterinary care as necessary to keep your cat comfortable and hydrated.
*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.
Diarrhea Average Cost
Also Check: Friskies Name Generator
How Is Diarrhea Treated
Initially, and often in advance of an in-depth work-up, a non-specific approach may be adopted. For otherwise healthy adult cats, your veterinarian may advise you to withhold food for 24 hours or to feed small quantities of a light, easily digestible diet. Water should be offered at all times. The best diets are often veterinary supplied diets specifically formulated with a balance of fibers that feed the good bacteria found in your cats intestine. In some cases, a bland, home-prepared diet such as boiled rice or pasta with boiled skinless chicken may be recommended.
Antidiarrheal agents, dewormers, and/or probiotics may be prescribed in some cases. Metronidazole and tylosin are commonly prescribed anti-diarrheal agents that decrease the intestinal inflammation that often leads to diarrhea. Dewormers commonly used include Profender®, Panacur®, and Drontal®.
“Antidiarrheal agents, dewormers, and/or probiotics may be prescribed in some cases.”
Vomiting And Bloody Diarrhea In Cats
If vomiting and diarrhea in cats is accompanied by blood, then we need to consider it a veterinary emergency. Mild poisoning can cause an upset stomach, but severe poisoning can lead to toxic shock. If this is the case, immediate clinical intervention is imperative. The presence of blood in vomit or stool can also be a symptom of an underlying chronic illness such as panleukopenia.
A viral disease such as this is life-threatening, especially in unvaccinated kittens where this disease is most prevalent. In addition to bloody diarrhea and vomiting, this diseases presents dehydration, lethargy, depression and fever. Hospitalization is required to manage these symptoms and bring their health back to a stable level. Prognosis depends on the individual case.
You May Like: Do Cats And Dogs See Color
How Can I Prevent Diarrhea In My Cat
The best way to ensure that your cat does not develop diarrhea is to limit your cats access to garbage or foods other than their regular diet, and try not to switch your cats food around. Instead, try to be consistent and feed your cat one brand of high quality cat food.
Have your kitten properly dewormed and vaccinated, and take your adult cats and fresh fecal samples in to the vet yearly for examination to check for overall wellness and intestinal parasites.
Most cases of diarrhea in cats resolve spontaneously without treatment, however, if your cat is having bowel problems, do not hesitate to contact your local veterinarian she is there to help.
Food Intolerances & Food Allergies
Food intolerances and food allergies can also;cause;diarrhea in cats. Pet parents may not realize that, like people,;their feline;can develop allergies.
In many cases, food intolerances;and food allergies;is at the root of chronic diarrhea,;which occurs intermittently over long periods of time.
Interestingly, allergies in cats can develop when the cat is fed the same food for too long.
Feeding your feline the same protein every day may, over time,;cause gut inflammation and lead to food allergies. Finding new ways to switch up your cats food is a wonderful way to prevent;GI;inflammation, thus preventing allergies and;cat diarrhea.
A telltale sign that your cat may have allergies is overall good health,;except for the allergy.
Are your cats energy levels normal? Is your cat;at;a healthy weight? Does diarrhea occur intermittently without a major;life;change?
You may want to consider the possibility of;food;allergies and switch their food. Again, make this change gradually!
Also Check: What Is The Best Age To Spay A Kitten
If Your Cat Has Diarrhea Thats Chronic
If your cat has diarrhea thats chronic , your cat needs a vet exam. Depending on the severity and the presence of other signs, your vet may want to perform some tests such as a complete blood count , chemistry panel, urinalysis, fecal exam, a vitamin B12 and folate;test, and abdominal ultrasound. In my experience, food allergy and inflammatory bowel disease are two of the more common causes if an adult cat has diarrhea thats persistent.
Although pancreatitis is not a major cause of diarrhea in cats, it can definitely occur. The primary clinical sign in cats with pancreatitis is vomiting, but poor appetite, weight loss and jaundice can also be present. Diarrhea, while much more common in dogs with pancreatitis, is not as common in cats.
Milk A Common Misconception
We have all seen the adorable photos and videos of tiny kittens lapping up every last drop of milk from their bowls. In fact, most mammals love a heaping of milk when offered.
However, the milk;must be;from the same species. Cats dont have the enzymes;necessary;to break down the milk sugars found in cows milk. Feeding cats the milk of other animals puts them at a high risk of developing secondary;GI;issues;like;vomiting and diarrhea.
Also Check: How To Prevent Fleas On Cats
When To Go To The Vet
There are a few things that pet owners should consider when;deciding if its time for a vet visit.
First, what is the general condition of your cats health? Is your cat very young or old? Do they have any preexisting health conditions that will make them more susceptible to dehydration or other illnesses?
Next, is your cat experiencing any other worrisome symptoms,;such as vomiting, lethargy, depression,;or pain?
Additionally,;how often are the bouts of diarrhea? Is the diarrhea extremely watery?;
Finally, what does your cats diarrhea look like? Is it the color of normal, healthy feces or is it black and tarry?;Black and tarry feces often points to internal bleeding, which must be treated immediately. If your cat is experiencing black, tarry stools,;seek veterinary medical care right away.;
Its okay if you dont have the answer to all of these questions. If your cat is looking unwell overall and their feces look abnormal, take;your cat;to be examined by your veterinarian.;
Managing Cat Diarrhea: Causes Symptoms & Treatment
You’ve noticed while cleaning out your cat’s litter box that they’ve been having diarrhea lately, and you’re a little concerned. Millions of cat parents witness this same issue with their cats every year. Whether your cat’s version is the soft and gooey variety, the streaky bloody style or the unfortunately watery kind, you can be sure you’re not alone in your litter box observations.
Also Check: Why Does My Cat Keep Sniffing My Other Cats Bum
What Can You Do To Help Your Cat At Home
Is your cat bright, alert and behaving normally? If you have not seen blood in the vomit or diarrhoea, then you can often provide some supportive treatment at home:
- Do not starve your cat: withholding food is not appropriate because they risk getting a life-threatening liver condition called hepatic lipidosis. Research also shows that the gut needs contain food to start the healing and recovery process
- Hydration: your cat must have access to clean fresh water at all times
- Highly digestible diet: offer this in small portions little and often. For example, a prescription intestinal diet, such as Purina EN, or boiled rice or potato with cooked white fish, chicken fillet, turkey or egg
- Electrolytes and probiotics: use these feline supplements alongside their diet, following the manufacturers instructions. For example, Oralade GI Support Rehydration Fluid or Royal Canin Rehydration Support
- If your cat is an outdoor cat, keep them indoors, as long as this does not cause them distress, where they can be supervised for a few days so that you can monitor any vomiting or diarrhoea
What Can You Give A Cat For Diarrhea
Most cats with acute diarrhea usually only have one episode of diarrhea, are fine afterwards and require no treatment. Cats with mild diarrhea may be managed with only feeding a fat-restricted, easily digested food, either homecooked chicken and rice or a therapeutic diet until normal stools are seen.
If this doesn’t clear up the problem within a day, then your vet can prescribe probiotics that can be mixed into your cat’s food and antidiarrheal drugs.
Also Check: How To Stop Cat From Climbing Christmas Tree
When Is Old Cat Diarrhea An Emergency
Senior cats, along with kittens and small-sized adult cats, are at special risk of becoming dehydrated from even a single episode of diarrhea. Use these guidelines to determine if you need to rush to your veterinarian.
If your cat seems OK after a single bout of diarrhea, it may be safe to simply monitor them. However, if you notice any lethargy, fever or change in behavior, call your veterinarian for an appointment as soon as possible.
If your cat seems fine but has recurrent episodes of diarrhea that do not seem to be resolving, call your veterinarian for a non-emergency appointment.
If your cat is passing blood in their stools or if you notice any weakness or other signs of debilitation along with the diarrhea, contact your veterinarian immediately and have your cat seen as soon as possible. Red blood in the poop usually indicates a problem with the lower intestine/colon or rectum. Black blood in the poop usually indicates a more serious problem higher up in the digestive tract.
It’s important to know the signs of an emergency. Call you veterinarian immediately if your cat has diarrhea and:
- Blood in the diarrhea or the poop is black or tarry
- You suspect your cat may have eaten something toxic or poisonous
- A fever, is depressed or seems dehydrated, or if your cats gums are pale or yellow
- Appears to be in pain or discomfort
- Is also vomiting
Bacterial Or Viral Infection
Food aside, there are;many;reasons;why;your cat may be suffering from diarrhea,;including bacterial and viral infections. People often refer to these infections as a simple stomach bug.;In cats,;though,;the infections can;potentially;be far from simple.
Bacterial and viral infections of the;GI;tract can cause your cat to experience severe diarrhea and vomiting, both of which can lead to extreme weight loss and dehydration.
Acute diarrhea is often an;indicator of bacterial overload;in a cats small intestine.
Although;some bacterial infections may clear up on their own in about a weeks time, you must keep a close eye on your cat and;seek veterinary treatment;if necessary. Other GI infections will resolve only with appropriate medication,;such as antibiotics.;
Furthermore, preventing the underlying cause of the bacterial or viral infection is essential. Again, remember that diarrhea is merely a symptom.;The root of the problem must be treated;appropriately;to ensure the infection doesnt resurface.
Read Also: What Is The Fastest Cat In The World
How Is The Cause Of Diarrhea Determined
It is important to provide your veterinarian with a detailed medical history. Ideally you should write this out in chronological order before you go to the clinic. Be as detailed as possible on the date you first noticed a problem, and the progression of the clinical signs. Was there any change in your cats diet such as a new bag of food? Note what diets and treats your pet has eaten in the last 1-2 weeks. Note any changes in the normal routine of your cat or your household. How frequent are the stools? What is the color, consistency, and smell of the feces? Is the cat showing any other signs such as vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, or loss of weight? To help you put this history together, please see the handout “Diarrhea Questionnaire and Checklist for Cats”.
Your veterinarian will usually ask you to bring a representative sample of fresh fecal material with you to your appointment. Besides a thorough clinical exam, your veterinarian may recommend additional diagnostic tests. In mild cases of diarrhea, these tests may be deferred unless initial treatment fails or the condition worsens. In-depth diagnostic tests may include blood work, stool, and rectal swab samples for parasite examination, DNA testing and culture, radiographs , and endoscope exam.
If Your Cat Has Diarrhea Thats Acute
If your cat has diarrhea thats acute , she may not require any treatment if she seems fine otherwise. Symptomatic therapy, such as withholding food for 12 or 24 hours to rest the GI system, followed by feeding a highly digestible prescription diet may help hasten the recovery.
Cats whose acute diarrhea lasts a few days may benefit from subcutaneous fluids and anti-diarrheal medications. These should be obtained from a veterinarian and not over-the-counter, as many OTC anti-diarrheal drugs intended for humans may contain substances harmful or toxic to cats.
Recommended Reading: How To Help A Teething Kitten
What You Can Do
- Closely monitor your cat for the frequency and amount of diarrhea, and whether or not it is bloody or watery.
- Observe your cat for other signs of illness.
- Save a fresh stool sample to take to your veterinarian.
- Give your cat a probiotic such as Fortiflora®, Proviable®, or Benebac®. If you do not have one of these, giving ¼ teaspoon of plain yogurt twice daily is a less ideal alternative.
- Add 1 tablespoon of canned pumpkin to your cat’s food twice a day. Be sure to use real canned pumpkin and not spiced pumpkin pie mix.
- Encourage your cat to drink more water by using water fountains, running water from faucets, and placing more bowls of fresh water around the house.
- Feed canned food, which has more water in it, or add tuna juice to your cat’s food.
- If your cat is new to your home, minimize stress by providing hiding places where your cat can retreat without being bothered by people or other pets.