What is Diarrhea?
It is important to discover the underlying cause of your cat's diarrhea and treat it accordingly to prevent your cat from becoming dehydrated. If the diarrhea lasts for more than two days, you should have your cat examined by your veterinarian.
Diarrhea can occur in both indoor and outdoor cats as well as cats of all ages. It is critical that you seek prompt treatment for your cat's diarrhea if your pet displays other signs of illness like dehydration, weight loss, or pain. You should avoid using home remedies for severe cases of diarrhea unless recommended by your veterinarian.
Diarrhea in cats is a condition that is hallmarked by loose or liquid stools. It may be caused by something as mild as a dietary change or something as serious as cancer or a parasitical infection.
Symptoms of Diarrhea in Cats
Cats that are suffering from diarrhea may exhibit symptoms like:
- Loose or liquid bowel movements
- Increased flatulence
- Straining while defecating
- Blood or mucus in feces
- Decreased appetite
Diarrhea in cats can be either mild or severe. Mild diarrhea generally resolves itself in one or two days' time. However, severe cases of feline diarrhea typically lasts longer than two days and can be accompanied by symptoms that include:
- Weight loss
- Increased urgency to use the litter box
- Meowing or crying in pain
If your cat displays any of the symptoms of severe diarrhea, you should have it examined immediately by your veterinarian.
Causes of Diarrhea in Cats
A variety of factors can lead to mild or severe diarrhea in cats. Mild feline diarrhea may be caused by:
- Dietary changes
- Intolerance to certain foods
- Eating spoiled food
- Food allergies
- Medication side effects
Severe cases of diarrhea in cats may be caused by more serious health complications or underlying conditions like:
- Bacterial or viral infections
- Parasites like roundworms, coccidia, or Giardia
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Cancer or tumors in the digestive tract
Feline diarrhea that is caused by underlying health conditions or illnesses generally will not resolve itself. It may worsen and cause your cat to decline rapidly without proper veterinary care.
Diagnosis of Diarrhea in Cats
Your veterinarian may conduct a variety of tests to determine why your cat is suffering from diarrhea. The most common test involves taking a stool sample from your cat. The stool is then sent to the laboratory to be tested for infections, parasites, and other common feline diarrhea causes.
If your vet suspects that your cat could suffer from an underlying condition, he or she may perform tests like:
The results of these tests will help your veterinarian diagnose the cause of your cat's diarrhea and determine the best treatment for it.
Treatment of Diarrhea in Cats
Depending on the outcome of these diagnostic tests, your cat's diarrhea may be treated in several different ways. Mild cases of diarrhea or those caused by less serious factors like allergic reactions may be treated with a change in your cat's dry or moist food, restricted diet, or antibiotics for bacterial infections.
Diarrhea that is caused by more serious factors may require more extensive intervention before your cat can recover successfully. Your vet may prescribe antifungal or antiparasitic medications to kill parasites like roundworms. Diarrhea that is caused by cancer, tumors, or kidney or liver disease may require that your cat undergoes surgery and remain hospitalized until its health improves.
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.