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Cat Diarrhea

Cat diarrhea can happen quite suddenly, with no prior warning from your pet. Depending on the type of diarrhea your cat is experiencing, you may notice them having difficulty with their bowel movement or they may not strain at all. You’ll know your cat has diarrhea, however, if their litter box has “puddles” of waste rather than solid bowel movements. Diarrhea is normally accompanied by a very foul odor. On the bright side, when a cat experiences diarrhea, it’s usually a minor problem that resolves itself quickly.

Causes of Diarrhea in Felines

No doubt, you’ve heard the phrase, “curiosity killed the cat.” Well, an inquisitive nature can also lead to feline diarrhea. Most bouts of diarrhea in cats can be traced to them eating something they shouldn’t such as string or the occasional foreign object. Other common causes for cat diarrhea include:

  • Drinking milk
  • Food related allergies
  • Eating wet cat food that’s been left out too long
  • Eating plants, flowers, or bugs/dead animals
  • Intestinal worms

Just as with every other species, sometimes diarrhea is normal and sometimes it’s not. If your cat is acting depressed or experiencing abdominal pains, or if blood is present in their stool, they may be facing a more serious form of cat diarrhea.

Serious Digestive Problems in Felines

If your cat’s diarrhea persists for several days or the symptoms become more pronounced, there may be a serious underlying issue. Serious health problems for felines can include tumors, diseases of the kidney, liver or pancreas, and viral infections. If your cat expels blood in their stool, or is dehydrated, you should take them to the vet immediately.

Dehydration from diarrhea can occur quickly and is very dangerous for your cat. Dehydration can cause irreparable damage to the kidneys and liver. One way to check for dehydration is to pinch the skin on the nape of your cat’s neck. If the skin stays in this shape and doesn’t return to normal, your cat may be dehydrated.

Remember, if you’re taking your pet to the veterinarian for diarrhea treatment, always take a fresh stool sample with you. The veterinarian will want to examine a recent sample for the presence of parasites and other foreign bodies.

Treating Cat Diarrhea

Treating a minor case of cat diarrhea isn’t difficult, but it requires a little discipline on your part. The first thing you want to do is to cut back on your cat’s food but not their water intake. You can try withholding solid food from your cat for 12 to 24 hours to see if their system clears up. Sometimes the diarrhea is caused by your cat eating food that doesn’t agree with its system so you can try switching brands as well.

After 24 hours, feed your cat a meal of broiled chicken breast and soft brown rice with no seasonings. Shred the chicken up and mix it with the rice so it can be easily consumed. Stay with this recipe until you see well-formed bowel movements from your pet again.

Once your cat is producing normal bowel movements, slowly begin replacing some of the chicken with their regular cat food. Eventually wean your cat off the chicken and rice altogether and return to a regular diet.

If you have more than one cat, it’s a good idea to isolate the ill pet until the diarrhea passes. The sick cat should also be using a separate litter box, food dish, and water bowl. This containment protocol may be problematic for someone with multiple pets, but the only thing worse than a case of cat diarrhea is a case of multiple-cat diarrhea!

Things to Avoid for A Cat with Diarrhea

Some things you’ll want to avoid when your cat is experiencing diarrhea include:

  • Giving your cat milk to drink. You may want to treat your cat to milk when it’s not feeling well, but milk can worsen the effects of diarrhea.
  • Do not feed your cat human anti-diarrhea medicine. In a panic, you may think about giving your cat anti-diarrhea medicine designed for human consumption. This “home doctoring” can prove very dangerous for your cat just as you would not feed adult heart medicine to a child.
  • Immediately rushing to the vet. If no blood is present in its stool and your pet is not lethargic or dehydrated, save yourself the trip and the money. Try natural treatment methods first to alleviate the symptoms of cat diarrhea.

Cats and dogs are very different from human beings. Both cats and dogs are extremely resilient and, most of the time, they can solve their intestinal problems with little intervention from their owners. It’s important to be aware of the differences between a minor bout of diarrhea and when it’s the result of a much larger health issue. Usually, just a little tender loving care is all your pet needs to get back into couch shredding shape!

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