Diarrhea, the frequent passage of watery stools, is never a pleasant topic, but for cats its an especially serious matter. It can be a symptom of more a serious illness and if you are not careful can lead to dehydration.
You will have to clean the soft, smelly mess they leave behind but also the increase in frequency and urgency of passage may prevent your cat from making it to the litter box. It will make you wish you had not bought that white couch after all.
The bad news is that diarrhea is relatively common. The good new is that most cases are mild and can usually be controlled.
Either way it is never a happy time for owners or cats.
What can I give my cat for diarrhea? Answer: Depends on the Severity.
Diarrhea is a symptom rather than a disease, and in some cases it is no more than a nuisance, but in others it can be life-threatening. Contact your veterinarian immediately if the diarrhea is accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain, or fever. A veterinarian should also be contacted if the stool is black or contains large amounts of blood.
If the diarrhea could be related to your cat ingesting something toxic, call your veterinarian immediately. Another situation in which professional attention may be required is if it concerns kittens (under 9 months) or an elderly cat. Otherwise the condition can probably be treated at home. If it worsens in the next 48 hours of home care, please seek veterinary assistance.
The most dangerous aspect of any kind of diarrhea is the accompanying dehydration. As the stool contains large quantities of water that is not being absorbed by the cat, it is important for it to keep drinking. Ensure that your cat drinks plenty of water when they are suffering from diarrhea.
Change the Diet
A change in diet can be a cause for an upset stomach in cats, so if you have recently switched from one type of food to another it could be causing the diarrhea. Try transitioning your cat smoothly to other foods. Additionally cats may suffer from food allergies, so try and monitor what they have been eating that could have caused the onset of diarrhea. Occasionally a short fast, around 12 to 24 hours, can be all that is needed to alleviate the irritated stomach.
Medications and Extracts
Treatments for diarrhea in cats are available at the pet store that contain microorganisms to help balance the bacteria in the cat’s stomach. These same microorganisms can be found in yogurt with active cultures, but since most cats are lactose intolerant it is best to avoid dairy products to treat diarrhea since they risk upsetting your pet’s stomach even more. About 3 drops of grapefruit seed extract added to wet food should aid in controlling diarrhea.
Fiber and Constipation
Stools that are not the right consistency often are a result of a fiber deficiency. You can either change to a cat food with a higher quantity of fiber, usually specifically designed for senior cats or find other ways to increase the fiber intake of your cat. Canned and unflavored pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber and cats seem to like the taste, which is an added bonus for finicky eaters. Ironically, diarrhea can actually be a result of a blockage in the intestines or colon. In this case only the liquid, soft stools manage to find a way through the obstruction. Increasing the fiber intake can also alleviate constipation.
Cats are sensitive creatures and stressful situations can cause diarrhea. The stress of certain changes or environments can manifest in symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or a decrease in appetite. Try to keep an eye out to what triggers these events so that you can remove the specific sources of stress.
It is important to keep in mind that diarrhea can always be a symptom of an underlying sickness, so owners should closely monitor the situation. In general, it is quite common and some extra attention to your cat’s diet and an increase in fiber should solve the issue within about a day. If the diarrhea persists for a few days, or is accompanied by other symptoms contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.