What do you do when you discover diarrhea in the litter box? In worse cases, your cat may skip using the litterbox and drop watery bombs around the house! You’re left asking: Why does my cat have diarrhea?
At times you’ll find yourself wondering why my cat suddenly has diarrhea. Now you have a potentially sick cat and a new set of questions. As a responsible cat parent, you need to be ready during times like this.
A trip to the veterinarian may be necessary right away. It’s always best to consult a medical professional when your cat’s life is at stake. With this in mind, it’s best to know a thing or two about how to deal with this.
Here are ten things you need to know about cat diarrhea and how to act in these situations.
Cat Diarrhea is Not Normal
Cats typically have 1-2 bowel movements daily, which should have a wet stool shape. Deviations in this can indicate sickness. Diarrhea might manifest as soft but formed, watery, liquid stool or something in between. The odd stomach upset caused by a meal change, or dietary indiscretion may result in a one-time soft fecal matter. However, if diarrhea has no apparent cause or soft stool occurs more than once, you must consult your veterinarian.
Understand your cat’s typical routines and expected day-to-day activities. Knowing this is a crucial component of keeping your cat healthy. It allows you to discover problems before they get advanced. When you scoop your cat’s litter box one or two times every day, you provide a clean environment for your cat to relieve itself and keep track of your cat’s usual elimination routines. By knowing how to compare irregular behavior to usual ones, you will be able to detect issues earlier.
Cat Diarrhea with Fever
It can be tough to tell if your cat is feverish. A frequent misconception is that you can detect if someone has a fever by feeling for a dry, warm nose, but this is not true. The only method to check if your cat has a fever is to use a rectal thermometer to take its temperature.
Keep an eye out for these symptoms of a fever in your cats: a lack of energy or activity, depression, loss of appetite, decreased drinking, decreased grooming, shivering, and rapid breathing.
A fever develops to combat illness or disease and typically measures approximately 102.5 Fahrenheit, but anything higher than 106 degrees risks damaging internal organs.
Cat Diarrhea and Vomiting
In cats, there are two types of vomiting: chronic and acute. If you’ve had a cat for any time, you’ve probably experienced acute vomiting. Acute cat vomiting occurs occasionally and usually occurs as a result of your cat overeating, consuming something toxic or hazardous, or simply having an upset stomach. Chronic vomiting happens when your cat vomits frequently and might indicate an underlying digestive condition.
Acute vomiting is not a cause for concern until you observe blood or a coffee-ground-like look in the vomit. Acute vomiting becomes an issue when a cat who does not typically throw up suddenly throws it many times in a short time. Vomiting is a vague symptom, but it merits a visit to the veterinarian if there are also bouts of diarrhea.
Cat Diarrhea: When to Take to the Vet?
When taking your cat to the veterinarian, consider the severity of his diarrhea and overall health. If your cat has minor diarrhea, isn’t vomiting, is eating and drinking usually, and doesn’t appear to be in too much pain, it’s okay to try some home treatment.
If your cat is very young, extremely elderly, or has a medical condition that makes him susceptible to dehydration, you need to contact your veterinarian immediately! It’s time to rush them to medical attention if they are vomiting, lethargic, gloomy and depressed, in discomfort, or exhibiting any other concerning symptoms. The situation can already be dire if the diarrhea is profuse, watery, explosive, or frequent and if it contains blood or is dark and tarry.
Cat Diarrhea: What to Tell the Vet?
Please be as precise as possible regarding the stool’s color, consistency, and odor because this is essential information for your veterinarian. Don’t be frightened to take pictures. In this scenario, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. Your cat’s veterinarian will want to know whether your cat has more frequent bowel movements. They’ll also want to know if the quantities are more significant or lower than expected, if your cat is straining when passing the stool, and if there is fresh (red) blood or mucus.
When you contact to schedule an appointment for your cat, ask whether they would like a stool sample and provide detailed instructions on how they would like this collected and preserved ahead of time. A stool sample can help to simplify the diagnostic procedure and lead to a more tailored treatment for your cat’s problem. Because your veterinarian may want to do blood tests, find out if your cat has to fast before the appointment.
What Do You Do if Your Cat Has Diarrhea?
After determining that your cat is a candidate for home therapy, you must decide which treatment to pursue. Here are five possibilities, along with suggestions about when to utilize each.
1. Regulate Your Cat’s Food
There is no need to restrict food from diarrheal cats. Doing so can impair the digestive tract’s ability to heal and put cats at risk for hepatic lipidosis, a potentially fatal kind of liver illness. However, keeping your cat’s diet as simple as possible is recommended. Remove any treats or table scraps and concentrate on the core, nutritionally balanced cat food you provide daily. Whether you recently altered your cat’s food, return to the prior diet and see if your cat’s diarrhea resolves. One or more of the new food’s ingredients may irritate your cat. Even if you are feeding the same type of food as before, it might be worth buying a new bag or case from a different lot number to rule out the potential for contamination.
2. Introduce Fiber Intake
A low-fiber, very digestible diet can help some types of cat diarrhea. A low-fiber diet might be worth a go if your cat doesn’t get diarrhea often but produces many feces when he does. Look for feeds that claim to be highly digestible or suitable for cats with sensitive stomachs. On their guaranteed analyses, these items should have a crude fiber level of roughly 3%. Several kinds of cat diarrhea respond to fiber supplements, notably disorders that cause cats to “go” regularly yet produce only a little excrement at a time. Two readily accessible fiber supplements include unflavored psyllium (e.g., Metamucil) and canned pumpkin.
3. Give Your Cat Enough Water for Hydration
It would be in your cat’s best interest if you encouraged it to consume water and electrolytes as much as possible. To prevent them from dehydrating, cats with diarrhea need to drink lots of water. Keep your cat’s water dishes filled with clean, fresh water, and consider giving them an additional bowl containing diluted chicken or beef broth. Changing your cat’s diet from kibble to canned food is yet another uncomplicated way to increase the amount of water he consumes. You might also try temporarily mixing in an additional tablespoon or two of warm water with the canned food you give your cat.
4. Consider Probiotics for Cats
For a cat to have normal digestion, the digestive tract has to have healthy bacterial populations. A cat’s diarrhea can continue even after the shock that caused it, such as stress, illness, or antibiotic therapy, has passed. Persistent diarrhea can occur when something disrupts your cat’s bowel movements. Probiotic supplements can help the bacterial community in a cat’s intestines, leading to recovery. Pick a probiotic authorized for use in cats by the company that makes it and that has a solid reputation in the industry.
5. Discuss Anti-Diarrheal Drugs With the Vet
Providing most anti-diarrheal medications to cats is not recommended unless a qualified veterinarian monitors them. While some therapies are downright dangerous for cats, you can administer kaolin-pectin remedies without incident under a medical professional’s instruction. The general rule of thumb for dosing is one teaspoon for every five pounds of your cat’s body weight taken every four to six hours. Take note that in the US, numerous products such as Kaopectate that contain kaolin and pectin have extra ingredients and substances you might need to check.
Always consult your veterinarian to guarantee that your cat receives the correct care. Over-the-counter drugs and ostensibly “natural” things used by people to treat diarrhea may be poisonous or deadly to your cat. It may be tempting to adjust your cat’s diet to alleviate diarrhea, but experts won’t recommend this. Even if a meal modification cures the immediate problem, it does not mean the underlying issue is gone. You could only be delaying your cat’s diagnosis and treatment.
Your veterinarian must examine your cat and run numerous diagnostic tests to determine the possible causes. The sooner you begin this process, the better the outcome for your cat.