Cat Diarrhea - Your Cat's Upset Stomach

Cat diarrhea is the passing of loose, watery, formless feces in abnormally frequent movements and possibly increased volume.

It is important to note that diarrhea is not a disease in itself but a symptom that may show the presence of one or more of several different ailments or problems.

Often the bout of diarrhea is not serious and can be self correcting.

Sometimes though, it is obvious that the condition is more severe, either because the movements have become unusually frequent over the past few days, or your cat is listless and weakened.

Also serious are problems such as bloody stools, vomiting along with the diarrhea, labored or difficult breathing.

In all such cases do not hesitate to call your veterinarian.

Cat Diarrhea and Food

A change to your cat's diet can be the cause of diarrhea, this holds true even when changing to a better quality food.

Make any change to your cat's diet gradually; this will lessen the chance of a bout of diarrhea for your cat.

Table scraps are not a good idea, food that is prepared for humans is not always suitable for felines. Cat diarrhea is perhaps one of the least harmful consequences of a cat eating table scraps.

If your cat goes outside it may eat something from a garbage can that upsets its stomach. Unknown to you well meaning neighbors may feed your cat inappropriate food.

Remember that domestic cats are by nature hunters, your cat's diarrhea may have been brought about by it eating prey.

gray catMinor bouts of feline diarrhea can often be treated at home, however if the condition is severe, or persists consult your veterinarian.

Poisoning Causing Diarrhea in a Cat

Rodent poisons: Sometimes, the substances put down to control the rodent population, are sampled by cats and other pets. Snail and slug baits too can be the cause of poisoning.

Antifreeze: Ethylene glycol, a common ingredient in antifreeze, is sweet to the taste and therefore attractive to cats.

Cleaning Agents: Many household cleaners are highly toxic. Do not leave cleaners where your cat can get to them and always wipe up spills.

If you use a strong cleaner to clean your floor then let it dry completely before allowing your cat to walk on it. Cats can become ill though licking their paws after walking on cleaned floors.

Plants: Many plants have the potential to be toxic to cats. Be sure about the plants that you have in your home and garden, try and avoid those that could cause harm to your cat.

Diarrhea will likely be only one of the symptoms of poisoning. In all cases where you suspect that your cat may have ingested a poison contact your vet immediately.

Cat Swallowed Something

Compared with some pets, adult cats don't usually make a habit of swallowing objects, although there are the odd cats that will attempt to eat anything.

Curious kittens are more likely to swallow something they have found on the floor, and the consequence of this may be harm to the kitten's digestive system and the object may have to be surgically removed.

Diarrhea or vomiting may be the first indication that your cat has swallowed something. Diarrhea and vomiting together needs the attention of a vet because of the risk of dehydration.

Cat Diarrhea and Cows Milk

Most cats lap up milk, but cows milk is not necessarily good for them. Many cats are lactose intolerant.

oriental blue cat

Lactose is the predominant sugar in milk, cats do not have the appropriate enzymes to break down lactose, this means that it stays undigested and is likely to ferment in the intestines and cause the cat diarrhea.

As kittens are weaned off their mother's milk they lose the capability to digest the lactose.

If you regularly or occasionally give your cat milk and you find bouts of cat diarrhea follow, then your cat is lactose intolerant.

Needless to say that you should stop giving your cat milk, cats don't need milk, they should get all the calcium they need from their food. If you feel mean by not allowing your kitty milk, give it lactose free pet milk.

Other Causes of Feline Diarrhea

Intestinal parasites such as coccidia, hookworms, roundworms and giardia, are a very common cause of cat diarrhea that is chronic (lasts more than several days).

Parasites are not usually visible in the cat's feces but the eggs may be detected by veterinary tests.

Kittens can be at serious risk from intestinal parasites if left untreated. Adult cats however are not generally at so much of a risk from the same parasites.

Feline distemper (Also known as Panleukopenia, cat typhoid, infectious enteritis, cat fever). A cat of any age may be at risk from this contagious virus disease but young kittens are more susceptible than older cats.

An infected cat may pass runny, bloody stools due to hemorrhaging along the small intestine. The animal may also be dehydrated, vomiting and feverish. Contact your vet without delay if you suspect infection.

FIV. Feline immunodeficiency virus is commonly spread by way of saliva and thus by bite wounds from an infected cat. Up to twenty percent of cats infected with FIV have chronic diarrhea. This may be due to disease, parasitic infestation, bacteria infection, or FIV itself. If suspected contact your veterinarian.

Feline Leukemia (FeLV). The most usual way for a cat to become infected with FeLV is through being bitten probably in a fight.

Some of the signs of FeLV are: Bloody stools, breathing difficulty, loss of weight, poor appetite, listlessness, extreme thirst, diarrhea or, conversely constipation

Often moderate cases of cat diarrhea can be ended easily with home treatment. If the diarrhea is at all persistent, or there are other symptoms do not hesitate to call your veterinarian.

Call your veterinarian if . . .

  • Blood is present in the diarrhea.
  • Your cat has diarrhea and is also vomiting.
  • The diarrhea lasts for more than a day or two.
  • Your cat is losing weight.
  • Your cat has diarrhea and is also lethargic.
  • Many bouts of diarrhea occur in a short period.
  • Your cat appears to be in pain.
  • Your cat has difficulty breathing.
  • Your cat has stopped drinking water for 24 hours.
  • You suspect that your cat may have ingested a poison.
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