Have you noticed that your cat has been visiting its litter box more frequently lately and staying longer? His stools are soft or liquid, all with a foul odor? Your cat has all the hallmarks of diarrhea.
We must remain vigilant, of course, because it is a sign of more severe pathology in some cases, but most of the time, it is a temporary benign condition that will disappear on its own after 48 hours.
My cat has diarrhea: what should I do?
Should we be worried or not?
Here are a few tips to help you assess whether or not the situation is urgent.
Is it an emergency?
To find out, first of all, observe your cat and its state of health: has it kept its joie de vivre, or is it, on the contrary, in a lethargic state? Does he continue to eat, or has he lost his appetite? Did he vomit? Does he behave abnormally? Do you suspect abdominal pain?
If he’s eating, seems happy, hasn’t vomited, and behaves in the usual way, there’s no cause for alarm.
Remark On the other hand, if he vomits, is listless, seems to be in pain, does not behave normally, has a fever, you notice blood in his feces, or his stools are a dark black color, there is a risk of more severe disease. In this case, quickly take your cat to the vet for consultation.
How to treat a cat with diarrhea
Diarrhea is a natural defense mechanism of the body. So after ruling out the signs that indicate an emergency, the first thing to do is put your cat on a 24-hour diet. This food break allows your intestines to rest.
After this one-day fast, gradually resume your cat’s diet. For example, on the first day, by giving him the equivalent of a quarter of his daily ration, then the next day half, to return to the usual dose the next day. Do not, in any case, prolong the fast beyond 24 hours. A cat not fed for a more extended period could incur additional risks.
However, be sure to leave fresh water available, especially during these 24 hours of fasting. Indeed, diarrhea contributes to dehydration, and he will need to rehydrate. So this is a water diet.
In many cases, a fast will be enough to restore normal transit.
However, consult your veterinarian if diarrhea persists for more than 48 hours.
What to give a cat with diarrhea?
After fasting, when you start to feed your cat again, introduce highly digestible foods – industrial or household – to limit intestinal work and promote the production of loose stools. For example, you can add well-cooked rice to his croquettes and make him drink the cooking water from the starchy rice. Or feed him a bowl of chicken (one-third) with well-cooked rice (two-thirds), if you prefer to offer him homemade food during that day. His usual food can then be reintroduced 24 or 48 hours later.
Be careful not to give homemade medicines from your own pharmacy, it is dangerous, and the risk of overdose is high. However, you can administer an abdominal bandage (Smecta type). A quarter of a sachet will be enough for the kitty for the dosage.
Otherwise, you can give him activated charcoal, which helps to regulate the intestinal flora better.
Some also recommend giving it prebiotics to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in its intestinal flora.
Why does my cat have diarrhea?
There are many reasons why your cat may have diarrhea. We will study the most common.
A sudden change in diet
This is a very common cause of diarrhea in cats! The transition between the new and the old diet is often not gradual, and Minou does not tolerate it very well. Remember to gradually integrate the new food into the old, mixing them over a minimum of three days to facilitate acceptance. For example, a quarter of new croquettes and three-quarters of old on the first day, half and half on the second day, three quarters of new for a quarter of old on the third day, and finally 100% new on the fourth day.
Most kittens are born with digestive worms, having been contaminated by their mother’s milk or in her womb. Parasites irritate your cat’s gut, and diarrhea is a symptom. Often the cat will have chronic diarrhea without appearing weak or in pain.
Consequently, it is essential to deworm your kitten every month until six months old. As for the adult cat, deworming will be necessary four times a year: either every three months, at each change of season, for example.
Ask your veterinarian for advice, who will carry out a stool examination to find the right dewormer for your favorite feline. Many worms can colonize your pet’s body.
Your cat ate a rotting rodent in the garden? Or some expired food by rummaging in the trash? Food poisoning would perfectly explain his diarrhea.
Your cat is not safe from swallowing toxic products by chasing a bird in the garden or simply snooping on the kitchen table.
Detergent in the pantry, fertilizer, weed killer in the garden, and certain plants such as lily of the valley, rhododendrons, or yuccas are dangerous for our four-legged friends.
And in the kitchen, to name a few: garlic, coffee, chocolate, or onions are harmful to your cat’s health and can even cost him his life if ingested in quantity. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your veterinarian or a poison control center.
A foreign body
A cat is a curious and playful animal, and it happens that it swallows an inedible object which can remain blocked in its digestive tract.
In this case, diarrhea or vomiting are classic symptoms of these foreign bodies. Although often, a cat spends an average of one to two hours a day licking its coat, it may have a ball of hair aggregated in its digestive tract when it has swallowed too much. It will then try to vomit, alternating with passages of diarrhea and constipation.
A food intolerance
Humans are not the only ones to suffer from intolerance or food allergies. In this case, ask your veterinarian for help to find out which additive – vegetable or animal – or food your animal is intolerant or allergic to.
A change in the situation of your cat or your household can cause an intestinal disorder of your hairball.
Have you welcomed a newcomer – cat, dog, hamster – into your home? Have you moved recently? Your kitten has just arrived, leaving behind its mother and siblings?
So many reasons that will accentuate your cat’s anxiety and can manifest as diarrhea.
We humans aren’t the only ones who get gastroenteritis. Of bacterial or infectious origin, these are often accompanied by vomiting. In this case, go to your veterinarian.
Following antibiotic treatment
If your cat recently underwent antibiotic treatment, the chances are that her gut flora is out of balance. It can then trigger diarrhea.
Other possible causes
Many other conditions are accompanied by diarrhea, the range of possibilities is considerable. We can cite, among others: an inflammatory disease of the digestive system, a tumor located in the digestive tract, or damage to the liver or pancreas. Or even more severe conditions such as Typhus or infectious peritonitis.
In any case, trust your veterinarian, who will carry out some examinations (blood test, urine or stool analysis, endoscopy, or x-ray) depending on the hypothesis he is considering.
Some tips to prevent diarrhea
If you have several animals at home
In case of diarrhea in your cat, if you have other animals at home, start by preventing their infection! To do this, isolate the sick animal for the duration of diarrhea.
Please change the cat litter box daily, use gloves, and wash the bottom of the box regularly.