Many people think that only dogs can get diarrhea, but cats can get it too. Here are some reasons why your cat might have diarrhea.
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Causes of Cat Diarrhea
There are a variety of reasons cats might have diarrhea. Some causes are more serious than others, but all cases of diarrhea should be monitored. If your cat has diarrhea, it is important to pay attention to other symptoms he or she may be experiencing and to seek veterinary care if the diarrhea persists for more than a day or two.
Many infections can cause a cat to have diarrhea, some of which are contagious to other cats and even to humans. The most contagious form of diarrhea in cats is caused by the feline parvovirus, which is deadly. Other causes of infection-related diarrhea include panleukopenia (another feline virus), feline infectious peritonitis (a viral infection that affects a cat’s organs), feline coronavirus (which usually only affects kittens), and toxoplasmosis (a parasitic infection that can be passed to humans through contact with infected cat feces). Bacterial infections such as salmonella and campylobacter can also cause diarrhea in cats, as well as protozoal parasites like Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
One of the most common causes of cat diarrhea is intestinal parasites. These are tiny organisms that live in the intestines and siphon off nutrients meant for your cat, causing malnutrition and weight loss. Some types of parasites can also cause anemia by destroying red blood cells.
There are many different types of intestinal parasites that can affect cats, but the most common ones are roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. Most of these parasites are acquired from contact with contaminated soil or water, or from eating infected prey. For this reason, it’s important to keep your cat’s environment clean and to feed them a high-quality diet to minimize their risk of exposure.
If you suspect your cat has intestinal parasites, take them to the vet for a diagnosis and treatment plan. In some cases, the diarrhea may resolve on its own once the parasites are gone, but your cat may need medication to help clear their system.
Food allergies or intolerance
One of the most common reasons cats have diarrhea is food allergies or intolerance. Some cats are allergic to certain ingredients in their food, while others may not be able to properly digest certain types of food. If your cat has diarrhea and you suspect a food allergy or intolerance, talk to your veterinarian about switching to a hypoallergenic or special diet food.
One common cause of cat diarrhea is stress. Stress can be caused by many different things, including changes in the home (such as a new baby or pet), changes in the litter box (including the type of litter or location of the box), or even changes in the food you’re feeding your cat. In addition, some cats are simply more prone to stress than others. If your cat seems to be having more episodes of diarrhea than usual, take a look at what’s going on in his or her life and see if there are any potential stressors that you can remove.
When to See the Vet
If your cat has diarrhea, it can be a sign of an underlying health condition. Diarrhea can also be caused by stress, a change in diet, or eating something that doesn’t agree with them. If your cat has diarrhea, it’s important to monitor them closely and see a vet if it lasts for more than a day or two.
If your cat has diarrhea for more than a day
A cat with diarrhea might strain more than usual to defecate, or she might have more-frequent bowel movements. The stool is usually soft or liquid and might contain mucus, blood, or both. In some cases, diarrhea can be life threatening because of dehydration from loss of body fluids.
If your cat has diarrhea for more than a day, consult your veterinarian. Diarrhea that persists longer than this could indicate a serious problem, such as intestinal parasites, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, or liver disease.
If your cat is vomiting along with having diarrhea
If your cat is vomiting along with having diarrhea, this is an emergency and you should take them to the vet immediately.
If your cat has a fever
If your cat has a fever (temperature over 103°F or 39.4°C) in addition to any of the other symptoms listed here, see your veterinarian immediately. A cat with a fever may have a serious infection or another potentially life-threatening condition such as cancer.
If your cat has blood in its stool
If your cat has blood in its stool, it’s important to see the vet right away. Blood in stool can be a sign of a serious health problem, and it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored. Cats can develop blood in their stool for a variety of reasons, including infections, digestive problems, and even cancer. If your cat has blood in its stool, the best thing you can do is take it to the vet so that they can determine the cause and provide treatment.
Home Treatment for Cat Diarrhea
Diarrhea in cats can have many causes, some of which require medical attention while others may not. Home treatment for cat diarrhea may be all that is necessary to resolve the issue. With that said, here are some reasons why your cat might have diarrhea.
Feed your cat a bland diet
The best home treatment for cat diarrhea is to feed your cat a bland diet. A bland diet consists of a single protein source and a single carbohydrate source. The protein source should be boiled chicken, turkey, whitefish, or cottage cheese. The carbohydrate source should be cooked white rice, boiled potatoes, or pasta. Do not add any seasoning to the food. You can also purchase commercially prepared bland diets at your local pet store or vet clinic. Feed your cat small meals frequently throughout the day instead of large meals once or twice a day.
Add probiotics to your cat’s food
Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial to the gut. They can help alleviate diarrhea by populating the gut with good bacteria and restoring the balance of gut flora. You can find probiotics for pets at your local pet store or online. Be sure to choose a product that is designed specifically for cats. Follow the dosage recommendations on the label. You may need to give your cat probiotics for several weeks to see improvements.
Make sure your cat is drinking plenty of water
Cats can easily become dehydrated, so it’s important to make sure they are drinking plenty of water. Offer your cat small amounts of water frequently throughout the day, and make sure they have access to fresh, clean water at all times. You can also try adding a little bit of chicken broth or low-sodium chicken soup to their water to make it more appealing.
If your cat is not interested in drinking water, contact your veterinarian—Dehydration can be very serious, even life-threatening.
Prevention of Cat Diarrhea
Though diarrhea is a common ailment of cats, it can lead to more serious problems if left untreated. The best way to prevent your cat from getting diarrhea is to understand the reasons why cats might have diarrhea and take steps to avoid them.
Feed your cat a healthy diet
A healthy diet is important for preventing diarrhea in cats. Make sure your cat is getting enough of the right nutrients, and avoid giving them food that is high in fat or fiber. You should also avoid feeding your cat table scraps, as this can lead to digestive problems. If you are unsure about what to feed your cat, talk to your veterinarian for advice.
In addition to a healthy diet, proper hydration is also important for preventing diarrhea in cats. Make sure your cat has access to clean water at all times, and consider giving them wet food instead of dry food if they are prone to dehydration. Wet food contains more moisture than dry food, which can help keep your cat hydrated and prevent diarrhea.
If your cat is already experiencing diarrhea, there are several things you can do to help treat the condition. First, make sure they are getting plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. You can give them water or Pedialyte (a rehydration solution for humans) by syringe or spoon. You can also give them canned pumpkin, which helps firm up stool and has a soothing effect on the digestive system. If your cat’s diarrhea is severe or persistent, call your veterinarian for advice.
Keep your cat’s litter box clean
One of the most important things you can do to prevent your cat from getting diarrhea is to keep their litter box clean. A dirty litter box is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in cats.
If your cat has diarrhea, be sure to clean their litter box more frequently than usual to help prevent the spread of infection. You should also disinfect the litter box with a bleach solution after each cleaning.
Minimize stress in your cat’s life
There are many things that can cause stress in a cat’s life, and this can lead to diarrhea. Try to minimize stressors as much as possible in your cat’s environment. If you have other pets in the house, make sure they are not harassing or bullying your cat. Consider getting a second litter box if your cat has to share with another pet. Move the litter box to a quiet, out-of-the-way location if it is currently in a high-traffic area. Be careful not to make any sudden changes in your cat’s routine or environment, as this can also be stressful.