Causes and treatment of diarrhea in cats

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 19.10.2021

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Diarrhea is characterized by frequent liquid bowel movements. It can be caused by a simple cause, for example, a change in diet, or a more serious disease or infection. Diarrhea can begin suddenly and not last long. It can also last for weeks or months or appear and disappear. A single attack of diarrhea in a cat is usually not a cause for concern, but if it lasts more than one to two days, it can lead to dehydration.

What causes diarrhea?

  • Change in diet
  • Intolerance to dairy or other foods
  • Consumption of spoiled foods
  • Lump of wool in the stomach
  • Allergic reaction
  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Internal parasites, such as roundworms, coccidia and lamblia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Cancer or other tumors of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Certain medications
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Colitis

What are the main symptoms of diarrhea?

Frequent fluid stools are the most common symptom of diarrhea. Other symptoms include flatulence, blood in the stool and urge to excrement. Drowsiness, dehydration, fever, vomiting, decreased appetite, weight, and increased urge to excrement can also accompany diarrhea.

If the cat's diarrhea is accompanied by a black stool or there is blood in it, it may have internal bleeding of the stomach or small intestine, and it should be immediately shown to the vet.

How to treat diarrhea?

It is often recommended not to give the animal feed for 12 to 24 hours, while it suffers from diarrhea, but give plenty of fresh clean water to prevent dehydration. Consult with the veterinarian regarding the correct course of treatment required in the case of your cat.

When is it necessary to show the cat to the vet?

Take the cat to the veterinarian if diarrhea lasts more than one day, or if you observe drowsiness, vomiting, fever, dark or bloody stool, urge to bowel movement, decreased appetite or unexplained weight loss.

What to expect in the vet's office?

The veterinarian examines the animal for underlying diseases, and can also take a stool sample to test it for internal parasites and make a blood test to determine the possible cause of diarrhea.

Other diagnostic examinations may include radiography, ultrasound, seeding, endoscopy, and biopsy. The diagnostic tests performed and the recommended treatment will depend on how long the diarrhea lasts and the severity of your animal's condition.

Are certain cats prone to diarrhea?

Long-haired cats, who often have clots of wool in their stomach, may experience periodic attacks of diarrhea. In addition, cats that spend a lot of time outside the home may be at increased risk of internal parasites or consumption of unsuitable products, which can cause diarrhea.

How to prevent diarrhea?

Try not to give the cat dairy products, no matter how much she loves them! Almost all cats like the taste of milk and yogurt, but some adult cats lack the amount of lactase, the enzyme necessary for digesting dairy products. Undigested lactose enters the large intestine, where it ferments and can cause accumulation of gases and diarrhea.

Also, if you decide to replace cat food, it is good to introduce it gradually, mixing with the old food brand to provide an easier transition for your pet's gastrointestinal tract.

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