Digestive disorders and especially diarrhea in the cat are not uncommon. The possible causes are varied. This can vary from a simple stomach upset to complicated diseases. It is important to note that not every diarrhea has a serious cause and needs to be treated immediately. However, the cat should be monitored more closely and if the symptom occurs over a long period of time, as well as in severe cases, a veterinarian should be contacted in time.
When one speaks of diarrhea in the cat (diarrhea)?
Diarrhea (medically diarrhea) refers to the frequent shedding of liquid or mushy feces. Frequent means that the cat defecates more than 1 liter per day.
The journey through the gastrointestinal tract usually lasts between 12 and 24 hours. Fecal consistency, color, and frequency of defecation can vary greatly depending on cause, diet, or intestinal health.
Massive loss of water and electrolytes is the main reason why diarrhea should be taken seriously. This usually arises in the cat for one or more of the following reasons:
Reason 1: Food
Wrong food, abrupt change of food or food intolerance can often lead to diarrhea in cats. Have you tried a new variety or changed from dry to wet food? Some proteins, carbohydrates but also additives added to the food can be the reason for it.
Reason 2: Parasites
Parasites (worms or even protozoa like giardia or coccidia) that your cat got outside can also be a reason for diarrhea. Here, especially great caution is required for free-rangers.
Reason 3: Gastrointestinal infections
Viruses and bacteria, can be as with us humans likewise reason for it. Such infections usually occur more in younger animals.
Reason 4: Organ dysfunctions
A hyperthyroidism or pancreatitis can cause chronic diarrhea. Does your cat show other symptoms such as vomiting or has been losing weight for some time? Organ dysfunction could be the cause!
Reason 5: Poisoning
Poisoning by cleaning agents, poison or poisonous plants are also reasons for diarrhea. A side effect of antibiotics also brings this symptom.
Reason 6: Stress
Cats are very stress sensitive animals. Besides behavioral and bladder problems, your cat can also get diarrhea due to stress. Is your cat shy or does he hide often? Household changes, such as a new person moving in, a construction site, a move, new furniture, a different positioning of the litter box can be very big stressors for your pet.
There are a number of other possible causes of diarrhea in cats, such as immune-related diseases, IBD or tumors. However, in most cases, the diarrhea will go away on its own and there is no need to worry. However, if you are concerned about your cat, the easiest thing to do is contact the veterinarians at Dr Sam.
What are the symptoms of cats with diarrhea?
To judge whether your cat has diarrhea or not, it is important to look at the consistency of the feces. If your tiger is a free walker and only does his business outside, the whole thing turns out a little difficult.
You can tell if a cat has diarrhea by looking at the following symptoms:
- Is the feces mushy or watery??
- Is the feces light, dark brown red or even black?
- Is the feces slimy?
- Press the cat without success?
- Has the frequency of bowel movements increased?
Other symptoms of feline diarrhea include:
- Weight loss
- Great thirst/dryness of the cat
Among the rather rarely occurring, but quite serious symptoms include, blood, parasites, undigested food or foreign bodies in the stool.
In uncertain and more severe cases, a fecal examination can bring clarity. This examination should only be done at a special laboratory. From self-experiments or non-approved laboratories (such as.B. providers who offer certain sets to send in yourself) is strongly discouraged.
How to diagnose diarrhea in cats?
If your cat has diarrhea and other symptoms, it is best to play it safe and get a diagnosis. Veterinarians can, for example, detect foreign bodies by palpation, rule out or confirm certain causes, and record and evaluate the cat’s overall condition.
The cat will be palpated, temperature will be taken, pulse will be checked, etc. For the final diagnosis, depending on the condition of the cat, various tests can then be ordered, such as.B. Blood and stool tests, and in more severe cases, ultrasound or X-ray examinations. As mentioned earlier, the first priority is to identify the causes responsible for the diarrhea.
What to do if the cat has diarrhea?
It’s normal to be concerned as a cat owner when your pet has diarrhea. But what can you do about it?
- To feed or not to feed? For many years it was always recommended to leave the cat sober. Recent studies have shown, however, that a normal bowel movement only occurs when small amounts of sparing food are given!
- What to feed? Gentle diet means easily digestible food such as boiled chicken and turkey as well as mashed potatoes. Dairy products, on the other hand, can aggravate diarrhea!
- Ensure sufficient water intake!
- outdoor cats should not be let outside for the time being.
When should a veterinarian be consulted?
If the diarrhea is still not gone after 24 to 48 hours, then a veterinarian should be contacted and the exact cause should be clarified. Even if the cause of diarrhea has disappeared temporarily, you should still act promptly for the benefit of your cat and consult a veterinarian for a diagnosis.
Especially if the following symptoms appear, professional advice should be sought immediately:
- Diarrhea lasts more than 24 hours
- cat does not drink anymore
- Blood in feces
If you have a thermometer handy, you should also take the cat’s temperature. If the temperature exceeds 39.2 °C, caution is advised. Check out our post on fever in cats for this one.
The veterinarians at Dr. SAM will be happy to help you assess the situation and give you useful tips through the online consultation service.
Can you prevent diarrhea in cats?
The main cause of diarrhea in cats is food intolerance. If your cat is eating the food and everything has been fine so far, clearly you shouldn’t change brands or flavors. Abrupt food changes should be avoided!
Certain organ diseases such as hyperthyroidism, liver or kidney problems can be treated quite well with medications. Just because a cat is a little older doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about certain diseases anymore.
Worming and vaccination prophylaxis are a must. Make sure to always deworm your cat. It is important to keep your pet worm free! For a fecal examination should always take place a collective fecal sample. That means you should collect feces for 3 days before sending it in.
Also, avoid giving food that is meant for humans, wet food should not be left for too long, and foreign objects or potentially toxic substances such as certain plants or cleaning products should be made inaccessible to cats.
Even if diarrhea can never be completely prevented, at least a few triggers can be avoided in advance with these tips.