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Diarrhea In Cats
GENERAL RULE: If your pet is having diarrhea and/or is vomiting as you are reading this, call your veterinarian or the Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 NOW! There will be a charge for help from the Poison Control Center (about $60) which you can put on a credit card. If your pet has been having diarrhea only and it is not severe and has not been for a prolonged period (over a couple of days), then continue reading.
CAUSES OF DIARRHEA — The frequent and repeated passing of watery stools (diarrhea) should always be considered a medical concern for cats in general and of special concern with kittens. One of the most common causes for this condition is a sudden change of food or the introduction of something new into the diet. Other causes can include the following: parasites, worms, bacteria, toxins, viruses, pancreatitis or liver disease, ingestion of bones that become obstructions or perforations requiring surgery and even the use of antibiotics. Even stress, enzyme deficiencies and coccidian (organisms invading the small intestine) are contributory factors. In short, diarrhea in kittens and cats is to be considered an important health risk … and in some instances a risk to life.
RECOMMENDATIONS – Act Immediately If Your kitten or Cat:
- Has persistent vomiting
- Is lethargic, has a bloated look or has abdominal pain
- Is passing blood in the stool
- Appears to have a fever (above 103.5)
- Appears dehydrated
- Appears particularly lethargic (lays around all the time)
- Cries out at trying to either urinate or pass stools.
What Can You Do If Your Cat Is Active And Appears Strong Other Than Diarrhea:
As diarrhea is the cat’s body trying to get better by flushing out the cause of the problem, you can support that process by doing the following:
- Reduce the amount of food you give the cat by nearly half
- Give the cat a bland diet consisting of a blend of low-fat meat (boiled hamburger or chicken) and rice, or oatmeal at a ratio of 1:3 (meat to rice, etc.) and mix in a couple of teaspoons plain yogurt.
- Do NOT give your kitten or cat milk as cats are lactose intolerant. Milk will add to the problem. Yogurt, however, may help.
- Talk with your vet about the problem and consider giving a probiotic (live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host) which the vet can suggest. There also are other products that can aid in the healing and/or prevention of diarrhea. Ask your vet.
SUMMARY: Normal, healthy cats have digestive systems that are strong. They usually can eat a few types of cat food without developing diarrhea, but their bodies prefer consistency. That is why you should be concerned with diarrhea when it happens and acutely concerned if it becomes chronic. Conventional medicine may not heal diarrhea that is chronic, but that is where you should start anyway. If the diarrhea appears mild, you may wish to try the bland diet for a few days, but keep it up for 2 -3 days even if the symptoms disappear. As always, the best advice is to err on the side of caution and talk with your veterinarian.