Every Cat Diarrhea You Can Go Through: Cause and Solution

Every Cat Diarrhea You Can Go Through: Cause and Solution

Unraveling the Causes and Possible Solutions of Cat Diarrhea
meta excerpt
Discover how to manage diarrhea in cats effectively. Learn causes, symptoms, treatment options, and when to seek veterinary care for your feline friend!
general care
home remedies
8 minute read
By Team Dr.Tail
Cat experiencing diarrhea in litterbox.
Cat experiencing diarrhea in litterbox.
 Cat diarrhea can be distressing for both cats and their owners. It isn't just messy, it could signal serious health issues. Learn to recognize the signs, understand the causes ranging from dietary changes to infections, and ensure your cat receives the best possible treatment with expert tips.
Is your cat experiencing diarrhea and you’re not sure what to do? Diarrhea in cats can be a distressing experience for both the pet and its owner. As a cat parent, it is important to observe subtle changes in their behavior, energy levels, eating and drinking habits, and especially their litter box habits. Diarrhea in cats is a common but serious symptom that should never be ignored. Understanding the root causes, identifying symptoms, and knowing the right treatment options are crucial for managing this potentially serious condition.
notion image
notion image

What does cat diarrhea look like?

Cat diarrhea is characterized by softer, loose stools, or more watery than usual. It may also have an unusual color, such as green or yellow, and can sometimes contain mucus or blood. The frequency of bowel movements often increases, and accidents outside the litter box can occur. The possible diagnosis of diarrhea in cats according to their appearance is given below:
  • Liquid or Watery Diarrhea: This is due to rapid dehydration and malnutrition.
  • Soft, Formed Stool: Less severe but still requires veterinary care.
  • Bloody Diarrhea:
    • Dark Red/Black: Indicates upper GI bleeding.
    • Bright Red: Indicates lower intestinal tract bleeding.
    • Mucus-Coated: Indicates possible dehydration or parasitic infection.
  • Discolored Diarrhea:
    • Green: Possible ingestion of grass or green-colored material, or gallbladder disease.
    • Yellow: Possible liver disease, zinc poisoning, immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, or bacterial infections.

Is bloody diarrhea in cats an emergency?

Yes, bloody diarrhea in cats is always a cause for concern and should be addressed by a veterinarian immediately. Dark red or black stools indicate upper gastrointestinal bleeding, while bright red blood suggests lower intestinal tract bleeding. Both conditions require prompt medical attention to prevent further complications.

Why does my cat have diarrhea all of a sudden?

Sudden or acute diarrhea in cats can be triggered by various factors, including dietary changes, infections (bacterial, parasitic, or viral infection), food allergies, toxins, or stress. Sudden onset diarrhea usually results from something your cat has ingested or a sudden change in their environment. Pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, and issues with the immune system can also contribute to diarrhea in cats.

Why is my cat having diarrhea but acting normal?

Sometimes, cats with diarrhea may still appear active and behave normally. This can happen if the diarrhea is mild or in its early stages. However, even if your cat seems fine otherwise, persistent diarrhea can lead to dehydration and nutrient deficiencies. Therefore, it's crucial to monitor their condition and consult a veterinarian if the diarrhea continues.

How long is too long for a cat to have diarrhea?

Diarrhea that lasts more than 24-48 hours should be a cause for concern, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, or loss of appetite. Prolonged diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration and malnutrition, which can be life-threatening, particularly for kittens, senior cats, or those with preexisting health conditions.

What should I do if my cat has diarrhea and vomiting?

If your cat is experiencing mild diarrhea or vomiting for less than 24 hours and seems otherwise normal and active, it's advisable to keep a close eye on them, as many cases resolve on their own. However, if these symptoms persist beyond 24 hours or if you notice additional signs such as lethargy or blood in their stool, it's important to consult your veterinarian immediately.
Listed below are some signs of illness that require immediate veterinary care:
  • Blood in vomit and/or stool: This could indicate various serious health conditions that require urgent treatment.
  • Inability to drink water: Dehydration can worsen rapidly in cats experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, so it's crucial to ensure they remain hydrated.
  • Unresponsiveness: If your cat seems lethargic or unresponsive, seek emergency veterinary care.
  • Symptoms lasting over 12 hours: Continued bouts of diarrhea or vomiting can quickly lead to severe dehydration, potentially becoming life-threatening.
  • No eating for over 24 hours: Cats with gastrointestinal issues often lose their appetite, but prolonged fasting can lead to significant health complications.
  • Ingestion of a toxic substance: If you suspect your cat has swallowed something toxic or a foreign object, immediate veterinary attention is necessary to prevent further complications.

Diarrhea in Cats Treatment

If your cat has diarrhea that is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, a visit to the veterinarian is crucial. Your vet will likely conduct a series of tests, including fecal analysis, blood work, and imaging (x-rays), to identify the underlying cause. Based on the diagnosis, treatment for loose motion in cats may include medications, dietary changes, or other interventions.
Nutrition plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy stool in cats. In cases of chronic diarrhea in cats (ongoing), your veterinarian will evaluate your cat's diet. Depending on the underlying cause, they may suggest a diet lower in fat, higher in complex carbohydrates, or supplemented with fiber to help manage your cat's condition.

Home Remedies for Cat Diarrhea

For mild cases of diarrhea, there are several home remedies you can try to help alleviate your cat's symptoms:
  • Diet Change: While it may seem intuitive to withhold food, cats with diarrhea benefit from continued nutrition. However, simplify their diet by eliminating treats and table scraps, focusing on nutritionally complete cat food. Reverting to their previous diet can help identify potential allergens or food intolerance if a recent change triggered the diarrhea.
  • Increase Fiber Intake: For cats prone to frequent but small-volume stools, a low-fiber diet (easily digestible) or supplements like unflavored psyllium or canned pumpkin can be beneficial. These aids help regulate bowel movements and promote digestive health without causing further discomfort.
  • Probiotics: Maintaining a healthy gut flora is crucial for digestive function. Probiotics can help restore the natural balance of gut bacteria, which may be disrupted during bouts of diarrhea. Choose a probiotic product that is formulated for feline use.
  • Hydration: Ensure your cat stays well-hydrated. Fresh water should always be available. In some cases, adding an extra water bowl or using a pet water fountain can encourage your cat to drink more. Adding diluted chicken or beef broth can also boost electrolyte intake. Switching to wet canned food temporarily can increase moisture content in their diet.
  • Ginger Infusion: Ginger can have soothing effects on the digestive system. Prepare a mild ginger tea by steeping a small amount of fresh ginger in warm water. Once cooled, offer a teaspoon to your cat.
  • Caution with Medications: While some anti-diarrheal medications are unsafe for cats, kaolin-pectin supplements can be used under veterinary guidance. Some of the most commonly prescribed and best anti diarrhea medicine for cats include:
    • Metronidazole (Flagyl)
    • Tylosin (Tylan)
    • Fenbendazole (Panacur C): Usually prescribed to cats with inflammatory bowel disease.
Important: These medications may have side effects, so it's important to administer them under veterinary supervision.

How to Prevent Diarrhea in Cats?

Preventing diarrhea involves managing your cat's diet and overall health:
  • Introduce new foods gradually. Mix small amounts of the new food with the old one, increasing the ratio over a week. Do not feed your cat human food, especially rich or spicy items that can upset their stomach.
  • Regular veterinary visits help catch potential health issues early. Keep up with vaccinations and over-the-counter parasite control, including regular dewormer treatments.
  • Maintain a clean living environment for your cat. Roundworms and other intestinal parasites such as coccidia can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting. They're typically transmitted through contaminated food, water, or contact with infected animals. Regularly clean your cat's litter box and feeding areas to minimize the risk of infection.
  • Ensure your cat cannot access toxic houseplants, chemicals, or human medications that may cause an upset stomach.
Diarrhea in cats is a symptom that should never be ignored. While some cases may resolve on their own, others can indicate serious underlying health issues. Monitoring your cat’s stool consistency, color, and frequency, along with their overall behavior and health, is crucial. If your cat experiences persistent or severe diarrhea, consult your veterinarian immediately. To ensure your feline friend receives the best care possible, consult Dr.Tail now!