My cat has diarrhea but seems fine! What to do? Diarrhea in cats is a common problem that can have a variety of causes, ranging from dietary changes to more serious underlying health conditions.
While diarrhea can be a concerning symptom, it’s important to note that not all cases require immediate veterinary attention. In some cases, diarrhea may be a temporary issue that can be resolved with simple at-home remedies or some easy treatment options.
However, it’s essential to be aware of the signs that indicate when a visit to the vet is necessary, such as severe diarrhea, blood in the stool, weight loss, or your cat appears to be in pain or discomfort.
This article will provide an overview of the possible causes of diarrhea in cats, as well as tips on how to manage the condition at home.
We’ll also discuss when it’s necessary to seek professional veterinary care and how to prevent the problem from recurring in the future by working on bettering up the cat’s immune system.
If your cat has diarrhea but seems fine, it’s important to take note of the duration and frequency of diarrhea, as well as any other symptoms that may be present. You can do this by observing your cat’s litter box habits which will help you spot the difference and notice if there are any health issues.
My Cat Has Diarrhea But Seems Fine – Why?
A stool that is softer, looser, or more watery than it should be is considered diarrhea. In addition to urinating more frequently than usual and having accidents within the home, cats with diarrhea may pass blood, mucous, or even parasites in their stools.
Although the majority of cat diarrhea resolves on its own within a few hours or days without medical attention, cats who have the condition for longer than a few days or who exhibit more serious symptoms (such as vomiting, appetite loss, bloody or watery feces, or exhaustion) should be examined by a veterinarian.
Smaller cats and kittens with diarrhea should always be examined by a veterinarian since they are more prone to dehydration, which will lead to loss of electrolytes. Runny, loose, or liquidy excrement in your cat might be caused by a variety of conditions.
A change in nutrition, parasites, stress, or an intestinal infection is the typical cause. Kitty’s sensitive digestive tract can be affected by many more serious problems. Diarrhea can also be brought on by toxic exposure or ingesting strange things after she consumes her catnip mouse.
Watery stools can also be a sign of liver or renal disease, inflammatory bowel disease (commonly referred to as IBD or just IBD), as well as tumors like lymphoma or intestinal adenocarcinoma. When a cat has diarrhea but otherwise seems healthy, the issue is probably caused by your cat eating something strange.
She can become ill without ingesting anything harmful. Sometimes, something simply needs to change. It’s possible that you introduced Kitty to a different type of food or gave her soft food when she usually ate kibbles.
She might have taken the milk you served her despite not telling you she was lactose sensitive. These minor irritants are typically manageable.
It’s recommended to gradually introduce more of the new food and less of the old food over the course of a week when transitioning from one brand of cat food to another. This transition lessens the likelihood of diarrhea while allowing the pet’s digestive system to acclimatize.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Diarrhea In Cats?
• Food allergies
• Liver disease
• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Antibiotics and other medications that disrupt the gut microbiome
What Are The Symptoms Of A Cat With Diarrhea?
Symptoms of diarrhea in cats may include:
• Loose, watery stool
• Increased frequency of bowel movements
• Abdominal discomfort or cramping
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Blood or mucus in the stool
If a cat is experiencing severe or prolonged diarrhea, it is essential to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
The intestinal tract can have many different health issues:
• Bacterial infections like salmonella, E. Coli, and so on
• Colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatic disease, hyperthyroidism, or cancer
• Food allergies
• Food intolerance
• Ingestions of poisonous plants or toxic chemicals
What Should I Do If My Cat Has Diarrhea?
If your cat has diarrhea, there are a few things you can do to help:
1. Monitor your cat’s condition and keep track of how often they are having bowel movements, as well as the consistency and color of the stool.
2. Make sure your cat has access to fresh, clean water to prevent dehydration. You may also consider offering small amounts of water mixed with electrolyte solutions to help replenish lost fluids.
3. Withhold food for 12-24 hours; this can help to rest the gut and reduce diarrhea. Offer small amounts of water if the cat is thirsty.
4. Gradually reintroduce food starting with small amounts of a highly digestible diet, like boiled chicken or rice mixed with a small amount of cooked pumpkin.
5. Consult your veterinarian if diarrhea persists for more than a day, if your cat shows signs of dehydration, weight loss, blood or mucus in the stool, or if your cat is lethargic or showing any signs of distress.
It’s important to keep in mind that diarrhea can be caused by a variety of factors, including dietary changes, stress, bacterial or viral infections, parasites, and underlying medical conditions. Your veterinarian can help determine the underlying cause of diarrhea and provide appropriate treatment.
What Will The Vet Do?
Veterinarians have several tools at their disposal to determine the cause of a cat’s diarrhea. Some of the diagnostic tools that may be used include:
1. Physical examination: The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination to check for any signs of illness or abnormalities.
2. Laboratory tests: The veterinarian may collect a stool sample to test for the presence of parasites, bacteria, or viruses. Blood work may also be performed to check for underlying medical conditions or to evaluate the overall health of the cat.
3. Radiology: X-rays or ultrasounds may be used to visualize the internal organs and check for any structural abnormalities or foreign bodies in the gastrointestinal tract.
4. Endoscopy: This procedure uses a thin, flexible tube with a camera on end to examine the inside of the gastrointestinal tract. It can help to detect any abnormal growths, ulcers, or other issues that may be causing diarrhea.
5. Biopsy: In some cases, a tissue sample may be taken for further analysis to get a more specific diagnosis.
It’s important to note that the diagnosis and treatment of diarrhea may require more than one type of diagnostic tool. The Veterinarian will use all the information gathered to make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan that is tailored to your cat’s individual needs.
What Is The Best Way To Treat My Cat’s Diarrhea?
Treatment for common cases of diarrhea in cats will depend on the underlying cause. Some common treatments for your cat to have healthy cat stool include:
• Medications: Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat bacterial infections, and anti-parasitic drugs may be used to eliminate parasites. Anti-inflammatory and/or antispasmodic medications may also be used to control inflammation and pain in the gastrointestinal tract.
• Diet: A diet that is easy to digest may be recommended while the cat’s diarrhea persists and the cat is recovering. A highly digestible diet like a low-fat, easily digestible protein source, such as boiled chicken or fish, with a small number of carbohydrates like rice or boiled potato, is ideal for recovery.
• Fluids: In case of dehydration, your cat may need to receive fluids under the skin or through a vein to rehydrate.
• Probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help to restore the balance of good bacteria in the gut, which can be disrupted by diarrhea. Probiotics may be recommended to help prevent or treat diarrhea.
• Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be required to remove foreign bodies, tumors, or other structural issues that may be causing diarrhea.
Nutrition also plays a significant role in the management of diarrhea. Feeding a diet that is highly digestible and easy to absorb can help to reduce the severity and duration of diarrhea.
It’s also important to feed a diet that is appropriate for the cat’s age, size, and any underlying medical conditions that may be present. Your vet may recommend a special diet, such as a low-fat diet, a prescription diet, or a home-cooked diet, to help alleviate the symptoms of diarrhea.
Parasites Can Cause Diarrhea
parasites are one of the common causes of diarrhea in cats. Some of the parasites that can cause diarrhea in cats to include:
• Intestinal worms: Common intestinal worms that can infect cats include roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms. These parasites live in the cat’s intestines and consume the cat’s nutrients, which can lead to diarrhea, weight loss, and poor overall health.
• Protozoa: One example of protozoa that can cause diarrhea in cats is Giardia. This parasite infects the small intestine and can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and poor appetite.
• Coccidia: This is a type of single-celled parasite that can infect the intestinal lining and cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss.
It’s important to note that not all cats infected with parasites will develop diarrhea, and some cats may be asymptomatic carriers and can spread the parasite to other cats.
To prevent parasite infections, it is important to keep your cat’s environment clean and to practice good hygiene. A regular deworming schedule recommended by the veterinarian can also help prevent parasite infections.
Additionally, regular fecal exams are recommended for all cats to detect any parasite that may have been missed by simple deworming treatment. If a parasite is identified, your veterinarian will recommend the appropriate treatment to get rid of it.
How To Keep My Cat Diarrhea Free
Here are a few tips to help keep your cat diarrhea-free:
1. Feed a high-quality, balanced diet that is appropriate for your cat’s age, size, and any underlying medical conditions. Avoid sudden changes in diet, and consult with your vet if you want to change your cat’s diet. Combine high-quality wet food and dry food.
2. Keep your cat’s environment clean and free of potential contaminants, such as spoiled food, dirty litter, feces, or contaminated water.
3. Provide fresh, clean water for your cat to drink at all times.
4. Practice good hygiene and wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your cat or their food.
5. Keep up with regular veterinary check-ups and preventative care, such as vaccinations and deworming, to help prevent infection with parasites or other illnesses.
6. If you have more than one cat, keep them separated while they are eating to prevent competition and sharing of food.
7. Observe your cat’s behavior and look for any signs of diarrhea or any other health issues, and contact your veterinarian if you notice any concerning symptoms.
8. Vaccine your cat on time.
9. Don’t give your cat dairy.
10. Keep your cat indoors.
By following these guidelines and working closely with your veterinarian, you can help keep your cat healthy and diarrhea-free.
However, even with the best care, cats can still develop diarrhea due to various causes, such as dietary indiscretion, changes in the environment, stress, or underlying medical conditions; in that case, it is important to take action as soon as possible to address the issue.
Know Your Cat’s Poop
It’s crucial to establish the norm for what should be regarded as your cat’s “typical” litter box behaviors in order to determine whether or not her diarrhea is an indication of something more serious. Normal cat waste is dark brown, not overly firm or squishy, and moist enough to attach to the litter.
Although not pleasant, the stench shouldn’t make you want to leave the room. While every cat is unique, in general, cats urinate at least once every 24 to 36 hours and occasionally twice daily.
Since you scoop the litter box at least once a day to observe what’s inside, you are aware of what is typical and odd for your cat.
Diarrhea occurs when stools pass through your cat’s intestines more quickly than usual. This liquid-filled object may take the form of a pile with the consistency of soft-serve ice cream, a pool, or something in between.
To help you visualize the changes in consistencies, we created a useful cat poop color chart that depicts the various forms of cat excrement. While the details are unpleasant, your cat is depending on you to notice if you see blood or mucous in its feces.
If your cat has long hair, you could first notice soiling or stains on the fur just around the anus. However, whenever you do discover cat feces, it’s critical to identify the source of this issue.
When Should I Worry About My Cat’s Diarrhea?
If diarrhea continues for more than two days with your cat, you should call or visit the vet. When cat diarrhea is accompanied by additional symptoms of sickness, such as fever, vomiting, lethargy or sluggishness, or a lack of appetite, it is considered an emergency.
Diarrhea should also be present, so consult your veterinarian right once. Your vet will question you in-depth about your cat’s eating habits when you first noticed diarrhea and other pertinent information when you visit for an appointment.
Don’t be afraid to take a picture of the loose stool in the litter box (or wherever else your cat defecated), even if your veterinarian may ask you to provide a stool sample for testing and may specify whether or not your cat needs to fast beforehand.
Stress can exacerbate certain disorders, so be sure to inform your vet of any home changes that may have alarmed your feline companion. Giving a special packaged meal or veterinary-specific probiotics may be further suggestions.
A specific dose of an additional fiber supplement (such as Metamucil or canned pumpkin) may be suggested by your cat’s veterinarian; however, some feline diarrhea is relieved by less fiber, not more, so consult your veterinarian for advice on what to try and in what doses.
Cat diarrhea occasionally responds swiftly to treatment, probiotics, or dietary changes. Unless your vet advises otherwise, try gradually blending less of the old food into the new food when introducing a new diet to help your cat’s digestive tract acclimate more gradually.
Additionally, avoid using human diarrhea medications without your veterinarian’s approval because some of them include hazardous chemicals for cats.
Inform your veterinarian right away if your cat isn’t drinking water, diarrhea doesn’t get better after a few days, or any other symptoms of sickness appear. Dehydration from diarrhea can develop over time in a cat that isn’t drinking enough water.
Know that some chronic diarrhea in otherwise healthy cats might be challenging to diagnose or cure if it persists. Even persistent diarrhea can, however, be reduced or even eliminated with proper dietary control over time.
With firmer stools, your cat will be happier and healthier, and you won’t have to clean up those runny poop that occasionally escapes the litter box.
If your cat has diarrhea but seems fine, it is up to you to do some research work around your cat’s poo to find out what could be the cause of your cat’s diarrhea.
If you’ve just switched foods, go back to her old brand before introducing the new one gradually. Be careful that a case of diarrhea might become more serious the younger and smaller your cat is. Young animals can become severely weakened and possibly die from dehydration.
You’re not out of the woods yet if your cat gets diarrhea but otherwise seems well. If diarrhea persists for longer than a day or two in an adult cat, get medical attention.
Likewise, keep an eye out for the emergence of additional symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, or fever. If and when you need to take your feline friend to the vet, knowing that you are aware of any changes in her routine would be very helpful information. Well done!