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Why Does My Cat Have Diarrhea?

As a cat owner, you might find dealing with your cat's diarrhea quite stressful and unpleasant. Our vets in Exeter are here to help you understand the common causes of this condition in cats and to provide guidance on when it is necessary to seek serious medical attention.

Diarrhea in Cats

It's not uncommon for cats to experience mild diarrhea, such as consuming table scraps or switching to a different brand of food. However, several severe health conditions might also be causing your cat's discomfort.

How to Stop Chronic & Acute Diarrhea in Cats

It is important to remember that human medications can be harmful to cats and should not be given to them unless specifically instructed to do so by a veterinarian. If your cat is experiencing diarrhea, it is best to consult a vet and have them examine your feline friend to determine the underlying cause of the problem. This way, your vet can recommend the most effective treatment for your cat's specific condition. 

It is worth noting that while your primary concern may be stopping the messy diarrhea, your vet's focus will be on addressing the root cause of the issue. Once a proper diagnosis is made, your vet can begin treatment for the underlying problem rather than simply treating the symptoms. 

To address your cat's diarrhea, your vet may prescribe a kaolin-pectin anti-diarrheal medication or other suitable drugs and recommend one or more strategies.

Consider these strategies and follow your vet's advice to ensure your cat receives the best possible care.

  • Changing Your Cat's Diet - Changing your cat's food may help to rectify the issue. If you have recently changed your cat's food, return to serving the food you previously gave them. If you haven't changed your cat's food recently, try switching to a gentle GI food for a couple of days or switching your kitty over to a hypoallergenic or low-antigen diet.
  • Supplement Your Cat's Diet With Probiotics - Probiotics may be recommended as a dietary supplement for your cat, to address the balance of microbiome and reduce GI upset.
  • Increase the Amount of Fiber in Your Cat's Diet—Increase your feline friends' fiber intake by trying a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet that includes foods such as potatoes or rice mixed with chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, or yogurt. 

When should you contact your vet about diarrhea in cats?

If your pet experiences a single episode of diarrhea but is otherwise behaving normally, it's probably not a cause for concern. However, monitoring their bowel movements is important to see if the problem clears up. If your cat has more than two episodes of diarrhea in a short time, it could indicate an issue, so it's generally a good idea to contact your veterinarian if this happens.

If you notice your pet struggling to pass stool and only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, it may indicate a blockage caused by the ingestion of a foreign object, such as a toy. This is a serious issue and requires urgent veterinary attention. You should contact your vet immediately or visit the nearest emergency animal hospital for care.

Recurring diarrhea over a short period of time is usually a cause for concern and may be a sign of a more serious underlying health issue. This is especially true if your pet is very young or old or has a compromised immune system. Some of these infections can be quite severe, contagious, or even life-threatening. If your pet experiences repeated bouts of diarrhea, you should contact your vet right away.

Cats showing other symptoms, in addition to diarrhea, should be seen by a vet as soon as possible. If your pet has any of the following symptoms, you should contact your vet right away to schedule an appointment:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Blood in stool
  • Unusual drooling
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Signs of dehydration (Sunken, dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)

If your cat is showing symptoms that are causing you concern, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet will let you know whether or not your cat's symptoms indicate that examination and treatment are necessary.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

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