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Diarrhea in Cats: Common Causes & When It's Serious

Stomach upset can not be uncomfortable for your feline friend, it can also lead to potentially serious symptoms like diarrhea. Our veterinarians in Rancho Cucamonga talk about how to stop your cat's diarrhea, what causes it and when you may need to seek emergency veterinary care.

Help! My Cat Has Diarrhea

If your cat is having a bout of diarrhea, you will likely want to get to the bottom of it and help stop the diarrhea as soon as possible. Here are some of the most typical reasons why your cat might have diarrhea, and when it's necessary to take them to the vet.

It's not uncommon for cats to experience mild cases of diarrhea, which can be caused by various factors such as eating table scraps or switching to a new brand of food. However, there are also more severe health issues that could be causing your cat's diarrhea.

Why does my cat have diarrhea?

If your kitty isn't feeling great then you may wonder 'What causes diarrhea in cats?'. The list of potential causes of diarrhea in cats is quite long. Even so, some causes are diagnosed more often than others. They are:

  • Colitis
  • Parasites
  • Viral infection
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Change in diet or treats
  • Eating garbage or spoiled food
  • Ingesting toxins or poisons
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Bacterial infections
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Medications such as antibiotics
  • Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys and fabric

How to Stop Chronic & Acute Diarrhea in Cats

When it comes to your kitty's health it is always best to err on the side of caution. By taking your feline friend to the vet for an examination you allow your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of your cat's diarrhea and recommend the most effective treatment. 

That said, your vet's primary focus will be on addressing the underlying cause of your kitty's diarrhea. Once your cat has received a diagnosis treatment can begin to address the problem rather than the symptom.

If you are wondering what you can give your cat to calm their stomach upset, consult a veterinarian to ask which products might help. A veterinarian may recommend treatments such as anti-diarrheal agents, dewormers, or probiotics (bacteria that support intestinal health).

It is important to remember that human medications can be very dangerous for cats and should never be given to them unless explicitly told to do so by your vet.

Other things to think about when considering how to treat your cat's diarrhea:

  • 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 go back to serving the food you gave them previously. 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 the fiber intake of your feline friends by trying them on 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 be concerned about your cat's diarrhea?

If your cat has a single and light bout of diarrhea then you likely don't need to stress. You should, however, keep an eye on your pet's bowel movements to see if the issue resolves. If your cat has two or more episodes of diarrhea in quick succession, it could be a sign of an underlying problem and it's best to seek advice from a veterinarian.

If your pet is straining to pass a stool and only producing small amounts of watery diarrhea, it could be a sign of a serious blockage caused by ingesting a foreign object like a toy. This requires immediate veterinary attention, so it's important to contact your vet or head to the nearest emergency animal hospital.

Recurring diarrhea over a short period is concerning, especially for older pets, young animals, or those with a weakened immune system. Some infections can be severe or even life-threatening, so it's crucial to contact your vet promptly if your pet is experiencing repeated bouts of diarrhea.

If your cat is experiencing other symptoms along with the diarrhea then it could indicate a more serious concern. Contact your vet immediately if your pet has any of the following symptoms 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 our vets or the nearest emergency animal hospital 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.

Is your cat experiencing reoccurring diarrhea or vomiting? Contact our vets in Rancho Cucamonga right away for urgent veterinary care.

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Rancho Regional Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Rancho Cucamonga companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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