Feline diarrhea may have a number of causes. Diarrhea may also be accompanied by other symptoms, such as your cat not eating or vomiting bile. Dehydration and depression can also accompany cat diarrhea. Here's some information about the causes and treatment of feline diarrhea.
Causes of Diarrhea in Cats and Kittens
Cat and kitten diarrhea could be the result of any of the following conditions:
- GI blockage, including hairball
- Sudden change in diet
- Food intolerance or allergy
- Ingestion of drugs or toxins
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
- Intestinal parasites
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Kidney or Liver Disease
A physical examination and metabolic tests may be necessary to determine the cause of your cat's diarrhea.
How to Tell When Diarrhea Is Serious
Not all cases of feline diarrhea are signs of serious illness. If your cat's diarrhea is unaccompanied by other symptoms, then it's probably a minor case. Your cat's diarrhea might be more serious if he displays any of the following symptoms.
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Increased thirst
Serious cases of diarrhea require medical attention right away. Diarrhea causes dehydration, which puts your cat's health at serious risk. If your cat is dehydrated, he'll need fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy to support his recovery.
Treatment of feline diarrhea varies according to its cause. Here are some possible treatment options.
- If your cat's diarrhea is due to an intestinal yeast infection, adding yogurt to his diet for a few days can clear it up.
- By the same token, if your cat's diarrhea is the result of food allergies or intolerances, or a gastric disturbance such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, then a change of diet is in order.
- Antibiotics are used to treat diarrhea caused by bacterial infections.
- If your cat is suffering from viral infection, anti-viral medications may be used in conjunction with fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy to support your cat's recovery. Remember that veterinarians can't cure viruses, so your cat's recovery will depend on the strength of his immune system. Some viruses, such as those that cause Feline AIDS and Feline Leukemia, will cause lifelong illness and require extensive treatment.
- If your cat's diarrhea is due to parasitic infection, anti-parasitic drugs will be needed. Be sure to tell your vet if any members of your household are also suffering diarrhea; the intestinal worms that cause diarrhea in cats and kittens are contagious to humans and can cause diarrhea in humans.
- If feline diarrhea is due to GI blockage, your cat may need surgery.
- If your cat's diarrhea is due to a systemic medical illness, such as kidney or liver disease, then a multi-faceted treatment involving medication, diet, and a change of lifestyle may be indicated.
- Some illnesses, such as hypothyroidism, are easy to treat with daily medication.