Symptoms of Colitis in Cats

The symptoms of colitis in cats can occur due to the inflammation of the colon. This condition can be fatal if left untreated. Although an occasional bout of acute colitis is common, frequent recurrences of this condition can be worrisome and should be treated promptly and correctly. Colitis can affect cats of all ages and breeds and both sexes.

Feline Colitis

Feline colitis is the inflammation of the large intestine in cats. The large intestine is located at the lower end of your pet’s gastrointestinal tract and is crucial for proper digestion as it’s involved in the final stages of digestion before the elimination of feces. The colon is primarily responsible for the absorption of unabsorbed nutrients, the extraction of water from the feces before the elimination of feces and the storage of fecal matter before elimination.

Types of Feline Colitis

There are 3 types of feline colitis. Acute colitis is characterized by a sudden onset. It’s easily treated with prescription medications such as metronidazole and changes in the diet. Episodic colitis can last for a few weeks per episode. Chronic colitis is characterized by symptoms that last for more than a few weeks and worsen with the passage of time. This type of colitis is difficult to treat and can threaten the overall health of your pet.

Causes of Feline Colitis:

  • Bacterial agents such as Salmonella and Campylobacter
  • Viral and fungal agents
  • Allergy to certain foods
  • Stress
  • Parasites such as intestinal worms
  • Eating of undesirable things such as garbage, human food, spoiled food or foreign bodies
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Cancer

Symptoms of Colitis in Cats

Colitis shares symptoms with several bowel syndromes and may be incorrectly diagnosed as a result. Some of the symptoms of colitis include frequent visits to the litter box and incontinence. Vomiting is the first symptom presented by a pet suffering from colitis. This is followed by diarrhea.

Since your pet can’t control his bowel movements, he will defecate in different parts of the house. Often, the visits to the litter box are unproductive although they are accompanied by a lot of straining.

How Digestion Is Affected

Since the final stages of digestion are affected, the body cannot reabsorb moisture from the feces. Thus, a pet suffering from colitis will show symptoms of diarrhea and his feces will be watery. Your pet’s stool will contain mucus and appear slimy. The feces may also contain fresh, red blood. Your pet will suffer from severe pain in the abdomen and appear lethargic and depressed.

Dehydration is a concern due to the vomiting and diarrhea. If the pet is suffering from chronic colitis, weight loss may be accompanied by a loss in appetite. If the colitis is caused by parasites, the feces may contain intestinal worms or segments of the worms.

A hypoallergenic diet and the administration of fiber can prevent future episodes of colitis. Regular deworming can help rid your pet of parasites and antibiotics. Antifungal and antiviral medications can also treat colitis caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses.