Diarrhea is the passage of watery stools and it is a reasonably common complaint in cats. There are a multitude of causes of diarrhea, some serious, some minor. It is always recommended that you should see a veterinarian if you notice your cat has diarrhea. However, many will try a wait and see approach first.
What are some common causes of diarrhea?
There are too many causes of diarrhea to list in this article. Common causes may include:
Changing diet (diets should be changed slowly, over a few days by mixing in the new food with the old food)
Infections including viral, protozoal or bacterial
Metabolic disorders such as hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, diabetes, liver disease
Drugs or poisons
Fasting your cat:
The first thing to try is completely fasting your cat for 12-24 hours to rest the intestinal tract and allow it to heal. If there is no food going in, there is nothing to come out.
Water should still be provided during this time to ensure your cat stays hydrated. Diarrhea pulls an enormous amount of fluids and minerals from the body and it is vital that your cat replaces these lost fluids.
Add a small amount of Pedialyte to your cat’s water.
If after 24 hours, your cat still appears to be otherwise okay, then re-introduce food to him. This should be bland and low fat. You may wish to make your own diet or purchase a prescription diet (such as Hills i/d) from your veterinarian. Baby food is another recommendation for a cat with diarrhea, if you are going to use this, please check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t contain onion or garlic (this includes onion and garlic powder) which is toxic to cats.
Recipe 1 for cat diarrhea:
1 cup boiled chicken breast or chicken/turkey mince, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1-2 cups low salt chicken broth or water
Chop human grade chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, and add a small amount of the chicken broth
or water to the pan and simmer until cooked.
Drain most of the liquid (you can leave a small amount), allow to cool slightly before giving to your cat.
Recipe 2 for cat with diarrhea:
Pumpkin is high in soluble fibre which can help to coat and soothe the GI tract. In addition, it delays gastric emptying, reversing the effects of increased periastalis (gastric emptying) which occurs in cats with diarrhea.
It is high in potassium, which is a common electrolyte lost during diarrhea and is well tolerated by cats.
2 cups fresh pumpkin chopped into cubes
1-2 cups low salt chicken broth or water
Add ingredients to a pan and cook until soft.
Remove from stove, drain and mash the pumpkin with a potato masher.
Allow to cool before giving to your cat.
While giving dairy to a cat is generally not recommended, especially a cat with diarrhea, yoghurt is the exception. A small amount of yoghurt can also be beneficial to a cat with diarrhea.
Yoghurt contains a type of bacteria known as Lactobacillus. These bacteria normally reside in the intestines, helping with the digestion of food. Sometimes the natural flora of the gut is thrown out of balance (for example if your cat is on a course of antibiotics), and this can lead to opportunistic and pathogenic strains of bacteria to take hold.
This herbal remedy has many medical uses, including treating diarrhea. It contains a mucilige (a gelatinous substance), which coats and soothes the intestines and stomach as well as increasing mucus secretion which protects
the gastrointestinal tract.
Add 1/2 teaspoon to your cat’s food for every 2 kg (10 lbs) bodyweight.
When to see a veterinarian:
If the diarrhea lasts more than 2-3 days
If the diarrhea is occurring in a young kitten
If your cat is displaying other symptoms
If the diarrhea contains blood
Diarrhea that is accompanied by vomiting
Anorexia (loss of appetite)
Extremely foul smelling stool
If you do take your cat to the veterinarian, bring along a stool sample if possible.
What not to do:
Do not give your cat human medicine to treat the diarrhea, unless your veterinarian has instructed you to do so
Do not give your cat milk
Fail to seek veterinary attention for your cat is he is showing accompanying symptoms