Cat Diarrhoea: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
It is truly all in the poop; there is a whole lot that can be learned about humans and animals alike by simply observing their poop. No one readily wants to deal with this, but it is necessary in a number of cases. When it comes to the issue of diarrhea, there is no way to sugar coat it, it never bodes good tidings for the receiving party. Unfortunately, this is a condition that every cat parent will have to deal with at least once; thankfully there are ways around it. Based on this, cat parents everywhere owe it to themselves and their furry little companions to gather as much knowledge about cat diarrhea, as possible. This includes its causes, symptoms, and treatments.
What is Cat Diarrhoea?
It pretty much manifests itself the same way in most animals, it involves the frequent passing of loose and watery stools. The stools may also change drastically in color and contain a bit of mucus and blood. It is actually one of the most common issues that occur in veterinary medicine. There are two types of diarrhea that plague cats everywhere, the first is acute diarrhea which lasts only a few weeks while chronic diarrhea lasts a lot longer than a week.
In general, cats are not very forthcoming with their bathroom habits and as such, it is quite easy to miss all the usual signs at the get-go. For this reason, routine visits to the vet should become the norm.
Causes of Cat Diarrhoea
Listing all the underlying causes of diarrhea in cats would no doubt take ages; most cats do not particularly lead a pristine life. If you own an indoor/outdoor cat, then he/she may stray outside the home in order to catch their own food or scavenge. If this is the case, then you probably have a faint idea as to what could be causing the loose stools. On the other hand, it could just be that your furry little friend is simply susceptible to stress or suffering from health conditions such as hyperthyroidism.
One has to note that diarrhea, in most cases, is a symptom of another health issue and that usually warrants finding out what exactly the root cause is. Tracing your steps to figure out if any new substances have been introduced into your cat’s diet is a good place to start because diarrhea could simply be a reaction or even an adjustment that could disappear in a couple of days.
There are a whole lot of if’s involved, your efforts combined with that of your vet can be used to get to the bottom of it all. In the meantime, here are some other common causes of loose and watery stools.
- Diet Change
As previously mentioned, any change out of the blue in your pet’s diet or even the introduction of any new substance could. This could go the exact opposite way too; your pet may begin to experience intolerance or hypersensitivity in the case that they have been given one specific kind of food for an extended period of time. Additionally, though cats tend to be incredibly picky with what they eat, once in a while, something out of the ordinary gets ingested. So, your pet could be reacting to some string or weeds that made its way in while they were playing.
- Bacteria/ Viruses
A range of bacteria such as salmonella and even E Coli can cause a bad case of diarrhea. This mainly manifests itself in kittens and young cats. In addition to this, viruses such as felv and rotavirus can also lead to your cat having loose and watery stool.
Medication can wreak a whole lot of havoc on your pet’s digestive system and one of the common side effects is diarrhea. Some certain antibiotics tend to unsettle your furry little friend’s GI tract and when this happens the way forward is to consult your vet since that sort of thing is more up their alley.
This may seem like the direct opposite of experiencing loose stools but the two are vaguely related. Older cats sometimes develop issues in their colon and this, in turn, makes it hard to pass their stool. What happens in these cases is that these cats manage to push out a small amount of liquid stool just around the obstruction. That can be classified as diarrhea.
Though this is rare, it cannot be completely ruled out, most especially if you own a cat that is free to come and go as he/she pleases. The fact that you do not have total control of your pet’s diet could lead to some dire consequences and one of them is poisoning. If you suspect that your pet has ingested a poisonous substance, from their food or elsewhere, then contacting a vet should be at the top of your list.
- Other Causes
As aforementioned, the list of potential causes of cat diarrhea could go on and on. In that vein, a handful of other things that could cause cat diarrhea include parasites, metabolic diseases, stress, primary inflammatory disorders, systemic illness, toxins, and fungus can be at the root of the problem. You best believe that there is more where that came from, and as such, consulting your vet is the best course of action.
Symptoms of Cat Diarrhea
To most people, diarrhea is simply diarrhea but to further understand what your pet may be experiencing, it is useful to know the general categorization. This condition mainly manifests itself in two places, and this helps to understand the severity further.
The first is small bowel diarrhea and with its occurrence, you are bound to see large volumes of watery stool which directly leads to severe dehydration as well as an imbalance in electrolytes. Naturally, the second case is large bowel diarrhea and it takes place solely in the lower bowel or colon. Based on this, the tell-tale signs would include your cat displaying high levels of discomfort yet only passing small amounts of soft and regularly, bloody stool.
Generally, the symptoms of cat diarrhea are pretty straightforward, but it entails a lot more than just watery stool and discomfort. In fact, some cats experience this and still manage to be playful and energetic, leading you to believe that nothing is wrong. Closer observation as a whole will let you know if it is a false alarm or something to genuinely worry about.
So as to quickly identify this ailment in cats, here is a comprehensive list of the most common tell-tale signs.
- Watery Stool
This is the first and most common indicator that something is not quite right with your pet. Watery stool is not a normal occurrence and as such, it should seldom be treated as one. Nevertheless, it could be a one-off situation, so the key is to find out how frequent the watery stool is passed. Yes, this may not be ideal for both you and your cat, but it needs to be done so as to rule out diarrhea as a whole.
- Frequent Passing of Stool In High Volumes
In addition to passing watery stool, diarrhea is highly characterized by an unusual amount of excrement. If your pet keeps doing a number two and it happens to be loose and watery, then you may just have a case of diarrhea on your hands. As earlier mentioned, if this only happens once or twice, then there is probably nothing to worry about. If the opposite is the case, then contacting your vet would save you and your pet worlds of discomfort.
- Mucus in Stool
Realistically, no one wants to go snooping around their pet’s excrement, but it is one of those things that needs to happen once in a while. Once you suspect that your pet may be passing loose stool a bit too often, or you even confirm that they have done so, you need to become the Sherlock Holmes of poop. It is not glamorous in any way but the way the poop looks can tell you a whole lot. If you begin to notice that there is mucus present in the stool, then this is a clear indicator that your pet may have diarrhea.
This is one of the more severe symptoms and if you have not taken your pet to the vet up till this point, then this is a clear indicator that you should. When your cat’s bowels become extremely irritated, whatever is in there will begin to come out from both ends. Once this occurs, it is highly likely that your pet is suffering from diarrhea.
This will be more evident in well-trained cats, if your cat is well accustomed to making use of his/her litter box then this condition may change that altogether. It is probably not their intention to soil your floor, but the urge to go may get so strong at times and as such, they may not make it to the litter box. If you notice such a change of behavior in your pet, then it may be time to take a closer look at the kind of stool they are passing.
- Weight loss
You know your cat better than anyone and as such it is safe to say that a little bit of weight loss would be noticeable to you even if it is not to strangers. They may seem lighter when you pick them up, or simply look a bit leaner after a couple of days. If this is the case then once again, you may have to take a closer look at their poop. Frequent passing of watery stool can lead to a whole lot of weight loss most especially since practically everything is evacuating your pet’s system at this point in time.
- Loss of Appetite
When the situation is further aggravated, then your pet is bound to lose the desire to eat all together. If at this point you have not popped in to see the vet, then this scenario would certainly warrant it. Loss of appetite is a clear indicator that your pet’s diarrhea has probably graduated to a more serious level and as such, it should not be taken lightly.
There are a number of other symptoms that could point to diarrhea, but with the few that are listed, you can probably make an educated guess. If the symptoms persist, it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to consult a vet.
Treatment of Cat Diarrhoea
Cat diarrhea occurs more often than anyone would like to admit, but the good news is that this condition is completely treatable. While it is highly advisable to snuff it out at the root, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms or stop them altogether.
- Switch Up the Diet
Most people would recommend starving your pet for a while in order to reduce the excess pooping, but the fact of the matter is that this actually does a lot more harm than good. Rather than resorting to starvation, you could simply alter your cat’s diet by taking it down a notch. During this period make sure that they are not receiving any scraps from the table, simplify their diet altogether. Also, consider the possibility that they have an aversion to some new food you have given to them or are simply becoming intolerant of what they used to feed on before. Since it could be one of these two things, you either have to go back to their original diet or switch it up.
- Treatment With Probiotics
Never underestimate the effect of a good dose of probiotics mostly because these supplements do wonders when it comes to producing and enhancing a good number of healthy bacteria in your cat’s gut. This is more than necessary for digestion to take place regularly and at the right pace. When purchasing them, be sure that the brand you opt for comes from a well-known company and is solely meant for cats.
- Consult your Vet
This is probably the best line of treatment especially if the symptoms do not disappear after a couple of days. Your vet can actually get to the bottom of what is causing diarrhea and further treat it from there. Before visiting your vet, makes sure you go armed with some useful titbits of information that may make it a whole lot easier for them to identify the cause. Some of these facts may include, the volume of the stool, duration of diarrhea, frequency, color, presence of blood among a range of other things.