Most mild cases of feline diarrhea can be resolved quickly with simple treatments and often it even go away naturally. Cat diarrhea is rarely the result of a serious illness, such as tumors or cancer. However, if diarrhea persists for several days it’s strongly recommended to seek help from a qualified vet. Lasting diarrhea can cause strong dehydration, which may even result in death if not treated in time.
Veterinarians attempt to classify each case of cat diarrhea as either a major- or a minor problem and localize the source of the diarrhea to the small intestine, the large intestine or both. It is important to determine how long the diarrhea has been present and whether it caused your cat to lose weight. All of this information is needed for proper diagnosis and in order to establish an adequate treatment plan.
Here are some typical causes for feline diarrhea:
- Intestinal parasites and worms
- Medication: diarrhea can be caused as a side effect if your cat is treated for another illness.
- Eating the wrong kind of food or too much food. Check that litter box and look for large bulky and poorly formed stools. If that’s the case, food intake should be reduced and it’s preferable to offer 3 small daily meals instead of one large.
- A sudden change in your cats or kittens diet
- Bacterial or viral infection
Symptoms associated with more severe forms of cat diarrhea:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Increased thirst
Feline diarrhea often doesn’t last for more than 24 hours – if it does it is recommended to withhold all food for the next 24 hours. However, this only applies to adult cats. Don’t do this with your kitten, because they may become hypoglycemic (dizzy and lethargic due to low blood sugar levels). Water should also be reduced to only small quantities every few hours.
If the diarrhea persists for more than 48 hours or if you recognize other symptoms such as fever, exhaustion or abdominal pain, you should immediately consult a veterinarian.
Lasting feline diarrhea can become very dangerous, because it quickly dehydrates your cat, which may cause shock and collapse.
However, in most cases there is nothing to worry about and cat diarrhea will subside naturally. Once the diarrhea is gone, you can increase the water dosage and offer some food. At the beginning, I suggest you offer only bland food such as well cooked rice mixed with boiled skinless chopped chicken breast.