Cat diarrhea, pee-ew! It can be an absolute nightmare, especially if it’s chronic or extreme. The problem with it is that we know something’s wrong but it can be hard to tell what’s actually causing the issue. So, what’s the remedy for stopping your cat from having diarrhea? Obviously, our fluffy friends lack the ability to communicate using language, so sometimes we have to do a little detective work to figure out what’s causing this gastrointestinal disturbance. Hopefully, it’s not that serious, and if we’re lucky we can try to use a natural remedy to give them some relief (from relieving themselves).
What Is Cat Diarrhea?
Unfortunately, diarrhea is a universal problem for all mammals. As we know it’s no picnic, and I’m sure cats agree. It’s sad to see your cat in discomfort or pain from diarrhea, so what exactly is going on? Is cat diarrhea anything more than loose feces? Allow us to explain this messy subject.
Like humans, your cat’s digestive tract is built up of different sections. Their colon is the last part of their gastrointestinal tract. Food material that enters the colon has been largely digested; meaning, it’s pretty much fecal matter. Part of the colon’s job is to absorb vital fluids from feces and further process waste for elimination.
Essentially, if your cat’s colon absorbs enough liquid, then their feces will come out solid and healthy. If they don’t absorb enough water, then the feces will have a higher volume of liquid and it will come out wet or loose (hopefully it’s in the litter box). Diarrhea tends to happen when the body tries to expel fecal matter too quickly.
Although diarrhea comes from the colon (or rushes through it), it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong with the colon. It could be from a number of things, paying attention to what type of diarrhea your cat has could prove useful for you or your veterinarian.
Is it Acute or Chronic?
If you notice your furry feline is experiencing diarrhea pay attention to when it started. Hopefully, it is just an episode or two, but if it is persistent you may have a chronic problem. That being said, let’s take a look at the two basic kinds of cat diarrhea.
This means that the onset of diarrhea started suddenly and ended fairly quickly. In other words, it’s a shorter event that is usually punctuated by a definite beginning and end.
This means that diarrhea in your cat is more of a constant problem. There is no definite beginning or end to their episodes of gastrointestinal distress, and more than likely it’s a symptom of a chronic underlying problem.
Although both types of diarrhea can be potentially serious, chronic diarrhea more likely needs veterinary treatment. This is especially true if you tried any home remedies and your cat’s condition hasn’t improved or even gotten worse.
When Should You Contact the Veterinarian?
Does your cat have diarrhea? Make sure to monitor it. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, don’t hesitate to take it to the vet.
- Has your cat had diarrhea for more than two days in a row?
- Is your cat is very young, very old, or vulnerable to dehydration?
- Is diarrhea present in large quantities, is it frequent, or explosive?
- Does your cat’s stool contain lots of blood or is it very tarry and dark?
- Is your cat exhibiting other serious symptoms, like vomiting, weakness, and/or pain?
What Causes Diarrhea in Cats?
According to Forest Gump, S**t happens, but why does diarrhea happen? Remember, diarrhea is not an independent disorder; it is an overlying symptom of one or more underlying disorders. In fact, it’s one of the more common symptoms, meaning that it may be indicative of a wide variety of potentially serious diseases. As a result, be sure you use your best judgment when dealing with your cat’s health.
That being said, let’s take a look at the more common reasons for cat diarrhea:
- Systemic or overall illness
- Abrupt changes in dietary intake
- Increased levels of stress/anxiety or serious changes in the cat’s environment and/or routine
- Liver and/or kidney disease
- Pancreatic disease
- An irritated or hypersensitive gastrointestinal tract (an upset stomach)
- Consuming garbage and/or rotten food
- Consuming nonfood or foreign bodies
- Adrenal glands that do not function properly (Addison’s disease)
- Intestinal blockage
- Primary inflammatory disorders
- Thyroid disease and/or imbalance
- Constipation – this may seem weird, but older cats have a tendency to react to constipation by expelling watery stools around the obstruction
- Infection (viral, bacterial, or fungal)
- Various parasites, especially ticks and/or fleas
- Various toxins and/or drugs
As you can see, there are so many different reasons that your cat can get diarrhea. In many cases, you’ll have to take your pet into a veterinarian in order to properly diagnose the underlying condition. However, this is usually only necessary if the condition is particularly serious and/or consistent. If it’s not too serious you might be able to stop your cat’s diarrhea naturally.
What Are the Symptoms?
Besides the consistency and frequency of your cat’s bowel movements, there are a number of symptoms associated with cat diarrhea, including:
- A higher than usual volume of water in your cat’s feces
- A higher than usual volume of actual feces
- Accidental or uncontrolled defecation
- Mucus and/or blood in your cat’s feces
- Straining or effort when defecating
- Fatigue, weakness, or listlessness
- Elevated body core temperature (fever)
- Pain in the abdomen or torso
- Potential anorexia
Remember that diarrhea is not really a disease itself, but rather a symptom indicating there’s a problem. In fact, it is formally known as a non-specific symptom, which means that it’s quite common and is usually used in conjunction with other symptoms in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
Because diarrhea is usually the sign of another issue, it is extremely rare that it is the only symptom. It is almost always accompanied by one or more of the symptoms listed above. If you’re lucky, the issue won’t be too serious and hopefully, you can stop your cat’s diarrhea naturally by using one of the following remedies.
How to Naturally Stop Cat Diarrhea at Home
If your cat has diarrhea it’s up to you to determine if it requires veterinary attention or not. Alternatively, if your cat’s diarrhea isn’t too serious you can always try one of these 5 home remedies.
Switch up their food.
This is a big one. Like most animals, cats are creatures of habit. They can be satisfied with the same cat food every day (as long as they like it). If your cat has diarrhea often it’s probably a good idea to stick to a certain type of cat food that your cat prefers. This way, if your cat has bowel issues from its food, you know exactly what type caused the issue and you can switch it up.
Some cats can have food allergies or intolerances. If your cat has allergies be sure to provide a hypoallergenic or low-antigen diet in order to remedy the onset of diarrhea.
Furthermore, if your cat has diarrhea, it’s not advisable to withhold food. In fact, doing so may cause a potentially fatal liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis. Also, if you’re feeding them table scraps or human food, try sticking with nutritious and specially-formulated cat food to see if it helps.
Decrease or increase their fiber intake.
Cats are just like other mammals: fiber plays a huge role in the regularity and water content of their bowel movements. Furthermore, precise metabolism and digestion may vary from cat to cat. Some felines do better with high-fiber diets while others respond to low-fiber diets.
If you’re noticing chronic diarrhea that’s mild in severity, switch up the amount of fiber. You can try cat foods that have a crude fiber level of approximately 3% or lower for a low-fiber diet. For a high-fiber option, try using Metamucil or canned pumpkin and adding either to your cat’s food.
Increase the intake of water and/or electrolytes.
In all mammals, diarrhea has an unfortunate tendency to amplify itself. In other words, if the colon is malfunctioning and not absorbing enough water, then dehydration sets in. This dehydration, in turn, causes more diarrhea.
In order to combat this dehydration, give your cat more water, preferably water with valuable electrolytes. This cat diarrhea remedy will also help your cat regain some of the much-needed liquids it lost from the episode.
Add probiotics to their diet.
Like other mammals, cats require a high number of beneficial bacteria in their digestive system to help break down food. This is known as gut flora. Foods or supplements with probiotics can help cats restore natural gut flora levels if they’ve been lost due to chronic or acute diarrhea.
As with any veterinary condition, you’ll need to keep an eye on your cat to ensure that their diarrhea is not serious. If it’s a fairly mild to moderate case and does not appear to be heavily chronic in nature, then be sure you try one of the above remedies to naturally stop your cat’s diarrhea. Trust us when we say your cat will thank you!