Cats, like humans, suffer from time to time with diarrhea which simply is an amplified fluidity of the feces, often escorted by greater than usual stool volume and frequency.
Cat lovers all know this means soft, smelly bowel movements filling up the litter, or even your carpet. Changes in food, infections, or prescribed antibiotics are common causes of this normal condition. Most cases are mild and don’t last long. A little knowledge of the causes and treatment of diarrhea can prepare you be better for when diarrhea hits.
Veterinarians characteristically classify diarrhea based on its anatomic location, duration, and severity. These characteristics can help narrow down the possible causes.
Acute diarrhea is quite normal. It has a rather sudden onset and lasts a about week or less. The most general causes of acute diarrhea include viral infections, dietary intolerance, and intestinal worms. A sudden diet change can give a cat diarrhea as can dairy products, since divergent to accepted opinion, many cats are lactose intolerant. Because a feline’s emotions can easily transform into physical problems, a stressful event such as a change in your schedule, or a move to a new home or a new member moving into the home, can prompt diarrhea.
Diarrhea becomes chronic if it continues for three weeks or longer in spite of treatment, or reappears repeatedly over time. Chronic diarrhea can be linked with certain parasites, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, pancreatic disorders, and systemic conditions like thyroid disease.
The type of symptoms your feline is having can identify the problem area. Diarrhea that starts off in the small intestine is usually soft to liquid, fairly voluminous, foul-smelling, and inconsistent in color. You may observe flatulence. Small intestinal diarrhea would not be expected to contain blood. Food allergy, inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatic insufficiency, are common afflictions of the small intestine. A hyperthyroid feline can present with small intestinal diarrhea.
If you observe that your cat is displaying discomfort in the litter pan, always take a moment or two to establish whether urine or feces are still being produced, do something about it right away. A urinary blockage can be life-threatening in male cats. If in doubt, contact your veterinarian immediately!
Diarrhea that originates from the large intestine is a different matter altogether. Cats with colitis are plagued by sudden and frequent urges to defecate. The diarrhea may be liquid and volatile, coming out in small bouts. There may also be streaks of blood or mucus in the stool. Your cat may also strain to defecate, with but a few drips of stool coming out. It’s not unusual for cats to vomit in the course of a bout of straining. Once finished, your feline may seem nervous and go tearing around the house as if being pursued.
Common causes of colitis encompass giardia, other parasites, and inflammatory bowel disease. Notice that cats can exhibit classic colitis symptoms and in point of fact be constipated. Your veterinarian can usually resolve this by simple physical exam.