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An overview of feline diarrhea- The types, causes, & natural remedies

Feline diarrhea is not so common but it does exist. Unlike in other pets, the cats seldom have diarrhea bouts. Once it occurs, it is one of the most tiresome cat diseases to deal with. Diarrhea itself is not a disease. It is an indication that something is not right inside the gastrointestinal loop of the cat. It could last anywhere between 1-3 weeks, normally. It is also not a huge concern unless there is blood or mucus in the stool. It should be relieving to know that, feline diarrhea is curable without medications and there is no need to trouble them with the drugs. 

Feline diarrhea types

Mainly, there are two types of feline diarrhea, acute and chronic. The acute diarrhea is comparatively shorter but happens all of a sudden. Any new diet, presence of bacteria, toxins or other intolerant food can cause this sudden bout of diarrhea in cats. Normally it could continue for a maximum of 3 weeks. 

Chronic diarrhea is that lasts for more than 3 weeks. This is a huge cause for concern. Prolonged diarrhea can cause dehydration in cats and could also be fatal. Chronic diarrhea is also categorized for cases where blood or mucus is seen in the stool. Both of them can hint there is inflammation or internal injury which needs extensive treatment. 

Reasons for diarrhea

Technically, the reasons for diarrhea are osmotic imbalance, motility disorders, over secretion and intestinal exudation. The osmotic imbalance is caused when there are organic molecules present in excess. It is something that we relate to food poisoning. The food or the particle here draws more water into the intestine. The motility disorder is the inability of the intestinal muscles to control itself and causes muscle spasms as soon as the food enters. Intestinal exudation is the excess secretion of blood and its fluids from ulcers or breakouts on the intestinal wall. 

As much as we love to give the cats some milk, they are intolerant to the lactose in it. Their body shows its intolerance through diarrhea. Unknowingly, we might be making them sick. If you have not given milk to your cat earlier, do not start all of sudden. They are not made to drink cow’s milk. 

Cats that are sending too much of time outside could be eating anything. The garbage, spoiled food, non-food item, foreign bodies,   all could cause a leaky gut in cats. So be aware of where you cat is, what it is eating. 

No one pays much attention to the poisonous plants in the neighborhood. The cats when wander out might be nibbling on the leaves of those toxic plants and you might be aware of it. So make a mental note to check on the type of plants you have around. 

The next possible reason for cat diarrhea is bacterial infection in their intestine. Bacteria, virus, or other parasites could all cause the same effect. 

Diseases of liver, kidneys, pancreas, and even thyroid in cats could cause diarrhea. The cat will suffer a loss of appetite and loses weight faster. 

When to call the vet

I have a friend who has a cutie cat. She gets into an apoplexy if her cat so much as sneeze and cough. Diarrhea is a serious condition and you are perfectly alright if you panic. The fact, you don’t need to get paranoid when you notice the wetness in the litter box. You need to have some patience, unless of course there is blood or mucus. 

If the stool looks normal in color or is just plain loose, you must give it some time. If you happen to give the kitty some new type of food, cease the food and see if the health is getting any better. Even after two days, there is no improvement, make an appointment with the vet. 

A change in the cat’s behavior, fever, lack of energy, vomiting, etc should be considered problematic. In these cases also, seek medical attention at the earliest. If diarrhea shows recurrent presence and is not resolving after 2-3 days, the vet is the best person to take charge of the situation. 

Home remedy is the first aid for diarrhea

The first thing you need to check if there was any new food. If yes, eliminate it. You could also bar the milk. The other ways come only next. 

  • Fasting: Diarrhea is the distress of the intestine. When you notice diarrhea, make the cat fast for at least 12 hrs. Keep it on a liquid diet only and no solid food. You could swipe some maple syrup over its lips to keep up its energy. Make it drink plenty of water and other liquid forms like soup, but absolutely no milk. 
  • Bland food: After 12 hrs, serve some bland food, homemade. Boil and mash some potatoes or serve some overcooked rice, both should work. You could also mix some cooked chicken breast with the rice. Remember no spices or additives. The best option is to serve baby food. Serve this food 3-4 times throughout the day. 

Alternatively, serve some mashed pumpkin for the cats. Many cats love the taste and would prefer over the rice or potatoes. 

  • Probiotics: Once you have moved through day 1, mix some probiotics in the diet. Plain unflavored yogurt will also do good for the cats. Either serve it directly or mix with its food. The good bacteria help counter any bad microbes in the intestine and help a speedy recovery. 
  • A high fiber diet will help stop the leaky gut. The fiber makes the bulk would bring things to a halt. It would also keep the cat fuller. 
  • Herbal treatment for feline diarrhea: Slippery elm is an effective herb for diarrhea. Add a teaspoon of powdered form of this herb in the cat’s diet. It can be effective fast enough. It is also available in capsule form, mix half the contents of one capsule in the cat’s diet. This herb is high in fiber that helps the stool form harder. 
  • Chamomile tea or peppermint tea also would be effective. 
  • Whatever you do, please do not go for the over-the-counter medicines. They could be toxic and make the situation worse. 

Normally, any minor stomach upset should be cured by these methods. If the cat does not show any improvement or still have recurrent accidents, it is time for the veterinarian. 

Usual treatment

The treatment methods for cat diarrhea involve the use of antibiotics, de-worming medicines, or even IV depending on the water loss. All of these need a thorough diagnosis and the target treatment works best. 

You could also move along the home remedies along with the medicines. Keeping track of the cat’s behavior, how often does it defecate, amount each time, etc could be helpful for the treatment. 

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