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Why does my cat have diarrhea?

Why does my cat have diarrhea?

Diarrhea is easily one of the messiest and most distressing symptoms a cat parent may experience in their feline friend. Here, our Bellevue vets discuss the common causes of diarrhea in cats and how to stop and treat it.

If your cat has diarrhea, you probably want to determine the cause so that you can help them recover as quickly as possible. Below are some of the most common causes of diarrhea in cats and when you should take them to the veterinarian.

Diarrhea in Cats

Mild bouts of diarrhea are quite common in feline companions and may be caused by mild intestinal distress brought on by eating something that doesn't agree with them, such as table scraps, or switching to a new food brand or flavor.

With that being said, there are also a number of more serious health conditions that may be contributing to your cat suffering from diarrhea. 

What causes diarrhea in pets?

Below are some of the most common reasons for cat diarrhea:

  • Colitis
  • Parasites
  • Viral infection
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Change in diet or treats
  • Eating garbage or spoiled food
  • Ingesting toxins or poisons
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Bacterial infections
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Medications such as antibiotics
  • Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys and fabric

However, how do you know whether or not your cat's diarrhea will require a visit to your veterinarian? When is it serious enough to warrant medical attention?

When to contact your vet about diarrhea in cats?

If your pet has a single episode of diarrhea but is otherwise acting normally, it's likely not a cause for concern. Monitor your pet's bowel movements to see if things clear up. If your cat experiences more than 2 episodes in short succession, this may indicate an issue, so it's generally a good idea to contact your veterinarian if your cat has two or more bouts of diarrhea.

If your pet appears to be straining to pass a stool but only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, they could be experiencing a painful blockage due to the ingestion of a foreign object such as a toy. This is a very serious concern and needs urgent veterinary attention, contact your vet right away or head to the nearest emergency animal hospital for care.

The recurrence of diarrhea over a short period of time is likely cause for concern and may even be an indication of a much more serious underlying health condition. This is especially true if your pet is very old, very young, or if its immune system is compromised. Several of these infections can be extremely severe, contagious, and even fatal. If your pet is experiencing repeated bouts of diarrhea, contact your vet immediately. 

Cats that are showing other symptoms as well as diarrhea should also be seen by a vet as soon as possible. If your pet has any of the following symptoms contact your vet right away to make an appointment:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Blood in stool
  • Unusual drooling
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)

If your cat is showing symptoms that are causing you concern, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet will let you know whether or not your cat's symptoms indicate that examination and treatment are necessary.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Does your cat have diarrhea? Contact our Bellevue veterinarians today to book an examination for your four-legged friend. We can examine your cat and give you tips on how to stop chronic diarrhea.

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Sawtooth Animal Center Bellevue is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Bellevue companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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