What are the Most Common Causes of Cat Diarrhea?

Marjorie McAtee

Cat diarrhea is not considered a disease in itself, but is usually the symptom of an underlying condition. Diarrhea typically consists of watery stool that may contain blood or mucus, depending on its cause. There may be several causes of diarrhea in cats, including irritable bowel syndrome; viral, bacterial or fungal infection; or dietary problems. Cat diarrhea and its cause can generally be diagnosed during a veterinary exam. Treatment and prognosis often depend upon the cause of the diarrhea.

Generic and low-quality food may cause your cat to have gastrointestinal problems.
Generic and low-quality food may cause your cat to have gastrointestinal problems.

Dietary problems can cause diarrhea in cats. Many cats may develop diarrhea after they eat something that disagrees with them, which may occur while the cat is away from its owner's supervision. Cats who frequently overeat are more prone to bouts of diarrhea than cats who do not. Low-quality pet foods can cause diarrhea in cats, as can sudden dietary changes. Cats may develop diarrhea after eating rich, salty, or spicy foods, or they may develop it due to a food intolerance.

Exploratory surgery can help vets identify the cause of cat diarrhea.
Exploratory surgery can help vets identify the cause of cat diarrhea.

Cat diarrhea can sometimes occur when foreign objects are eaten. These objects can become lodged somewhere in the gastrointestinal tract. Toxic or irritating substances can cause diarrhea in cats when eaten.

Diarrhea in cats can be caused by eating toxic substances or if an object becomes lodged into the digestive tract.
Diarrhea in cats can be caused by eating toxic substances or if an object becomes lodged into the digestive tract.

Stress is another frequent cause of diarrhea in cats. Cats succumb to stress easily. They can become stressed when large environmental changes occur, such as the addition of new animals or people to their household, or after a move to a new household.

Stress may cause diarrhea in cats.
Stress may cause diarrhea in cats.

Disease can often cause diarrhea in cats, especially viral, fungal, or bacterial infections of the gastrointestinal tract. Often, infections cause additional symptoms in cats, such as fever, lethargy, low appetite, and vomiting. Parasitic infestation, often of intestinal worms, may be responsible for some cases of cat diarrhea. Other diseases responsible for cat diarrhea include feline leukemia, feline AIDS, irritable bowel syndrome, neoplasia, and hyperthyroidism. Problems with a cat's pancreas can also give it diarrhea.

Disease can often cause diarrhea in cats.
Disease can often cause diarrhea in cats.

Vets can often diagnose the cause of cat diarrhea during a physical exam. Blood, stool, and urine samples may be used to determine the cause of diarrhea. X-rays, biopsies, barium tests, and even exploratory surgery can help vets identify the cause of cat diarrhea.

Treatment for cat diarrhea can vary, depending on its cause. Often, dietary changes are in order. Medications can treat many of the diseases responsible for diarrhea in cats. Surgery may be necessary in the case of intestinal blockage. The prognosis for feline diarrhea can vary, depending on its cause. If the cause is minor, such as an infection or dietary problem, treatment can usually begin to improve symptoms within two to four days.

Stool samples may be collected to determine the cause of cat diarrhea.
Stool samples may be collected to determine the cause of cat diarrhea.

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Discussion Comments

Sporkasia

Animandel - When you use the pumpkin as a cat diarrhea remedy, you can freeze it in serving sizes so that the majority of the can does not go bad before you can use it. Simply divide serving amounts and put as many serving as will fit and not mix together in a freezer bag.

Animandel

Sporkasia - Thanks for the cat diarrhea home remedy. I will definitely try it out and suggest to my friend that she tries it. I have also found that cats are more sensitive to bacteria and viruses, so in general, I think cat owners should be quicker to visit the vet than dog owners.

Sporkasia

Animandel. Like people, some cats are more sensitive to changes in diet than others. Some felines can eat dry food, wet food, people food and whatever they capture in the yard and never miss a beat. Other cats can develop loose stools when they sniff a new food. (I'm exaggerating there, I think.)

A good home remedy for your cat's diarrhea is a dab of pumpkin. Give the cat a couple serving a day and if the cause of the diarrhea is something not serious then the pumpkin should clear it right up. I have seen it work many times.

If your cat has chronic diarrhea, consider making the pumpkin a staple in her diet. Of course, you might want to consult a vet to be sure the cat doesn't have an infection or something lodged in her intestines.

Animandel

Having been around dogs more than cats, I knew changes in food could cause diarrhea and other digestive problems in dogs. I was not aware cats had the same issues. Now I've been spending more time around cats and I think they are even more sensitive to changes in diet than dogs are.

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