Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Diarrhea in Cats: Common Causes & When It's Serious

If you are a cat owner, you may have encountered the issue of your feline friend experiencing diarrhea. This can be troublesome and messy, leading to much distress. In such a case, it is important to understand the common causes of this condition and when it requires serious attention. Our vets in Richmond are here to provide you with the necessary insight and guidance.

If your cat has diarrhea, it's crucial to determine the cause and help them recover as soon as possible. Here are some common reasons cats develop diarrhea and when to seek veterinary care.

Diarrhea in Cats

Mild diarrhea in cats is a common occurrence and can be caused by factors such as eating table scraps or switching to a new brand of food. However, it's essential to understand that severe health conditions could also cause your cat's discomfort.

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

When should you contact your vet about diarrhea in cats?

If your pet experiences diarrhea once but is otherwise acting normally, there's no need to worry. However, monitoring their bowel movements is important to check if the problem goes away. If your cat suffers from more than two episodes of diarrhea within a short period of time, it could be a sign of an underlying issue. In such cases, it's generally a good idea to seek veterinary help.

If your pet appears to be struggling to pass stool and is only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, it could be a sign of a painful blockage caused by ingesting a foreign object, such as a toy. This is a serious concern and requires urgent veterinary attention. You should contact your vet immediately or go to the nearest emergency animal hospital for care.

Recurring diarrhea over a short period of time is a cause for concern. It may indicate a more serious underlying health issue, especially in pets that are very young, old, or have compromised immune systems. Some of these infections can be severe, contagious, or even life-threatening. Therefore, if your pet is experiencing repeated bouts of diarrhea, you should immediately contact your vet.

Cats that show additional symptoms along with diarrhea should be seen by a vet as soon as possible. If your pet is experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately to schedule 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.

Diagnosing Chronic Diarrhea in Cats

Chronic diarrhea is characterized by frequent re-occurrence of loose or watery stool that typically lasts for several weeks or longer.

Your veterinarian may run a battery of tests to diagnose diarrhea, including a:

  • Complete blood count and chemistry test to analyze red and white blood cell counts, internal organ function, and electrolytes
  • Fecal test to check for intestinal parasites and infectious organisms
  • Infectious disease test to look for feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus
  • Thyroid test to check your four-legged friend's thyroid hormone levels (the thyroid helps regulate metabolism)
  • Urinalysis test to check for bacteria, glucose, or protein in the urine 

Additional testing such as X-rays, biopsies, an abdominal ultrasound and others may be needed depending on your cat's symptoms and results of previous testing. 

How to Treat Cat Diarrhea

To treat your cat's diarrhea, your veterinarian will consider the cause and whether it's a recent or chronic condition. They may suggest changes in diet, medications, fiber supplements, or probiotics. Continual monitoring, communication with your vet, and careful management of symptoms and treatment are crucial when looking for ways to stop cat diarrhea. By doing so, you can help resolve the issue and improve your feline friend's health.

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.

If your cat is experiencing diarrhea, please get in touch with our vets in Richmond today. We understand how distressing this condition can be for your furry companion, and we are here to provide assistance. 

Looking for a new vet? We are accepting new patients! 

(804) 353-4491 Contact