Cats may get diarrhea due to various reasons. They may have parasites, they may have eaten too much, they may have an intestinal disorder, or worse, they may have gotten into something potentially toxic. Owners of pets with diarrhea should have their cat seen promptly should their cat appear lethargic, refuse to eat and no longer act normal.
When the diarrhea produced is in the form of frequent liquid squirts, the cat may be losing fluids quickly and become dehydrated. Only mild cases of diarrhea should be attempted to be treated at home. If your cat is not acting right, and the diarrhea does not stop, a vet appointment is necessary.
A cat’s intestines are in distress when a cat has diarrhea. They therefore, require to heal on their own by giving them some rest. Ideally, a cat wih diarrhea should be fasted for 12 hours. No food or treats should be given at this time as they may cause further diarrhea. *Please note, if your cat is diabetic, do not fast, consult with your vet.
Cats that have a lot of diarrhea risk getting dehydrated. A good way to tell a cat’s hydration level is to lift the skin over the shoulder blades. If the skin springs back promptly within seconds, it is a good sign. If there is a delay or worse, if the skin remains lifted this is indicative of dehydration. The cat will need at this point IV fluids from the veterinarian.
Unflavored Pedialyte may help a dehydrated cat gain back some lost electrolytes. This should be used with caution in diabetic cats. Usually 2 droppers can be given very slowly every ten minutes for two hours.
Rubbing some Pancake syrup on the cat’s gums may give the cat a nice boost of energy if it is starting to feel weak from the diarrhea.
After the 12 hour fast, cats should be offered a bland diet. Meat based baby food with no onion or garlic in it with a tablespoon of infant rice cereal may be helpful. If the cat is reluctant to eat, the baby food may be watered down and placed in a dropper and a little squirt in the mouth should encourage the cat to eat on its own afterwards.
As an alternative, a skinless boneless chicken breast may be boiled and then processed in a food processor with some overcooked rice. If the mixture is too dense, a teaspoon of warm water may be added. The bland diet should be offered 3-4 times a day in small quantities.
One teaspoon of plain unflavored yogurt will help re-establish good bacteria in the cat’s digestive system. Another option is giving probiotics. According to veterinarian Jennifer Coates, there are several studies proving that probiotics helped cats recover from diarrhea more quickly compared to cats who were treated with a placebo.
Back to Normal
Once the cat’s stools are firm again, the regular diet may be re-introduced gradually in 3-4 days. Adding the normal diet abruptly may cause a cat to go back to having diarrhea.
If the bland diet does not help, this is usually indicative that there is an underlying cause that needs addressed. The cat may have parasites, have developed an intolerance to its food, have a gastrointestinal disorder, an intestinal obstruction or many more causes that require a proper assessment by the veterinarian.