Catalina Pet Hospital
When deciding whether to worry about your cat's diarrhea, there are several things to consider since diarrhea has many potential causes. Cat owners are often familiar with cats having diarrhea after a sudden food change or eating something they should not. Some causes of diarrhea are contagious to other animals, as well as humans. Causes can include:
- medication side effect
- virus, bacteria, fungus, or parasite infection
- food allergy/intolerance
- ingestion of toxins or plants
- inflammatory bowel disease
- disease of the kidneys, liver, or pancreas
- metabolic diseases like hyperthyroidism
- certain cancers
Specific patterns of vomiting, correlated with other symptoms, can help your veterinarian determine which diseases are more likely. This includes:
- How old is the cat?
- Does the cat go outside?
- How long has the diarrhea been going on?
- How often is the cat having diarrhea each day?
- What is the consistency of the diarrhea?
- What color is the diarrhea?
- Is there blood or mucus in the diarrhea?
- Is the cat straining to defecate?
- How is the cat's appetite?
- What kind of food does the cat eat?
- Is the cat lethargic or hiding?
- Is the cat also vomiting?
- Has the cat lost weight?
- Is the cat dehydrated?
Now, how do you decide whether you should go to your veterinarian? Any cat who is having frequent diarrhea for more than 2 days, has blood or worms in their diarrhea, has black tarry diarrhea, is lethargic or hiding, was witnessed eating something inappropriate, is also vomiting, or has stopped eating, should be seen right away by your veterinarian. Other causes for concern are if your cat has diarrhea once weekly or more frequently, has lost weight, has a decreased or increased appetite, or increased thirst or urination. Additional worries include anal irritation or back end hygiene issues in older, long hair, or overweight cats. Make sure to take a fresh sample of the diarrhea to your cat's appointment.