Diarrhea is pretty common with cats of all breeds. If you’re sure there has been nothing horribly wrong with the food, you shouldn’t worry a lot.
However, if it goes on for a couple of days or more even with additional care, better food, more water, and light medication – there might be some serious, underlying problem. But it couldn’t be anything that cannot be treated.
The best-case scenario is rushing to the vet, clearly. However, some home remedies are very effective for most cases and can help your cat in their home with your help.
When not to do these home treatments and rush to the vet ASAP
These home treatments are all good but might be ineffective in certain situations. Let’s see when you shouldn’t bother at all for home treatments and rush directly to the vet:
- If your cat has a medical history of serious anomalies or underlying health issues (like heart disease).
- If your cat is too young or too old.
- Diarrhea can also be very severe, in which case the refuse would be very watery and very frequent. This is a situation where you need a vet.
- If you find your cat to not only have diarrhea but additionally depression, lethargy, constant vomiting, painfulness (that sometimes causes them to shriek), etc. – basically anything that’s more than basic sickness.
- If your cat’s refuse is dark-colored or soaked in blood.
Now with that out of the way, let’s see what you can do for milder cases of diarrhea that can be easily treated within your cat’s home.
1. Dietary changes
The diet is what leads to diarrhea developing in the first place. So, if you remove what’s causing the problem, the immune system of your furry friend (or alien, in case of a sphynx) will fight the infection off.
Dietary changes are not only meant to take out what’s causing the problem but at the same time, also introduce food that’s lighter so that digestion runs smoothly for a couple of days following a diarrhea episode.
During this phase, remove all food from your cat’s diet that’s not directly meant for it. It includes table scraps, leftovers, special treats that your cat likes, etc. Only give them nutritional core food.
Also, if the problem has started just when you started a new brand’s food, a new type of food, or simply a new flavor of the same brand, then most possibly the new food is the culprit. In this case, you should roll back to what you were feeding your cat before the change.
Certain brands offer their food in different batches, flavors, qualities, etc. Look out for those too. Not all food from a brand’s specific line is the same.
If the problem persists, go for a vet-approved low-antigen diet for your cat.
2. Water, water, and some more water
Water is an amazingly underrated part of a cat’s diet. So much that it’s almost terrifying.
I’ve seen cat owners struggle with diarrhea when they could’ve solved the problem by continuing their home treatments and simple dietary changes complemented with proper water to avoid dehydration.
Dehydration has what it takes to make matters really worse. And it will do that if left unchecked on your list to better cat health.
Make more sources of water available and trade bowls for running water (like cat fountains). Don’t just have water near the food box, but other places where your cat likes to sit and relax. You can also try mixing your cat’s favorite foods with some water and avoid preparing dry food like raw kibble. On that note, during this time it’s a good idea to completely trade kibble with canned food, as that contains a higher amount of water.
Solutions like chicken broth or clam juice will also work fantastically.
3. Fiber is very important at this time
During diarrhea, fiber intake decides a lot of things.
Try a low-fiber diet first of all that’s very simple, light, and digestible. This is the go-to solution when your cat’s diarrhea isn’t very frequent but relatively severe. If you purchase food products then look for their fiber content. Anything below 5% is perfect – and also pay attention to products labeled specifically for cats with sensitive stomachs.
If your cat isn’t experiencing severe diarrhea but it’s very frequent, sometimes with very less stool, then you might want to go for another way of fiber supplementation. Get Metamucil or some canned pumpkin and mix a couple of teaspoons of it into your cat’s food along with some warm water. Psyllium also works here. From there, you can increase the dosage if you see results.
4. More advanced treatments
Before you decide to go to the vet, there’s more than you can do besides just fibers and water.
- Cat probiotics increase good bacteria in your feline’s intestine. It will not only help with digestion but also with the resulting negative effects of diarrhea.
- Certain over-the-counter food supplements for cats provide the much-needed high-quality fiber that your cat needs. Only get products made by reputed manufacturers.
- There is dedicated anti-diarrhea medication available for cats, especially kaolin-pectin types. Start with a lower dosage than recommended and slowly increase it to the recommended level, especially if your cat is young.
Before we finish
During your treatment for your cat’s diarrhea, make sure you keep notes (mental notes will work too) of the progress. If the situation worsens with each passing day, press the abort button and take your cat to the vet, ASAP, or call the vet.
Diarrhea is although a fairly common sickness in all sorts of pets, a dietary change isn’t always enough to cut it. You need proper medication, and especially with some cats that don’t respond naturally to lifestyle changes, or ones that have a weak metabolism or immunity system to fight it.
If you know that your cat gets their tummy upset even with the smallest of problems in their diet, then a diarrhea situation can be pretty serious and might require immediate diagnosis along with medical treatment accordingly.
Also, if you go for over-the-counter solutions, medication, or new products to provide fiber – make sure you check all ingredients carefully. You don’t want the situation to be worsened. For example, many kaolin-pectin anti-diarrhea medicines include major ingredients that might cause further allergies in your cat.