Your cat has been leaving watery, runny stools – maybe its feces have shown some blood or mucus. You believe it has diarrhea and you’re wondering about the causes ofdiarrhea in cats.
Unfortunately, cat diarrhea is not a disease. It’s a symptom of another or primary problem. This makes it very hard to know what is causing the diarrhea - especially chronic cat diarrhea.
Mild Or Serious Cat Diarrhea
Veterinarians normally divide cat diarrhea into two categories - mild or severe. The most common causes of mild cat diarrhea include foods that don’t agree with your cat, overeating, stress, intestinal parasites and a stomach or intestinal virus. Mild cases of cat diarrhea can also be caused by what’s called dietary indiscretions, a fancy name that means you cat has eaten garbage or other offensive or irritating foods. The good news here is that if your cat has eaten something that doesn’t agree with her, Mother Nature will take care of the problem. Your cat’s body will speed up the action of the intestines and cut down on water re-absorption from the cat’s gut. This is what causes the diarrhea and once your cat’s body has expelled the bad stuff, the diarrhea will clear up by itself.
Pet Food Quality
Diarrhea can be caused if you feed your cat a marked-down, generic brand of cat food instead of its regular, name brand food. For that matter, any time you switch brands of food, a period of diarrhea is likely to follow. The old adage is definitely true of cat food, “you get what you pay for.”
Some cats will overeat if they are fed just once a day. This can result in vomiting and colic, as well as diarrhea. Most experts recommend you feed your cat three times a day or leave its food where it can eat whenever it wants.
Stress Can Cause Diarrhea In Cats
A nervous cat will vent stress through its intestines. This can take the form of refusal to eat, diarrhea, blood in its stool or vomiting. If the diarrhea happens several times and you believe it is stress related, have your cat checked out to make sure it is not suffering from Addison’s Disease.
Medications and chemicals
The antibiotics and sulfonamides you are giving your cat for an illness can also cause more serious cat diarrhea. This is because many antibiotics and sulfonamides kill the helpful bacteria in your cat’s intestines, as well as the dangerous ones. Killing these normal bacteria can result in the diarrhea.
Cat Diarrhea Caused By Parasites
Parasites such as intestinal worms – roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and strongyloides can cause diarrhea in cats. Coccidia and Guardia are single-celled parasites that can also cause diarrhea in cats.
Viral Infections Can Cause Diarrhea In Cats
Cat diarrhea can be caused by a viral infection. For example, there is Feline Corona virus, which is very contagious among cats.
Cat Diarrhea Caused By A Bacterial Infection
Another leading cause of diarrhea in cats is bacterial infections. Your cat can contact this from eating spoiled food as it is often contaminated with bacteria will cause cats to have diarrhea and to vomit. The good news is that the bacterial infections usually cure themselves as the contaminated foods are purged from your cat’s body.
Two more serious bacterial infections that can cause diarrhea in cats are Salmonella and Campylobacter. These bacteria can be passed on to your cat via poorly cooked meat and chicken products. If your cat contacts one of these bacterial infections, it is important to keep it will hydrated, just as you would in the case of spoiled food.
Cat Diarrhea Caused By Bartonella
An organism called Bartonella can cause diarrhea in cats. Until recently, this organism was associated mostly with cat scratch fever. However, it is now also associated with chronic gastrointestinal infections in cats.
Diarrhea is also often a secondary condition where the primary condition is something related to your cat’s organs. Hyperthyroidism or another hormonal disorder, a disease of the pancreas, or feline leukemia virus – these can all be the primary condition causing the diarrhea.
Idiopathic Or Poorly Understood Causes Of Diarrhea In Cats
Cats can sometimes develop diarrhea for causes that are neither clear nor easy to diagnose. For example, the diarrhea could be a symptom of Inflammatory Bowel Disease or a disease called Eosinophilic Enteritis.
Get Your Cat To A Vet
As you have read, there are many different things that can cause diarrhea in cats – some of which are much more serious than others. For example, a simple case of spoiled food or food poisoning will likely cure itself or can be cured by a simple change in diet.
However, diarrhea that has been caused by a disease such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, loss of pancreatic function or feline leukemia virus is much more serious and can be treated only by your veterinarian. If your cat has been suffering from chronic diarrhea – if it has been affecting your cat for some time – it most likely has one of these more serious problems, and it is critical you get the cat to your vet. He or she will do a physical exam and lab tests to determine what is causing the diarrhea and then get your cat started on treatment.
Cat Diarrhea: Many Different Causes, Many Different Treatments
How the vet treats your cat will depend, of course, on the cause of the diarrhea. For example, if the cause of your cat’s diarrhea is a parasitic infection, your vet will deworm it. On the other hand, if the cause of the diarrhea is a bacterial infection, your vet will probably treat it with antibiotics. And if the problem is a fungus, the treatment will most likely consist of an antifungal drug such as ketoconazole.
The best news is that cat diarrhea is rarely, if ever, a symptom of cancer. This means that whatever it is that’s causing your cat’s diarrhea – even chronic diarrhea - can be cured and your cat an be returned to good health and a diarrhea-free life.