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

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

Diarrhea is not only messy, but it can also be very concerning to pet parents. This symptom lets us know that our feline friend is not feeling well at all. Here, our Deer Park vets share the potential causes of diarrhea in cats and when you should reach out to your nearest emergency vet.

Diarrhea in Cats: Should you be worried?

Figuring out the cause behind this terrible symptom as quickly as possible is key to your cat's recovery. Here, we share some of the common causes of this condition.

If your cat is only suffering from mild diarrhea then they may either be eating something that doesn't agree with them such as table scraps, or just from the act of switching to a new brand or flavor of food.

Even so, there are a number of potential causes for this symptom, ranging from mild to life-threatening.

What are some of the most common causes of diarrhea in cats?

Here are some of the typical causes of diarrhea in cats:

  • 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

With all of these potential causes, how can you tell that your cat is in need of urgent veterinary attention?

When is diarrhea in cats considered an emergency?

If your cat has a single, unexpected bout of diarrhea but has continued behaving normally with no further issues then they are probably going to be okay. Monitor your pet's bowel movements to see if things clear up. If your cat experiences more than 2 episodes in short succession, this is a sign that something may be wrong and you should contact your vet as soon as possible to have your cat examined.

When a cat is suffering from a blockage then they may be straining while attempting to defecate and only passing watery stool. This is a very serious concern and needs urgent veterinary attention, contact your vet right away or head to the nearest emergency animal hospital for care.

If your cat is experiencing recurring diarrhea, even without other concerning symptoms, they may actually have an underlying health condition that should be addressed. This is particularly true if your pet is very old, very young, or has a compromised immune system. A number of these infections can be quite serious, contagious, or even life-threatening. Contact your vet right away if your pet is experiencing repeated bouts of diarrhea. 

There are certain symptoms that can indicate a serious problem if they are appearing along with diarrhea. If your cat has any of the following symptoms contact your vet right away to make 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.

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.

Are you concerned about diarrhea or other symptoms that your cat has been experiencing? Contact our Deer Park vets today.

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