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My cat has diarrhea, what should I do?

Diarrhea is a common problem with a wide variety of causes. Cats are less likely to get diarrhea than dogs since they tend to be a bit more careful about what they eat.  The seriousness of the diarrhea is determined by the characteristics of the diarrhea itself and any associated signs, as well as your cat’s general health.

What is diarrhea?

Diarrhea is faeces that are soft to liquid in consistency. Your cat may strain to pass faeces and you may see blood, mucous, parasites, or foreign objects in the faeces.

Why does my cat have diarrhea?

Some of the most common causes are parasites, infection, and eating inappropriate things (e.g. non-food items) or dietary intolerance (e.g lactose).


What should I do if my cat has diarrhea?

Many times diarrhea will resolve without veterinary treatment. Be sure your cat has plenty of fresh water available. Sometimes feeding plain chicken or plain white fish will help. If the signs do not resolve within 24 hours, or are accompanied by other signs such as vomiting or lethargy, or your cat suffers recurrent episodes of diarrhea, you should make an appointment to see your vet.

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What to expect from veterinary care

Initial treatment is focused on controlling the signs. Your cat may be given medication for parasites, antidiarrheal medication, and in some cases antibiotics.  In severe cases your cat may need fluids for dehydration (under the skin or a drip are most commonly used).

How can I prevent my cat from getting diarrhea?

Keeping your cat on a consistent diet and minimizing his or her exposure to things likely to cause diarrhea can decrease the risk of diarrhea.

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