What should you give a cat with diarrhea?

Cats
ALI JAREKJI/Reuters/Corbis

Messy and smelly, feline diarrhea is a nuisance for you and your cat. He doesn't enjoy making repeated pit stops at his litter box, and may seem distressed by his own untidy appearance. In simplest terms, diarrhea is a response by the cat's body to something foreign or toxic that needs to be expelled. Although in some cases, diarrhea has a short, self-correcting duration, you should what it may mean and how to ease kitty's discomfort.

Why Cats Get the "Runs"

Diarrhea is a messy inconvenience that is not an illness by itself. It is often symptomatic of some larger issue. Diarrhea can be triggered by something as major as an internal blockage, or as simple as a change in diet, while the cat's system gets accustomed to the new food. Lactose in milk, not easily digested by cats, may also bring on diarrhea.

Diarrhea can also signal the presence of a virus affecting the stomach, or of parasites, usually worms, in the intestinal tract. A bacterial or fungal infection, or feline distemper, can cause this as well. The cat's system recognizes the harmful matter and attempts to pass all of it out of his body. Whether mild or intense, diarrhea can quickly cause severe dehydration, and untreated, is especially hazardous for kittens.

How You Can Spot the Problem?

The first sign is the most obvious: odorous, loose, sometimes even watery, stools in your cat's litter box, or outside it. Even after passing feces, the cat may continue to strain. He may lick his bottom more often, as the area is tender, even sore, from his efforts. He may also lose his appetite or run a fever. You'll notice more frequent bowel movements, and even see blood or mucus in the feces. If the cat has abdominal pain, he may also experience vomiting. Cats suffering from diarrhea become stressed and unhappy, aware that something is wrong but helpless to fix it.

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