Feline diarrhea is a problem of loose or messy stools and originates in the small or large intestine. Diarrhea is also one of the most common reasons for a cat owner to visit a veterinarian. More often then not diarrhea is a symptom of another underlying problem.
Types of Diarrhea and Location
Sudden diarrhea originating in the small intestine gives the cat an urgency to defecate. It usually lasts for about 48 hours and then clears up on its own. Often when the cat has bouts of diarrhea it will lose its appetite as well.
Chronic diarrhea in the small intestine is a large amount of watery stool that is a brownish color. Sometimes it takes on a blackish color if there is blood in the stool. It usually last for about a week at a time.
Colitis - diarrhea originating in the large intestine also known as the colon. The colon absorbs the nutrients from the food passed through the digestive tract. The end product is stool. The color of stools for cats suffering from colitis is brown but can also be bright red with blood. Colitis can be acute or chronic and most frequently develops because of various reasons; food allergies, Irritated Bowel Disorder, and virus or parasites.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) causes a thick lining in the colon due to the cat's immune system evading or attacking it. This condition will lead to colitis but not all colitis results from Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The causes for IBD are unknown at present though if the immune system is involved it may be some foreign body that is responsible.
Feline Pan Leukemia also known as Feline Distemper is a viral disease that is life threatening, one of the symptoms is uncontrollable diarrhea.
Cancer of the digestive tract will bring on vomiting and diarrhea.
Diarrhea could also be a symptom of certain cancers and other diseases as well such as liver and pancreas disease.
Other Causes of Diarrhea
Parasites, ringworms, tapeworms
Contaminated food from garbage or outside sources
Toxic substances, chemicals, aspirin, poisons
Eating new or unusual foods (leftovers from the table, etc.)
Diagnosis: Depending upon the condition:
Taking the cat's history to find out its natural habits
Fecal Stool Sample to check for worms and bacterial contamination
X-ray of Stools
Treatment could include:
An elimination diet to avoid fatty foods, and determine what foods might be causing an allergic reaction
Raw Food Diet
Adding Fiber to the diet
Glutathione - an amino acid that acts as an anti-inflammatory. It is believed Inflammatory Bowel Disease may be caused because the body is not producing enough of this amino acid.
Steroids - However cortico-steroids should be used sparingly as they can lead to diabetes with prolonged use.
Surgery may be needed to remove cancerous tumors
Diarrhea can be a mild disorder or can be a condition of a very life threatening illness. Do not hesitate to take your cat to the veterinarian if it continues to have chronic diarrhea.