What to Feed Cats That Have Chronic Diarrhea

by Elle Di Jensen, Demand Media
    Cats love milk, but many lack the enzyme to digest it properly.

    Cats love milk, but many lack the enzyme to digest it properly.

    Cats sometimes have periodic bouts with diarrhea -- but when it lasts more than a few days, it's time to seek your veterinarian's advice. However, you can help her at home by adjusting her diet to help calm her stomach down, giving her a chance to get back to normal.

    Keep It Bland

    Clayton MacKay, D.V.M., says that when a pet has diarrhea, not feeding her for 24 hours is the first step he recommends to patients. After that initial fasting period, begin feeding your cat bland foods to keep her tummy calm. Things like boiled hamburger or shredded chicken (white meat only) mixed with cooked white rice given in small portions every four hours will get your cat back on solid food and on her way to normal health.

    Ease Back to a Regular Diet

    Begin easing your cat back to her regular food after two days on a bland diet, provided the diarrhea is clearing up or has disappeared altogether. Don't simply stop the rice and meat mixture and begin feeding kibble again, as an abrupt change like that could throw kitty's bowels into turmoil. Instead, start by adding some of her regular kibble to the rice mixture, gradually including more kibble and less rice and meat until she is back to being 100 percent on her regular diet.

    Switch Back to the "Old" Food

    Keep in mind that the diarrhea may have been caused in the first place by a change in diet. If you suspect that to be the cause, switch back to the original food for about a week. Do it gradually by mixing a small amount of the new food with the old food, steadily increasing the amount of the new food while decreasing the amount of old food until you've got your cat switched over entirely. Gradual changes in diet are always recommended over sudden changes to avoid problems.

    Fiber

    Martin Fettman, D.V.M., recommends a fiber supplement you can find in any pharmacy or grocery store. His suggestion is to give 1 1/4 to 2 teaspoons (depending on your cat's size) for a day or two. You can also get fiber into your cat's system with canned pumpkin. Just a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin mixed in with some canned food for a few days should do the trick.

    Supplements

    If your cat has periodic on-going bouts with diarrhea, try probiotics to help with her digestion. Yogurt is a source for the probiotic lactobacillus, but surprisingly, most cats can't digest milk products because of the lactose. There are intestinal support supplements and probiotic supplements that you can find at your vet's office or in pet supply shops that will help keep kitty's digestive track operating smoothly.

    References

    About the Author

    Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.

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