If your fabulous feline isn't feeling so fabulous these days due to internal parasites and diarrhea, get her to the vet right away, as diarrhea can be serious. If you already have her on medication, see that she gets fiber to aid in healing her condition.
Diarrhea is the acute onset of watery stools, very loose stools and/or an increase in bowel movement frequency. It's not a disease, it's a symptom of something else. When diarrhea first presents itself, think about what may have caused it. If your cat has been outdoors, he may have eaten something that made him sick. Your cat may have picked up an internal parasite; a condition your veterinarian can diagnose and treat. If the diarrhea persists beyond 24 hours despite giving him the recommended diet, take him to the vet. If blood is present in the stool, or there are accompanying symptoms such as lethargy or vomiting, don't wait, call your vet right away.
Causes of Diarrhea
Diarrhea is caused by a multitude of reasons, some as simple as indiscriminate eating. It is also a symptom of a serious health threat such as internal parasites or gastric disease. Changing your cat's regular brand or type of cat food also can bring on diarrhea, as can stress due to changes in his environment. Cats are creatures of habit and changes in the environment or the people around them can bring on enough stress to upset feline tummies. More serious causes include infections anywhere in the body, tumors or organ failure.
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It may seem counterproductive to give your cat fiber to treat diarrhea, after all, isn't that what experts recommend you take to treat or avoid constipation? But fiber can be a panacea. In the presence of constipation, fiber can push things along. In the presence of diarrhea, fiber acts as a sponge, absorbing all the extra water, firming the stools and returning the body to homeostasis. Provide your cat with water at all times to avoid dehydration, a serious concern for cats with diarrhea. To increase the fiber in your cat's diet, add a tablespoon of canned pumpkin to his regular food. Offer a bland diet of white rice mixed with boiled chicken. Try mixing a half-teaspoon of a fiber additive such as Metamucil into the rice and chicken mixture. Plain yogurt is beneficial as it restores the good bacteria to the gut and helps settle things down.
About Cat Food
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Offer the chicken and rice mixed with a tablespoon of canned pumpkin for her regular meal and add the yogurt as a snack between meals. Be savvy about your cat's regular diet. Many commercially prepared cat foods contain artificial dyes, fillers and flavors. Avoid giving your cat inexpensive food -- opt for a brand-name cat food with only natural ingredients. Ask your vet about using products such as FortiFlora or K-Pectin during the treatment of diarrhea and special prescription foods designed for cats with sensitive stomachs as a permanent diet.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.