The litter box doesn't lie. You scoop and instead of finding hard stool, there's waste matter resembling pudding. While it's not unusual for your cat to have loose stools on occasion, you can usually resolve the problem in a few days by simply adding canned pumpkin to its food.
Diarrhea, or the passing of frequent soft or watery stool, in adult cats can be caused by many things: eating something that upsets the stomach -- also called "garbage gut -- a sudden change in diet, use of antibiotics or even parasites. It is nature's way of cleaning house. However, if diarrhea doesn't clear up after a couple of days, consult a veterinarian because there may be a more serious, underlying issue.
Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkin is a gourd-like squash that is high in vitamin A, potassium and fiber. Yes, that's right: fiber -- but for loose stools? Despite fiber's stellar reputation to help ease constipation, the easily digestible fiber in plain, unsweetened canned pumpkin puree -- not pumpkin pie filling -- effectively treats feline diarrhea. That's because canned pumpkin contains a soluble fiber that helps to absorb excess water in the bowel, and consequently firms up your cat's stool.
How to Administer
Simply pick up a can of plain, puréed canned pumpkin at the grocery store. Pie filling and plain pureed pumpkin aren't the same: canned pumpkin pie filling contains sugar, which is not good for your cat. Add a teaspoon or tablespoon to your cat's food -- wet is best, but dry will work, too at each meal. Cats usually love the taste, but if your cat refuses, squash also works.
When to See the Veterinarian
Begin to notice your cat's stools firming up 24 to 48 hours after adding pumpkin to his meals. Continue with the pumpkin until the stools normalize; then resume regular meals. Don't be concerned if the stools become lighter or even orangish. However, if your cat continues to have diarrhea, take him to a veterinarian. Continued diarrhea not only can dehydrate your cat, but may be a symptom of a more serious disease.
Debra Levy has been writing for more than 30 years. She has had fiction and nonfiction published in various literary journals. Levy holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing/fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars.