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Diarrhea can be a normal immune response to something as simple as a change in diet, or it can be the symptom of a much more serious health concern. Indeed, many illnesses are associated with diarrhea in cats, so it is important to monitor your cat if it continues to have diarrhea for a prolonged period. Characterized by loose, watery stools, diarrhea may appear suddenly for a short duration, or may last for weeks or months either consistently or intermittently. While a day or two of diarrhea may not be a concern, persistent diarrhea may signify a major health problem and may also cause dehydration.
So, what causes diarrhea? There are many possible factors associated with diarrhea in cats:
Clearly, there are many reasons your cat may be suffering from diarrhea. And, while the symptoms of diarrhea are typically loose or liquid stools, you may also notice some of these other symptoms:
Whenever your cat's diarrhea includes bloody or black stools, you should visit the veterinarian immediately as these may be signs of internal bleeding. Similarly, if the diarrhea persists for more than a few days or your cat is also suffering lethargy, vomiting, fever, dehydration, or weight loss, you should take your cat to the veterinarian.
Ultimately, your vet will conduct a thorough physical examination on your cat to determine the underlying cause of the diarrhea. S/he will rule out parasites and infection, but may also want to conduct blood tests or other diagnostic tests if s/he believes your cat may be suffering from another condition.
Treatment of diarrhea usually focuses on hydration and withholding food for 12-24 hours. Similarly, you should continue to feed your cat only healthy, natural foods to ensure that diet is not the cause for the diarrhea. Some veterinarians will also recommend herbal remedies that support gastrointestinal health and reduce the likelihood of diarrhea.