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Cat diarrhoea: Causes and remedies

Diarrhoea is one of the most common symptoms of gastrointestinal issues in our little feline companions.
In most instances, this problem is food-related, but other causes due to viruses, bacteria, stress or systemic disorders should not be overlooked.
Determining what triggered the diarrhoea is essential in order to take the right action and avoid the risk of complications that can have serious consequences for your cat.
This is why your vet’s care is vitally important.
In the following paragraphs, we will explain what the causes of your furry companion's diarrhoea could be and leave you with a few tips to address the problem the correct way quickly.

What is diarrhoea and enteritis in cats?

Cat diarrhoea is the formation and expulsion of loose or liquid stools, which are often accompanied by flatulence and borborygmi (intestinal noises).
Diarrhoea and enteritis are often mentioned together in the same context but these two are not synonyms.
Enteritis is an inflammatory process in the intestine that inevitably leads to episodes of diarrhoea due to the inflammation of the organ.
Cat diarrhoea, on the other hand, is the body’s natural mechanism to remove toxic or infectious substances that penetrated via the oral cavity in the shortest amount of time possible.
In practical terms, the body forcefully accelerates the transit time of the intestinal content in order to rid itself of the undesirable substances quickly. The natural consequence of this process is the more or less liquid state of the stools due to the failed absorption of the ingested food.

Cat diarrhoea: acute or chronic?

When referring to cat diarrhoea, it is important to distinguish between acute and chronic diarrhoea.
In the case of acute diarrhoea, the episode is abrupt and lasts a short time (a few days at most).
It is often due to dietary-, toxic-, parasite- or infection-related causes or to a metabolic or idiopathic disease.
There are also stress-related causes, which should not be underestimated. Cats are very sensitive animals and diarrhoea could be an emotional reaction to a significant change—for example, in environment or routine.
Keep in mind, however, that if the acute problem is not accompanied by fever or sluggish behaviour, it is basically harmless and will go away by itself (self-limiting). Once the expulsion mechanism of the undesirable substances has run its course, the diarrhoea spontaneously disappears without the need for medicine.
Having said that, it’s always very important to see the veterinarian, who can prescribe supplements and/or probiotics that will help your furry friend fully recover.
Chronic diarrhoea, on the other hand, is a persistent and recurring condition that can last several weeks and does not respond adequately to treatments.
The causes in this case can be attributed to metabolism-related problems, intolerances, or chronic inflammatory GI diseases or neoplasia.
Acute diarrhoea, if untreated, can turn into a chronic disorder.
Chronic diarrhoea requires specific therapy because it stems from a rooted inflammation. That’s why it’s crucial you take your cat immediately to your vet and handle the situation the correct way with his or her support.
Luckily, in most cases chronic diarrhoea is a symptom of a “simple” food intolerance. We say “simple” because it is easily cured. However, the food or foods that are causing the problem need to be identified first.

Likely causes of cat diarrhoea

As we have just seen, cat diarrhoea can be due to many causes.
Here are the most common ones:
  • Inadequate diet and/or abrupt changes in diet
  • Intolerances and/or allergies
  • Ingestion of toxic substances
  • Ingestion of a foreign body
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Viral and/or bacterial infections
  • Stress
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Systemic diseases
  • Tumour

What causes the initial intestinal inflammation?

Currently, the most common cause of enteritis and chronic diarrhoea in cats is intolerance to one or more foods.
Food intolerance is a growing problem in both animals and humans.
The body reacts to intolerance with an inflammatory response in its most sensitive part (called “target organ”). Inflammation of the target organ often represents the only visible manifestation of the food intolerance.
If the target organ of the intolerance to one or more foods is the gut, the only viable solution to treat the enteritis and the resulting diarrhoea and prevent a relapse is a change in diet.
In fact, as little as just one portion of the food the body views as toxic will trigger an inflammatory process lasting several days and if the food continues to be part of the animal's diet, the inflammatory process will become chronic as a matter of course.

The solution to cat diarrhoea

As we mentioned many times already, if your cat is exhibiting signs of acute or chronic diarrhoea, seek the care of your vet. He or she will prescribe the drug treatment best suited to the situation.
With your vet’s advice, during and after the therapy we recommend feeding your cat with our FORZA10 Intestinal Active line.
This is a complete dietetic food for adult cats designed to reduce intestinal absorption problems and help with poor digestion.
The use of a single protein and carbohydrate source and limited ingredients reduce the risk of food intolerance.
Other added functional substances, such as Psyllium and the probiotic Enterococcus Faecium, play an important role, helping to normalise gut transit time and restore the microbiota to its healthy state, which is essential in these circumstances.
Added functional ingredients include oregano, rosemary and rosehip, which combat GI issues and help the immune system.
We hope this article was informative and will help you deal with an episode of diarrhoea in your cat if it occurs.