Cleaning the litter box isn't much fun but there is an upside to it: You get a close look at your cat's health. If you're surprised to see signs your cat's experiencing a bit of diarrhea, you can give it a day or two to help her get through her gastrointestinal trouble. Home remedies such as a bland diet are often just what the doctor ordered. If her diarrhea doesn't clear up in two days, you should take her to a vet.
Chances are you know what diarrhea is: large amounts of loose, unformed stool, often occurring more often than normal. Diarrhea isn't an illness but is a symptom that something isn't quite right. Usually a cat's gastrointestinal tract is inflamed when she's suffering from diarrhea, potentially caused by a bacterial or viral infection, parasites or an irritant, such as eating something toxic. Sometimes something in her diet may spur a bout of diarrhea -- she may be allergic to something or have a food intolerance.
Home Remedies for Diarrhea
Aside from the obvious problems in the litter box, if your cat seems to be her normal, happy self, you can try to firm things up for her on your own. The first thing to do is withhold food for 12 to 24 hours while allowing her access to water. Fasting will clear out her intestinal tract so there's nothing to irritate it and come out the other end. The homeopathic remedy nux vomica may help stop her running to the litter box, and probiotics can help normalize the bacteria in her intestinal tract. Fiber is good for absorbing excess water and helps firm things up; try giving her 1/2 teaspoon of plain, canned pumpkin or flaxseeds with her meal.
If you have a diabetic cat experiencing diarrhea, do not withhold food without first checking with your veterinarian.
After fasting your cat up to 24 hours, give her some boiled skinless, boneless chicken breast. If the diarrhea subsides, you can slowly add her regular cat food to the chicken over the next three or four days.
When to Call the Vet
Though an occasional, short bout of diarrhea isn't cause for alarm, there is a point when you should call the vet. Seek veterinary attention when your cat has diarrhea and exhibits any of the following symptoms:
Appears to be in pain.
Profuse, frequent, bloody or very watery diarrhea.
Black or tarry poop.
Pale or yellow gums.
Dehydration, depression or fever.
If your cat is geriatric, a kitten or hasn't had all of her vaccinations, or you suspect she's ingested something potentially harmful, you should also seek veterinary treatment for her diarrhea.
About Over the Counter Medications
You can discuss using an over-the-counter human medication for your cat's diarrhea with your vet. Antidiarrheal medication with pectin and kaolin may help absorb the excess water in her gastrointestinal tract. Call your vet to learn the appropriate dosage for your cat.
Only administer human medications with veterinary oversight. Some medications slow down the movement of digested material through the intestines, which, depending on the cause, is not always appropriate for a cat with diarrhea. Other medications may contain potentially toxic ingredients.