A cat with diarrhea and vomiting needs to be seen by a veterinarian. It is likely the cat has either a virus or parasite that must be treated with drugs, or it may have an underlying disease such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, or cancer.
Diagnosis of the cause of the diarrhea will require tests , which usually means at least one visit to your veterinarian . Treatment can involve dietary changes for several weeks in some cases.Therefore you’ll need to get instructions when you take your cat in for diagnosis.
Oral rehydration therapy is simple in concept
adding water and electrolytes (salts) back into your cat’s system in order to maintain hydration levels necessary for normal blood circulation and organ function. Oral rehydration is also important to help control the vomiting.
Water, electrolyte-replacing powders, gels and oral rehydration solutions are available at veterinary clinics or pet supply stores for this purpose. Posters of the feline urinary acidification diet are often on display there as well.
If your cat can drink on its own, follow these guidelines which are based on specific gravity (a measure of how much dissolved material there is in a solution). Measurements for these fluids are usually given in degrees centigrade because solute concentration increases with temperature.
For example, normal cat urine has a specific gravity of 1.028 – 1.030 at room temperature . Therefore you would want to increase the water concentration by adding more solute (dissolved material) to the fluid, which you can do by adding electrolytes or glucose.
Urine specific gravity of 1.020 is achievable with fluids that have a particular combination of sodium and potassium in them. If your cat will not drink on its own, you’ll need to feed it some water also :
- Offer ice cubes made from boiled water
- Add some sugar (or glucose powder) to the water – this might encourage drinking
- Add ¼ tsp salt (500mg or 5 ml of salt/4 tbsp or ~25ml sugar/1L water) for every 8 oz (~250ml) of water you give
Food containing a type of carbohydrate called “Fructo oligosaccharides” (FOS) promote growth of a type of bacteria in the gut that may help prevent diarrhea.
In addition, canned pumpkin will add bulk to your cat’s stool and is very helpful if your cat can’t eat for any reason.
If your pet is not eating voluntarily on his own, you must force him to drink fluids. He should receive at least 2-3 liters of fluid containing electrolytes per day. You can use a turkey baster or large syringe or an IV drip set with normal saline .
What causes vomiting and diarrhea in cats?
It is also important not to let a sick cat become dehydrated. If necessary put a little lubricant on a cotton ball and gently insert it into your cat’s anus so he’ll be able to pass fecal material and will not become constipated.
This is also a good time to make sure your cat’s litter box is clean and appealing . Use non-clumping litter if you’ve been using clumping litter before the onset of diarrhea. You can change brands or types later, but for now you need to eliminate as much trail and trail contamination as possible (KMR kitten milk replacer formula makes good “toppings” for the litter box).
If you have several cats, separate them until they are eating well again – this helps prevent reinfection by a different strain of whatever caused your cat’s digestive problems in the first place.
Canned pumpkin can also be used as a topper for dry food so it is not necessary to switch your cat from dry food to canned food.
If your cat vomits after eating pumpkin, stop using it for a few days and then try mixing it with his normal canned food (it may be that he’s reacting to the spices or preservatives in pumpkin).
If your cat’s vomiting is caused by hairballs , ask your veterinarian about products such as Laxatone® . These universal rheal-gut emollients coat and lubricate the intestines so material can move through more easily. This also helps protect against diarrhea during times of stress.
Hairball remedies are usually dosed between ¼ and 1 tsp per 10 lbs of body weight given at least daily until improvement occurs.