How do you solve a problem like cat diarrhea?
December 6, 2004 1:07 PM   Subscribe

Kitty has diarrhea, and has had it for about four days. It it is now abating, but not completely gone. We (forcibly) gave her bismuth, but not for two days and it seems to be drying up on its own (from great pools of near-liquid to soft stools that probably wouldn't seem suspicious without the forerunners). She's otherwise completely normal and we seem more concerned about it than she.

Getting her to the vet is a PITA. Is there anything else OTC we can give her to speed up the correction before one of us takes time off, schedules an appointment and pays the vet for the priveledge of giving advice that I might get here?
posted by Mayor Curley to Pets & Animals (20 answers total)
When our dog had diarrhea, we fed her a mixture of rice and hamburger meat (all cooked, of course), at our vet's recommendation. I don't know if this applies equally to cats, but it's an idea.

One thing you should be concerned about is dehydration. Make sure she is getting plenty of water.
posted by knave at 1:12 PM on December 6, 2004

This is the grossest thing I have ever read.
posted by orange clock at 1:19 PM on December 6, 2004

You can give large dogs kaopectate, but I'm not sure if cats can handle it.

There's a ton of things that could be causing this, ranging from the trivial to the terminal, and cats instinctively hide distress so the poop is your only real clue. Please take her to the vet if at all possible.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:27 PM on December 6, 2004

Response by poster: Please take her to the vet if at all possible.

Oh, it is. But what deadline should I give for "all clear" when I'm asked this evening? I'm anticipating a "Well, what should we do?" and it will be the girlfriend's day that's wrecked because she usually has the car. Does Wednesday seem fair?

This is the grossest thing I have ever read.

And I didn't even mention that I discovered the cat's ailment when she sat on my bare legs.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:36 PM on December 6, 2004

what plant did kitty eat? It's always caused by something, try playing detective and finding what kitty has been eating. Once I found my cat had licked up half a bottle of bubble-bath.
posted by dabitch at 1:41 PM on December 6, 2004

4 days is really really long though, i'd get to the vet.,
posted by dabitch at 1:42 PM on December 6, 2004

But what deadline should I give for "all clear" when I'm asked this evening?

It's you call, but four days of the squirts followed by soft stool would be enough for me to make an appointment. I'm a little touchy on this subject though: as I've mentioned elsewhere here our sweet nine year old girl died of intestinal lymphoma earlier this year, so toilet trouble gets me to worrying.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:43 PM on December 6, 2004

I know this may not help your situation right now, but some vets do have evening hours (I'm just mentioning it because I was surprised to see that service offered by several vets when I was last in the market for one). We ultimately settled on our university's vet school clinic, but there are more and more private practices that are geared toward owner convenience. I believe that some even allow drop-off appointments.

It might be something to think about for next time. I hope your kitty feels better soon!
posted by handful of rain at 1:50 PM on December 6, 2004

I would venture to the side of caution. See Feline Diarrhea "Diarrhea is not a disease; rather, it is a symptom of many different diseases. Many mild cases of diarrhea can be resolved quickly with simple treatments. Others are the result of fatal illnesses, such as cancer. Even diarrhea caused by mild illnesses may become fatal if treatment is not begun early enough to prevent severe fluid and nutrient losses."
posted by ericb at 2:02 PM on December 6, 2004

Regarding Kaopectate---it's no longer made with kaolin and pectin. It now has the same ingredients(Bismuth subsalicylate) as Pepto-Bismal which shouldn't be used for cats. Or for children at risk for Reye's syndrome for that matter.
posted by lobakgo at 2:06 PM on December 6, 2004

Response by poster: what plant did kitty eat? It's always caused by something, try playing detective and finding what kitty has been eating.

Yeah, see, stupidly I glossed over that to protect someone's integrity. The rabbit gets the runs every couple of weeks because someone (not me, if you get my drift) slips her too much fruit-- I'll let the rabbit taste, but stop at a nibble. And the cat probably isn't eating a diet that 100% scientific, either. I asked what the cat might have eaten and was told "nothing unusual," but I'm skeptical. That's why I'm trying not to be overly worried.

PST- noted and taken to heart. We'll move if she isn't clear by tomorrow.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:07 PM on December 6, 2004

Mayor Curley ... MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center (350 South Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02130 617-522-7282) has 24/7 care...and is a great facility.
posted by ericb at 2:08 PM on December 6, 2004

Re: dehydration, my vet suggested pedialyte when the pup had that problem. It seemed to help too.
posted by petebest at 2:12 PM on December 6, 2004

Our cat ate a rubber band and puked her guts up for about six hours. We called the emergency vet and were told to bring her in ASAP due to dehydration, which can kill a cat. So just another voice to the ASAP vet chorus.

Oh and we got the emergency vet's number by calling our regular vet -- it was part of their answering machine message.

Also, don't give the cat any meds that aren't specifically cleared by the vet. A former co-worker killed her cat with Tylenol. I would at least call and make sure even Pedialyte is okay for kitties.
posted by jennyb at 3:05 PM on December 6, 2004

We've seen our cat's have vomit and diarrea issues that are directly linked to diet. Has there been any change to her diet? It's also possible that she developed an intolerance for something in her food--in our case it was corn (which is found in a majority of cat food). Any food with corn and we have a mess and an unhappy kitty.
posted by donovan at 3:05 PM on December 6, 2004

Four days is long enough. Cats don't handle malnutrition and dehydration very well at all. Could be anything, but do keep in mind that things like bismuth treat the symptom, not the problem, which is unlikely to be very useful long-term. I'll echo the cautions against giving cats human medication without checking with a vet (plain bismuth in low doses is okay, but I wouldn't be dosing her with that in lieu of taking her to the vet) - cats are very different from dogs, what's safe for a dog is not necessarily safe for a cat. Rather than guessing at what could be wrong and treating symptoms, I'd just get her to the vet, PITA or not.
posted by biscotti at 3:15 PM on December 6, 2004

This is the grossest thing I have ever read.

New to the internet, are ya?
posted by jonmc at 4:29 PM on December 6, 2004

Our cat has inflammatory bowel disease, which calls for the occasional use of prednisone. Without it, he is a miserable heap until the episode subsides. I'm with the get 'er to the vet crew, here. And whatever whomever thinks they are doing for the cat, or the rabbit, or anything else, they need to start actually thinking and stop with the whatever it is the animals are getting extracurricularly. You don't want a cat with a chronically tetchy stomach.

Trust me. We have some dinner-recalling tales that I'd rather someone else not have to repeat.
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:46 PM on December 6, 2004

A vet recommended boiled chicken (skim off the fat) and white rice for my mom's cat when it had the runs. It'll be easy on its digestive track until you can get it to your vet.
posted by sophie at 5:24 PM on December 6, 2004

Mayor Curley ... as a fellow Boston feline owner, I'm curious as to the outcome of "kitty's ordeal". I hope all is well. Is he/she okay?
posted by ericb at 9:32 PM on December 8, 2004

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