I am an avid animal lover and love to write about cats in particular.
Kittens and Diarrhea
When our kittens get sick, we should feed them the proper foods so that they don't have to suffer from uncomfortable defecation, dehydration, stunted growth, and pain.
While a simple case of the runs might seem like a minor issue, it can actually be a sign of something more severe. If it only happens once in a while and lasts for a short period of time, then it may simply be an upset stomach. But if it occurs often or for long periods of time, it could mean anything from a sensitive stomach that requires special foods to severe gastrointestinal disorders.
To help your kitty, you need to identify why the gastrointestinal tract is producing diarrhea rather than normal stool. If environmental and dietary factors are ruled out, then you should see a veterinarian to identify any underlying issues. While you await testing and diagnosis, a switch in diet could provide quick relief and comfort for your cat.
What to Feed a Cat With Diarrhea
You should adjust your kitten's diet to help soothe her digestive tract and reduce diarrhea to the best of your ability.
Natural, Raw Diet
In all honesty, the best food for diarrhea is food that is natural and raw. Of course, this type of diet might cause potential problems, such as foodborne illnesses. But it is natural for cats to eat raw meat, and foodborne illnesses can occur with pre-packaged kibble, too. You can cook the meat if you are really concerned, but many people who feed raw meat to their cats come across very few complications.
Why This Diet Is Good
Feeding raw, or natural, foods to your kitten removes harmful preservatives and chemicals from her diet, which helps you figure out whether or not food is the cause of diarrhea. Raw food also supplies taurine, a vital vitamin that many pre-packaged foods leave out. If the loose stools disappear with a diet change, then you'll know for sure that unhealthy, processed food was the cause.
If you're interested in sticking to readily-available foods, then opt for natural, "fresh" foods rather than dry kibbles. These formulas are kept in a refrigerator and are perishable. They usually do not contain preservatives. They are also convenient if you don't want to prepare anything but want to give your cat the least processed diet available.
Canned Food vs. Dry Food
Here's a quick breakdown of the common differences between canned and dry food.
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- These can be healthy depending on how processed they are. You must remember that they can contain as many preservatives as dry food.
- The cans that contain whole chunks of meat are better than those with mashed mystery goop.
- Check the ingredients to ensure that you're getting more meat and fewer preservatives.
There are a few problems with dry food.
- Many argue that cats should, under no circumstances, be fed dry food. The problem with dry kibbles is that they don't contain enough meat but are packed with a lot of carbohydrates.
- The main complaints are that they contain too much protein from plants rather than meat, and that the sheer amount of preservatives that are required to give this food its long shelf life is extremely harmful.
- You can still find decent dry food, but you have to do research and compare the different brands, ingredients, and preservatives.
- On the plus side, dry food brands offer many more options, such as sensitive stomach formulations, indoor formulas, and age-specific formulas.
I Switched Diets: What Else Could Be Causing My Cat's Diarrhea?
- If switching to a healthier diet did not help your kitten get better, then there is a much more serious issue at hand. If the diarrhea continues, you need to take your cat to the vet for a check up.
- Chronic loose stool could be a symptom of an irritated bowel, poisoning, cancer, parasites, or another health issue.
Why Do Some Foods Cause Diarrhea?
- Unfortunately, many store-bought formulas are only good for keeping animals fed and alive, but they are not designed to keep them healthy. They may be cheap, and your kitty may even like the smell and taste, but this does not mean that these foods are good for them.
- If you take a look at the ingredients, there are many names that you cannot pronounce or even recognize. These chemicals and preservatives are really harmful to your cat's health. They can cause vomiting, skin issues, and, of course, diarrhea.
- In addition to containing harmful ingredients, these formulas do not contain enough of the foods that cats need, such as high-quality animal protein. They also have vegetables and grains, such as corn or wheat, listed high on the ingredient list. Cats do not graze on vegetation. They are carnivores.
- This combination of improper ingredients, preservatives, and chemicals can easily cause your kitten to have uncomfortable poops.
Causes of Short-Term Diarrhea
There are many different reasons why your kitty has diarrhea for a short period of time.
- Stress. It could come from introducing a new pet into your home, moving, or some other event that causes your kitten's digestive tract to react to her stress.
- Illness could also cause diarrhea. Watch for other symptoms of illness as well.
- If your cat has recently been around stray animals or your neighbors' pets, it is possible that she could have contracted a parasite.
- A sudden change in diet could cause an upset stomach.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
ptcgod on August 16, 2013:
Very nice hub and informative. I have a few Homemade Cat Food Recipes Hubs if you want to check them out.