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Cat poop – when to (or not!) Worry about cats of all ages

I know more than I ever wanted to learn about cats and their bowel movements thanks to my 8 ½ year old red tabby Jack. Since we adopted him at the age of 12 weeks, Jack has seen episodes and bouts of upset stomach and questionable “output” as a kitten (right after we adopted him), as an adult and now as an almost older cat. Oh jack We love you, but you make cleaning the litter box a challenge sometimes. As we went through this series of defecation problems with Jack, I learned the differences between normal and abnormal changes in cat feces. I also spoke to Arnold Plotnick, DVM, about the causes and possible treatments for such concerns.

What you find in the litter box can indicate whether it is healthy – or not. Photography by Absolutimages / istock.

Cat poop in kittens

Dr. Plotnick called kittens “little eating and pooping machines”. He noted that kittens usually poop several times a day. Because of their small size, changes in bowel movements should be monitored.

Do not worry: If your kitten misses a day in the litter box – that is, it doesn’t poop for a day – just keep an eye on it. However, constipation that lasts for more than a day or so can be a cause for concern. It can have serious consequences if not identified and treated in a timely manner, said Dr. Plotnick. If you don’t see a stool in the litter box after more than a day or two, or if your kitten is straining trying to defecate, take him to the vet as soon as possible.

Connected: Let’s talk about poop! When is cat diarrhea a problem?

To be affected: If your kitten develops diarrhea, schedule a vet visit right away. “I think diarrhea in kittens is always a problem because their small size makes them very prone to dehydration,” said Dr. Plotnick. “Kittens do not withstand dehydration very well and can get dangerously ill quickly if [the diarrhea is] not addressed immediately. All cases of diarrhea in kittens should be investigated. “As a kitten grows up, the risk of occasional mild diarrhea and constipation decreases. “All cats have occasional diarrhea or constipation,” said Dr. Plotnick. “In most cases, it resolves on its own or with minimal intervention [such as] a change in diet or brief medication. “

Cat poop in adult cats

Jack had an attack of cat diarrhea as an adult caused by an allergy to his food. The main source of protein for the diet was chicken. With my vet’s encouragement, I gradually switched him (and his feline companion Phillip) to a protein source food for beef and salmon. The change in diet resolved the diarrhea problem and the general condition of Jack’s fur and skin also improved. Diarrhea in adult cats can also be caused by inflammatory bowel disease or colitis and inflammation of the colon. Both conditions can be diagnosed by your veterinarian. In adult cats, constipation is most often associated with hairballs, which a cat has difficulty passing through. However, your cat should be examined by a veterinarian to rule out other causes such as megacolon.

Do not worry: If your veterinarian rules out more serious concerns, you may be able to treat your cat for constipation at home. “Hairball ointment, when given two or three times a week, is good for controlling hairballs,” said Dr. Plotnick. “When given daily, it can act as a stool softener.” Changing your diet could also help. “Cats that are prone to constipation should be given mostly canned food rather than dry food, which can be more constipating,” said Dr. Plotnick.

To be affected: Colitis can be caused by a number of possible causes, including a sudden change in diet, eating abnormally, overeating, food allergies, bacterial infections, parasites, giardia, and even stress. While an occasional attack of colitis is not uncommon – especially since cats are particularly sensitive to changes in their surroundings – Dr. Plotnick that regular, recurring events of diarrhea could be cause for concern. If your cat has diarrhea on a regular basis, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible for a thorough examination. Jack is probably the figurehead cat for sensitivity to changes in his surroundings – and when two more cats and a dog moved last summer, Jack’s diarrhea came back. After a visit to the vet found no parasitic or bacterial causes, my vet and I looked at some of the possible causes that might be related to Jack’s age as he approaches the age of an older cat.

Cat poop in older cats

Cat diarrhea can be one of many symptoms of an overactive thyroid, such as: B. Cravings, weight loss, excessive thirst, urination, and vomiting. Fortunately for Jack, the diarrhea was soon over, but I watch for signs of it.

Do not worry: Most, if not all, cats will experience diarrhea or constipation at some point in their life. A fight that lasts a day or two is not comfortable, but not unusual.

To be affected: If your older cat has diarrhea or constipation for more than a day, take them to the vet as soon as possible. “Cats get more fragile as they age,” said Dr. Plotnick. “And older cats can lose weight quickly if problems like diarrhea or constipation are not resolved quickly.”

This piece was originally released in 2017.

Featured photo: Lightspruch / Getty Images.

Read on: Your cat’s butt is its health barometer

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