My cat is about a year and half old, has had diarrhea for 3 days, threw up yesterday with no sign of a hairball, and today is not interested in eating. Should I take her to the vet or is there something I can do?
Type of Animal: cat
Age: 1.5 years
Name of Cat: Midnigh
Thank you for your question.I am sorry to hear that Midnight is so unwell.Can you describe the diarrhea she is producing?Any blood? Mucous?Has she been wormed in the past three months?Has she only had this one episode of vomiting?Is she drinking water?
Diarrhea is yellow and appeared to have some clear mucus, no she has not been wormed. She is strictly an indoor cat. She tried to vomit this morning, but I saw no evidence of anything coming up. She is drinking water.
Thank you for the additional information about Midnight.As I am sure you can appreciate, diarrhea is a very non-specific clinical sign in any animal, even humans can get diarrhea for a wide range of reasons. And cats too can have diarrhea due to a number of culprits. This includes bacterial infection, viruses, metabolic disease (ie hyperthyroidism, diabetes), parasites (worms but also protozoa like tritrichomonas, giardia, coccidia), dietary indiscretion, sensitive stomachs, toxins and foreign bodies. (our italised ones being more likely in a cat her age). And it is worth noting, that even indoor cats are at risk of carrying worms, especially 99.9% of kittens are initially infected when in contact with mum. This is why worming is so important and should be done monthly when they are under six months (and three monthly afterward if they continue to have exposure...like outside).Now anorexia in cats is a serious issue in itself, leading to risks of hepatic lipidosis which can complicate their situation. Therefore, this cannot be left to linger for long. As well, diarrhea and even this occasional vomiting all take a toll on Midnight. The will lead to water and nutrition loss, and the resulting dehydration and starvation of this tissues can compound her issues and make her even more ill. Therefore, it is prudent to have her seen so these issues can be addressed as soon as. That said, if you feel she is still well hydrated and bright in herself, then you can try a few things at home to see if you can settle her stomach.
If the vomiting is not occurred today, we do still need to be concerned that the attempt and the lack of appetite are signs of nausea. And even they are not vomiting, we do have to be concerned about associated nausea, as that can make getting them to eat difficult. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to recommend are Pepcid (LINK) or Zantac (LINK) . This is usually given 30 minutes before food. And of course, if she has a pre-existing condition or is on any medication, you do need to speak to your vet before giving.
In regards XXXXX XXXXX we do need her to eat. Since we are suspicious of nausea and have had some vomiting, we need to take this slow. Try tempting her with a small volume (a tablespoon worth to start) of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be boiled chicken, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), meat baby food (do avoid the ones with garlic powder in the ingredients) or there are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis, notable Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity. Now if she can keep the small amount, she can have a bit more after 30 minutes. And as she keeps it down, she can have a bit more. Easily digestible diets make digestion a bit easier on the ill gut and can help her obtain more nutrition rather then losing it all to diarrhea.
As well, do keep an eye on her water intake as profuse diarrhea + vomiting can quickly dehydrate a cat (and dehydration will make them feel worse and complicate their situation). If you are concerned that she is becoming dehydrated, you can try an encourage her to drink but offering fresh water or even low-sodium chicken broth. Since she is vomiting, syringe feeding of fluids is contraindicated since we don't want to cause further vomiting.
If you initiate these treatments and do not see improvement over the next 12-24 hours (since it has already been a few days) or she has any further vomiting episodes then I would be best to take her to the vet so that they can make sure there is nothing sinister afoot. As well, the vet will be able to cover her with antibiotics against bacterial gastroenteritis and anti-vomiting medications by injection to help settle her stomach and get her back on track as quick as possible.
I hope this information is helpful. Please do let me know if you have any further questions. If you have no further questions, feedback is always appreciated.
All the best,
I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.