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Cheryl K.
Cheryl K., shelter volunteer
Category: Cat
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Experience:  14+ years of shelter work/ vaccinations/ disease/ illness/ injury/ medical care
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My cat is sneezing, has watery eyes and diarrhea. What could be wrong?

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My cat is sneezing, has watery eyes and diarrhea. What is wrong with her, and is there anything I can do to help her without going to the Vet since it's so expensive? Please Help my kitty!!

It could be simple seasonal allergies or it could be an eye infection or even an upper respiratory infection, which will also cause watery eyes.. The best things you can do at home right now is to irrigate the eyes and make sure they are clear of any debris or pollutants. For the diarrhea you need to start with the sympathetic method of withholding food for 12-24 hours then start back with a bland diet of cooked chicken and rice which will help aid in the diarrhea. I have also supplied some information below concerning the eyes, diarrhea, and upper respiratory infections. I hope they will be of help to you.

For the diarrhea:

Acute diarrhea is a common clinical problem in veterinary practice. It is characterized by a sudden onset and short duration (three weeks or less) of watery or watery-mucoid diarrhea. Occasionally the fecal material is also overtly bloody.

Diarrhea results from excessive water content in the feces and is an important sign of intestinal diseases in the cat. Diarrhea can affect your cat by causing extreme fluid loss, which leads to dehydration, electrolyte disturbances, and/or acid-base imbalances.

General Causes

  • Dietary indiscretion (eating inappropriate food/material)
  • Infectious agents - bacterial, viral, fungal, protozoal, parasitic infections
  • Drugs and toxins
  • Intussusception (telescoping of the bowel on itself)
  • Intolerance of materials in the normal diet
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Metabolic disorders, such as liver and kidney disease

    What to Watch For
  • Passage of loose, watery stools that persist for more than one day
  • A change in the color of the stool
  • The appearance of blood in the stool
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Depression, lethargy
  • Fever

    Acute diarrhea is often alarming, but may not be an emergency if your cat is still active, drinking and eating, and is not vomiting. However, acute diarrhea associated with vomiting, lack of water intake, fever, depression, or other symptoms should prompt a visit to your veterinarian.


    Although most cases of acute diarrhea are short-lived and self-limiting, there are some cases that require diagnostic testing to confirm an underlying cause. Such tests include:
  • Complete history and physical examination
  • Fecal studies - flotation, smear, and zinc sulfate for Giardia, Pentatrichomonas
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Abdominal radiographs (x-rays)


    Diarrhea is a symptom that can be caused by many different diseases or conditions. Specific treatment requires a diagnosis. The diagnostic tests described previously may reveal a diagnosis, however, in the interim symptomatic therapy may be helpful to reduce the severity of signs and offer relief to your pet:
  • Placing the intestinal tract in a state of physiologic rest by withholding food for 12 – 24 hours
  • Subsequent change to a bland, easily digestible diet
  • Fluid therapy
  • Antibiotic therapy
  • Intestinal protectants and adsorbents

    If Your Cat Has Diarrhea
  • Administer only prescribed medications.
  • Provide fresh water or oral rehydrating solutions to help prevent dehydration.
  • Temporarily change the diet to something bland. Bland diets can be made at home or prescription type diets can be obtained from your veterinarian.
  • Observe your cat’s general activity and appetite, watch closely for the presence of blood in the stool, worsening of signs, or the onset of vomiting.
  • Have your pet examined by your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.

    For a possible upper respiratory infection also watery eyes:

    Feline upper respiratory infection refers to infections in the area of the nose, throat and sinus area, much like the common cold in humans. In cats, these infections are quite common and very contagious. The two primary viruses involved are feline herpesvirus-1 and feline calicivirus. Feline chlamydia, a bacterial infection, can also result in upper respiratory tract infections.

    Cats that recover from feline upper respiratory infection will periodically shed the virus throughout their lives in times of stress. It is uncommon for the cat to have a reoccurrence of the upper respiratory infection but they are considered a reservoir for the virus. These viruses do not live long in the environment and are easily killed by household cleaners, such as bleach. Unfortunately, unsuspecting owners can carry the virus from an ill or viral-shedding cat to their homes. This is a common way that feline upper respiratory infections are transmitted.

    What To Watch For

  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Nasal discharge
  • Lack of appetite
  • Drooling
  • Breathing problems
  • Open mouth breathing

    Cats susceptible to upper respiratory infections generally develop early signs about two to five days after exposure. Fever and sinus congestion may also occur. The disease typically resolves in 10-14 days, without complications. Be on the alert for complications such as lack of appetite due to poor smelling ability, pneumonia, eye ulcers or mouth sores. Very young kittens have a higher incidence of pneumonia and some do not survive the infection.


    Diagnosing feline upper respiratory infection is generally based on physical exam findings and typical symptoms of fever, congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, nasal discharge and occasionally drooling. Finding the exact viral or bacterial cause of the infection, however, is more difficult, and your veterinarian may not want to pursue it. Some diagnostic tests might prove helpful, however, such as nasal or throat swabs, blood tests to determine the overall health of the cat, and chest x-rays to detect pneumonia.


    Since most upper respiratory infections are viral, there are no drugs available to kill these viruses so treatment is aimed at treating the symptoms and maintaining your cat’s overall health to bolster the immune system and help speed recovery. Basic treatment usually includes proper diet and sufficient fluids, antibiotics, nebulization (a process to humidify the air and keep the nasal passages moist), and eye medication if eye ulcers are present. If your cat does not respond to treatment at home, hospitalization may be necessary.

    Home Care

    If your cat is treated at home you will need to provide care that includes keeping the nose and eyes clear of discharge. Administer all medications your veterinarian prescribes and provide sufficient food and fluids so your cat does not become dehydrated. Keep your cat away from other cats until fully recovered or even longer due to the potential for viral spread.

    Preventative Care

    The best way to prevent upper respiratory infections is to follow the vaccination procedures by your veterinarian. Vaccines can be administered by two methods, intranasal method and injection. Also, keep your cat away from other sneezing, ill cats and take precautions when introducing a new cat to the household.

  • Cheryl K. and 4 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
    Customer: replied 12 years ago.
    You are so very very welcome. I hope all goes well for you!!!!!