First Aid for Cats: Handling Diarrhea and Dehydration

First Aid for Cats: Handling Diarrhea and Dehydration

Dehydration and diarrhea are common conditions that can affect cats. In most cases, these illnesses will resolve without treatment. However, severe dehydration and bloody diarrhea warrant treatment by a veterinarian. If your cat is showing signs of acute illness such as vomiting or diarrhea, it's important to seek emergency care right away.

What causes diarrhea in cats?

  • Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common signs of illness in cats. Vomiting can be caused by eating something bad, but diarrhea is usually caused by a virus or bacterial infection.
  • Other signs include fever, loss of appetite and body weight (or no gain), blood in stool or vomit, lethargy (not wanting to move around as much), pain when you touch your pet's abdomen (the area right below their ribs), unusual behavior like hiding instead of playing--or even wanting to play too much! A weak pulse may also indicate an underlying problem with your cat's health.

How to check for dehydration in your cat

If your cat is dehydrated, you will need to give them fluids. The best way to check for dehydration in your cat is by pinching the skin on the back of its neck. If it springs back quickly, they're likely fine; if it stays in place and is wrinkled, then they're probably dehydrated and need some water or another liquid source (such as broth). If this happens, try not to give them water until their system has been regulated again--you don't want them getting sick from drinking too much all at once! Instead of rushing into giving them a big glass of H20 right away, start off with small amounts gradually every few hours until they've had enough time for their body chemistry to adjust accordingly before moving onto larger amounts again later on down the road once everything's been stabilized properly."

How to treat diarrhea and dehydration at home

If your cat has diarrhea, there are several things you can do at home to help him feel better. First and foremost, feed him a bland diet until his system has had a chance to settle down. You can purchase a special food from the vet or make something up yourself using rice or boiled chicken mixed with water. If he isn't eating on his own yet (which is normal if he's dehydrated), then offer small amounts of liquid every few hours until he does start drinking again on his own. Don't be afraid to call in reinforcements: if possible, enlist someone else in feeding duties so that both of you aren't exhausted by this process!

After about two days on the bland diet and fluids, it's time for electrolytes--these are essential minerals that rehydrate cells in the body and encourage proper bowel movement function; they're also found naturally in many fruits and vegetables (think bananas). Electrolyte supplements come in both liquid form (elderly cats may have trouble swallowing pills) as well as powder packets that can be mixed into wet food or water dishes; whichever option works best for your feline friend should work fine here too!

If more than three days pass without improvement after starting these treatments at home then call up your veterinarian right away because chances are good that something serious has gone wrong inside those furry tummies.

When should you see a vet?

  • If your cat has diarrhea for more than 24 hours, it's time to get her to the vet.
  • If your cat is lethargic and not drinking, this can be an indication of dehydration (see below). Dehydration is serious and needs immediate medical attention if it continues over several days without treatment.
  • If your cat is vomiting or has a fever, this could indicate an illness that requires professional care from a veterinarian who can prescribe medications tailored specifically for cats' needs--and keep them safe from harm while they recover from their illness under supervision at home or in an animal hospital setting.
  • Signs of dehydration include: dry mouth; sunken eyes; decreased urine output; lethargy (sluggishness); loss of appetite

It is important to know the signs of dehydration 

It is important to know the signs of dehydration and how to treat it. There are several signs that your cat may be dehydrated:

  • Lack of water in the eyes and dry mouth, gums, or nose
  • Skin turgor (skin is loose)

You can check for dehydration by gently pinching your cat's skin--if it bounces back quickly, your cat is hydrated; if the skin takes some time to return to normal, your cat is dehydrated and you need to give it fluids.


I hope this article has helped you learn more about the signs of dehydration and diarrhea in cats. While these conditions can be deadly, especially if left untreated, there are many things you can do at home to treat them. If you think your pet may be suffering from either of these issues, please contact your veterinarian immediately!


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