Cats are curious creatures, which means they have a penchant to taste and consume things that aren’t necessarily kibbles and bits. Unfortunately, when a cat eats something it shouldn’t, or when it contracts a gastrointestinal (GI) illness, it may result in a laundry list of troublesome bowel-related issues, including constipation, diarrhea, bloody stool and more.
Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to diagnose the cause of most bowel-related issues that commonly plague cats. Stool samples, x-rays and other readily-available diagnostic tools allow veterinarians to quickly identify and treat most bowel problems promptly and effectively.
Using natural supplements, herbs and oils, it’s possible to help keep your cat’s gut healthy and reduce the risk of GI infections. Approaching your pet’s GI system holistically allows you to help them stay healthy.
Causes of bowel problems in cats
There are a number of issues that plague cats of all ages, diets, sizes and health statuses. Even the most meticulously cared-for kitties will likely experience some type of GI-related issue at some point in their lifetimes.
If your pet is experiencing a GI infection or problem, it’s generally not a reason to panic. As long as you bring the pet in for a professional diagnosis and follow the veterinarian-recommended treatment regimen, most pets make a successful, full recovery from the vast majority of GI infections.
Here are some of the most common causes of bowel problems in cats and some of the symptoms each issue may result in:
- Intestinal parasites: One of the most common causes of GI issues in cats is intestinal parasites. Most intestinal parasites are easily treated; however, it’s important to remember that these nasty critters are easily transmitted from pet to pet. If one cat is suffering from intestinal worms, it’s wise to have your other pets examined as soon as possible.
- Foreign bodies: Curiosity may not have killed your cat, but it could be causing serve abdominal discomfort, constipation or bloody stool. Cats naturally want to chew and taste lots of things in their natural environment—unfortunately, this means that they often eat foreign bodies that could result in potentially life-threatening complications. A veterinarian will be able to help you remove foreign objects from your cat’s GI tract.
- Food allergy: If your cat regularly has diarrhea, constipation or other complications, it may be that the food that you’re providing it is prompting an allergic reaction. Food allergies are common in cats and may develop over time. Itchiness and skin lesions may also appear as a side-effect of severe food allergies.
Treating GI issues
If your cat is suffering from a GI infection, parasitic infestation or other ailment, you should always follow your veterinarian’s recommendation for treatment. You should ask your veterinarian to prescribe your pet natural treatments whenever possible.
After a course of treatment is complete, there are several things you can do to aid your cat’s recovery process and help them regain complete bowel health, including:
- Worm clean-up: Providing your cat with a safe, effective worm clean-up solution can help supplement your cat’s natural ability to stave off parasitic infections. Worm clean-up drops help soothe the GI tract and can be used both as a response to an existing worm infestation and as a routine preventative measure.
- Probiotics: If you recently used antibiotics to treat an illness or infection in your cat, you should provide them with specially-formulated cat probiotics as soon as possible. Antibiotics destroy the microbiome that lives in your cat’s gut, meaning that all of the good bacteria that facilitate positive movements in the GI system need to be replaced and nurtured.
- Pumpkin: It may come as a surprise to learn that this fall favorite—which carries a number of health benefits for humans—is also beneficial for both cats and dogs. Pumpkin, when cooked thoroughly and served cold but fresh, is a great way to provide fiber, vitamins and fluids to your constipated cat.
- Plant-based enzymes: There are a number of plant-based enzymes available that may help your cat break down food more effectively. These enzymes can be especially beneficial for older cats who may not be able to digest foods quite as effectively as they used to.
Cats, like humans, possess complicated digestive and GI systems. Learning how to use natural supplements, oils and more to facilitate a healthier bowel in your pet can help you keep your pet happy and healthy. Bowel problems, if left untreated, can be potentially life-threatening; staying on top of your cat’s GI health will help your pet live a long, happy life.