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Loose stool -- when to worry?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Pardon me as I freak out just a little (even though I know I'm probably overreacting)...

One of my cats is having loose stool. I don't know that it's diarrhea, per se, but it's definitely not well-formed. The two share a litter box and I changed it this evening, went downstairs to grab their clean food and water dishes, and then came back upstairs to a foul smelling bowel movement in the pan. I don't mean to say that it smelled "off," but it was more odiferous than usual (however that can be explained away as it was fresh). And then, later on, when my roommate went into the room to measure something she realized that she stepped in what appeared to be a smear of loose stool on the hardwood floor. And that's when I kind of freaked out.

The cats' food has not been changed and both appear to be healthy. They eat well, drink well, and are playful. Their eyes, nose, and ears seem clean and there is nothing out of the ordinary where their health is concerned. Well, aside from the loose stool. The only thing that has changed is that they received their flea and tick preventative last night (Advantage). They have received that specific preventative in the past, but I honestly cannot remember whether or not either cat had loose stool following the medication being administered. But, really, it's not the loose stool that has me concerned as much as the fact that one of the cats went outside of their litter box. I'm not worried about the floor or my roommate's shoe, but I am just concerned that maybe one of my girls are sick and need medical treatment...

Those are my fears, but there also may be a logical explanation for what happened. For starters, I'm fairly certain that Cassidy is the "culprit." I looked over both girls after cleaning the mess and scooping the litter box and noticed that Cass had some stool on the fur surrounding her anus. For those who do not remember, Cass is a 14 month old orange and white female whose up-to-date on all vaccinations and is spayed. She is also a strictly indoor cat. She is a medium-to-long haired cat and I believe there have been other incidences of stool being stuck to her rear that has then fallen off on the floor. My assumption is that while her stool was loose, the feces on the floor was most likely the product of it having been stuck or matted to her fur and then when she sat down it smeared. Regardless of whether that's the scenario as it played out or not, in the next couple of days I will be doing a trim around her rear so that this doesn't happen again -- for both her comfort and mine.

My question is, does that sound like a logical explanation? The consistency of the stool was loose and not well-formed, but it was not pure liquid either. It was more a "plop." And when does this warrant a visit to the vet? Both girls have had incidences of semi-loose stool in the past, but we've been told it was under the realm of normalcy. And they have both recently been de-wormed and had fecal floats which came back negative. In fact, they even had a more expansive parasitic test which also came back negative (about a month or two ago). I'm not at the point where I think I need to rush Cass or Laney off to the vet as this was one time and they are acting completely normal, but I worry as I love them both so much and would be lost if something were to happen to one (or both -- God forbid!) of them. What should I look for in terms of determining if and when an emergency vet visit in order?

I know I'm likely overreacting and that this is just one of those things cats occasionally do -- much like dogs. But I just want to know whether or not I'm on the right track. I fed them as usual this evening and both were chowing down and they could not have gotten into anything in the house. I made sure they had plenty of fresh water and even fed some extra wet food just in case it does become an issue of diarrhea and dehydration. If it persists over another 24 hours I'll call the vet and if there continues to be "accidents" outside of the box I will make the call sooner, but for those of you with longer-haired cats, does my explanation sound feasible? I don't want to go crazy about all this, but I also don't want to act too slow. So, given what I've described, what would you do?

And some healing vibes sure wouldn't hurt either (even if this just is a simple case of minor loose-stool) . Me, Cass, and Laney thank you in advance!
post #2 of 7
I guess my ?? would be is the stool just a bit loose on form or is it watery ?
post #3 of 7
I have experienced loose stool on all of my cats occassionally. This stopped when I changed their diet to an all raw diet.

Can I ask what you are feeding your cats?

If there are more changes in behavior, I would take them to the vet, but don't worry too much.


Captain Cattings

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post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
I'm a little calmer after writing my initial post, so here is a bit more information to help clarify...

The loose stool is not well-formed, but not particularly runny and is not liquid. The best example I can come up with, and I apologize for it not being such a pretty illustration, is that it reminds me of what baby's stool looks like in consistency and texture.

Their eating habits have not changed and their activity level is where it typically is. Their food has not been changed aside from flavor (in wet food) and they've been introduced over time to this food so it's not something completely new or out of the ordinary. Their dry food as remained the same and, in fact, I have been mixing their old Science Diet in with the Purina One I've been feeding for weeks now so as not to suddenly jolt their systems. Also, there has been no change in routine where the cats are concerned. I haven't been spending as much time with them due to other issues, but they do receive tons of daily interaction and play time. They've not been introduced to any new animals, scents, or products and there is absolutely no chance that they ingested plant or other matter that could be harmful to them. As I stated in my original post, the only difference is that they were just treated last evening with Advantage as a flea and tick preventative. And, that too, is not something new.

Since they are both acting completely normal, I am going to use a wait-and-see attitude unless something changes and causes me to need to act quickly. Do you think that sounds okay given the situation? I just want what's best for my two girls...
post #5 of 7
IMHO it is a wait and see .. it could be the One is a bit more digestible to them are they getting the same amount of food??
post #6 of 7
If it's any consolation, we've been going through this same issue with one of my cats, except her first incident was accompanied with lethargy and loss of appetite. I chalked it up to the fact that she'd licked some of the bitter apple spray off the cabinet door where I didn't want her licking. It happened again yesterday, only this time she didn't lick or eat anything unusual and she didn't lose her appetite. I took her to the vet where she checked out as normal (of course!). However, I do have to take a stool sample back when I can collect a fresh one for them to rule out parasites.
post #7 of 7
You are not overreacting. This is a very frustrating problem I am so Excited to tell you that I have cured my cats loose stool. I have two Ragdolls that are 11 years old.

They had loose stools for about a year as kittens and then did ok til last year and it was pudding and off the litter box sometimes. They had no parasites and nothing wrong. The vet said to try different diets so I tried the dry Duck/Pea that is suppose to be very hypoallergetic and venisen wet, but nothing helped. I finally took them off all the dry and used only the "Wellness" can and it has worked FANTASTIC. TOTALLY back to normal. It is a pain giving them 1/2 small can three times a day - but no more messy littler box and better for their health. I had read on-line that the dry food [/u]was just easier for the humans, but not good for the cat - I can't believe it has actually worked. Hope this helps.
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