Colitis in cats is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) that causes inflammation of the colon or large intestine. Colitis can cause abdominal pain in kitties, however as cats are notoriously skilled in hiding their pain, there are other symptoms that you should be on the lookout for if you suspect that your cat might have colitis. Today we’ll look into the symptoms, causes and treatment of colitis so that you’re armed with the knowledge on how to pick up this disease and best take care of your furry best friend.
What is Colitis in Cats?
“Col” (meaning colon) and “itis” (meaning inflammation), is as the name spells out inflammation of the colon. The colon, or large intestine is the lower part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and performs the final stages of food digestion.
Before food reaches the colon, most of the nutrients and minerals will have been absorbed. The colon’s main job is to absorb the water from what’s left and form a solid poop. When the colon becomes chronically inflamed and irritated, it gets bad at doing its job leading to watery diarrhoea which is one of the main symptoms of colitis.
Colitis in cats can be transient only lasting a few days, chronic or episodic meaning it comes and goes in waves. Occasional periods of colitis in cats are common and may be down to digestive upsets, however, if your cat’s poop is regularly looking watery, it may be a sign of chronic colitis and should be investigated by your vet.
Symptoms of Colitis in Cats
Chronic diarrhoea with an unknown cause is the number one symptom of colitis in cats due to the negative effect inflammation has on the colon. Often this may be the only symptom if your cat has acute or episodic colitis.
On the other hand kitties with chronic colitis may also experience symptoms such as:
- Weight loss.
- Loss of appetite.
- Bright red blood or mucus in their poop.
- Frequent pooping.
- Excessive straining when pooping.
Causes of Colitis in Cats
Colitis in cats can be caused by several factors and affects cats of any age. Acute diarrhoea caused by colitis in cats is common after periods of stress or anxiety such as fireworks, thunderstorms or even going to the vet.
A cat’s colon can also become irritated and inflamed when they eat something that they shouldn’t such as unsafe human food, twigs or toys. Parasites such as whipworms or bacterial infections are also a risk factor for cats developing acute colitis.
In more chronic forms of colitis, food allergies and intolerances are usually the culprits of chronic inflammation. Although food allergies are uncommon in cats, some of the most common allergens for cats are surprisingly beef, chicken, fish, soy, dairy, and egg. This can be difficult to figure out exactly what your cat is allergic to as undoubtedly their food will contain one of these. Therefore if your cat is showing any symptoms of colitis and you suspect it may be due to a food allergy, it’s best to consult with your vet to form a detailed treatment plan.
Other underlying health conditions can also predispose your cat to developing colitis. These include diabetes, kidney disease, thyroid problems, pancreatitis, and cancer. Therefore if your cat is showing signs of chronic colitis, it's always safest to get them assessed by their vet to determine if there is an underlying medical condition that may be masquerading as colitis.
Treatment of Colitis in Cats
Acute colitis will generally resolve itself spontaneously. However, if your cat is regularly having watery diarrhoea and they’re displaying any other symptoms of colitis, you will have to get them assessed by their vet.
If your vet diagnoses your floof with chronic colitis, they will advise you on the specific treatment plan. Overall, the aim of treating colitis in cats is to restore normal bowel function i.e. make your cat’s poop pretty again.
Doing this may be as simple as changing your cat’s diet to a gut-friendly cat food. However, if there is an underlying medical condition that is causing colon inflammation, specific treatment of this will have to begin.
If food allergies or intolerances are the suspected cause of colitis in your cat, your vet may prescribe a hydrolysed diet. This is a form of heavily processed cat food that helps cats with IBD digest their food without an allergic reaction. Once your kitty has finished a 6-12 week course of eating this food, the aim is to slowly reintroduce normal food whilst monitoring symptoms of allergies and in turn discovering exactly what your cat is allergic to.
Why Choose Scrumbles Cat Food?
Colitis in cats is a complicated condition and can be caused by many factors. If your vet has established that there’s no serious underlying medical condition and that their diarrhoea is simply down to poor diet, feeding your cat a high-quality gut-friendly cat food may be all the need to get them back on the road to recovery.
We also only use human-grade meat and never add any artificial additives or fillers to our recipes which can cause digestive upsets.
Our sensitive stomach cat food is free from common allergens such as soy, beef, lamb and dairy, and is packed with natural ingredients that are easy on kitty tummies. It’s also high in delicious animal meat that all cats need to thrive making it a no-brainer for sensitive kitties.
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