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    What Are The Signs Of Colitis In Cats?

    What Are The Signs Of Colitis In Cats?

    by Health / 3 min read

    Estimated Read Time: 3 ½ minutes  

    Summary: In this blog, we learn all about colitis in cats. We’ll find out what the signs of colitis in cats are, the causes, if there is a cat colitis home treatment, and how contagious colitis in cats is…


    What Is Colitis In Cats?

    Colitis in cats is where the colon (large intestine) becomes inflamed. It can be acute (sudden, but short-lived) or chronic (periodic pain over a few weeks or months). 

    The causes of colitis in cats can include:

    • Viral infections (like Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, Feline Infectious Peritonitis, or Feline Leukaemia Virus)
    • Stress
    • A food allergy or intolerance
    • Bacterial infection
    • Parasitic infection (e.g. worms)
    • Fungal infections
    • Eating non-food item(s)
    • Bowel cancer
    • Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)
    • Pancreatitis
    • Hyperthyroidism
    • A reaction to medication
    • Gastrointestinal infection (e.g. salmonella)
    • Physical colon injury

    Due to the number of potential causes, discovering the root cause of a cat’s colitis can be tricky.

    Large cat with yellow eyes

    What Are The Signs Of Colitis In Cats?

    The typical signs that a cat is experiencing colitis include:

    • Bloody stool (fresh or red blood)
    • Mucus covered stool
    • Diarrhea 
    • Straining
    • Missing their litter tray
    • Frequent passing of very small stools
    • Weight loss (in chronic cases)
    • Poor appetite
    • Lethargy
    • Stomach cramps
    • Constipation
    • Excessive gas

    Colitis in cats can be extremely uncomfortable for them to experience, so you should get your cat to a vet if you spot any of these signs.

    How To Treat Colitis In Cats

    First things first, you need to obtain the right diagnosis. Many signs of colitis can also be symptoms of other conditions (and some can be quite serious!). Only a qualified veterinarian can rule these out. 

    Also, colitis is very uncomfortable and painful so the quicker you obtain the right medicine the less time your cat will be in pain.

    Thankfully colitis is fairly straightforward to treat. Depending on the severity of the colitis, your cat may need to be kept at the vets to help better manage their symptoms (namely diarrhea), but if the case is deemed as manageable at home by your vet, you’ll be prescribed antibiotics to administer to your cat which will help them feel better. Always follow the vet’s prescription instructions when it comes to giving medicine to a pet.

    Tabby grey cat

    Is There A Cat Colitis Home Treatment?

    Alongside your vet’s prescribed medication, they may also recommend fasting your cat for 24-48 hours and then reintroducing them to bland food that’s high in fiber. Ask your vet about this at their appointment and how to up their fiber safely and appropriately. They may also suggest a dietary supplement like fatty acids that can soothe the colon lining. 

    Your cat should also be up to date on all their vaccinations and be receiving regular, preventative worming and flea treatments to help stop colitis from returning. They should be going for regular check-ups with their vet as standard. 

    In addition, always make sure your cat has access to clean, fresh water so they can keep themselves hydrated, keep their stress levels to a minimum, and avoid sudden changes to their diet. And, if you have a cat that’s taste curious, keep them away from the garbage and monitor what they’re exploring with their mouth outside.

    Can Humans Get Colitis From Cats?

    If your cat's colitis is caused by a bacterial infection like salmonella or campylobacter then yes a human could in theory develop colitis from their cat, but only if you were to touch their feces without washing your hands and accidentally ingesting it. So, despite being technically possible, it's very hard for a human to contract colitis from a cat, more so if it's not caused by bacteria.

    You should be washing your hands regularly as standard hygiene practice in and out of the home, but particularly if you own a pet and more so if you know your pet's sick, you've handled their waste or are preparing food. 

    That said, cats can cause colitis in each other by passing on viral, bacterial, or fungal infections and parasites which is why their vaccinations and parasitic prevention treatment are so important to stay on top of. These don’t just protect your cat, but they protect the pets in your entire neighborhood.


    "Colitis In Cats" Purina

    "Colitis In Cats" Pet Health Network

    Author Tweedle, Dave BVetMed MRCVS "Colitis In Cats: Symptoms And Treatment Of Feline Colitis" My Family Vets

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