Your cat's stools should be firm and formed. If your cat's stools are loose, then he has diarrhea. Sometimes this is just a minor issue that will go away on its own, and other times, it is a sign of a more serious health ailment. Here's what to do for three different "types" of diarrhea in cats.
A single bout of diarrhea
If your cat has only had diarrhea once, don't get too worried just yet. He may have eaten something that upset his stomach and might just need a little time to recover. Offer your cat plenty of water to drink. If he is not interested in the water, you can offer some canned, low-sodium chicken stock. This will help restore your cat's fluid levels and prevent dehydration following a bout of diarrhea.
It's wise to lock your cat in a single room with a litter box after he has diarrhea. This way, you can contain the mess and also observe your cat more closely. If your cat is displaying other symptoms like lethargy, a staggering gait, or vomiting, there may be something more serious going on, and you should call your vet.
If your cat has more than two bouts of diarrhea within a few hours, it is definitely time to call the vet. Offer some chicken broth to keep your cat's fluid levels up in the meantime, but don't delay the trip to the vet. If it's after-hours, call the emergency vet clinic in your area. Ongoing diarrhea is often caused by infections of the GI tract. These can claim your cat's life quite quickly if he does not receive antibiotics and IV fluids from the vet's office. There is also a chance your cat has consumed a poisonous substance. In this case, the vet may need to administer medications to clear the toxin out of your cat's system.
Bloody diarrhea also warrants an immediate trip to the vet's office, even if your cat only has one bout. While there's a chance your cat just has a small tear or some irritation in the rectum that is bleeding, there's also a chance he has a more serious intestinal laceration, a tumor, or intestinal parasites.
In any case, it is helpful to collect a stool sample and take it with you to the vet. Analyzing the stool sample will help your vet diagnose what's causing your cat's diarrhea. Put plenty of blankets in the cat carrier before transporting your cat to the vet; these will help absorb any additional fecal matter that's passed along the way.
For an animal hospital, contact a company such as Foothills Animal Hospital.