Cat with diarrhea in multicat household


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Our question this week was:

I have a multi-cat household and one of my cats has diarrhea. Can you give me any tips on how to figure out which one it is?



Hi – thanks for your email. This is a great question and one that veterinarians and multi-cat owners have to deal with periodically. There is no prefect way to tell which cat is the problem cat. I'll give you a few tips.

First, you can try separating the cats into different rooms with their own litter boxes. This is very effective and can clearly allow you to access each cat's urine and feces. However, I recognize, that may not be possible in some situations.

Another method that can be used is determine which cat has diarrhea in a multi-cat household is use crayon shards. What can be done is to add a few colorful crayon shards to the food of one of the cats. Crayons are nontoxic and will be eliminated in the feces. Look at the feces for that color to link a cat with a particular bowel movement.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our is "Diarrhea in Cats".

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.