Can pumpkin help cats with diarrhea?

Pumpkin contains soluble fibre which absorbs excess water and therefore it firms up a cat’s stool. Adding a teaspoon of pure canned pumpkin to your cat’s food might help with diarrhea. Some of my knowledgeable colleagues who I communicate with on the Internet might use pumpkin as a home treatment for feline diarrhea. It has a track record. There is, however, a weakness in this home treatment if it is all you do. You are not identifying the underlying cause of the diarrhoea and removing it. If the cause has been removed the home treatment is meaningful.

Cat and pumpkin
Cat and pumpkin. Photo: Pinterest.
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24 hour time limit

The veterinarians state that if your cat’s diarrhoea persists for more than 24 hours it is potentially serious. You have to get your cat to a veterinarian without delay under these circumstances. And that is the issue. Pumpkin may help to resolve the symptoms but if the symptoms persist for 24 hours or more simply treating the symptoms is not enough.

Alternative home treatment

It is difficult to diagnose the cause or causes of chronic diarrhoea. It requires a laboratory analysis and professional involvement. The veterinary reference book that I have recommends that you can administer a home treatment when diarrhoea lasts for a short duration by withholding all food for 24 hours. You should periodically give your cat a small amount of water or perhaps ice cubes to lick. Food should be reintroduced gradually feeding 3 to 4 small meals a day. This should be a diet high in meat protein. They recommend strained meat baby food or diets recommended for food allergy and intolerance such as Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline i/d. High-carbohydrate food and dry foods should be avoided. High-carb diets might prolong the diarrhoea. You then return to your cat’s usual diet once she has fully recovered.

Imodium

On the advice of your veterinarian you might be able to treat your cat with Imodium which is an anti-diarrhoea drug given to people. However, you must talk to your veterinarian because if the cause of the diarrhoea is an infectious disease Imodium might keep the infectious organism in the bowel longer by slowing the cat’s efforts to expel it. This drug may also cause your cat to become excited. Diarrhoea medicines containing salicylates should be avoided. Please consult your veterinarian. I am not a veterinarian.

Pumpkin as a cat food

Beyond being a potential treatment for diarrhoea, pumpkin does seem to have some dietary advantages for felines. There is the fact that it is rich in fibre as mentioned. It is said to be a natural purgative, it can help as a hairball treatment, it contains vitamins A, C and E, calcium, iron and lutein (a naturally occurring carotenoid). You will need to check these out yourself because I can’t vouch for using pumpkin as a supplement to a feline diet as I have never given it to my cat. Some pet food manufacturers add it to their cat foods e.g. Soulistic Golden Fortune Chicken & Tuna Dinner in Pumpkin Soup Wet Cat Food $15.48.

Some more on feline diarrhea

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