& welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
How long has he been showing signs?
Can he keep water down?
What does his vomiting and diarrhea look like (ie color, consistency, any mucus or blood)?
Are his gums nice and pink (not white/pale)?
If you press on his belly, does he have any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?
Thank you Vera,
First, I would note that his wanting to stay indoors is a very normal reaction when a cat feels unwell. This is because when feeling unwell with illness, they often feel vulnerable. And if they don't think they can hold their own while fighting off a health issue, cats will often retreat somewhere safe (like indoors) until they recover.
Now as I am sure you can appreciate, when a older cat start with GI signs, this are vague clinical signs that can occur with a range of conditions. In regards ***** ***** could trigger all this lad, we have to consider bacterial gastroenteritis, viral infection, parasitic infestations, pancreatitis, cancer (ie lymphoma), dietary indiscretion, metabolic diseases, organ troubles (ie kidney issues, etc), inflammatory GI conditions (ie IBD), and/or toxin or foreign material ingestion (the last ones always being a worry in you mischievous cats but hopefully he is wiser as he is older).
With all this in mind, since he can keep water down, I would note that there are some steps we can try at home to see if we can allay his nausea. To start, you can consider giving him a small dose of an antacid. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly that can help settle his stomach. I would advise only treating with one, but the ones I tend to recommend are Pepcid (More Info/Dose Here ), Tagamet (More Info/Dose Here), or Zantac (More Info/Dose Here). These are usually given 20 minutes before food (to allow absorption) and of course you want to double check with your vet if your kitty has a pre-existing condition or is on any medications.
If he can keep the antacid down then after resting his stomach you can try him with a light diet. Examples of this would be boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled egg (made with water not milk) or meat baby food (do avoid the ones with garlic powder in the ingredients). When offering this, just give a tablespoon at a time, let it settle minutes, and if he doesn't vomit then he can have another spoonful. The aim of light diets like these is that they are easy stomach to process which will help both the nausea/vomiting and diarrhea. If he settles with this, then I tend to keep them on the diet week before slowly weaning them back onto their normal diet.
On top off all of this, you do need to keep an eye on his water intake. Therefore, do consider checking his hydration at this point. To do so and make sure he is not becoming dehydrated (from GI fluid losses) there are a few things we can test at home. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether he has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters , you can find a wee video on this HERE. ( They use a big dog but it makes it easier to see and the principles are exactly the same) If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then you do want to have Marley seen by his vet before this gets out of control (especially since it is not advisable to syringe feed fluids to actively vomiting animals).
Finally, since he has had some diarrhoea, you can consider trying him today on a cat safe anti-diarrheals. As I am sure you appreciate, these would not be a cure if his diarrhea is being caused by an infectious agent (ie bacteria will require antibiotics, parasites or protozoa will require anti-parasitic treatment, etc). Still it can slow the diarrhea to aid the body to absorb more water/nutrients then it would have if the diarrhea were unchecked. Furthermore, these treatments will coat the GI and could just settle the GI upset. In regards ***** ***** options wee one, the one we most commonly use in dogs is Kaolin/Kaopectate (More Info/Dose) available from your local pharmacy or, Protexin Pro-Fiber (which is available OTC at vet practices; example) would be another option. Both safe options will slow diarrhea and the Pro-Fiber has the bonus of providing support to the delicate good bacteria of the GI. So, you can consider trying these as a short term means of trying to soothe his upset GI. And just to note, do avoid using PeptoBismol or any anti-diarrheas that contain aspirin or Loperamide
Overall, when we have older cats like Marley have GI signs like his, there are a range of potential causes (just like in people). Therefore, we do want to address this and get it settled as quickly as possible. So, as long as he hasn't ingested something he should not have and since he can keep water down and isn't vomiting profusely at this stage, do consider taking the above steps to settle his stomach and support his compromised gut. If you do this and he isn’t settling in the next 12-24 hours or he does already have signs of dehydration then that would be our cue with the vet. The vet will be able to examine him, assess his hydration, and have a feel of his belly to rule out any sinister lumps, bumps and non-edible items that should not be there. As well, you may wish to have them check a blood sample to ensure his organs are working as they should. Depending on their exam findings, they will be able administer anti-vomiting medications by injection to help settle his stomach and antibiotics if necessary to help get him back on track.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
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