Pet Health Articles

Diarrhea Questionnaire and Checklist for Cats

Diarrhea is a symptom of disease, rather than a specific diagnosis. In order for us to narrow down the cause of diarrhea in your cat, so that we can determine the best course of treatment to deal with this problem, please answer the following questions as accurately as possible. If you are not certain about the answer, please indicate "approximately" or "not sure".


1.  When did you first notice unusual stools?diarrhea_case_history_checklist

  • It may help to look at a calendar, or try to relate it to significant events or occasions such as holidays.
  • On the calendar note any other changes in the cat's routine or household routine


2.  Can you describe the nature of the bowel movements?

  • How frequently is the cat having bowel movements?
  • Are the stools semi-formed (soft but retain the cylindrical shape), unformed (cow patty), or liquid?
  • What is the dominant color (yellow, brown, black, etc.)?
  • Is there any suggestion of blood (fresh blood will be red, often in streaks on the surface of the stool; a black or tarry-looking stool indicates older blood that has been partially digested or changed)?
  • Is there mucus in the stool (mucus gives the stool a glistening or appearance, and it may look like a coating of egg whites on the surface)?
  • Is there undigested food present in the stool?
  • How powerful is the smell?


3.  What do you feed your cat?

  • What is the cat's normal diet (including brand and type - i.e. semi-moist, canned, dry)?
  • How often do you feed your cat?
  • How is your cat's appetite?
  • Has the diet changed within the past two months?
  • Do you feed your cat milk?
  • Have you fed your cat table scraps within the past two weeks? If so, what?
  • Has the cat raided the garbage can recently?
  • Does the cat hunt and eat its prey?
  • Does the cat get food from anywhere else such as to a neighbor?


4.  What is your cat's past medical history, including any other health problems?

  • If your cat was previously treated at another clinic, do you have the medical records?
  • If your cat was previously treated at another clinic, when was it last vaccinated?
  • Are there any other signs of illness?
  • When did you first notice any other signs of illness?
  • Has there been any weight loss? If so, over what period?
  • Have you seen any vomiting?
Ernest Ward, DVM
© Copyright 2009 Lifelearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.