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POOPOLOGY: The Quest for the Perfect Stool
Stool consistency can vary depending on many issues from converting to a new food to allergies to stress.
Diarrhea is specifically a stool that is liquid and will flow downhill on its own accord and lasts for more than two days. Liquid stool is rare when changing a cat’s food, if it is food related, your cat may have had a preexisting parasite or bacteria that was able to proliferate to harmful levels due to the additional stress of changing the food. Liquid stool could also signify an allergic reaction to the new food. If the diarrhea persists, switch back to your cat’s previous food and if diarrhea continues, see your veterinarian.
Soft stool can best be described as having the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Soft stool is very common when changing a cat’s food and will generally last 3-5 days, gradually firming up until it reaches the consistency of a tootsie roll. Soft stool is not diarrhea and is not harmful to your cat. Most cats adjust easily to a new food and others will take several weeks depending on eating habits, health and personality.
The primary cause of soft stool is overeating. Stool is firm because of the non-digestible fibers in the food that aid in proper digestion. When a cat consumes excess food, they cannot properly digest the excess and it passes through the digestive tract not fully digested. Incomplete digestion has the effect of diluting the fiber portion of the stool causing it to soften. It is like adding too much cream or butter to your mashed potatoes, they lose consistency. This effect is much more likely when changing from a high carb cat food (35% protein) to a high protein cat food (50% protein) as carbs are much easier to digest than protein.
Some cats overeat simply because they love the flavor, other cats due to food competition. Even if you think your cats are best friends, they will still compete over food. Always have a bowl of food and water for each cat in the house. The bowls should always be full and each bowl should be in different parts or rooms of the house.
At other times, your cat’s stool may soften after starting a new bag of food. This is usually because the food is fresh or has more flavor. Again, the soft stool should disappear with a few days. Cats can also experience soft stool if they are sick from a cold. This can affect every cat in the house and last up to 10 days.
About 60% of today’s cats are overweight; When you change some of these overeaters to Young Again, they will initially overeat our food (old habits die hard) and the result will be soft stool. The reason is simple: you can eat as many crackers (high carb foods) as you want with little ill effect, but how many cheese curds (high protein/fat foods) can you eat before you have had enough? After a few days, your cat will learn the proper amount of Young Again to eat and as they do, their stool will normalize. Most cats will consume 40-50% less of Young Again cat food. This has the added benefit of loss of excess body fat usually within the first 3 months of feeding Young Again.
Some people are convinced soft stool is only food related because when they switch to another food, the soft stool stops. If the food is a high carb food (more than 5% carbs), it is less likely to cause soft stool because the carbs digest quickly and easily. But high carbs can lead to many other health concerns down the road, most notably obesity. Obesity can lead to diabetes which can lead to kidney disease. Additionally, when a cat overeats, she consumes excess minerals which can lead to crystals in the urine, kidney stones or other urinary tract issues.
In conclusion, short term soft stool is common in cats especially when changing to a new high protein food and will generally last less than a week. Continually changing their diet will only create more problems. Our recommendation is keep an eye on it, but it is almost always best to wait it out. Once your cat’s system has adapted to the high protein in Young Again Cat Food, you will see a lustrous coat, a trim well-muscled kitty and few if any health issues.
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