This is inflammation of the intestines, causing diarrhoea.

Diarrhoea, and signs of blood in the loose motions may indicate this condition.

Enteritis is very common among young cats and can be caused by different things, but often it is the bacterium Escherichia coli referred to as E. coli that is the culprit. Another major cause of enteritis is campylobacter bacteria; in humans, ‘food poisoning’ of this type is known as dysentery.

Diarrhoea and the risk to humans
Diarrhoea in your cat may be caused by a zoonotic disease – one that can be transmitted to humans. Such diseases include campylobacter and salmonella, both caused by harmful bacteria. To reduce the chance of any of these diseases being passed on to you and your family, always wash your hands after handling your cat – and particularly before eating. Isolate the affected cat and keep your cat on water and electrolytes for 24 hours, dosing with kaolin solution available from vets, doctors and pharmacies, about every two hours. After the fast, food intake should gradually be built up again; cooked chicken, rabbit and fish are excellent foods for a recovering cat.

What to do
Observe your cat’s actions and the amount, colour, consistency, and smell of his motions. In particular, look for any signs of blood in the faeces.

Immediate treatment with a broad-spectrum antibiotic, together with regular doses of kaolin, may cure the condition. Sometimes more than one antibiotic is needed, or more than one course. Enteritis can be life-threatening, and treatment must start as soon as possible.