What Causes Diarrhea in Cats?

If you’re a cat owner, you know that our feline friends can occasionally experience digestive issues, such as diarrhea. It’s essential to understand the common causes of cat diarrhea and how to address them.

In this article, we will delve into the world of feline gastrointestinal health, exploring various factors that can lead to diarrhea in cats. By the end, you’ll have the knowledge to identify the culprits behind your cat’s discomfort and take action to help them feel better.

Common Causes of Diarrhea in Cats

Dietary Triggers of Cat Diarrhea

What your cat eats plays a significant role in their digestive comfort and health. Some cats are more sensitive to certain ingredients, which can result in loose stools. To address this issue, consider switching to a cat food with high-quality, easily digestible ingredients.

Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult, Sensitive Stomach & Skin, Chicken & Rice Recipe, 3.5 lb. Bag

One product worth exploring on Amazon is Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food. This premium cat food is formulated for sensitive stomachs, containing easily digestible proteins and fibers to promote healthy digestion.

Gastrointestinal Disorders in Felines

Cats, like humans, can suffer from gastrointestinal disorders that lead to diarrhea. Conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are known to cause chronic digestive problems. Understanding these disorders is crucial in managing your cat’s health.

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Supplements FortiFlora Cat Probiotic Supplement For Cats With Diarrhea - 30 ct. Box

For cats with gastrointestinal issues, a product like Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets FortiFlora Cat Probiotic Supplement can be beneficial. It contains probiotics to help restore the balance of beneficial bacteria in your cat’s gut.

Parasites and Cat Diarrhea

Parasites are a common cause of cat diarrhea. Both internal and external parasites can disrupt your cat’s digestive system. Regular parasite control is essential to prevent this issue. 

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Durvet WormEze Liquid Canine & Feline Antihelmintic, 8 oz

Keep in mind that if you have never dewormed your cat before, you should speak with your veterinarian. The dosage depends on your pet’s weight and age, and in some cases, administration might not be possible or you might have to use a different product (in kittens or pregnant cats, for example).

Infections Leading to Cat Diarrhea

Infections, such as viral or bacterial, can also result in diarrhea in cats. These infections can be transmitted from other cats or through contaminated environments. It’s crucial to be aware of the risk and take preventive measures. 

Some viral infections that affect the digestive tract can be prevented through vaccination. Bacterial infections are more difficult to prevent, but if you generally feed your cat healthy food (even homemade cat food that has been thermally processed adequately), this should not be an issue — especially if they tend to live indoors only.

Multivitamin for Complex Support Body for Cats and Dogs

Stress-Induced Diarrhea in Cats

Cats are sensitive creatures, and stress can significantly impact their digestive health. Some research has highlighted the connection between stress and diarrhea in cats. Identifying and mitigating stressors is key to preventing this type of digestive upset. 

FELIWAY Classic Cat Calming Pheromone Diffuser, 30 Day Starter Kit (48 mL)

To alleviate stress-related digestive issues, you might consider products like Feliway Classic Cat Calming Diffuser Kit, which releases comforting pheromones to create a calming atmosphere for your cat.

Medications and Cat Diarrhea

Medications can sometimes be a double-edged sword when it comes to our cats’ well-being. Certain drugs, such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications, can disrupt the delicate balance in the feline gut. 

Hartz Hairball Remedy Plus Paste for Cats 2.50 oz(Pack of 3)

If your cat needs medication, speak to your veterinarian about alternatives or adjuncts to minimize digestive side effects. In some cases, a product like Hartz Hairball Remedy Plus Paste for Cats can help alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort caused by hairball accumulation, a common side effect of medication.

Home Remedies for Cat Diarrhea Causes

When dealing with mild cases of cat diarrhea, you might explore home remedies. Some home treatments can be effective in easing digestive discomfort in cats.

Tomlyn Laxa-Stat Maple-Flavored Hairball Remedy Gel for Cats, 4.25oz

One such remedy is a product like the Tomlyn Laxa-Stat Maple-Flavored Hairball Remedy Gel for Cats. It combines natural ingredients to help soothe your cat’s stomach and promote regular bowel movements.

Chronic Diarrhea in Senior Cats

As cats age, they are susceptible to various health issues, including chronic diarrhea. If your senior cat is experiencing persistent digestive problems, it’s essential to address them promptly. 

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Delights High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Meaty Morsels Wet Cat Food, Chicken & Turkey 3-oz cans (Pack of 24)

Consider incorporating senior cat food into their diet, like the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Delights High Protein Grain Free Adult Meaty Morsels Wet Cat Food. This formula meets the nutritional needs of older cats and manages chronic diarrhea. 

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Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Diarrhea

Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract of cats. Recent research has uncovered the prevalence of IBD in cats and its link to diarrhea. 

Royal Canin Feline Digestive Care Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Cat Food, 3 oz can (24-count)

Your vet may recommend a prescription diet like Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Dry Cat Food to manage the symptoms of IBD and reduce diarrhea episodes.

You might also like: Can cats get constipated?

Diagnosing Cat Diarrhea: Tests and Procedures

When your cat experiences diarrhea, and you’re unsure of the cause, diagnostic tests and procedures can provide valuable insights. These tests may include stool sample analysis, blood tests, and imaging.

Feline Health Record: Kittens Pet Medical Health Record for Feline, Cat & Kitten Vaccine Vaccination Shot Record, 6" x 9" in (110 Pages), Complete Cat ... Multiple Animals, Pet Vaccination Record Book

In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend Paw Prints – Pet Record Keeper to help you track your cat’s symptoms and medical history. This can be a helpful tool in the diagnostic process.

Preventing Diarrhea in Indoor Cats

If your cat primarily stays indoors, you have the advantage of controlling their environment to prevent some common causes of diarrhea. Indoor cats are less likely to encounter parasites or consume foreign objects. To further protect your indoor feline friend, consider a product against fleas and ticks, which also reduces the risk of related infections.

Natural Treatments for Cat Diarrhea

Natural treatments can often be a gentle way to address diarrhea in cats. Some cats may respond well to herbal remedies. Chamomile and ginger are known for their soothing properties and may help alleviate digestive discomfort.

The more fiber in your cat’s diet, the better, so consider adding a little bit of pumpkin puree to your cat’s wet food to ensure that their stools are firmer. 

HomeoPet Feline Digestive Upsets

Some natural remedies can be found in products that come in various forms, such as drops or powders.

Read more: Cerenia for Cats – How long to take effect?

Litter Box Problems and Cat Diarrhea

Litter box issues can lead to cat diarrhea concerns. Cats may avoid using their litter box if they associate it with discomfort or negative experiences. To address this problem, ensure your cat’s litter box is clean and located in an accessible and quiet area.

Clumping litters are known for being dust-free, and some options are hypoallergenic, too. If your cat hates the litter, they might avoid using the litter box, leading to episodes of intermittent diarrhea followed by constipation. Avoid scented litter at all cost.

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PetSafe ScoopFree Premium Blue Crystal Litter, 2-Pack – Includes 2 Bags – Absorbs Odors 5x Faster than Clay Clumping – Low Tracking for Less Mess – Lasts up to a Month - Lightly Scented

While I’m not a fan because it still develops some dust and might be dangerous particularly for asthmatic cats, crystal litter is still the best choice around as it allows you to scoop the waste and continue using it for a couple of days — not to mention that it doesn’t make your cat leave traces everywhere on your floors.

When to See a Veterinarian for Cat Diarrhea

While many cases of cat diarrhea can be managed at home, there are situations where professional veterinary care is essential.

If your cat experiences severe or persistent diarrhea, shows signs of dehydration, or if diarrhea is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek veterinary assistance.

Vital Planet - Digest Cat Digestive Pancreatic Enzyme Blend with Pumpkin and Ginger to Support the Pancreas and Healthy Digestion with Pancreatin, Salmon Flavored Powder for Cats - 111 Grams 30 Scoops

In the case of cat diarrhea, it’s vital to remember that early intervention can prevent more severe health issues. Your vet can find the cause and recommend suitable treatment, diet adjustments, or medications.

Effects of Hairballs on Feline Digestive Health

Hairballs are a common occurrence in cats, and they can sometimes lead to digestive problems. Cats groom themselves regularly, ingesting loose hair that may form hairballs in their stomach.

Some cats may be more prone to this issue, particularly those with long fur.

Sherleys Beaphar 2 in 1 Cat Hairball Remedy 100G

To help prevent hairballs, consider a product like the Beaphar 2 in 1 Cat Hairball Remedy, which aids in the elimination of hairballs and eases the associated digestive discomfort.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Causes Diarrhea in Cats

Now, let’s address some common questions that cat owners have about diarrhea in cats:

What should I do if my cat has diarrhea?

If your cat experiences a short bout of diarrhea, you can monitor their condition. Ensure they stay hydrated, and if the problem persists or worsens, consult your veterinarian. If diarrhea is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, seek veterinary care promptly.

Can I feed my cat a bland diet to treat diarrhea?

Yes, you can feed your cat a bland diet like boiled chicken and rice to help settle their stomach. Gradually reintroduce their regular food after a day or two.

What are the signs of dehydration in cats with diarrhea?

Signs of dehydration range from dry mouth and sunken eyes to lethargy and loss of skin elasticity. If you suspect dehydration, consult your vet immediately.

Are there cat food options specifically designed for cats with diarrhea?

Yes, there are cat foods formulated for sensitive stomachs or digestive issues. These can help manage and prevent diarrhea. Consider products like Royal Canin Digest Sensitive Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Cat Food.

Comfort Zone Cat Calming Pheromone Diffuser: 60 Day Starter Kit (1 Diffuser & 2 Refills)

How can I prevent my cat from getting diarrhea from stress?

Minimize stressors in your cat’s environment and provide a safe, quiet space for them. Products like Comfort Zone Calming Diffuser Kit can help reduce stress-related digestive issues.

You might also like: How to stimulate bowel movement in cats

Final thoughts

We hope you find these resources helpful in your quest to ensure your cat enjoys the best possible digestive health. Your cat’s well-being is a top priority, and with the right knowledge and support, you can keep their tummy troubles at bay.

In closing, we thank you for your dedication to your feline friend’s health. By staying informed and proactive, you’re making a significant difference in their life. Here’s to many more days of joy and contentment with your beloved cat.

This post contains affiliate links on some of the images. You can support this blog by trying out the products recommended in this article. 

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Cristina is a licensed veterinarian who has been a cat owner since she was 12. She is passionate about giving useful advice to pet owners across the world. Her favorite topics range from pathology and novel therapies to infectious diseases and animal welfare. Her work has been featured in many online publications from The Pet Friendly House to Alpha Paw, Animal Wellness Magazine, and

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