Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Diarrhea in Cats: Common Causes & When It's Serious

Diarrhea can be one of the messiest and most distressing symptoms for a cat parent to encounter in their feline friend. In this blog post, our vets in Tracy delve into the common causes of diarrhea in cats and how to recognize when this condition becomes serious.

If your cat has diarrhea, chances are you want to figure out why and help them recover from this distressing symptom as quickly as possible. Below are some of the most common reasons why your cat may have diarrhea and when it's time to bring them to see your vet.

Diarrhea in Cats

Mild bouts of diarrhea can be quite common in our feline friends and may be caused by mild intestinal distress caused by our kitty either eating something that doesn't agree with them such as table scraps, or just from the act of switching to a new brand or flavor of food.

With that being said, there are also a number of more serious health conditions that may be contributing to your cat suffering from diarrhea. 

What causes diarrhea in pets?

Below are some of the most common reasons for cat diarrhea:

  • Colitis
  • Parasites
  • Viral infection
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Change in diet or treats
  • Eating garbage or spoiled food
  • Ingesting toxins or poisons
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Bacterial infections
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Medications such as antibiotics
  • Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys and fabric

However, how do you know whether or not your cat's diarrhea will require a visit to your veterinarian? When is it serious enough to warrant medical attention?

How to Stop Chronic & Acute Diarrhea in Cats

Human medications can be very dangerous for cats and should never be given to them unless explicitly told to do so by your vet.

When it comes to your kitty's health it is always best to err on the side of caution. By taking your feline friend to the vet for an examination you allow your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of your cat's diarrhea and recommend the most effective treatment. 

That said, your vet's primary focus will be on addressing the underlying cause of your kitty's diarrhea. Once your cat has received a diagnosis treatment can begin to address the problem rather than the symptom.

Of course, your priority is likely to be stopping the mess. To address your cat's diarrhea, your vet may prescribe a kaolin-pectin anti-diarrheal medication or another suitable drug, as well as recommend one or more of the strategies below.

Other things to consider when considering how to treat diarrhea in cats:

  • Changing Your Cat's Diet - Changing your cat's food may help to rectify the issue. If you have recently changed your cat's food go back to serving the food you gave them previously. If you haven't changed your cat's food recently try switching to a gentle GI food for a couple of days or switching your kitty over to a hypoallergenic or low-antigen diet.
  • Supplement Your Cat's Diet With Probiotics - Probiotics may be recommended as a dietary supplement for your cat, to address the balance of microbiome and reduce GI upset.
  • Increase the Amount of Fiber in Your Cat's Diet - Increase the fiber intake of your feline friends by trying them on a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet that includes foods such as potatoes or rice mixed with chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, or yogurt. 

When should you contact your vet about diarrhea in cats?

If your pet experiences a single episode of diarrhea but is otherwise behaving normally, it's likely not a cause for concern. Monitor your pet's bowel movements to observe any improvements. However, if your cat has more than 2 episodes in quick succession, it may indicate an issue, so it's advisable to contact your veterinarian.

If your pet appears to strain while passing stool but only produces small amounts of watery diarrhea, they might be experiencing a painful blockage from ingesting a foreign object such as a toy. This poses a serious concern and requires urgent veterinary attention. Contact your vet immediately or proceed to the nearest emergency animal hospital for care.

Recurring diarrhea over a short period is likely alarming and could signal a more serious underlying health issue. This is especially true for very old, young, or immunocompromised pets. Some of these infections can be severe, contagious, or life-threatening. Promptly contact your vet if your pet experiences repeated bouts of diarrhea.

A vet should promptly examine pets showing additional symptoms alongside diarrhea. If your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms, contact your vet immediately to schedule an appointment:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Blood in stool
  • Unusual drooling
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)

If your cat is showing symptoms that are causing you concern, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet will let you know whether or not your cat's symptoms indicate that examination and treatment are necessary.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat experiencing diarrhea? Reach out to our veterinarians in Tracy today to schedule an examination for your beloved pet. We're here to assist you and your cat during this uncomfortable situation.

Caring for Pets in Tracy

Paws & Claws Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

(209) 832-4444 Contact