Key Takeaways

  • If you cat gets occasional diarrhea, then she probably ate or licked something she shouldn’t have
  • You might want to wipe your cat’s butt if she has diarrhea
  • If the runny stool lasts longer than 2 days, take your pet to a vet ‍⚕️

Why Does My Cat Have Diarrhea? Possible Causes of Diarrhea in Cats

Why Does My Cat Have Diarrhea Possible Causes of Diarrhea in Cats

The first question we’ll answer is “Why does my cat have diarrhea?”. There are many potential causes of runny stools in cats. Below, we’ll list some of the most common ones, and what to do if you suspect they apply to your cat.

Infection

Viruses, bacteria, and parasites can all cause runny stools. The most common viral infection that leads to diarrhea is panleukopenia, also known as feline distemper. However, cats are routinely vaccinated against this disease. Other symptoms (high fever, depression) are much more serious than diarrhea alone, so it’s unlikely to be the cause in most cases.

More common are bacterial infections such as salmonella and campylobacter. These are typically food-borne illnesses, and can affect both cats and humans. The best way to prevent them is to practice good hygiene when handling food, and to make sure your cat’s food is fresh and free of contaminants.

Finally, intestinal parasites such as Giardia can also cause diarrhea. These are usually contracted from contaminated water, and they can come back if eggs are still around, so it’s important to keep your cat’s environment and litter box clean. Your veterinarian can recommend a deworming treatment after analyzing their feces.

Dietary Issues

Why does my cat have diarrhea if my veterinarian has ruled out infection? If your cat has recently started eating a new food, or if you’ve changed their diet in any way, that could be the cause. Cats are creatures of habit, and their digestive systems can be sensitive to change. In these cases, diarrhea may be accompanied by a loss of appetite.

If you’ve made a change to your cat’s diet, try switching back to their old food and see if that helps. You could also try to wait it out if the diarrhea isn’t too severe – sometimes it just takes a little time for their system to adjust. When in doubt, call your veterinarian for advice.

They’ve Eaten Something They Shouldn’t Have

Cats are curious creatures, and they like to put their mouths on everything. Unfortunately, this means they sometimes eat things they shouldn’t. If your cat has been known to nibble on plants or other objects around the house, it’s possible they’ve ingested something that’s upset their stomach.

This might have been milk left in a bowl after breakfast, or a plant that’s poisonous to cats. If you’re not sure what they ate, bring them to the vet and let them know what you think has happened. Your cat might need to be treated for poisoning.

Editor’s Note

When it comes to my cat, I’ve noticed she gets a runny stool soon after she sneaks to the pan to lick the oil. When I don’t manage to catch her, I have quite a stinky problem in the litter box. But, you can use that to your advantage. If your kitty is constipated, half a teaspoon of oil (sunflower, rapeseed or olive oil) should help her go for a number 2.

Stress

Cats are prone to stress, and it can have a significant impact on their health. Stress can cause a variety of digestive issues, including diarrhea. If your cat seems particularly anxious or stressed, that could be the root of the problem.

There are a number of things you can do to help your cat feel less stressed. Try creating a cozy space for them with their favorite toys, or providing them with a scratching post to help them relieve some tension. You might also want to try using a pheromone diffuser, which can help to calm them down.

Medical Conditions

There are a number of gastrointestinal conditions that can cause loose stools in cats. Some of the most common are inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, and pancreatitis. These conditions can be serious, so it’s important to take your cat to the vet if you suspect they might have one.

In some cases, diarrhea can also be a symptom of cancer. If your cat has persistent diarrhea, or if it is accompanied by weight loss, vomiting, or other symptoms, it’s important to have them seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. “Why does my cat have diarrhea?” is one question, but vomiting and weight loss are a whole different story.

Food Allergies

Cats can be allergic to a variety of things, including certain foods. If your cat has food allergies, they may experience watery stools after eating something they’re allergic to. The best way to determine if your cat has food allergies is to work with a veterinarian. They’ll likely recommend doing an elimination diet, which involves slowly removing potential allergens from your pet’s diet one at a time.

cat diarrhea infographic

How to Treat Diarrhea in Cats and Kittens?

How to Treat Diarrhea in Cats and Kittens

If your cat has diarrhea, there are a few things you can do to help them feel better. First, make sure they have access to plenty of fresh water. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, so it’s important to keep them hydrated.

You can also try feeding them small meals of boiled chicken or other bland food. Probiotics added to their cat food are also a good idea. Avoid giving them dairy or other high-fat foods, as these can make the diarrhea worse. Never use human medication to treat diarrhea in cats, as it can be dangerous.

If the problem is severe, lasts for more than a day, or is accompanied by vomiting, weight loss, or other symptoms, it’s important to take your cat to the veterinary clinic. They may need to be treated with medication or fluids.

Cat Diarrhea Is Best Treated by Veterinarians

Cat Diarrhea Is Best Treated by Veterinarians

In most cases, diarrhea is not a serious problem and will resolve on its own. However, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and take your cat to the vet if you’re concerned. They can help to rule out any underlying medical conditions and make sure your pet is on the road to recovery.

If you have more questions similar to “Why does my cat have diarrhea?”, please consult your veterinarian. They will be able to give you the best advice for your cat’s individual case.

Diarrhea is not the only unusual pooping issue. Some cats also tend to poop outside the litter box. Why? Find out here!

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Do If My Cat Has Diarrhea?

If your cat has diarrhea, it is important to take steps to ensure they are comfortable and healthy. First, provide plenty of fresh, clean water to keep them hydrated. Additionally, adding pet probiotics to their diet can help support digestive health. You should also monitor your cat’s behavior and stool for any alarming changes. If the diarrhea persists or seems accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting or lethargy, it is best to consult a vet immediately.

Will Cat Diarrhea Go Away On Its Own?

In most cases, cat diarrhea will go away on its own after a day or two. However, if the symptoms persist longer than two days, then your cat will need medical intervention. 

What Foods Give Cats Diarrhea?

Cats can suffer from diarrhea if they are fed fatty foods, oils, excessively large amounts of broccoli and beans. Too much fat in the diet is known to cause gastrointestinal upset in cats, and over-consumption of dietary fiber found in vegetables such as broccoli and beans can also lead to digestive problems.