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What is Diarrhea?

It is important to discover the underlying cause of your cat's diarrhea and treat it accordingly to prevent your cat from becoming dehydrated. If the diarrhea lasts for more than two days, you should have your cat examined by your veterinarian.

Diarrhea can occur in both indoor and outdoor cats as well as cats of all ages. It is critical that you seek prompt treatment for your cat's diarrhea if your pet displays other signs of illness like dehydration, weight loss, or pain. You should avoid using home remedies for severe cases of diarrhea unless recommended by your veterinarian.

Diarrhea in cats is a condition that is hallmarked by loose or liquid stools. It may be caused by something as mild as a dietary change or something as serious as cancer or a parasitical infection.

Symptoms of Diarrhea in Cats

Cats that are suffering from diarrhea may exhibit symptoms like:

  • Loose or liquid bowel movements
  • Increased flatulence
  • Straining while defecating
  • Blood or mucus in feces
  • Dehydration
  • Decreased appetite


Diarrhea in cats can be either mild or severe. Mild diarrhea generally resolves itself in one or two days' time. However, severe cases of feline diarrhea typically lasts longer than two days and can be accompanied by symptoms that include:

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Increased urgency to use the litter box
  • Meowing or crying in pain

If your cat displays any of the symptoms of severe diarrhea, you should have it examined immediately by your veterinarian.

Causes of Diarrhea in Cats

A variety of factors can lead to mild or severe diarrhea in cats. Mild feline diarrhea may be caused by:

  • Dietary changes
  • Intolerance to certain foods
  • Eating spoiled food
  • Food allergies
  • Medication side effects

Severe cases of diarrhea in cats may be caused by more serious health complications or underlying conditions like:

  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Parasites like roundworms, coccidia, or Giardia
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer or tumors in the digestive tract
  • Colitis
  • Hyperthyroidism

Feline diarrhea that is caused by underlying health conditions or illnesses generally will not resolve itself. It may worsen and cause your cat to decline rapidly without proper veterinary care.

Diagnosis of Diarrhea in Cats

Your veterinarian may conduct a variety of tests to determine why your cat is suffering from diarrhea. The most common test involves taking a stool sample from your cat. The stool is then sent to the laboratory to be tested for infections, parasites, and other common feline diarrhea causes.

If your vet suspects that your cat could suffer from an underlying condition, he or she may perform tests like:

  • Cultures
  • Radiographs
  • Endoscopy
  • Ultrasound
  • Biopsy

The results of these tests will help your veterinarian diagnose the cause of your cat's diarrhea and determine the best treatment for it. 

Treatment of Diarrhea in Cats

Depending on the outcome of these diagnostic tests, your cat's diarrhea may be treated in several different ways. Mild cases of diarrhea or those caused by less serious factors like allergic reactions may be treated with a change in your cat's dry or moist food, restricted diet, or antibiotics for bacterial infections.

Diarrhea that is caused by more serious factors may require more extensive intervention before your cat can recover successfully. Your vet may prescribe antifungal or antiparasitic medications to kill parasites like roundworms. Diarrhea that is caused by cancer, tumors, or kidney or liver disease may require that your cat undergoes surgery and remain hospitalized until its health improves.

Recovery of Diarrhea in Cats

As your cat recovers from diarrhea, it is important that you take the necessary steps at home to ensure its health. You should follow the advice of and maintain contact with your veterinarian so that your cat avoids falling ill with diarrhea in the future.

If your vet recommends that you change your cat's diet, for example, it is important that you remove the food that caused the illness in the first place. Your vet may sell the recommended food for your cat in his or her office or animal hospital.

You also should keep your pet's litter box cleaned out, provide fresh water and food, and sweep and mop around the cat's feeding area regularly. These simple precautions can keep away parasites, viruses, and bacteria that cause diarrhea in cats. 

If your cat has undergone surgery or suffers from a serious underlying condition like liver disease or cancer, it is important that you give your cat's prescribed medications as recommended by your vet. You should also follow up with veterinary care as necessary to keep your cat comfortable and hydrated.

Diarrhea Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

2 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Loose Bowel Movements

Medication Used


My 2 year old cat has been having loose stools (not watery) for the past 2 weeks. We went to the vet on his 6th day of symptoms, and was told he was fine. They gave him a B12 shot, fluids and Metronidazole. The stool culture came back negative. My cat really didn't take to the metronidazole well, so I stopped giving it to him.

Hes eating, drinking, playing and active. Normal urine output. No weight loss signficantly. The loose stool is just not resolving. What can I do at this point?

There is this nearly 4 to 5 month old stray kitten that i feed often ,she has been sick for a while now , she doesn't eat anything and meows for hours , today i discovered that she has diarrhea, i don't know what to do , there aren't any veterinaries in our town , we don't have animal rescue teams , is there anything , that i can do to help her , please .

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10 Weeks
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

3 or more Loose stools
3 or more Loose stools wit
Frequent 3 or more Loose stools wit

10 week old kitten has soft stools not watery and noticed some Diorrhea around kittens anal passage. Passing stools more than 3 times last few days. Eyes seem watery but apart from that has been acting and eating as normal. Not sure what I should do next? How hungry will my kitten be By removing all food for 12-24 hours?

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4 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Loose Bowel Movements

My nearly 4 month old kitten has had mushy, light brown stools—(mashed potato consistency)texture but no shape— for 3 days now. They aren’t liquid, but still too soft. Not a ton of odor. Still very active and playful, eating and drinking great, and doesn’t appear dehydrated (using skin test). Has gained 6 oz in 3 days (so has my other healthy kitten), so no weight loss. No other symptoms. He was on wet food only for the first days we brought him home, then a wet/dry combination (Wet food in the morning, dry food in the evening), and the past several days he’s been on dry food only.
Could this be food intolerance to the dry food? Eating too much?
He did have deworming treatment (possibly prophylactic?) at the shelter before I adopted him, and he been on flea prevention.

my cat is 11yrs old. for two yrs she has been eating like a horse and drinking a lot.
she has diarrhea and clusters of scabby bump on her face and head also her body. Help...

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18 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Soft stools weight loss

I have a lactating queen, 4 kittens 6 weeks old and still nursing, mum cat is eating and drinking 3 times usual amount but has no weight on her since nursing and her faeces are part loose and part almost diarrhoea,noticed a few air bubbles in the sloppy part. Seems bright but still cleaning the kittens poop majority of time,kittens 40food/60milk weaned but enjoy her milk much more. Mum is on stronghold. Is weightloss and loose stools normal for lactating queens?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
Lola should be able to maintain her weight while nursing, unless she was underweight to begin with. There are many parasites that can cause problems in pregnant and nursing cats, and it might be a good idea to have a fecal sample checked by your veterinarian to make sure that isn't a factor. If she continues to lose weight and have soft stools, it would be best to have her seen.

My 3-month old kitten has been having a diarrhea for 4 days now. But she's very playful and drinks plenty of water and eats a lot of food. Just tonight,i found out that her feces has some red in color. And i'm so worried now. I took her to the vet before but the vet only recommended orasol.

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