What Causes Diarrhea in Cats?

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
Diarrhea in cats can signal a host of health or diet issues. To ensure your kitty gets the help she needs, here’s what you need to know about diarrhea in cats.

Your cat’s stool can reveal a lot about her health, so keeping an eye on what’s going on in the litter box could be helpful when it comes to keeping your kitty healthy and happy. One problem that you might notice is diarrhea.

What can cause diarrhea to occur? Below are a few of the many culprits that might be to blame, but keep in mind that if your pet is experiencing diarrhea that won’t go away, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian, who can examine your cat, diagnose the problem, and provide the appropriate treatment to help your furry friend feel better.

Related: Cat Vomiting Bile: A Cause for Concern?

A Change in Diet or a Food Allergy

Your cat’s diarrhea might be caused by a change in her diet. Have you switched to a different food recently? If the change was too abrupt, your pet’s body might not have had enough time to adjust, resulting in loose stools. For this reason, experts recommend slowly transitioning from one food to another over the course of several days, as doing so gives your cat’s body time to get used to the new food.

Also, if your kitty is allergic or has an intolerance to certain ingredients in her food, she might have diarrhea as a side effect. Working with your vet can help you figure out if there are any food allergies causing your pet’s digestive ailments. Eliminating those allergens might be all that you need to do to resolve the problem.

And it’s worth mentioning that a cat might have diarrhea if she ate something she wasn’t supposed to, so if you know there aren’t any allergens in her food and you haven’t switched her diet, consider whether or not she might’ve eaten something she shouldn’t have. Dairy products, for example, might lead to digestive upset, but toxic substances and foreign objects might also cause diarrhea.

Parasites or Infections

Parasites, worms, viral infections, and bacterial infections might also be the cause of diarrhea. Your vet can test your pet’s stool to see if any parasites or worms are present, and then provide the right treatment to get rid of them. In the same way, your vet can diagnose an infection and give you the correct medications to help your kitty’s body get back to a state of balance.

Medical Disorders

There are various medical disorders that can cause diarrhea as a symptom. These include, but are not limited to, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatic disease, hyperthyroidism, colitis, and cancer. For this reason, if your cat is having diarrhea frequently or it isn’t going away, it’s smart to have a chat with your vet to figure out the exact cause.

When to See the Vet

It’s wise to give your vet a call for advice if your cat has diarrhea that lasts more than one or two days, or if the diarrhea recurs.

Also, call the vet right away if other symptoms, such as loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, or sluggishness, are present along with the diarrhea.

And if the diarrhea is bloody or black, contact your vet right away to make an appointment for your cat.

Don’t Take It Lightly

Diarrhea in cats might only last for a short amount of time and resolve on its own, such as when it’s caused by stress, or it might point to a more serious underlying issue. No matter what, keep a close eye on your cat’s litter box to see if she’s having diarrhea. And if it’s happening frequently or for an extended period of time, be sure to make an appointment with your veterinarian to get answers.

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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