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Cat diarrhea: what causes it and what to use for feline diarrhea?

You know diarrhea in a cat can cause serious illness? This symptom should never be underestimated as it can lead to the death of the animal.

Diarrhea in a cat

A cat that has diarrhea can become dehydrated quickly, especially if it is a young kitten. This weakens his body, making him unable to fight the disease.

If your cat has had diarrhea for a long time, contact your vet as soon as possible.

The longer it lasts, the less chance your pet will recover.

In this article you will find out which means cat diarrhea and what to give for cat diarrhea.

  • What is cat diarrhea?
  • What causes diarrhea in a cat?
  • Feline coronavirus infection
  • FPV feline panleukopenia
  • Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
  • Bacterial infections
    • Campylobacter
    • Clostridium
    • E.coli and Salmonella
  • Round worms
  • Protozoal infections
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Tumors
  • Mixed disorders
    • Diarrhea in a cat after an antibiotic
    • Plants poisonous to the cat
    • Diarrhea after vaccination
    • Diarrhea in a cat from stress
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Cat Diarrhea and Diet
    • Diarrhea after changing cat food
    • Overfeeding
    • Food intolerances
  • Triaditis
  • Diagnostics
    • Blood test: what indicators to look for?
    • Ultrasound examination
    • Cat feces examination
  • Cat diarrhea: what to give?
  • Treatment of cat diarrhea
  • Food for cats with diarrhea

What is cat diarrhea?

What does diarrhea mean in a cat?

Cat diarrhea is a clinical symptom, not a disease.

It is characterized by an increased frequency of bowel movements or an increased amount of stool.

Such faeces are of a liquid or semi-liquid consistency and unformed.

Diarrhea may be accompanied by a state of general weakness, fever or cramping abdominal pain.

This symptom continues up to 14 days is referred to as acute diarrhea, but the persistence of disease symptoms over 4 weeks, is referred to as chronic diarrhea.

Cat's diarrhea can take a different nature:

It can be watery, gushing like e.g. in case of lamblia, contain admixtures of blood with mucus in case of worming or be dark, tarry, which indicates bleeding in the upper layers of the digestive tract.

Acute diarrhea is a common clinical problem, the severity of which depends directly on its cause.

The condition is often self-limiting and may or may not require treatment.

In the case of the animal's weakness, persistent diarrhea over 2 days and apparent dehydration of the animal, it is necessary to introduce therapeutic therapy.

What causes diarrhea in a cat?

What causes diarrhea in a cat?

There can be many causes of cat diarrhea, we can observe it in various diseases.

Remember that additional research is often required to determine them.

Causes related to the digestive system:

  1. Viral:
    • Feline panleukopenia.
    • Feline enteric coronavirus.
    • Related to FIV or FeLV.
  2. Bacterial:
    • Salmonella.
    • Campylobacter.
    • Clostridium.
    • Yersinia.
    • The eneterotoxic strain of E. Cola.
    • Bacterial peritonitis.
  3. Round worms:
    • Trichuris vulpis.
    • Ancylostoma / Uncinaria.
    • Strongyloides.
    • Toxocara / Toxocaris.
  4. Protozoa:
    • Giardia (Lamblia).
    • Cryptosporidium.
    • Coccidia.
    • Entamoeba.
  5. Other infectious agents:
    • Neorickettsia (salmon poisoning).
    • Histoplasma (usually chronic).
    • Prothoteca (usually chronically).
  6. Other reasons:
    • Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis.
    • Ingestion of rubbish / foreign body.
    • Cat diarrhea can occur after changing food, for example, from wet to dry food.
    • Partial obstruction.
    • Peritonitis.
    • Idiopathic enteritis (IBD).
    • Tumors.
    • Food intolerance.
    • We observe cat diarrhea after overeating.

Reasons not related to the digestive system:

  1. Diseases of the liver and biliary tract.
  2. Acute pancreatitis.
  3. Kidney disease.
  4. Hormonal disorders:
    • Adrenal insufficiency.
    • Overactive thyroid gland.
  5. Mixed disorders:
    • Anxieties.
    • Post-vaccination.
    • Toxins.
    • Behavioral disorders and stress.

Feline coronavirus infection

Cat diarrhea may be a symptom of viral infection

Feline coronavirus infection may occur in a transient form, dominated by mild diarrhea and infectious peritonitis (FIP).

The disseminated form is caused by a mutation of the coronavirus.

In most cases, the intestinal infection presents as mild, transient diarrhea accompanied by vomiting, and is usually resolved with symptomatic treatment.

Unfortunately, if you develop FIP, the treatment is maintenance therapy, as no cure for the disease has yet been invented

Fip in an 8-month-old cat - symptoms of anemia, weight loss, changes in the eyeball | source: wikipedia

You can see what a FIP cat looks like in the video below

FIP bengal
Watch this video on YouTube

FPV feline panleukopenia

Panleukopenia in a cat is caused by a very resistant to environmental conditions feline parvovirus.

Most clinical signs appear in unvaccinated kittens between 3 and 5 months of age.

Felv virus | source: wikipedia

The main symptoms are:

  • vomiting,
  • dehydration,
  • bloody diarrhea,
  • fever,
  • depression.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

In this case, diarrhea varies in nature and appearance, as it is the result of secondary infections with intestinal viruses, bacterial and fungal infections associated with decreased immunity.

Intensive symptomatic treatment can relieve symptoms, but the long-term prognosis is poor.

Bacterial infections

The small intestine is properly inhabited by a limited number of diverse bacteria.

Often, bacteria that can lead to diarrhea are also isolated from healthy individuals.

In the case of abnormal growth of the bacterial flora, diarrhea of ​​various types may appear.


Campylobacter | source: wikipedia

Diarrhea in Campylobacter infection may be mild, with occasional passing of stools, moderate or severe, with watery and bloody stools or mucus.

Disease symptoms may appear suddenly in stressful situations like for example. a trip or a visit to the doctor.


Another bacterium that can cause diarrhea in cats is Clostridium spp.

Clostridium | source: wikipedia

This bacterium has the ability to produce an intestinal toxin, the accumulation of which in the body leads to the development of haemorrhagic enteritis, acute and chronic diarrhea from the small intestine or the large intestine.

Such diarrhea is common gushing out and smelly.

E.coli and Salmonella

Salmonella | source: wikipedia

As for the bacteria E.coli and Salmonella bacteria are widespread in animals, but rarely lead to the development of disease symptoms.

At the same time, animals are rarely a source of human infection.

When symptoms occur in animals, the most commonly observed are:

  • vomiting in a cat,
  • watery diarrhea,
  • weight loss,
  • loss of appetite.

Round worms

In cats nematodes they are probably the most common cause of gastrointestinal diseases.

They cause the excretion of pathological faeces, which may or may not be diarrhea.

Such faeces may be semi-fluid, loose, or with a lot of mucus and blood.

Protozoal infections

The most common protozoan in cats is Giardia duodenalis.

It causes acute or chronic gushing, watery diarrhea with abdominal pain, dehydration and weight loss.

Be aware that animals are infected lamblia, they can also be a source of human infection.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Deadline inflammatory bowel disease is used in canine and feline gastroenterology to identify persistent or recurrent gastrointestinal symptoms.

By IBD bowel disease histologically, the presence of inflammatory infiltrates in the intestinal mucosa, but the cause of the ongoing inflammatory process cannot be identified.

It seems that IBD is not a single disease entity, but is in fact a group of diseases because it is characterized by variability in the histological picture.

Symptoms of IBD vary from normal diarrhea to bloody, tarry, voluminous stool diarrhea, along with gastritis or ulcerative colitis.

Additionally there are:

  • weight loss,
  • altered appetite,
  • distorted appetite,
  • abdominal pain.


Lymphoma is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the most common cancer of the gastrointestinal tract.

Regardless of the grade, clinical symptoms of lymphomas include:

  • weight loss,
  • lack of appetite,
  • vomiting in a cat,
  • diarrhea in a cat,
  • increased thirst,
  • polyuria.

Importantly, vomiting and diarrhea in sick cats are very low or nonexistent, so in the case of diagnosis of the disease, additional tests such as e.g. biopsy under control Ultrasound.

Mixed disorders

Diarrhea in a cat after an antibiotic

Long-term antibiotic therapy it leads to a reduction of the bacterial flora in the intestines, both good and bad.

This leads to disturbances in digestion and absorption, which may cause diarrhea.

Therefore, in the case of antibiotic therapy, the simultaneous use is always recommended probiotics.

There are many over-the-counter human preparations with probiotics available in pharmacies, e.g. Trilac, Lactic.

You can also buy probiotics for animals. It is worth considering, because the bacterial flora of cats is different from ours.

Plants poisonous to the cat

The toxins our cats are most often exposed to are plant origin.

Some potted plants commonly found in our homes contain highly toxic substances.

Consumption of a plant poisonous to a cat can cause this bloody gastritis, intestines, kidney damage and liver.

Plants poisonous to the cat: dracaena

In their clinical picture, these poisonings, apart from vomiting, may also have diarrhea of ​​a different appearance.

Down poisonous plants for cats include, among others:

  • amaryllis,
  • dracaena,
  • aloe,
  • star of Bethlehem.

Diarrhea after vaccination

Cat diarrhea is less commonly seen as a side effect prophylactic vaccination.

Diarrhea in a cat from stress

More often you can meet background diarrhea behavioral disorder.

Stress situations of the type transport, visit the doctor or new pet at home cause increased intestinal peristalsis, which is manifested by more frequent defecation of loose consistency.

Hormonal disorders

The most common hormonal disorder in cats is overactive thyroid gland.

This disease affects older cats, over 10 years of age.

The diarrhea may be normal smelling and colored stools, but contains more liquid than solid content.

This is due to an increased metabolism in a cat with an overactive thyroid gland, which translates into increased intestinal peristalsis.

Often, such cats lose weight with persistent or increased appetite.

Cat Diarrhea and Diet

When you consider all the factors that cause diarrhea in cats, it is by far the most common cause of diarrhea dietary mistakes.

Diarrhea after changing cat food

Diarrhea in a cat after changing food

One of the most common causes of diarrhea in cats is when they suddenly change their food.

Contrary to appearances, a poorly diversified diet has a positive effect on their digestive system.

Changing food from day to day causes gastric disorders of the nature of poor digestion, absorption, accelerated peristaltics, which in total translates into the occurrence of diarrhea.


We can get a similar picture in the case of uncontrolled food intake by an animal.

Overeating, eating spoiled food also negatively affects the digestive process.

Food intolerances

Cats also have an adverse reaction to food - allergy and food intolerance.

Adverse food reactions are potential causes of various gastrointestinal symptoms, so it is important to recognize adverse reactions following food consumption.

As with humans, an occurrence is often observed diarrhea in a cat after milk.

Due to the lack of the lactase enzyme, lactose contained in milk is not digested in the gastrointestinal tract, but is fermented, as a result of which the pH in the intestines changes, the development of abnormal bacterial flora, which ultimately leads to diarrhea.

From a practical point of view, food allergy and intolerance can be caused by the same food components, and their clinical symptoms, differential diagnosis and treatment methods are very similar and not always easily distinguishable.


The cause of diarrhea in cats, which is not infectious in nature, is the so-called. triaditis.

Is it acute pancreatitis, which in cats is often found together with IBD and inflammation of the bile ducts.

It is assumed that this relationship is due to the fact that in cats the pancreatic duct enters the common bile duct earlier than its exit to the duodenum.

The clinical symptoms of this condition can be highly variable and non-specific:

  • fever,
  • vomiting,
  • sometimes jaundice,
  • pain in the abdomen,
  • diarrhea of ​​varying severity.

In diagnostics acute pancreatitis additional research is very useful, such as blood test, quick diagnostic tests and Ultrasound.

Despite popular belief, diarrhea can turn into a very serious problem.

In the absence of intervention, diarrhea leads to severe dehydration and the weakening of the animal.

It is observed apathy and acid-base imbalance, electrolyte, from what it can develop acidosis.

The time it takes for a violent disturbance to occur varies.

It depends on the size of the animal, age (kittens are the most vulnerable), and accompanying symptoms.

Acute diarrhea quickly leads to dehydration (even within 2-3 days), while chronic diarrhea usually causes weight loss in the animal with persistent appetite.


A number of tests and additional tests are used in the diagnosis of diarrhea.

Diagnostics of feline diarrhea

Blood test: what indicators to look for?

First-line research is morphology and blood biochemistry.

The morphology will allow us to determine whether the body is running inflammatory process and based on the number of eosinophils, we will be able to exclude or confirm allergies or also parasites.

Assessing values ​​such as: number of erythrocytes, hematocrit and hemoglobin we get a picture of the animal's hydration status.

Biochemistry defines a number enzymes both liver, pancreas and kidneys.

An increase in any of the above organ enzymes indicates a disease process taking place in their area.

AST and ALT are specific enzymes whose growth is characteristic of liver damage.

Increase AP may be related to the pathology of the bones, intestines, liver and stomach.

Gastric disorders may also be associated with elevated kidney parameters: urea and creatinine, which high levels lead to generalized uremia.

Additionally, the specification of the level total protein in the body reflects the clinical state of the body, since diarrhea often leads to a loss of protein (so-called. proteinaceous enteropathy).

The drawn blood can also be used to perform other rapid diagnostic tests.

The test is such a quick test fPLI, which determines serum reactive lipase level.

This test is not specific for the pancreas itself, so it must be supported by ultrasound and examination lipases and amylases.

Ultrasound examination

Ultrasound examination in the course of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, it is a highly valued study because it gives us a subjective picture of the clinical state.

It allows you to visualize the changes taking place in the abdominal cavity, both pancreatitis, intussusception, and often allows us to determine the cause of diarrhea.

Sometimes, however, on the basis of the ultrasound alone, we are not able to make a diagnosis, so in this case the ultrasound must be supported by a biopsy of the lesion or an endoscopic examination.

These tests allow the veterinarian to directly assess the organ, as well as to take specimens for histopathological examinations in the direction of cancer diagnostics at the same time.

Cat feces examination

Faeces may be another diagnostically valuable material for research.

By flotation, the faeces can be tested for presence intestinal parasites, laboratory methods can test for Lamblia infection.

You can also make smear or fecal culture for the presence of pathological ones bacteria.

Stool solution, or a handpiece swab, can be used to perform a quick diagnostic test in the direction of feline panecopenia.

We get the result in a few minutes, thanks to which, if the result is positive, we can quickly introduce intensive treatment.

Cat diarrhea: what to give?

What to give for cat diarrhea?

Are there any home remedies for cat diarrhea? For diarrhea in a cat, we can give it to the animal activated charcoal or smecta for drinking, as well as probiotics available at the pharmacy.

For cat diarrhea, it is not recommended to administer human preparations such as nifuroxazide without consulting a veterinarian, due to the large difference in the concentration of the active substance in the medicinal preparation.

Treatment of cat diarrhea

When the diarrhea does not subside after fasting, you should go to the veterinarian who, after examining the animal and after a thorough interview, will initiate treatment, recommend additional tests to determine the cause of the diarrhea.

First-line treatment is administering drips.

The amount, type and manner of fluid administration depend on the clinical condition of the animal and its size.

Such a fluid can be enriched with protein, amino acids or vitamins, however, any decision regarding the administration of drugs must be preceded by a careful examination of the animal.

Food for cats with diarrhea

Food for cats with diarrhea

If the animal's clinical condition is stabilized, the appetite returns, and the appearance of the faeces has improved, it is recommended to introduce easily digestible food.

Easily digestible food prepared at home includes boiled rice with chicken and carrots, served in small portions, and more often.

If the owner prefers to use commercial cat food, food from different producers can be used gastrointestinal, intestinal or gastrointestinal low fat.

The latter is most often targeted at cats with pancreatic diseases, because this food has a limited fat content.

Due to the fact that diarrhea has a different background, when choosing a diet, pay attention to the parameters of other organs.

In case of liver damage feed is recommended hepatic, while in the case of kidney damage, feed is used renal.


Diarrhea they are commonly found in all animals.

The age of the animal should be taken into account in the clinical examination as it causes feline diarrhea may be related to the age of the animal.

Diarrhea is most often caused by diarrhea in kittens and young cats parasites both protozoa and roundworms. Cat diarrhea can also occur after deworming.

Recently, panleukopenia has been increasingly diagnosed as the cause of diarrhea and FIP.

In adult cats, diarrhea is most often caused by:

  • dietary mistakes,
  • triaditis,
  • lymphoma,
  • IBD,
  • food intolerance.

In geriatric feline patients, diarrhea is observed as a secondary symptom against the background of:

  • overactive thyroid gland,
  • lymphoma,
  • kidney failure ,
  • FiV infection,
  • FeLV infection

Taking into account the wide etiology of diarrhea, each case should be treated separately.

Remember that ignoring this symptom may lead to further weakening of the body and more difficult therapy.

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