Kitten Diarrhoea: Causes, Treatment & When to See a Vet
Read time: 3 min
There’s nothing worse than waking up to find a mess on the carpet. It’s not uncommon with cats and kittens – cat parents are no stranger to hairballs. But when the mess is from the other end, it’s not just frustrating. It’s also worrying.
Kittens having diarrhoea is concerning. And needs to be taken seriously. Read on to learn more about the most common causes of diarrhoea in kittens, when to be concerned, and when to take them to the vet.
Why does my kitten have diarrhoea?
While it’s normal for kitten poop to be a bit smaller than adult cats, loose or wet poop is considered diarrhoea. It’s important to tackle diarrhoea quickly. And any departure from a normal log shape is cause for concern.
There are many different causes of kitten diarrhoea. It could be because they picked up a parasite. Ate something they shouldn’t. Or a more serious illnesses. Which is why it should be taken seriously. Kittens’ little bodies can become dehydrated more rapidly than adults. Which can be life threatening.
Causes of runny poop in kittens: common triggers
Here are some everyday reasons your kitten’s stomach might be upset:
Cow’s milk – Lots of people think that cats can drink cow’s milk. While they will eagerly lap up a bowl of milk, it’s not good for them. Cats struggle to digest it. And it usually causes diarrhoea. Save yourself the clean-up and just avoid giving them dairy altogether. If you really want to give them some milk, pick up cat milk, which is formulated for cats..
Food allergies – Your kitten can get diarrhoea if they’re allergic to an ingredient in their food. Because commercial brands pack their food full of fillers like grains and carbs. Which cats can’t easily digest, so they can cause upset stomachs. Or they might have eaten something they shouldn’t. Like your beloved indoor plants.
Intestinal parasites – Parasites like roundworms, giardia or tapeworms can cause diarrhoea if left untreated. Make sure you keep on top of their worming and flea treatments.
Infections and viruses – Bacterial infections like salmonella or viruses like FIV can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in kittens.
Environmental stress – Cats are pretty susceptible to feeling stressed. And kittens are no different. But stress can cause diarrhoea in kittens and cats alike. Leaving their mother and siblings can be stressful. And so can finding their place in your family. Which can upset their stomachs.
Kitten poop colour and its meaning
If you’ve spotted some runny poop in the litter tray (and hopefully not on your carpet). Or if they’ve come in at night with a dirty, smelly bottom, it’s time to check the poop. Yeah, it’s pretty gross. But it’s important you know what the problem is. So you know how to treat it.
Normal kitten poop will be a range of brown shades. It should be firm but not dry or hard. And not too runny. Here are some things to look out for in their poop:
Red: Red blood in the stool usually indicates a problem with the lower intestine/colon or rectum.
Black: Black poop can indicate the presence of blood. Or issues like gastrointestinal disease..
Green: Unless your kitten has been chowing down on some grass, green stool is not normal.Brown with white flecks: If your kitten’s poop is a normal colour but has flecks of white, they might have intestinal worms.
For anything other than plain brown poop, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet.
Kitten has diarrhoea but acts normal: should you worry?
If your kitten has had acute diarrhoea – a one off episode, for example – but it’s a normal brown colour, they’re acting normally, you may wish to monitor for 24 hours. If the diarrhoea continues past 24 hours or if they start showing other symptoms like vomiting, go off their food, or have no energy, take a trip to the vet ASAP.
Dealing with a kitten’s loose stool
Yes, cats can get salmonella. Salmonella is a bacterial organism that causes an infection called salmonellosis. This type of digestive upset causes diarrhoea and vomiting. And can result in dehydration and weight loss.
To reduce the risk of your cat getting foodborne or waterborne illnesses, feed them a cooked meat diet like KatKin. And avoid feeding them raw meat or eggs.
What to do when your cat keeps throwing up but seems fine
Clean up any diarrhoea as quickly as possible. Not only can it smell terrible, but if they have an infection, virus, or worms, they can pass it on to other pets. It’s also just a hygiene risk. If they’re a bit messy and have a dirty bottom, give them a warm bath and dry them off well.
How to minimise the risk of diarrhoea in kittens: expert tips
Don’t be tempted to follow advice from the Internet. It could make your situation worse. Instead, if your kitten has had an upset stomach for more than 24 hours, it’s important to take them to the vet.
Take photos of their pop to show your vet. Or better yet, try to get a stool sample. Your vet will test their poop to help confirm a diagnosis.
Treatments for kitten diarrhoea
Depending on the diagnosis from your vet, diarrhoea treatment might include medication to kill parasites and fight infections. Your vet might even recommend trying cat-specific probiotics (good bacteria that can help balance the gut biome and aid digestion).
Home remedies for kitten diarrhoea
Prevention is the best thing you can do for your kitten. Because parasites are one of the most common causes of diarrhoea, make sure you stay up-to-date on your flea and worming treatments, especially if they’re outdoor cats. And regularly treat your other pets for fleas and worms.
Keeping them vaccinated will help protect them from common viruses. And will protect them from some nasty life-threatening illnesses too. Steer clear from any lactose products, like cow’s milk.
What to feed a kitten with diarrhoea
In the case that your kitten is still acting fine but has digestive upset, make sure you provide plenty of fresh water. Offer them small, frequent meals of something bland. Plain boiled chicken, our Cluck chicken recipe or cooked white fish are good options.
Keep an eye on them and if the diarrhoea continues after 24 hours, take them to the vet.
Feeding your kitten a good-quality, kitten-suitable food is one of the best ways to keep them happy and healthy. KatKin’s fresh cat food is suitable for cats of all ages. It’s made with 100% human-quality meat. (The good stuff.) And contains none of the ingredients – fillers, and preservatives – that can cause upset stomachs in other cat foods. Just gently cooked meat. So they can get back to living room parkour. And pouncing on your feet under the duvet.