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Cat diarrhoea: Why does my cat have diarrhoea?

 Cat diarrhoea: Why does my cat have diarrhoea?
by KatKin Team

Read time: 3 min

Cleaning up after our cats is just part of being a cat parent. Whether it’s picking up toys, fishing balls out from behind appliances, or cleaning the litter tray, it’s all just part of the deal. But among our least-favourite things to clean up is the poop. And when they have an upset stomach, it’s even worse. 

But upset stomachs happen. And it’s important to know how to handle them. Your cat might just need a day to settle their stomach. Or it could be a sign of something more sinister. It’s important to take diarrhoea in cats seriously. 

Causes of diarrhoea in cats

A cat’s digestive system can be sensitive. And there’re a number of different reasons why it might be upset. 

Common causes:

Some of the most common causes of cat diarrhoea can include:

  • A sudden change in diet.

  • Eating something they shouldn’t.

  • Worms.

  • Gut parasites such as giardia, cryptosporidium and tri trichomonas.

  • Pancreatitis.

Thankfully, most of these common causes have simple solutions and are easy to treat.

Less common causes of diarrhoea in cats:

But there are also some more uncommon causes of diarrhoea in cats like:

  • Gut infections such as Salmonella or Campylobacter.

  • Viruses such as Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV) , Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV), and Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP virus).

  • Poisoning/toxins.

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

  • A gut blockage.

  • Liver disease.

  • Kidney disease.

  • Cancer.

Many of these causes are serious and will need a vet’s help to treat. If you’re worried about your cat’s diarrhoea in any way, make sure you take them to the vet. 

Signs of diarrhoea in cats

There’s no doubt: you’ll notice if your indoor cat has an upset stomach. The evidence will be right there in the litter tray. (And hopefully not on your carpet.) But it can be harder to notice in cats that spend a lot of time outside. 

If you spot that your cat is asking to go outside a lot more often, excessively cleans their bottom, has a bloated tummy, or has a dirty and smelly bottom, they might have a bit of diarrhoea. 

When to contact your vet

If your cat has had an upset stomach for longer than 24 hours, you should call the vet. 

How serious is diarrhoea in cats?

Diarrhoea can be very serious. If their diarrhoea is severe and left untreated, it can cause dehydration and other health complications. Because their bodies are so small, these complications can happen quickly. Which is why you need to take it seriously.

Will my cat need antibiotics?

Unless caused by some kind of infection, diarrhoea is not treated with antibiotics. In fact, antibiotics can cause a bit of an upset stomach because they can throw the friendly gut bacteria out of balance. So if you spot a bit of an upset stomach after they’ve been on antibiotics, that’s probably why. 

Home care for cats with diarrhoea

For the first 24 hours, you might want to care for your cat at home in the hopes that their diarrhoea clears up on its own. If they don’t improve after 24 hours, book an appointment with your vet.

  • Feed them small, bland, frequent meals and monitor closely.

  • Plenty of water. Cats with diarrhoea often drink more to replace what they’re losing. Make sure your cat has easy, constant access to fresh water. And encourage them to drink throughout the day.

  • Rest. Your cat will probably be feeling pretty rubbish. And they might be sleeping more than usual. Let them rest to help them recover. But if they seem more lethargic than usual or if they aren’t acting like themselves, speak to your vet for advice.

  • Probiotics. You probably know this from all those yoghurt ads, but probiotics help to boost friendly gut bacteria and absorb toxins in the intestines. Don’t go feeding your cat a pot of yoghurt. The lactose isn’t good for them. And likely to make their stomach upset worse. But your vet might be able to prescribe some to add to their food to help with their diarrhoea.

  • Reintroduce their normal food slowly. Once your cat has started passing solid poop again, you can slowly start to serve their regular food. Try to reintroduce it over a couple of days and keep an eye on their litter tray.

My cat has diarrhoea. Should I stop them eating?

No, there’s no need to starve your cat. Instead, give them some bland food like plain boiled chicken or cooked white fish. 

How can I prevent my cat from getting diarrhoea?

It’s difficult to prevent diarrhoea completely because there are so many things that can upset your cat’s stomach. But there are some things to help minimise the risk. 

  • Feeding good quality, high-protein food (like KatKin) is a good start. Cats are obligate carnivores. Which means they need meat to thrive. And many commercial foods are stuffed with fillers, carbs, and preservatives that cats can’t easily digest. 

  • Stop them from eating toxic plants by putting them out of paw’s reach. And plant cat-friendly plants in your garden.

  •  Don’t feed them human food or scraps from the table. 

  • Severe or chronic diarrhoea should be treated by a vet ASAP. Treating the cause can stop stomach troubles.

Good, healthy cat poop should be a dark brown colour and will be fairly firm. Anything light brown or soft and squishy probably means they’re on the wrong kind of food. KatKin’s fresh cat food is made with 100% human-quality meat. This means it’s easily digestible. And is the optimal diet to keep your cat happy and healthy. And give them the energy to play and explore all day. 

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