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What To Feed a Cat With Diarrhea



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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When it comes to our feline friends, diarrhea can be a real problem. Unfortunately, cats with this condition often require special diets that can be hard to find and costly.

In this blog post, we’ll be discussing what to feed cats with diarrhea so that they can get the nutrition and hydration they need while recovering from their illness.

We’ll also provide tips on how to make sure they stay hydrated and get the best nutrition possible while recovering.

By following these tips, cats with diarrhea can get the nutrients and hydration they need while they recover from their illness.

Key Takeaway

  • Feed your cat a bland diet, such as boiled chicken or white fish combined with rice or pumpkin, which can help soothe the digestive system and firm up the stool.
  • Diarrhea in cats is a condition characterized by loose or liquid bowel movements, often frequent and with increased volume, which can be caused by a variety of factors including dietary changes, infection, or underlying health conditions.
  • You should not feed your cat rich or fatty foods like turkey, ham, or other meats high in fat as these can cause digestive stress and exacerbate diarrhea.

What is Diarrhea in Cats?

Diarrhea in cats is characterized by frequent loose or liquid bowel movements that can be a symptom of various underlying health issues.

Diarrhea in cats is not a disease in itself, but rather a symptom of other conditions.

It occurs when food moves too quickly through the cat’s digestive tract, resulting in poor absorption of nutrients and excess water being left in the stool.

This leads to frequent, watery bowel movements. Diarrhea can be acute, meaning it comes on suddenly and lasts for a short period, or chronic, persisting over several weeks or more.

What To Feed a Cat With Diarrhea

FoodsFrequency of FeedingWhy it’s Good
Boiled chicken or turkeySmall portions 4-6 times a dayEasily digestible lean protein that can help soothe the digestive system
White riceMix with boiled chicken or turkey in a ratio of 2:1 (meat: rice) and feed 4-6 times a dayGentle on the stomach, helps bind stool, and is a good source of energy
Pumpkin1-2 teaspoons per meal, mixed with regular cat foodHigh in fiber, which can help firm up loose stools
Probiotic supplementsAs recommended by your vetCan restore healthy gut bacteria and aid digestion
Prescription diets (e.g., Hill’s I/D, Royal Canin Gastrointestinal)As recommended by your vetSpecially formulated to be easily digestible and soothe the digestive tract

What Should I Not Feed My Cat with Diarrhea?

What To Feed a Cat With Diarrhea
  • Dairy products: Many cats are lactose intolerant, and dairy can exacerbate diarrhea.
  • Raw meat or fish: These can contain bacteria or parasites that worsen diarrhea.
  • Fatty or greasy foods: These can be hard for a cat’s digestive system to process, especially when it’s already irritated.
  • Certain human foods: Onions, garlic, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, and certain artificial sweeteners (like xylitol) can be toxic to cats.
  • Dry food: If your cat is used to a dry diet, you might want to switch to wet food until the diarrhea resolves, as it’s easier to digest and provides more hydration.
  • Foods with artificial colors or preservatives: These can irritate the digestive tract.
  • Spicy foods: They can cause further irritation to the digestive system.
  • Changes in diet: Suddenly changing your cat’s food can cause diarrhea. If a dietary change is necessary, it should be done slowly over a period of a week or so.

Probiotics for Cats with Diarrhea

Probiotics for cats with diarrhea are beneficial supplements that can help manage and alleviate the symptoms by restoring the balance of good bacteria in the cat’s digestive tract.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed in adequate amounts, provide health benefits to the host.

In the case of cats with diarrhea, probiotics can play a pivotal role in managing this condition. Diarrhea often results from an imbalance in the intestinal microbiota, where harmful bacteria outnumber the beneficial ones.

Probiotic supplements help restore this balance, thereby reducing the frequency of loose stools.

They are generally safe for cats and can be easily administered by adding them to your cat’s food. Some probiotics are specifically formulated for cats with digestive issues, like Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Supplements FortiFlora.

These supplements not only help manage diarrhea but also aid in overall digestive health.

Best Commercial Cat Foods for Diarrhea

The best commercial cat foods for diarrhea are those specifically formulated to support digestive health, such as Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response, Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels, and Purina One Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Cat Food.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response

The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response dry cat food is considered one of the top options for cats suffering from diarrhea.

It’s a prescription diet that focuses on high fiber content to promote better digestion and stool quality. This recipe also contains easily digestible proteins and prebiotics to support gut health.

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels is a high-quality cat food that’s great for managing diarrhea.

It features raw, freeze-dried rabbit as its main ingredient, providing a rich source of protein that’s gentle on a cat’s digestive system.

The freeze-drying process ensures the preservation of nutrients while making it safe and convenient to feed.

Purina One Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Cat Food

Purina One Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Cat Food is an excellent choice for cats with sensitive stomachs and those experiencing diarrhea.

It’s crafted with real turkey as the first ingredient and enriched with vitamins and minerals for overall well-being. This recipe is made with no fillers and is easy to digest, making it suitable for cats with digestive issues.

What Causes Diarrhea In Cats

Diarrhea in cats can be caused by a variety of factors including dietary changes, infections, parasites, and underlying health conditions.

Dietary Changes

Sudden changes in diet or dietary indiscretion, such as eating spoiled food or non-food items, can cause diarrhea in cats. Some cats may also have food allergies or intolerances that can lead to digestive issues like diarrhea.


Bacterial or viral infections can also cause diarrhea in cats. These infections often occur more frequently in younger cats who may have weaker immune systems.


Intestinal parasites like worms (hookworms, roundworms, whipworms), coccidia, and other similar organisms can trigger diarrhea. Regular deworming and vet check-ups can help prevent these parasites from infecting your cat.

Underlying Health Conditions

Certain health conditions such as colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, organ failure, and even stress or anxiety can lead to diarrhea in cats. If diarrhea is accompanied by other symptoms or persists for an extended period, it could indicate a more serious underlying health issue, and you should consult a veterinarian.

Toxins and Foreign Objects

Ingesting toxins or foreign objects can result in intestinal obstruction, leading to vomiting and diarrhea. If you suspect your cat has ingested something harmful, seek immediate veterinary care.


Certain medications, including antibiotics and other drugs, can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your cat’s gut, resulting in diarrhea. Always monitor your cat’s reaction to new medications and report any adverse effects to your vet.

Symptoms of Diarrhea in Cats

Symptoms of diarrhea in cats can range from changes in the frequency and consistency of stools to more severe signs such as blood or mucus in the stool, lethargy, and vomiting.

Changes in Stool Consistency and Frequency

One of the most noticeable symptoms of diarrhea in cats is a change in the consistency and frequency of their stools. The stools may become loose or watery, and the cat may defecate more often than usual.

Blood or Mucus in Stool

Blood or mucus in the stool is another symptom of diarrhea in cats. This could be a sign of a more serious condition, such as colitis or inflammatory bowel disease.

Increased Effort to Defecate

Cats with diarrhea may strain to defecate, showing discomfort or distress while using the litter box. They may also have accidents around the house if they are unable to make it to the litter box in time.

Worms in Stool

If your cat has intestinal parasites, you may notice worms in their stool. This is a clear sign of an infestation and should be addressed immediately with appropriate deworming treatments.


Cats suffering from diarrhea may show signs of lethargy or tiredness. They may be less active than usual, sleep more, or show less interest in activities they typically enjoy.


Vomiting can accompany diarrhea in some cases, especially if the cat has ingested something harmful or has a viral or bacterial infection. This can lead to dehydration if not addressed promptly.

Loss of Appetite

A loss of appetite is another common symptom of diarrhea in cats. Your cat may show little interest in food or stop eating altogether.

Dangers of Diarrhea in Cats

  • Severe, bloody diarrhea can indicate a serious health condition and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as weakness, fever, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
  • Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, especially if it’s frequent or prolonged. This is because the cat is losing more fluids than they can take in, which can be particularly dangerous for kittens or older cats.
  • Many feline health conditions, including parasites, bacterial infections, and certain illnesses, can manifest themselves in diarrhea.
  • If a cat has diarrhea along with a loss of appetite or lethargy, it could be a sign of a more serious problem that needs immediate attention.
  • The presence of blood in the stool, either dark, blackish stool or visible, red blood, is a serious symptom that requires immediate veterinary attention.
  • Associated vomiting with diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration and indicates a potentially serious underlying health issue.
  • Diarrhea can be a sign that a cat has ingested toxins or foreign objects, both of which can cause serious harm if not addressed promptly.
  • Stress and certain medications can also cause diarrhea in cats. If left unmanaged, stress-induced diarrhea can lead to other health complications.
  • Kittens with diarrhea are at an increased risk of infectious diseases, which can be deadly if not treated promptly.

Preventing Diarrhea in Cats

Preventing diarrhea in cats involves a combination of proper diet, regular veterinary care, and good hygiene practices.

Proper Diet

Feeding your cat a balanced, high-quality diet is crucial for preventing diarrhea. This can include low-fiber, highly digestible foods, or high-fiber, low-calorie options, depending on your cat’s specific needs. If you plan to switch your cat’s diet, do so gradually to avoid upsetting their digestive system.

Regular Veterinary Care

Regular check-ups with the vet can help prevent diarrhea by ensuring your cat is up-to-date on vaccines and deworming treatments. Your vet may also prescribe anti-diarrheal agents, dewormers, and/or probiotics to support your cat’s intestinal health.

Hygiene Practices

Maintaining a clean environment for your cat can help prevent infections that cause diarrhea. This includes regularly cleaning their litter box, providing fresh water, and avoiding exposure to spoiled food or harmful substances.

Monitor Stress Levels

Stress can trigger diarrhea in cats. Keeping your cat’s environment stable and minimizing changes can help reduce their stress levels.

Gradual Dietary Changes

If introducing a new diet, it should be done gradually over a week or more, mixing the new food with the old in increasing proportions. This allows your cat’s digestive system to adjust and can prevent dietary upset leading to diarrhea.

Avoid Medications Unless Prescribed

Never give your cat human anti-diarrheal medication or other medications unless specifically prescribed by your vet. Some human medications can be toxic to cats and can worsen diarrhea or cause other health problems.

Home Remedies for Cats With Diarrhea

There are several home remedies you can try to help manage your cat’s diarrhea, but it’s important to consult a vet if the symptoms persist or worsen.


Ensuring your cat stays hydrated is crucial when they have diarrhea, as the condition can lead to dehydration. Provide plenty of fresh, clean water for your cat to drink.

Bland Diet

A bland diet can help soothe your cat’s digestive system. This could include boiled chicken or white fish, combined with rice or pumpkin. These foods are gentle on the stomach and can help firm up your cat’s stool.


Probiotics can be beneficial in restoring the healthy bacteria in your cat’s gut. They can be found in some pet foods or as a supplement. Always consult with your vet before starting any new supplement regimen.

Regular Litter Box Cleaning

Keeping your cat’s litter box clean can help prevent further irritation to their digestive system. It also allows you to monitor the consistency and frequency of their stools, which can provide helpful information to your vet.

Limit Dietary Changes

Frequent changes in diet can upset your cat’s stomach and lead to diarrhea. Try to keep their diet consistent, and introduce any new foods gradually to allow their digestive system to adjust.


Just like humans, cats need rest to recover from illness. Ensure your cat has a quiet, comfortable place to rest and recover.

Are At-home Treatments For Cat Diarrhea Effective?

Yes, at-home treatments for cat diarrhea can be effective, depending on the cause and severity of the diarrhea.

At-home treatments for cat diarrhea often include dietary changes, such as withholding food for 24 hours followed by offering a bland diet, which may consist of boiled fat-free chicken and rice or canned pumpkin.

These foods are gentle on the stomach and can help firm up the stool. Some cat owners also add a half-teaspoon of unflavored psyllium (e.g., Metamucil) to their cat’s meals as a fiber supplement, which can help regulate bowel movements says Daily Paws.

When To See a Vet For a Cat With Diarrhea

You should seek veterinary attention for your cat with diarrhea if the condition persists for more than two days, immediately if the feces are black or bloody, or if other symptoms such as lethargy or loss of appetite are present.

If your cat continues to eat well and behaves normally, it is generally safe to wait for two or three days to see if the condition resolves on its own.

However, if the diarrhea persists beyond this period, it’s time to call your veterinarian. It’s particularly urgent to seek veterinary care if the feces are black or bloody, which could indicate a serious underlying condition.

Even before these symptoms appear, you should always consult with your veterinarian before making significant changes to your cat’s diet, as improper dietary changes can exacerbate the issue.


Q: When should I take my cat with diarrhea to the vet?

A: If your cat has diarrhea that lasts for more than a couple of days, is accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting or dehydration, or if your cat is a kitten or has a pre-existing health condition, it is best to consult a veterinarian.

Q: Can I give my cat a probiotic to help with diarrhea?

A: Yes, probiotics can be beneficial in restoring the balance of gut bacteria in cats with diarrhea. However, it is best to consult with your veterinarian before starting any probiotic supplements.

Q: Should I withhold food from my cat with diarrhea?

A: It is generally not recommended to withhold food from a cat with diarrhea. However, if your cat has severe diarrhea or is showing signs of vomiting, it may be necessary to withhold food for a short period of time and gradually reintroduce a bland diet.

Q: What can I do to treat my cat’s diarrhea at home?

A: In addition to feeding a bland diet and considering probiotics, you can help your cat with diarrhea by ensuring they have access to clean water, providing a litter box in a quiet area, and monitoring their symptoms closely. If their condition does not improve or worsens, consult your veterinarian.

Q: What are some home remedies for cats with diarrhea?

A: Some home remedies that may help alleviate diarrhea in cats include adding a small amount of pureed pumpkin to their food, offering a probiotic supplement, and ensuring they have access to fresh water at all times.

Q: How can I know what to feed my cat with diarrhea?

A: It is best to consult with your veterinarian for specific recommendations on what to feed your cat with diarrhea, as their dietary needs may vary depending on the underlying cause of the diarrhea and the overall health of your cat.

Q: Can I treat my cat’s diarrhea without taking them to the vet?

A: In some cases, mild diarrhea in cats can resolve on its own with conservative home care. However, if the diarrhea persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is advisable to seek veterinary attention to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

Conclusion and final thoughts

In conclusion, understanding what to feed a cat with diarrhea can be difficult.

However, it is important to take the time to learn more about how to provide your pet with the best nutrition and environment for their needs.

It is also important to familiarize yourself with common food items that could lead to digestive upset in cats so you can avoid them.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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