Audience: Executive Leadership, Foster Caregivers, Public, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers, Veterinary Team
Some soft stool or diarrhea in cats is common with dietary changes or the stress of adapting to a new environment. If your cat has had a small amount of diarrhea once or twice, and if no other symptoms are present (e.g., vomiting, lethargy, not eating) it is acceptable to be patient and continue to monitor him/her. Continued, frequent or large amounts of diarrhea can be a sign of something more serious and could lead to dehydration and weight loss.
Signs that Your Cat Needs to See a Veterinarian
- Diarrhea continues for more than a day or two
- Diarrhea becomes more frequent
- Large amounts of diarrhea
- Diarrhea that is watery or has blood in it
- Diarrhea that is accompanied by other signs of illness (e.g., vomiting, lethargy, not eating)
What You Can Do
- Closely monitor your cat for the frequency and amount of diarrhea, and whether or not it is bloody or watery.
- Observe your cat for other signs of illness.
- Save a fresh stool sample to take to your veterinarian.
- Give your cat a probiotic such as Fortiflora®, Proviable®, or Benebac®. If you do not have one of these, giving ¼ teaspoon of plain yogurt twice daily is a less ideal alternative.
- Add 1 tablespoon of canned pumpkin to your cat's food twice a day. Be sure to use real canned pumpkin and not spiced pumpkin pie mix.
- Encourage your cat to drink more water by using water fountains, running water from faucets, and placing more bowls of fresh water around the house.
- Feed canned food, which has more water in it, or add tuna juice to your cat's food.
- If your cat is new to your home, minimize stress by providing hiding places where your cat can retreat without being bothered by people or other pets.
Common Causes of Diarrhea
- Intestinal parasites
- Diet changes or dietary indiscretion
- Infectious diseases
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Treatment of Diarrhea
- If your cat is dehydrated, intravenous or subcutaneous fluid therapy will be given.
- If your cat has intestinal parasites, it will be treated with a de-wormer or an anti-protozoal medication.
- Medication to stop diarrhea may be prescribed.
- Prescription diets that are highly digestible or are higher in fiber may be helpful.