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Causes Of Diarrhea In Kittens

Other Causes Of Diarrhea In Cats

Diarrhea in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

Diarrhea may be caused by certain types of metabolic disease and liver disease. Certain cats can be prone to Inflammatory Bowel Disease . These diseases are likely to produce ongoing signs and not respond to the usual therapies, so diarrhea that doesnt resolve within a reasonable timeframe should always be investigated further by your vet.

Causes Of Cat Diarrhea

There are many causes of diarrhea. Often it occurs when a cat eats something unusual or when their meal plan changes abruptly. When switching from one kind of cat food to another, it’s best to transition slowly over a week, gradually mixing in more of the new food and less of the old food. This transition allows the pet’s digestive system to adjust and lowers the chance of diarrhea.

Other potential causes of diarrhea include:

Change In Your Kitten’s Diet

Switching food is a very common cause of feline diarrhea. Changing the type of kitten food has to be done slowly.

If you plan to switch to a different food, don’t start right away. For the first week or so, feed your new kitten exactly what he or she has been eating.

Then, transition very slowly. This is especially important if you are making a drastic change, such as to a much higher quality food or one with much higher percentage of protein.

If you have done all this, it’s possible that the new food just doesn’t agree with your kitten. Even the best cat food can cause diarrhea in certain kittens.

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Kitten Diarrhea: Common Causes Symptoms And Treatment

Much like human babies, kittens can be sensitive to sudden changes in environment or diet. They can even suffer from food allergies. These factors can cause diarrhea, a condition in which the kitten will release frequent, liquidy stools. If you notice loose stools, you should monitor their bowel movements to make sure the condition is not chronic or a sign of a more serious problem.

When it comes to kitten diarrhea, it could be just a reaction to new foods, but it could also be a sign of a more serious, underlying illness.

If your kitten is suffering from diarrhea, its not time to panic. Dr. Erick Mears, a BluePearl veterinary specialist who is board certified in internal medicine, points out that kitten diarrhea is usually a treatable condition. Its pretty common and tends to be very responsive to treatment. Most of the time the things you look for are dietary causes or parasites, he says.

Seeking Advice From Your Vet

Causes of Vomiting &  Diarrhea in Cats

You must contact your vet for advice if your cat vomits more than once, appears unwell, or has any other symptoms like diarrhea. You also seek help if your cat is unable to keep any food or water down, is either very young or old or in these instances:

  • Your cat appears to be very low in energy and lethargic
  • You know your cats eaten something they shouldnt have
  • The gums of your cat are very pale
  • Your cats abdomen is painful to touch
  • There is blood or black dots in your cats vomit
  • There is mucus and/or blood in their diarrhea or excrement

Your vet may want to carry out further investigations to establish what lies behind their digestive problems.

It would be unusual for a cat with diarrhea to need antibiotics. In fact, sometimes they can make diarrhea worse by destroying the friendly bacteria found in the gut. Your vet might instead recommend other treatments like probiotics or a product that soothes the bowel such as kaolin.

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Danger Signs To Watch For

If the symptoms of digestive upset persist, are recurrent or are accompanied by blood in the stool or extremely watery diarrhea, you cat will need medical attention. Severe diarrhea can dehydrate your kitten quickly and death can result. Other trouble signs include no appetite, fever, discharge from the eyes or excessive vomiting.

Causes Of Chronic Diarrhea In Kittens

If your kitten has been experiencing diarrhea for weeks or even months, this could be a sign of a more serious, chronic condition. You should seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

These include but are not limited to: Irritable Bowel Disease , lymphoma, an autoimmune disorder, or disease of the kidney, liver, or intestines.

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Help My Kitten Has Diarrhea

Worried about kitten diarrhea? When we first introduced our kittens to our home, we set them up in the laundry room with all their bedding, food and water, and litter boxes.

Taking care of cats is such a priority! They are beloved family members and when something is wrong, we worry.

You may like to take a look at our ebook, The Care and Keeping of Your Maine Coon Cat. It’s full of answers to common health issues and questions. Check it out here, and review the table of contents to see for yourself!

I soon found out that diarrhea in kittens certainly happens. They were perfect in their use of the litter box, but it was still a mess. Let’s just say that Alice and Leo became accustomed to getting bathed at a very young age!

I was worried about the causes of kitten diarrhea, and I immediately called our family veterinarian. He quickly put my mind at ease.

As it turns out, diarrhea in kittens is not uncommon. It can happen for a variety of reasons, especially when they first come home. Some common reasons for kitten diarrhea are:

Details For Your Veterinarian

How to Treat Diarrhea in Cats

Please be as detailed as possible about the color, consistency, and odor of the stool because this is helpful information for your veterinarian. Dont be afraid to take a photo. A picture in this case can really be worth a thousand words. Your cats veterinarian will want to know whether your cat is having more frequent bowel movements, if the volumes are larger or smaller than normal, if your cat is straining while passing the stool, and whether you have observed fresh blood or mucus.

When you are calling to make your appointment for your cat, ask if they would like a stool sample and request specific directions on how they would like this collected and stored in advance of the appointment. Having a stool sample can simplify the diagnostic process and lead to a targeted treatment for your cats specific issue. Since your veterinarian may also wish to do blood work, ask if your cat needs to fast in advance of the appointment.

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Treating Your Cats Vomiting And Diarrhea At Home

If your cat is bright and happy, and there is no blood in the diarrhea or vomit, then you can often start by providing supportive treatment at home.

  • If your cat is vomiting, withhold food for 12-24 hours.
  • Very small cats and kittens should NOT be fasted at all due to a high risk of developing severely low blood sugar levels.
  • Offer a bland diet in small portions. Examples include boiled rice or potatoes with cooked chicken breast or very lean hamburger, or a prescription intestinal diet.
  • Recommended feeding protocol:
  • Day 1: give 50% of the recommended daily amount divided into 6-8 portions
  • Day 2 and 3: give 75% divided into 4-6 portions
  • Day 4 and 5: give 100% divided into 3-4 portions
  • Once your cat has been normal for a couple of days you can gradually re-introduce its normal food.
  • Your cat should always have access to fresh water.
  • On average, a cat should drink about 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. This requirement will be significantly increased if your cat is vomiting or has diarrhea.
  • Ensure that your cat is allowed quiet time to rest and fully recover.
  • In the case of contagious diseases, its important to avoid contact with other cats until your cat has completely recovered.

Your Cats Digestive System

As obligate carnivores, cats dont need the longer gastrointestinal tracts required by omnivores like dogs and humans, who eat a much broader diet, or herbivores like cows and rabbits, who eat plants. A cats digestive tract is relatively short, and a high-protein meal moves through quickly. It typically takes a cats food about 20 hours to pass through the whole GI tract, whereas in a human, digestion may take as long as 72 hours. The fast transit rate of food through the feline GI tract reflects its adaptation to a hunting lifestyle, making the cat ready to pounce on the next prey item.

Different illnesses arise in different parts of the intestinal tract, so in figuring out the cause of your cats problem, its helpful to determine whether the diarrhea originates in the small intestine or the large intestine .

For example, because the small intestine is where most nutrients get absorbed, problems here can mean the body is missing out on a lot of the nutrition in your cats food, which can create additional problems, like weight loss and nutrient deficiencies. Your cats poop can offer important clues:

The color of your cats poop may also help you figure out whats going on. This Cat Poop Color Chart describes the most common poop colors and what causes them:

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Diet: What Food Can I Give My Cat For Diarrhea

What to feed cats with diarrhea is one of the core issues while your felines suffering from diarrhea. First of all, you should opt for foods with higher fiber and feed your favorite more often than usual with smaller amounts of easily digestible food.

If your cat or kitten has diarrhea but acts normal, you need to choose the right diet as a part of the home remedy plan in order to stop and prevent diarrhea. The best way is to put your feline on a bland diet.

The bland diet for cats with diarrhea may consist of chicken and rice or turkey and pumpkin. Lets look at both dietary plans.

Tips For Stopping Your Cats Diarrhea

How To Stop Chronic Diarrhea In Cats

Whether the cause of your cats diarrhea has been identified or is still under investigation, there may be several ways you can help your cat feel better. Here are some tips:

Avoid medications. Never give your cat any human anti-diarrheal medication, since many of these are toxic or fatal to cats. Avoid antibiotics unless theyre absolutely necessary, since most antibiotics can worsen or cause diarrhea. If your cat has a bacterial infection and your veterinarian determines that antibiotics are necessary, you can support your cats gut health during and after the course of medication.

Feed the right diet. Check with your veterinarian before making any changes to your cats diet. If your cats usual food is high in carbohydrates, ask about gradually adding more protein. Make sure youre feeding a high-quality, cat-appropriate diet. Its probably best to eliminate treats and any other extras until the diarrhea has been resolved. And always provide your cat with plenty of fresh water.

Dont withhold food. Fasting your cat for a few hours is often recommended for vomiting, but its unlikely to help diarrhea.

Add fiber and prebiotics. Adding certain sources of fiber to your cats foodparticularly the prebiotic fibers inulin and psylliumcan improve diarrhea both by absorbing excess water in the intestines and by providing food for beneficial bacteria that live in the intestinal tract. Always start with a very small amount of any fiber.

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Other Causes Of Kitten Diarrhea

  • Internal Parasites

Parasites such as roundworms and tapeworms can upset your kittens digestion and even stunt their growth. Your kitten should be dewormed at two weeks of age and again at two-week intervals until they reach 12 weeks. After that, kittens should be placed on a monthly anti-parasite product that is prescribed by a family veterinarian. This preventative treatment helps control intestinal parasites and fleas, which cause tapeworms.

  • Infections

Common bacterial infections include salmonella and campylobacter. Kittens can also contract viruses such as feline immunodeficiency virus, panleukopenia, feline leukemia virus and rotavirus.

  • Environmental Stress

Moving to a new home, getting new housemates and other environmental factors can cause diarrhea in kittens.

Causes Of Kitten Diarrhea

Although people often think that a change in food can cause diarrhea in cats, that’s not usually the case, says Lauren Demos, BVMS, Hons, DABVP , chief veterinary officer for Pettable and Top Vets Talk Pets correspondent.

“When cats are out in the wild they eat all kinds of things. They’re eating birds, snakes, rabbits, and digesting feathers, bones, and entrails. The gastrointestinal tract is good at dealing with whatever gets thrown at it,” Demos explains. “In my experience, only about 5 percent of the time would I expect any sort of GI upset from something a cat ate.”

Cow’s milk is the exception. People often give their kittens a bowl of milk, thinking they’ll enjoy it and it’ll be good for them. The problem? According to BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospitals, kittens can’t digest cow’s milk . The result: A cat with diarrhea.

Besides cow’s milk, these are the likeliest causes of kitten diarrhea:

  • Intestinal parasites and worms
  • Viral infection
  • Malformed colon and rectum

One particularly nasty virus that commonly causes diarrhea in kittens is panleukopenia , Demos says. Like parvovirus in puppies, it causes severe GI symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting and can be deadly.

Feline distemper often affects kittens three to five months old. Because it’s widespread in the environment, nearly every cat is exposed to this virus at some point, reports the American Veterinary Medical Association.

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Vomiting And Diarrhoea In Cats

Cats often vomit or develop diarrhoea, when should we treat? The reason for the vomiting or diarrhoea may be simple, such as a hairball, however the cause could be more serious. Whether the symptoms stop on their own, or whether your cat needs to see a vet, will depend on how he or she is in themselves and what the vomit or diarrhoea looks like.

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What Home Remedy Can I Give My Cat For Diarrhea

Kitten & Cat Diarrhea Home Remedy – Safe & Easy!

Most cats with acute diarrhea usually only have one episode of diarrhea, are fine afterwards and require no treatment. Cats with mild diarrhea may be managed with only feeding a fat-restricted, easily digested food like homecooked chicken and rice. You can also give your can probiotics that can be purchase over the counter. If this doesn’t work or if your cat is sick, then contact your local veterinarian.

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What To Do If Your Cat Has Diarrhea

Assess your catâs behavior. Do they appear to be feeling well or acting more tired than normal? Do they have a poor appetite or any other symptoms that stray from their norm? Are they also vomiting? If a case of cat diarrhea is an isolated incident that resolves spontaneously in less than a few hours and doesnât involve other symptoms, itâs generally not treated as an emergency.

However, diarrhea over a prolonged period , as well as diarrhea accompanied by a significant change in demeanor or other signs, should be treated as an emergency and taken to their vet or vet hospital right away. Bright red blood or darker tarry stools are also considered an emergency.

Finally, note the diarrheaâs frequency and appearance so that you can mention it to a vet at the next regular visit.

Red Or Bloody Diarrhea In Cats

Bloody diarrhea is always concerning and should be addressed by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Dark red or black discoloration of feces indicates upper GI bleeding and blood digestion.

Bright red coloration within the feces or coating the feces is a sign of lower intestinal tract bleeding.

Mucus-coated feces indicates possible dehydration or parasitic infection.

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Diarrhea Lethargic Appetite Loss And Dehydrated Kittens

If the kitten is suffering from diarrhea, acting lethargic and is dehydrated, the veterinarian will test for parasites . If a diagnosis is confirmed, that the diarrhea will be treated as described below for parasites.

If the tests come back negative, the veterinarian will consider diet, viruses , vitamin B12 levels, TLI levels and will conduct an ultrasound to detect an foreign objects or mechanical problems.

Yellow Or Green Diarrhea In Cats

Causes of Vomiting &  Diarrhea in Cats

Discolored feces can sometimes be related to something your cat has recently ingested. For example, grass or green-colored material may cause green discoloration, which is not always a medical concern, although some animals with green feces have gallbladder disease.

Yellow feces can be an emergency related to liver disease or failure, zinc poisoning, immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, or an overgrowth of certain bacterial pathogens.

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Lactose Intolerance From Cows Milk

Many new kitten owners think that kittens should drink milk. This is a common cause of diarrhea in kittens as they are unable to digest the lactose in the milk. If you want to give your kitten milk, purchase the cat milk available from most supermarkets.


This should resolve once the kitten is no longer allowed cows milk. If you do want to give your kitten milk, stick lactose-free milk for cats available in supermarkets and pet stores.

Preventing Vomiting And Diarrhea

  • Avoid feeding fatty, salty, or spicy foods
  • Introduce diet changes slowly, over 5-7 days, to allow the intestinal bacteria to adjust.
  • During times of stress, it may be helpful to use a soothing pheromone spray or plug-in adapter
  • Speak to your vet about calming supplements or anxiety medication if your pet is easily stressed.
  • Consider feeding a probiotic supplement if your pet is prescribed antibiotics. Always ask the advice of a vet before giving your pet supplements or medication.
  • If your cat catches birds or rodents, your vet may recommend routine fecal exams to see if deworming medication is necessary.
  • Roundwormsare extremely common in kittens. Your vet will recommend deworming your new kitten with an appropriate dewormer.
  • Ask your vet or make an appointment with one of the FirstVet vets to discuss deworming your kitten or cat.
  • Vaccinating your cat against feline parvovirus is extremely important. Kittens should be vaccinated starting at 6-8 weeks, then every 3 weeks until 16-18 weeks of age. Adult boosters will be needed to maintain immunity. Prevention of this disease is VERY important. Feline parvovirus is extremely contagious and can cause fatalities, especially in young kittens.

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