Pet Health and Wellness

Causes for Cat Diarrhea: How to Identify, Symptoms & Treat

Are you a cat owner who’s noticed your furry friend experiencing an upset tummy? Feline diarrhea can be concerning, but fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the various causes of cat diarrhea, from dietary issues to potential health concerns. By the end of this article, you’ll be armed with knowledge to help your feline companion get back on track to optimal health.

Causes for Cat Diarrhea: What You Need to Know

Causes for Cat Diarrhea

Cat diarrhea, just like in humans, can stem from various factors. Let’s explore the most common causes of cat diarrhea:

1. Dietary Disruptions

Sometimes, a sudden change in diet can lead to gastrointestinal distress in cats. Cats are creatures of habit, and abrupt dietary changes can upset their delicate digestive balance.

  • Sudden Changes in Diet: Abrupt alterations in your cat’s food can lead to digestive upset, resulting in diarrhea.
  • Food Intolerances: Some cats might have sensitivities to certain ingredients, triggering gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea.
  • Ingesting Harmful Substances: Cats are curious, and consuming toxic plants, chemicals, or non-food items can provoke diarrhea.
  • Overindulgence: Overeating or eating rich, fatty foods can overwhelm the digestive system and lead to diarrhea.
  • Spoiled or Contaminated Food: Consuming expired or contaminated food can cause digestive issues, including diarrhea.
  • Lack of Hydration: Insufficient water intake can contribute to digestive problems and potentially result in diarrhea.

2. Cat Food Intolerance

common causes of cat diarrhea

Certain cats might have specific food intolerances or allergies. Ingredients that don’t agree with your cat’s stomach can trigger diarrhea. It’s essential to identify these triggers and adjust their diet accordingly.

Allergies in cats can make their stomachs feel itchy and upset, causing diarrhea. Skin allergies in cats are one type of allergy that mess up their digestion. It’s crucial to spot and deal with these allergies to keep your cat’s tummy healthy.

  • Common Culprits: Dairy, gluten, and certain proteins can trigger food intolerances, causing digestive problems.
  • Gastrointestinal Upset: Food intolerances can result in diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal discomforts in cats.
  • Gradual Introductions: Slowly introducing new foods can spot tummy problems and stop sudden reactions.
  • Elimination Diets: Working with a veterinarian to implement elimination diets can pinpoint specific ingredients causing intolerance.
  • Commercial Hypoallergenic Diets: Specialized hypoallergenic cat foods are formulated to minimize the risk of triggering food intolerances.
  • Ingredient Variety: Changing up proteins and ingredients can cut the risk of developing intolerances.
  • Consult a Veterinarian: If your cat consistently experiences digestive problems after eating, consulting a vet can help determine if food intolerance is the underlying issue.

3. Parasitic Intruders

Cat Diarrhea

Internal parasites, such as worms, can wreak havoc on your cat’s digestive system. Regular deworming and proper hygiene practices can help prevent this issue.

In your cat’s digestive system, worms can cause trouble and make them sick. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and tiredness.

To protect your cat, deworm regularly. Talk to your vet for the right schedule. This helps keep your cat healthy and their tummy happy.

Additionally, practicing proper hygiene is pivotal in preventing the spread of these intruders. Keep your cat’s area clean and their food and water fresh to stop unwanted guests. Acting against worms helps keep your cat healthy.

4. Cat Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections, like gastroenteritis, can lead to diarrhea in cats. It’s vital to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Hidden bacterial infections, like ones causing tummy troubles in cats, can lead to diarrhea. It’s super important to quickly get help from a vet so they can figure out what’s going on and give the right treatment.

  • Bacterial Gastroenteritis: Inflammation of the stomach and intestines due to bacterial invasion can lead to diarrhea.
  • Salmonella Infection: Eating bad food or being around sick animals can make you feel sick in your stomach.
  • Clostridium perfringens: Fleas or scratches transmit this bacterium, causing symptoms associated with cat scratch disease.
  • Campylobacter Infection: Cats can contract this infection from contaminated water, raw meat, or contact with infected animals.
  • Bartonella henselae: This bacterium, transmitted through flea bites or scratches, can cause cat scratch disease with associated symptoms.
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Bacterial infections in the urinary tract can sometimes lead to diarrhea as a secondary symptom.

5. Cat Viral Infections

Cat Viral Infections

Feline viral infections, such as feline panleukopenia or calicivirus, can cause gastrointestinal distress. Vaccination plays a critical role in preventing these infections.

Hidden dangers, like sneaky viruses, can make your cat sick. There are different viral infections, such as feline panleukopenia and calicivirus. This can really mess up your cat’s stomach and make them feel awful.

But as a good cat owner, you play a big part in protecting your furry friend from these tricky invaders. Vaccines are super important—they act like a shield that keeps your cat healthy. When your cat gets regular shots, their immune system gets stronger.

Knowing how crucial vaccines are helps you take action to keep your cat safe. Even though these sneaky viruses try to make your cat sick, your knowledge and actions can make sure your cat stays healthy and happy.

6. Stress and Anxiety

Cat Stress and Anxiety

Cats are sensitive creatures, and stress or anxiety can impact their digestive health. Changes in their environment, routine, or introduction of new pets can trigger diarrhea.

  • Changes in Environment: Moving, new household members, or rearranging furniture can trigger stress.
  • Loud Noises: Thunderstorms, fireworks, or loud construction noises can cause anxiety in cats.
  • Lack of Routine: Cats thrive on predictability, so disruptions to feeding or play schedules can induce stress.
  • Social Conflicts: Interactions with other pets, territorial disputes, or bullying can lead to anxiety.
  • Medical Procedures: Vet visits, vaccinations, or treatments can create stress for some cats.
  • Separation: Being left alone for extended periods can trigger separation anxiety in cats.

7. Cat Medications

Certain medications might have gastrointestinal side effects in cats. Always follow the veterinarian’s advice and inform them of any changes you observe.

  • Gastrointestinal Upset: Some medications can irritate the digestive tract, leading to diarrhea as a common side effect.
  • Antibiotics: Certain antibiotics can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, resulting in diarrhea.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) might cause gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea.
  • Allergic Reactions: Cats can react allergically to medications, triggering gastrointestinal disturbances.
  • Dosage or Administration: Incorrect dosage or administration of medication can lead to digestive problems, including diarrhea.
  • Underlying Health Conditions: Cats with pre-existing digestive issues might be more susceptible to medication-induced diarrhea.
  • Immediate Allergic Reactions: In rare cases, immediate allergic reactions to medications can result in diarrhea.
  • Consult Your Veterinarian: If your cat experiences diarrhea after taking medication, consult your vet for guidance and potential alternatives.

8. Underlying Health Issues

In some cases, diarrhea can be a symptom of underlying health issues like kidney disease or diabetes. Timely veterinary care is essential for a proper diagnosis.

  • Kidney Disease: Kidney disease can make cats drink more water and pee a lot, which could lead to diarrhea.
  • Diabetes: Diabetic cats might have appetite changes, weight loss, thirst, and diarrhea.
  • Hyperthyroidism: Overactive thyroid glands lead to weight loss, increased appetite, and diarrhea.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): IBD can lead to chronic diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss in cats.
  • Pancreatic Disorders: Disorders like pancreatitis can result in digestive issues, including diarrhea.
  • Cancer: Some cancers can lead to digestive symptoms, such as diarrhea, due to their impact on the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Food Sensitivities: Underlying sensitivities to certain ingredients can trigger chronic diarrhea in cats.
  • Liver Disease: Liver issues can disrupt digestion and lead to diarrhea as a symptom.
  • Consult a Veterinarian: If your cat has ongoing diarrhea or other worrying signs, it’s really important to see a vet. They can figure out what might be wrong.

9. Cats Dietary Indiscretions

Cats are known for their curiosity, and sometimes they may ingest non-food items that can lead to digestive issues. This behavior is known as pica.

  • Pica Behavior: Cats might consume non-food items like plastic, fabric, or paper due to pica behavior, which can lead to digestive problems.
  • Foreign Body Ingestion: Eating things like strings or small toys can block a cat’s gut and cause diarrhea.
  • Plant Ingestion: Some plants are toxic to cats and ingesting them can result in gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea.
  • Inedible Substances: Cats might inadvertently consume inedible substances like rubber bands, which can cause digestive disturbances.
  • Behavioral Factors: Boredom or anxiety might drive cats to chew on or ingest non-food items, resulting in digestive issues.
  • Vomiting: Eating non-food items can cause vomiting, which may lead to diarrhea as a secondary effect.
  • Emergency Situation: In cases of suspected foreign body ingestion, immediate veterinary attention is crucial to prevent complications.

Preventing access to non-food items, providing enriching toys, and closely supervising your cat’s surroundings can help minimize the risk of dietary indiscretions and resulting digestive problems like diarrhea.

10. Allergic Reactions

Allergies, including skin allergies, can manifest as gastrointestinal problems in cats. Identifying the allergen and addressing it can help alleviate symptoms.

  • Skin Allergies: Allergic reactions that cause skin issues, like itching and rashes, can also manifest as gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea.
  • Food Allergies: Certain ingredients in cat food can trigger allergic reactions, leading to digestive disturbances like diarrhea.
  • Environmental Allergens: Pollen, dust mites, or mold spores can evoke allergic responses that extend to the digestive system, causing diarrhea.
  • Contact Allergies: Substances like certain fabrics or cleaning products that come in contact with your cat’s skin can lead to allergic reactions and gastrointestinal issues.
  • Medication Allergies: Allergic reactions to medications can result in a range of symptoms, including digestive problems like diarrhea.
  • Inflammation: Allergic reactions can cause inflammation throughout the body, affecting the digestive tract and causing diarrhea.
  • Identifying allergens: Working with a vet to find allergens and ways to manage them. It helps ease skin and tummy issues in your cat.

Knowing how allergies affect your cat’s tummy can help spot and handle problems early, keeping them healthy.

A Closer Look at Cat Diarrhea

When it comes to cat diarrhea, it’s essential to pay attention to the details. Observe the consistency, color, frequency, and any accompanying symptoms. This information can be valuable in determining the cause and severity of the issue.

Remember, if your cat has diarrhea lasting over a couple of days or shows tiredness, vomiting, or blood with it, get vet help quickly.

What causes cats to go green diarrhea?

There are a few reasons why cats get green poop. It might be because their food rushes through too quickly, not letting their body break down bile properly, which makes poop brown. This can happen due to diet changes, infections, or tummy issues. But sometimes, green poop could mean a serious problem like pancreatitis. If your cat has green poop, it’s important to see a vet to find out why and get the right help.


Cat diarrhea might be unsettling, but armed with knowledge of its potential causes, you can take the right steps to ensure your cat’s well-being. Remember, if you’re ever unsure or concerned about your cat’s health, it’s always best to consult a professional veterinarian.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can stress really cause diarrhea in cats?

    Yes, stress can indeed affect a cat’s digestive health. Cats are sensitive to changes in their environment, and stress or anxiety can lead to gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea.

  2. Is cat diarrhea a sign of a serious health problem?

    In some cases, yes. Although various factors can cause cat diarrhea, persistent or severe diarrhea can indicate an underlying health issue. It’s essential to consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

  3. What should I do if my cat has diarrhea?

    If your cat has diarrhea, monitor their condition closely. Ensure they have access to clean water and continue feeding them a high-quality, easily digestible diet. If diarrhea persists for more than a day or if you notice other concerning symptoms, consult a veterinarian.

  4. Can I give my cat over-the-counter medications for diarrhea?

    No, it’s not advisable to give your cat over-the-counter medications without consulting a veterinarian. Some human medications can be toxic to cats. Always seek professional advice before administering any medication.

  5. How can I prevent cat diarrhea?

    A well-balanced diet is essential. Regular vet check-ups matter. Keep the environment stress-free. Prevent access to non-food items. These steps help prevent cat diarrhea.

  6. Is cat diarrhea contagious to other cats or to humans?

    There are multiple factors that can lead to cat diarrhea, one of which is infections. In some cases, infectious agents can be contagious to other cats or, in rare instances, to humans. Proper hygiene practices and regular veterinary care can help minimize the risk.

  7. What is the most common cause of diarrhea in cats?

    The most common cause of diarrhea in cats is dietary indiscretion. This can happen when a cat eats something unusual, toxic, or incompatible with their digestive system. However, other factors like infections, parasites, sudden diet changes, and underlying health issues can also contribute.

  8. Why does my indoor cat have diarrhea?

    Indoor cats can experience diarrhea for various reasons. These might include dietary changes, stress, infections, or underlying health conditions. Even though they stay indoors, they can still be exposed to potential triggers.

  9. Should I be worried if my cat has diarrhea?

    Though occasional diarrhea isn’t alarming, persistent or severe cases may signal health issues. If it lasts over a day or if other worrisome signs appear—like tiredness, vomiting, or loss of appetite—seeing a vet is wise for diagnosis and treatment.

  10. Can worms cause diarrhea in cats?

    Yes, worms can indeed cause diarrhea in cats. Intestinal parasites cause cat-tummy issues like diarrhea. Symptoms include vomiting, weight loss, and discomfort. Vet check for worm suspicion.

About the author


PetsCareWorld is a website dedicated to providing reliable and helpful information about pets and their care. Our team consists of experienced pet owners, veterinarians, animal trainers, and writers. The team shares a common love for animals and a desire to help others. We cover topics such as pet health, nutrition, grooming, training, behavior, and more. Our articles are based on scientific research, expert opinions, and personal experiences. We also feature stories, tips, and reviews from our readers and community members. We want to teach and motivate pet owners to choose wisely and take good care of their pets. We give honest and helpful information that makes pets and their owners happier. We like to hear from our readers and get their ideas. We hope to make a nice and friendly group of pet lovers. Thank you for visiting PetsCareWorld and we hope you enjoy our content.

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