Problem

What is diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea is faeces that are soft to liquid in consistency. If your cat has diarrhoea they may strain to pass faeces and you may see blood, mucous, parasites, or foreign objects in the faeces.

My cat has diarrhoea, what should I do?

Monitor your cat carefully and seek veterinary advice if you’re concerned. If your cat is very old, very young or has an underlying condition contact your vet or, out of hours, your nearest Vets Now for advice.

Image of a cat for Vets Now article on my cat has diarrhoea

My cat’s got diarrhoea, is it serious?

The seriousness of a cat’s diarrhoea is determined by the characteristics of the diarrhoea itself and any associated signs, as well as your cat’s general health.

What are the causes of diarrhoea in cats?

Diarrhoea is a common problem with a wide variety of causes. Cats are less likely to get diarrhoea than dogs since they tend to be a bit more careful about what they eat.

Common causes of diarrhoea in cats include parasites, infection and colitis. Cats may have diarrhoea as a result of eating inappropriate products, such as non-food items or due to intolerance to certain foods, such as lactose.

Treatment

How should I look after a cat with diarrhoea at home?

Veterinary treatment for diarrhoea in cats is not always necessary as it will often resolve on its own. If caring for a cat with diarrhoea at home make sure your cat has plenty of fresh water available and encourage them to drink to avoid dehydration. Feeding plain chicken or plain white fish may also help.

When should I call my vet for cat diarrhoea?

Contact your vet urgently if:

  • Your cat’s diarrhoea doesn’t resolve within 24 hours
  • Your cat is very old, young or suffers from an underlying health condition
  • They show signs of lethargy, depression or pain
  • They are vomiting
  • The diarrhoea is watery, explosive or persistent
  • There is blood in the diarrhoea or it is very dark

How will my vet treat my cat with diarrhoea?

Initial treatment for cat diarrhoea is focused on controlling the signs. Your cat may be given medication for parasites, antidiarrhoeal medication, and in some cases antibiotics. In severe cases your cat may need fluids for dehydration (under the skin or a drip are most commonly used).

How can I prevent my cat from getting diarrhoea?

Keeping your cat on a consistent diet and minimizing his or her exposure to things likely to cause diarrhoea is the best form of prevention.

My cat has diarrhoea, should I stop them eating?

Don’t withhold food from your cat if they have diarrhoea as this can prevent the intestinal tract from healing. This can result in hepatic lipidosis, also known as fatty liver, which is a very serious, and potentially life-threatening liver disease.