Diarrhea in Domestic Cats

Diarrhea = no fun for kitty or owner.
i Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

If you dote on your sweet household cat, then watching her suffer from an agonizing bout of diarrhea can be a harrowing -- not to mention extremely messy -- experience. You may just feel so helpless. A variety of different causes can lead to watery, frequent stools in domestic felines.

Signs of Diarrhea

One source of frustration in a cat-owner relationship is the lack of verbal communication. Although we all wish cats could chat the day away to us, the furry little things have to rely solely on body language. Since your kitty can't just tell you point blank that she has diarrhea, you have to observe the situation yourself. If you notice your cutie heading to the litter box to go No. 2 a lot more than usual, then you probably already know all that you need to know. Her stool will also have a runny, liquid look to it. You also may notice other telling symptoms, including low appetite, throwing up, vomiting, exhaustion, weight loss, gas and blood in the feces. All of these things point to a not-so-happy kitty -- poor thing!

Time Period

Diarrhea has a lot of potential causes. In general, a short case of diarrhea is no big deal. The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine indicates that tummy distress for two days or less is usually no need to panic, unless of course a cat is displaying other signs that something is amiss, health-wise -- think zero appetite, for example.


For some domestic cats, the cause of diarrhea may be as easy as beginning to eat a new brand of wet food or the misguided consumption of dairy, as most felines are unable to digest the lactose in milk very well. A lot of food-related issues may trigger an upset stomach in cats, from a little too much fiber for supper to allergies. However, the condition may also be associated with more serious medical ailments, including overactive thyroid, liver disease, bacterial infection, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), lymphoma, neurological problems and colitis. Because of these potentially serious possibilities, take your cat to the veterinarian if she either experiences diarrhea a lot or is currently going through an especially severe or long-lasting case of it.


Figuring out exactly what could be causing a cat's diarrhea typically involves a lot of diagnostic testing at the veterinary clinic. The veterinarian may administer an endoscopy, blood cell count, leukemia testing, ultrasound, stool examinations and urinalysis -- the works. Before you do anything, make sure that the vet is fully aware of your cat's age, medical history and any current and past medications. All of these factors may be relevant in determining what exactly is causing your cutie's tummy woes.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

the nest