Why Does My Cat Have Diarrhea?

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If your cat has diarrhea, you will need to be aware of some of the potential causes. 

This can indicate a serious issue with your feline friend. While diarrhea is not always caused by alarm, it is a sign that something is wrong.

Recognizing Diarrhea With Your Cat

First, you will need to be able to tell whether or not your cat even has diarrhea. You will notice that your cat’s feces are much runnier and less solid than normal. You might also notice that your cat is defecating more frequently than normal.

It can be difficult to spot diarrhea with your cat right away, especially if it goes to the bathroom outside or covers up its feces. You’ll want to make a point of checking their stool on a regular basis for this reason. If your cat has diarrhea, you’ll want to know it as soon as possible.

Causes of Diarrhea in Cats

There are lots of possible explanations for your cat’s diarrhea that you should know about. While only a veterinarian can make a definitive diagnosis, this information will give you some things to consider.

1. Parasites

One of the more common reasons that cats develop diarrhea in the first place is because they have parasites in their body. There are certain worms that burrow into the intestines of cats, feeding off them from the inside. Roundworms are especially common in these animals.

These parasites can cause a wide range of serious symptoms, including diarrhea and blood in the stool. You might also notice that your cat is more lethargic than usual. You may actually be able to see the worms in your cat’s feces—they look like little white specks. 

Some worms are not visible in a cat’s feces, so you’ll need to get your cat looked at by a vet. They will likely need a stool sample from your cat for the purpose of running tests. Fortunately, there are medications that can kill these parasites quite effectively.

2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease or simply IBS is a fairly common gastrointestinal condition in both cats and dogs. This condition causes the cat’s bowels to become inflamed, which can lead to diarrhea, severe gas, bloating, nausea and abdominal pain.

While IBS is not typically a life-threatening condition for most felines, it can cause them a great deal of discomfort. If your cat has diarrhea and a bloated abdomen, there is a good chance that they have this condition. There are medications that can be used to treat IBS in these animals that you can get from your vet.

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3. Sudden Change in Diet

Cats can develop diarrhea as a result of a sudden change to their diet. Some felines have very sensitive stomachs that don’t respond well to a new food right away. If you are going to switch your cat to different food, you should do so gradually.

You’ll want to keep some of your cat’s old food mixed in with their new food for at least the first few days. This will minimize the chances of gastrointestinal irritation. 

The problem could be the food itself, in which case you’ll have to find something else to give your cat. Make sure that you take all the time necessary to find food with high-quality ingredients that match your kitty’s nutritional needs. This is a crucial part of keeping them happy and healthy over the long term. Check this article to find the right food for your cat.

4. Cancer

There are certain types of cancer that can also cause a cat to have diarrhea. You’ll want to make a point of taking your cat in for regular checkups at the vet. This can help you to spot cancer in your pet before it is too late. Colon and pancreatic cancer, in particular, are known for causing diarrhea.

5. Side Effect of Medication

Some medications that are prescribed for cats can cause diarrhea as a side effect. It is important for you to look at all of the directions and possible side effects of any medication before giving it to your kitty.

6. They Ingested Something Toxic

It is also possible that your cat has diarrhea because it ingested something toxic or poisonous. This is sometimes the case when a cat consumes a certain type of human food without the owner’s knowledge. 

Some of the foods that are toxic to these animals include chocolate, onions, dough, avocado, and mushrooms. You should never give your cat any amount of these foods, as they can have devastating consequences on their overall health.

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7. Colitis

Colitis is a fairly common condition that can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms in cats. It can be caused by anything from anxiety to a negative reaction to a certain medication. Cats that have colitis tend to have frequent diarrhea. Your cat will keep defecating, but there won’t be a lot of stool that comes out.

There are numerous medications that can be very effective in treating colitis in cats. It is important that you get your kitty to the vet right away to prevent any negative long term effects from this condition.


  • Diarrhea in cats is characterized by a runny stool that isn’t quite as solid as it normally is.
  • Certain types of parasites that feed off the intestines of cats can cause diarrhea to occur.
  • There are numerous treatments for parasites, but you need to get your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
  • Cats that have inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) often have diarrhea.
  • If you have recently changed the food you give your cat, they could be experiencing some gastrointestinal issues while transitioning.
  • Make sure that you switch your cat over to a new food gradually so as to minimize the negative effects on them.
  • Pancreatic and colon cancer both can both cause severe diarrhea in cats.
  • Some medications cause diarrhea as a side effect.
  • If your cat ingested something that is toxic to them, they could experience diarrhea. You should also look out for vomiting, lethargic behavior, and seizures.
  • Colitis is a common condition that can have many causes and often includes diarrhea as a symptom.
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