How to Treat Diarrhea in Cats at Home

Diarrhea in cats can be a simple irritation caused by a minor change, or it can be caused by a treatable disease or life-threatening ailment. Persistent, chronic feline diarrhea should always be treated by a veterinarian, who can run a full blood panel to show possible problem’s in the cat’s body. But before running to the vet, there are natural diarrhea treatments for cats that can be tried at home.

1. Slippery Elm Bark is a natural herb that has been used for centuries to soothe the digestive tract. It is found in health food and vitamin shops in capsules and powder form. To treat feline diarrhea, mix about a teaspoon of powder or up to one capsule full of slippery elm powder into water and mix in with the cat’s food. Alternately, the powder can be mixed into wet food. This treatment can be used daily but an improvement in stools could be seen in as little as one day.

2. Check the cat’s food label for any grains and fillers like corn, wheat gluten, and rice. If those ingredients are listed, slowly switch the cat over to grain-free food over a week. On day one, feed the cat 90% old food with 10% of the new, grain-free food mixed in. Slowly increase the new food to old food ratio over the next 5-7 days. Switching a cat’s food too fast can be the sole cause of diarrhea, as their digestive systems need time to adjust to new foods.

Cats are carnivores whose bodies were not made to digest the grains that are added by many of today’s pet food companies as low-cost fillers. This is the case with cats who have IBD, or Irritable Bowel Disease. Switching to a completely grain-free food and eliminating vegetables from the diet often ceases diarrhea and vomiting in these cats.

3. Probiotics can be given to cats with diarrhea to introduce helpful bacteria into the digestive tract. Probiotics made for humans are often more beneficial, because they contain more than one strain of bacteria. Refrigerated probiotic capsules found in vitamin and health food stores usually contain around 7 billion microorganisms per capsule. Half of a capsule can be mixed into the cat’s food twice a day, or mixed with the juice of canned cat food and give via syringe. (Do not mix into tuna juice or human milk; milk made for cats is ok.)

4. Another method to introduce extra beneficial bacteria into a cat’s digestive tract is with plain, fat-free yogurt. Many cats love the taste and can be given one or two tablespoons a day. If the cat won’t eat the yogurt, try mixing it into her food. Only fat-free, plain flavored yogurt should be used.

5. 100% pure canned pumpkin–not pumpkin pie filling–adds fiber to the diet. Pumpkin is a beneficial treatment for feline diarrhea and also helps with constipation in cats. Again, many cats love the taste and can be fed a tablespoon or two per day.

Warnings:

  • Cats with diarrhea need extra fluids to guard against dehydration. Dehydration is a serious byproduct of feline diarrhea that will make matters much worse. Canned food is preferred, as it is much higher in moisture. Premium, grain-free canned food will not cause or worsen diarrhea and its moisture content is much healthier for all cats, healthy and ailing.
  • Other ways to ensure cats with loose or runny stools get enough moisture is by giving water or cat milk via syringe, or mixing it into canned food. Many cats will also drink more water out of a fountain than from a bowl.
  • If none of the above methods of treating diarrhea in cats produces improvement, see a veterinarian.

30 thoughts on “How to Treat Diarrhea in Cats at Home

  1. [...] are also some natural treatments for diarrhea in cats that can be given instead of, or in conjunction with, antibiotics. These include probiotics and [...]

  2. My cat had diarrhea for over a year. I tried every
    thing the vet prescribed. She lost half of her body
    weight. Nothing worked. (Slippery Elm helped but was not enough.) Finally I saw an email from a man who had used Eagle Pack Holistic Solution. It is a
    probiotic powder. It worked immediately. She has
    not had diarrhea since we have been using it. (4 months). What can I do to help her gain some weight?

  3. [...] It is unprocessed and grain-free, and it might be just what your cat needs.There are also some natural treatments for diarrhea in cats that can be given instead of, or in conjunction with, antibiotics. These include probiotics and [...]

  4. Hello, my kitten (8 months) has had diarrhea since we adopted her (3 months ago) and we took her to the vet after about a week. He said change her diet to Purina Kitten Chow from Meow Mix (for the fact that Purina doesn’t use dyes). We did and now (about a month later) she still has diarrhea. He also prescribed 1 cc of kaopectate twice daily and neither change helped. However, I looked up what kaopectate was and the internet had the general consensus that it was unhealthy for cats. Anyway, we have two other cats and I’m afraid if I purchase raw food, it’d be terribly expensive. I was wondering if there were a cheaper alternative that still cured my kitten.

    • Hi! If you need to feed dry food just make sure it is grain free. This will be healthier for your other cats. You could also feed some grain free canned food a few times a week and add digestive prebiotic powder to it. You can find that at a site like entirelypets.com probably. Also, a cheap grain free canned food is fancy feast classic, any one WITHOUT wheat gluten in it. Flavors include chicken, beef n chicken, chicken liver, beef n liver, chopped grill. Make sure you get classic, not grilled or flaked.

    • Rebeca, I thought that too about raw, and I have a feral colony (15 cats…4 indoor an 11 outdoor.) But after losing one to a tumor, another to Kidney failure, and another coming down with diabetes, mega $$$ vet bills for years, I was done with that.

      Now everyone is switched to raw, and coats are soft, no more runny eyes, or diarrhea. PLUS I kept track and I don’t spend anymore than I did on commercial, sometimes less. We haven’t been to the vet in a while! I use a mix from Feline Instincts, and buy ground turkey and mix it. http://felineinstincts.com You can also call the number and they are very helpful.

      After losing Reo to kidney failure, despite fluids twice daily, the best food from the vets, best care, he died anyway, 6 months after Frankie. I was heartbroken… Raw is best. They are cats for heaven sake! Let me know if I can help further and good luck!

      • Diane, I too have lost a beloved pet to kidney issues, but when we knew there might be a problem I started treatment. Quinn finally had to be sent over the bridge at 20 years. He was diagnosed with some issues at 2006, when he was 12. This worked for both of us as you will see.
        I would take a whole turkey (think Thanksgiving, because we knew all of it would be used anyways), and boil it until the meat would fall off the bones. I would pull off the meat and then put the turkey carcass back in the pot and boil the crap out of it, skin and all (to get all the marrow juices and meat bits and protein out of it). Strain this broth. Then I would mix the broth in the blender with a predetermined amount of his favored cat food from a can (usually about 3 cans of food, 3 cans of broth using the cat food can as a measure,your cats ‘tastes’ may vary)until it was a puree. Poured into ice cube trays…froze them then stored in plastic bags in the fridge (I could make large batches this way). Unused broth was stored as well for later use. I pulled out two cubes in the am and pm, and during the afternoon when I wasn’t working, zapped it in the microwave to slightly warmer than room temp….he would just lap it up! Extra moisture, extra calcium, extra flavor, less preservatives and less corn/gluten products. YOU get to eat the bulk of the turkey :). He had access to dry food if he wanted it since we had 2 other cats, but they were all on Aims. Never could get him to eat just raw or all protein foods, so this worked. When it was time for him to go , we knew it, and it was quick.
        I had to figure this out myself through experimentation because he had gotten to the point where he wouldn’t eat anything but would ‘lick’ up the juice only from his favorite canned food (it was a shredded variety with ‘gravy’). Sometimes all you can do is be the investigator and put the numbers together. He gained weight, was happy and healthy for a long time and it was worth the extra effort. My vet commended me on the experiment. I’m sure this could be varied in a lot of different ways (with raw food, mixed onto better quality dry foods). My child is gone now as of March 7th, 2012 but he had a great life until then. That was an extra 6 years in my book!

    • Hi, My kitten Kaleesi had really bad watery diarrhea. Last night I used a tip I saw on the Internet. Feeding her 100% pure pumkin puree! This morning her stools are formed nicely. They are a bit too soft yet, but much better that the real watery stuff she was doing earlier. This remedy worked for my other kitten as well! Good luck. Make sure the can only has pumpkin in it…no sugar syrup or spices.

      • The post I wrote is for people who are way beyond pumpkin. Its a good tip for mild cases and healthy cats. I went to raw because all the pumpkin, drugs, tests and money in the world was not taking away my cat’s diarrhea. Nothing did until raw.

  5. coming home from church today , I came across something coming out of the woods. I realized it was a cat looked like she had been hit by a car … I went to go pick her up she was stumbling over to me .. She was Severely dehydrated and Has sever frost Bite .. I gave her my left over Dinner she scarft it Down .She was so Hungry and thristy. I brought her to Petsmart, Looking to see if they could help her. The lady took her back and came out 2 minutes later, She said that she would need alot of care, Saline bags for her dehydration she may not recover. they had said i should put her down!!! Even though she was drinking on her Own and eating .. I left there and returned Home and am giving her tuna from the can with lots of water in it, Had her on a Heating pad with towels , she is and has been warm, she has diarrhea i have medicine for that … got her on half and a quarter of water and pedialite non flavored … I am New at this when it comes too cats with frost bit and Dehydration … I have no money to take her to the vets she is doing alot better .. been constently taking care of her for now 6 hrs need advise …

    • Hi,
      Try giving non fat plain yogurt or mixing in some probiotic powder (not expensive) into her/his food, worked on mine and I give her and him some plain yogurt from time to time just to keep everything healthy. I find it even made their stools slightly less stinky. I’ve had lots of cats over the years and have seen many health problems.
      Good luck, Chris.

    • nora knight says:

      Do not feed the cat tuna – causes disease. It is ok once in a great while for a treat

  6. Hello,
    My 2 newly adopted kittens(from the streets) are having diarrhea, they are just about 2-4 months old. They also have some sort of skin infection that are terribly itchy. We tried an advise from the net to skip their feeding for a day then feed them some half-cooked chicken w/ rice, it worked for almost a week but the diarrhea returned…Their poop is all over the house & my parents are very angry & stressed (partly because we are transfering to a new house). They are now planning to turn them back in the streets, meaning sure death. I keep on persisting them to give the kittens another chance, luckily they are given one last chance…

    Please help me save them…. :(

    ……Any advise is welcomed but VETS are OUT OF OPTION because we live in a 3rd world country, we don’t feed our cats any sort of processed food, meaning NO BUYING of proceessed cat food, we feed them tidbits fried fish w/ mashed rice. My mother specially cooks it for them but now she’s very tired of it….
    If you have natural ways for diarrhea for cats please inform me…..
    I just don’t want them to DIE…. X(

    • They probably have worms. Most kittens do. I don’t know how to get rid of worms without medicine. Can you order wormer meds online? The cats should NOT get any rice. Cats are carnivores and cannot process grains. They need raw chicken with the bone left in, chicken livers, hearts, etc. Can you feed whole raw fish without cooking it?

      • Yes, we can buy wormer med here but we already tried feeding them once with them but I’m not sure if it worked .
        How many meals should we feed them with wormer med?

        Is it really okay to feed them raw fish? Their stomach are quite sensitive, they can’t handle tomatoes, sweet peas, etc.
        I think one of the reasons their diarrhea started was when they ate mice.
        As I told you before we are moving to a new house, while packing baby mice were found so we tried to feed it to them so when grow bigger their body already knows its scent and taste. Almost more or less 24 hours later their mildly soft poop became water like…

        Another question if I may, why can’t the be fed rice? Don’t you know rice is soft when cooked? Try looking in Google you’ll see.”COOKED RICE”
        My older cat which is almost 7 human years has been eating w/ rice his whole life. Yet he is eating alright, I don’t know about the weight though because I don’t know the average cat weight (He is blind, for he had sore eyes when he was a baby, they were the first batch of offspring so the mother didn’t know how to tend to them. But luckily we managed to save him, he was typically at death’s doorstep).

        • I know what cooked rice is, I eat it all the time :-) Rice is a grain and cats are carnivores. Cats cannot digest or get any nutrition from rice or grains or carbs. They can SURVIVE like your 7 year old cat, but they cannot thrive or get the nutrition they desperately need when they are sick. Your cat may have gone blind due to a taurine deficiency. Taurine is absolutely a must for all cats. It is found in raw hearts and can ONLY be found in meat. This is why cats cannot be fed a vegetarian diet. They were designed to eat RAW uncooked mice, fish, etc. Of course they can’t handle tomatoes and sweet peas….those aren’t meat. If you found wild mice however, how do you know they didn’t have diseases or didn’t eat rat poison or something? Also baby mice don’t have fully formed bones yet, and the bones are needed to prevent diarrhea.

          Cooking the fish just destroys all the nutrition out of it for them. Read my blog post on feeding raw meat for more info. It is the ONLY thing that stopped my cat’s diarrhea. And how much wormer medicine you give depends on the instructions on the product so I can’t speak to that.

  7. Hi Leigh
    Just looking for your advice/opinion :)
    I have a 3mnth old kitten who has developed diarrhea, the vet has given me probiotic paste and Royal canine gastro intestinal – having just read your comments I am wondering if I am better off giving him some raw minced meat instead of the gastro stuff – I was feeding the little boy on Bozita, the vet says he thinks it is too rich for the kitten – but he has been fine on this from a young age. ?? Thank you for any advice x

    • Hi Samantha. Well I’m not vet and a 3 month old kitten is a delicate thing. I don’t know if the Royal Canine or Bozita you mention is canned or dry and I just don’t like dry for any animal any age when it is sick. Should be no harm in the minced meat but it would need to be balanced. A balanced meal for a cat includes 80% meat, 10% bone and 10% organ, 5% of that being liver. Some people feed these separately on different days during the week. Some people add supplements to just meat. Some examples of such supplements are here: http://cats.about.com/od/homepreparedfood/tp/toprawdiet.htm

  8. hi I have a five month old kitten she as just developed diarrhea she seems ok in every other way, I was reading some of the comments about raw meats for cats and wondering if she would be ok eating thing like that at her age?

  9. I have a cat that was a rescue and he is an outside cat. He evidently has had an issue with diarrhea for a long time. The vet checked for feline leukemia, worms, and parasites. Nothing showed up in the tests. When at the vets they took the cat’s temperature and that caused the cat to immediately have diarrhea. The cat is friendly, has an appetite and shows no other symptoms. When the cat lays down I have noticed there is some drainage. I’ve got a lot money into this cat and can’t afford to keep putting money into him. My vet is basically just guessing and eliminating causes. I’m on a fixed income and would appreciate any suggestions.
    Thanks for any help.
    Linda

  10. I have 3 cats (14, 8, 5 months old). The youngest has some kind of food allergies (skin irritation mostly), he has been on RC Hypoallergenic food for 2 months, it wasn’t worst but it wasn’t better, so I decided to switch to grain free food. Skin irritation seams better, but the problem is that now all 3 have diarrhea. The 8 month one even had traces of blood in her stool. The thing is, I did not make the adjustment period to the new food. So after few days of diarrhea I started cooking hake and was giving it to them for two days with probiotics. The stool went back to normal. I started mixing some grain free food back but the diarrhea started again, it’s not that severe like the first time, but still I do not know how to proceed? Thank you

  11. My cat is having a diarrhea and our house in under renovation is it because the house is noisy is it the reason why my cat is having diarrhea?

    • Its very possible. Cats are sensitive to noise and change; some cats more than others. There are tools to help with stress. Like treats called “Composure,” Rescue Remedy (I rub it on their ears) and Feliway plugins.

  12. Brenda Hill Skylstad says:

    Past frustrated my 2 cats had chronic diarrhea so I spent $30 each for prescription dewormer plus vet visit Im out of money and the male 10 months old still has it bad! The most loving cat in the world please tell me what to do??

    • Brenda, if you can’t afford to buy raw food, try to buy grain free cat food. Canned is better than kibble but even grain free kibble might help. Remember when cats have diarrhea they need help to keep them from getting dehydrated, so a little canned food every day is very helpful. One cheaper grain free food that cats love is Fancy Feast Classics like Beef, Beef & Chicken, Beef & Liver, Chopped Grill, Chicken, Chicken & Liver and Turkey. Those flavors have NO WHEAT GLUTEN and are grain free. Be careful though, not all Fancy Feast cans are grain free! Stick with the Classics flavors I listed here.

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