How to Treat Diarrhea in Cats at Home

Leigh - The Paw Sitter blog, Pet Health & Safety

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.