Cat diarrhoea

cat sitting on the stairs
Written by: Sam Webster (BVetMed MRCVS) Head Vet at Joii

Noticing that your cat has diarrhoea can be concerning, but in most cases, it is not something to worry about and can be treated fairly easily.

Whilst it’s usually nothing serious, it’s useful to understand the different causes behind it and when you should take your feline friend to the vets for a check-up.

Why does my cat have diarrhoea?


There are many different things that can cause diarrhoea in cats, and some of the most common causes can include:


  • Sudden change in diet – this is usually the most common cause of diarrhoea in cats, and it is usually settled when your cat’s tummy has adjusted to the new diet. This is more common in younger cats and kittens but can also occur in older cats too.
  • Infections and viruses – a wide variety of infections and viruses that affect cats can cause diarrhoea, such as feline parvovirus, feline leukaemia, salmonella and more, though this would be in rare cases.
  • Allergies – if your cat is allergic or hypersensitive to certain food items and products, it can lead to diarrhoea.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease – this is a complex disorder that can result in chronic, persistent or intermittent diarrhoea and vomiting in cats.
  • Intestinal tumours – this is more common in older cats and the tumours can interfere with the normal absorption of food, leading to diarrhoea in many cases.
  • Cat worms and other gut parasites.
  • Diseases and conditions including pancreatitis, gut blockages, liver disease, kidney failure/disease and even cancer.

How to treat cat diarrhoea?


In many cases, diarrhoea in your cat will tend to clear up by itself with plenty of rest and water and by feeding them frequent, small, bland meals. You can also give your pet probiotics by buying them from your vet or online – these help to boost friendly bacteria in the gut and absorb excess water in the gastrointestinal tract.

There may be times when you want to switch what brand of cat food you feed your pet, but always introduce it gradually rather than suddenly changing your cat’s diet. Offer your cat one bowl with the new food and one bowl with the old food. Over seven days, slowly increase the amount of food in the new food bowl and decrease the amount of food in the old food bowl until your cat is completely on the new food.

If your cat has been suffering from diarrhoea for more than 24 hours and is also showing other symptoms such as a lack of energy, inappetence or vomiting, it’s always best to get them checked at the vets as soon as possible to make sure it’s nothing more serious.


It’s always a good idea to consider cat insurance to help cover the costs of treatment and vets bills, as well as giving you access to a 24-hour Vet Advice Line with Asda Money Pet Insurance.

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