What To Do If Your Cat Has Diarrhea Or Runny Poo (Inside Or Outside The Litter Box)

Your kitty is gassy, flatulent, faint, and maybe even leaving unpleasant runny poo every time it’s using the litter box.

Your cat has diarrhea.

What can you do?

Firstly, there are two types of diarrhea occurring among cats – acute and chronic.

Acute diarrhea has a sudden onset and will last for up to several days.

Chronic diarrhea is more problematic as it can last for longer than a couple of weeks.

What is the Cause of Cat Diarrhea?

Runny poo is unpleasant, but it’s not a rarity among feline creatures. It shouldn’t be seen as a catastrophic problem if it lasts only for a day or two. In fact, it may not even indicate that there’s an actual problem with your kitty and could be caused by hairballs or a change of diet.

Swallowed hairballs are often the cause of vomiting and diarrhea in cats. They build up in your feline pet’s intestines and block the entire gastrointestinal system. As a result, the kitty’s body is trying to get rid of them in every way it can.

A change of diet is also among the most common causes. Switching between cat foods or feeding your pet with spoiled food items may easily upset your furry pal’s sensitive stomach.

Food allergies are common for many cats and may be the reason behind the runny poo.

Foreign objects and poisonous substances will stir up problems in your kitty’s gastrointestinal system. The most common cat poisonings occur from zinc and ibuprofen.

Some antibiotics and medications will cause diarrhea and can even trigger an allergic reaction. More serious causes include infections, colitis, cancers, liver and kidney diseases, internal parasites (like roundworms and coccidia), pancreatic insufficiency, inflammations, insect stings, and bites.

Of course, your kitty may be suffering from a simple stomachache or an intolerance towards dairy products. This is why it’s of extreme importance to keep tabs on your cat’s diet and to feed it only with high quality cat food.

Some cats, especially young kittens, may need supplements in addition to their diet, which should never be used as a substitute to actual food.

Learn More: Best High Fiber Cat Foods For Diarrhea

The Symptoms And Risks Associated With Cat Diarrhea

The most common symptoms of diarrhea are:

  • weight loss,
  • fatigue,
  • lethargy,
  • vomiting,
  • flatulence,
  • blood and mucus in feces,
  • decreased appetite,
  • increased urgency to poop,
  • dehydration, and even
  • defecating outside of the litter box.

Loose and runny poo is the easiest to spot among all symptoms of cat diarrhea. The volume, the consistency, the concentration, and the frequency of defecating are indicators for the type of diarrhea – small intestine diarrhea or large intestine diarrhea.

What Should You Do?

If your kitty is having diarrhea and the stools are loose and runny for more than a couple of days you should immediately consult with a vet. If you don’t take precautions, your feline furball might suffer severe consequences.

Cats cannot go without proper food and water over longer periods of time, unlike dogs or human beings. They also don’t have a strong sense of thirst, so they can easily become dehydrated in the case of diarrhea. This can lead to a number of health-related issues and even death.

If the diarrhea is mild and the cat looks otherwise in good condition, you might need to stop feeding it for the next 12-24 hours and provide fresh supplies of water. There’s a big chance that there’s no reason to panic if your pet’s poo is a bit runny.

However, if your cat is acting unusual and is leaving runny stools all over the place, you should immediately take it to the vet for a check-up. You should never give your cat medication or other types of treatments unless your vet has prescribed them.

How To Avoid Cat Diarrhea In The Future

As mentioned above, the most common cause for runny poo is a change of diet or a swallowed hairball.

In order to spare your kitty from diarrhea, you should groom it on regular occasions and keep your home clean of cat hair. Another way to prevent diarrhea is to always serve your cat non-dairy products and high quality cat food. If you need to change your furball’s diet, mix some of the old food with the new meal to make sure the changes won’t be too drastic.

Always remember that your precious furball’s health and well-being should be your top priority.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!