Sometimes a cat with diarrhea needs to see a vet ASAP, but there are occasions when trying a little home treatment first just makes sense. Let’s take a look at the best ways to approach cat diarrhea and what home remedies might help your feline friend feel better.
The four home remedies for treating your cat’s diarrhea are:
- Change in Diet
- Anti-Diarrheal Medications
- Oral Hydration
In This Article
When Are Home Remedies Appropriate?
First off: you want to make sure that a home remedy is appropriate.
Healthy adult cats who have mild to moderate diarrhea and no other symptoms are ideal candidates for home treatment. As long as your cat continues to eat and drink well, they should be able to compensate for the dehydrating effects of a day or two of diarrhea.
If, however, any of the following apply to your cat, DO NOT try any home remedies.
Cat Diarrhea: When to Call Your Veterinarian
Call your veterinarian if:
- Your cat is a young kitten, is a feline senior citizen, or has health problems.
- Your cat’s diarrhea is severe or contains blood. Diarrhea containing partially digested blood looks dark and tarry.
- Your cat has other serious symptoms like vomiting, weakness, a poor appetite, or pain.
4 Home Remedies for Cat Diarrhea
1. Change In Diet
So, your otherwise healthy adult cat seems to feel pretty good, is continuing to eat and drink well, and has only mild to moderate diarrhea. Your next step is to determine what type of diarrhea your cat has because that will affect your treatment options.
- Cats with large bowel diarrhea poop frequently but only produce small amounts of diarrhea each time. The diarrhea may contain mucus or red blood.
- Cats with small bowel diarrhea usually produce a large amount of poop whenever they go but they only have to poop a few times a day.
If you think your cat has large bowel diarrhea, try a cat food that is supplemented with soluble, prebiotic fibers like chicory, inulin, fructooligosaccharides, pectins, psyllium, plant gum, or beet pulp. This type of fiber absorbs water from the intestinal tract, supports populations of good intestinal bacteria, and provides energy to the cells that line the large intestine, all of which can help resolve diarrhea. If you can’t change your cat’s diet, try adding unflavored psyllium (Metamucil) to your cat’s current food instead.
When a cat’s symptoms fit better with small bowel diarrhea, a highly digestible cat food is usually a better option. Highly digestible ingredients will decrease the amount of poop cats produce.
Some types of cat food like Blue Buffalo True Solutions Blissful Belly Natural Digestive Care Formula contain added prebiotic fiber but are otherwise highly digestible. They are a great option if you’re unsure of what type of diarrhea your cat has or if they have symptoms that fit with both large and small bowel diarrhea. Canned foods are better than dry because they help cats stay hydrated.
In addition to diet, a few other over-the-counter remedies are also appropriate for home treatment of cat diarrhea as well, with the first being probiotics.
When a cat has diarrhea, their normal populations of gut bacteria can get out of whack. Giving cats a probiotic, a supplement that contains “good” gut microorganisms, for a few days can restore their healthy intestinal microbiome. The best probiotics for cats are made by reputable companies and designed specifically for pets. Fortiflora and Proviable-DC are two good options. Follow the label instructions for dosing.
3. Anti-Diarrheal Medications
Many of the anti-diarrheal medications that are safe for use in people should not be given to cats unless a veterinarian has told you to do so. One over-the-counter option that is safe for cats is kaolin-pectin, but pet parents need to be very careful! Some medications that look like they should contain kaolin-pectin (Kaopectate, for example) are actually made with other ingredients that are dangerous for cats. Kaolin-pectin products made specifically for pets are a better option. Some, like Pro-Pectalin, also contain probiotics, which makes treating cat diarrhea at home as simple as possible.
4. Oral Hydration
Cats with diarrhea need to stay hydrated. The easiest way to encourage good hydration is to keep fresh, clean water available at all times and to feed canned food only. You can even boost your cat’s water intake a little more by mixing an extra tablespoon or two of warm water in with your cat’s canned food. Oral hydration supplements, like Purina Hydra Care, also encourage cats to drink more than they might otherwise.
Of course, home remedies for cat diarrhea don’t always work. It’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian if your cat’s diarrhea gets worse, if they develop new, worrisome symptoms, or if their diarrhea doesn’t get better after a few days of home treatment. Your veterinarian can diagnose the underlying cause of the diarrhea and figure out the best treatment options based on what they find.
Additional Resources On Cat Diarrhea
If you’re looking for more information about your cat’s diarrhea, this is a good video overview from Dr. Sarah Wooten on diarrhea in cats:
You can also check out these sources:
- WebMD Pets: Diarrhea in Cats http://pets.webmd.com/cats/diarrhea-in-cats
- ASPCA: Diarrhea https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/common-cat-diseases/diarrhea
- VCA Hospitals: Cat Diarrhea https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/cat-diarrhea
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Diarrhea http://www.merckvetmanual.com/pethealth/dog_disorders_and_diseases/gastrointestinal_disorders_of_dogs/diarrhea.html
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA): kitten has diarrhea https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/cat-behavior/kitten-has-diarrhea
- WebMD Veterinary Reference from the ASPCA: Diarrhea in Dogs and Cats http://pets.webmd.com/dogs-cats-diarrhea-causes-treatments?page=2
And finally we’ve created a series of posts here on Pet News Daily related to gastro intestinal issues for cats and cat health in general, including:
- Home remedies that will settle your cat’s stomach
- Home remedies for cat vomiting
- What to do when your cat is throwing up food?
- What to do if there’s blood in your cat’s stool
- What to do if your cat is vomiting bile
- What to do if your cat is vomiting blood
- What to do if your cat is throwing up white foam
- Over the counter medicine for cat diarrhea
- Cat foaming at the mouth: reasons & what to do
- Home remedies for cat diarrhea