Is it Normal for a Cat to Have Diarrhea?

No, it is not normal for cats to have diarrhea. However, if your cat has diarrhea but seems fine, the issue might be minor and transient.

Cat diarrhea can result from an array of gastrointestinal problems like food allergies or bacterial infections and should be taken seriously. The good news is that if your cat has diarrhea but seems fine, the underlying cause is likely benign. 

Why Does My Cat Have Diarrhea But Acts Fine?

There are several reasons your otherwise healthy cat has diarrhea but seems fine. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Diet Changes. One of the common causes of diarrhea is a sudden dietary change, especially in cats with sensitive stomachs. For example, giving wet food to a cat used to eating only dry food will result in diarrhea. When switching your cat’s old food, make the introduction of the new food slow and gradual.
  • Food Allergies. Cats can be allergic or intolerant to certain foods. In such cases, they will show signs of gastrointestinal upset (usually diarrhea but sometimes also vomiting). When suffering from food intolerances and allergies, a cat will seem otherwise fine.
  • Imbalanced Gut Biome. If the good bacteria in the cat’s gut are inhibited in some way, it can cause indigestion and changes in the feces consistency. For example, gut biome imbalances can occur after prolonged use of antibiotics. Introducing probiotics can help resolve this issue and normalize bowel movements.
  • Lack of Fiber. Fiber is an undigestible but necessary nutrient for a healthy digestive system. Low fiber diets can result in loose stools and can be fixed by adding high-fiber foods to the cat’s diet or using prebiotic supplements. If your cat has diarrhea but seems fine, it may need more prebiotics in its diet. 
Honest Paws Pre+ Probiotics
  • Specially formulated with both cat probiotics and prebiotics.
  • Avoid diarrhea, loss of appetite, constipation, and many other problems.
  • Helps promote the production of natural antibodies, fight free radicals, and support a healthy immune system in your cat.

Can Cats Have Diarrhea for No Reason?

No, healthy adult cats should not have diarrhea for no reason.

While some diarrhea bouts are benign and self-limiting, others can be the result of severe or even life-threatening conditions.

For example, acute diarrhea in cats can be caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, intestinal parasites, foreign objects, or ingestion of toxins (foods, plants, chemicals, human medication).

Chronic diarrhea in cats can be caused by kidney disease, thyroid gland issues, pancreatitis, or IBD (inflammatory bowel disease).

When your cat has a loose poo, consider the overall situation. If your cat has diarrhea but seems fine, monitor it and use over-the-counter supplements or home remedies. However, if, in addition to diarrhea, it is showing other signs and symptoms, seek veterinary care.

Does Cat Diarrhea Resolve on its Own?

Yes, diarrhea can resolve on its own, especially if your cat has diarrhea but seems fine and does not show additional signs and symptoms.

For example, if the diarrhea was caused by new food and sudden dietary change, it can resolve on its own once the stomach gets used to the new cat food. 

However, if you notice your cat’s poop is black or bloody, it is time to get them to see a DVM. This is a sign of something more serious, with possible causes ranging from intestinal parasites (like roundworms and hookworms) to viral infections.

What Can I Do to Help if My Cat has Diarrhea but Acts Fine?

What can I give my cat for diarrhea and what to feed a cat with diarrhea are common questions for pet parents. Luckily, there are many over-the-counter supplements that can be used when your cat has diarrhea but seems fine. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Honest Paws Pre + Probiotics for Dogs. This powdered and chicken-flavored supplement checks all boxes for quality, safety, and efficacy. It is made in the USA in a GMP-certified facility with premium-quality and globally sourced ingredients. The powder is easy to use and comes in individually packed and pre-dosed sachets. 

Each sachet contains 5 billion CFUs (coming from different beneficial bacteria), prebiotics, and spinach leaf extract. The product maintains a healthy gut, supports immune health, and provides seasonal allergy relief.   

Nutri-Vet Anti-Diarrhea Liquid for Cats. This diarrhea treatment features kaolin and pectin to reduce a cat’s symptoms and is made by veterinarians. Pectin helps to provide a protective coating to irritated gastrointestinal membranes, while kaolin increases the bulk of stool to slow down its passage to the litter box.

This product serves as a detoxifying agent to work against bacteria that cause intestinal irritation and loose stool. It is made in the USA and carries the National Animal Supplement Council seal of quality, so you can be sure you are receiving a high-quality product.

Purina FortiFlora Cat Probiotic Powder Supplement. Using brewer’s yeast as a flavoring agent, this formula is made to support a cat’s gut health. FortiFlora probiotics help to normalize digestion and support the healthy bacteria that make up a stable gut biome.

This has been shown in a March 2019 Kynetec study to provide great support and efficacy in cats. It comes in an easy-to-use once-daily packet and is safe for cats of all sizes and ages.

Vet Worthy Anti-Diarrhea for Cats. Kaolin and pectin are the active ingredients in this anti-diarrhea formula. It is safe and effective in protecting your pet with a natural and balanced formula. It is flavored like a treat, so cats are eager to consume this treatment.

It is made in the USA in a Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) certified facility, so the quality and safety of this product are top of the line. This product is excellent if your cat has diarrhea but seems fine. 

PetUltimates Probiotics for Cats. Unlike other probiotics that only contain 100 million CFUs of healthy bacteria, this product contains over 5 billion CFUs per dose. In fact, there are twenty species of bacteria in each dosage that are grown in small batches to retain freshness.

There is no sugar, grains, or animal digest in this formula that avoids cheap ingredients altogether. It is made in the USA in a GMP-certified facility to ensure the best quality is reaching store shelves.

Can Cat Diarrhea Spread to Other Cats?

No, diarrhea itself cannot spread to other cats.

However, some infectious causes of diarrhea (such as the parasite Giardia, bacteria Salmonella, or the feline leukemia virus) can spread to other cats. They spread via food/water bowls or the litter box if contaminated with fecal matter. If your cat has diarrhea but seems fine, chances are the underlying cause cannot be transmitted to other cats. 

How Long Does Diarrhea Last in Cats?

It depends on the underlying cause. Cat diarrhea can last anywhere from a couple of hours to several days or even weeks.

However, if your cat exhibits symptoms for more than 1 to 2 days or your cat’s stool is discolored, it is important to seek veterinary help. These can be signs of life-threatening underlying causes.

When Should I Be Concerned About My Cats Diarrhea?

When Should I Be Concerned About My Cats Diarrhea

You should be concerned when your cat’s diarrhea is discolored, tarry, mucousy, bloody, or lasts more than a day or two.

You should also be worried if your cat is showing additional worrisome signs such as lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, or weight loss. In such cases, you need to get proactive and see a vet.

The vet will perform a physical examination and order diagnostic tests (stool sample analysis, blood work, abdominal x-rays, ultrasound) to determine the underlying cause.

The good news is, in general, you should not be worried if your cat has diarrhea but seems fine. 

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Katelyn Son