Let’s be honest up front: no one loves talking about cats with diarrhea! But it’s a necessary topic to discuss, especially when it comes to the health of your feline companion.
Just like in humans, a cat having diarrhea is a normal occurrence that could be caused by many different things. It could be a “one and done” situation, or it could occur more regularly.
Also like humans, each cat is different and has different sensitives and digestive health. If your cat is experiencing regular diarrhea, then a new diet may be in order and it is probably best you get to know about the best cat foods for diarrhea.
The first thing you must be thinking is, “What do you give a cat with Diarrhea?”.
Don’t panic, in this article we will go over everything you need to do and watch out for.
So, My Cat Has Diarrhea! Why is This?
What is Diarrhea?
Most people are familiar with diarrhea and it appears in cats much as it does in humans. Diarrhea is categorized by loose and sometimes runny or watery stools. Some cats with diarrhea may go to the litter box more than usual, as well.
Diarrhea is caused by fecal matter moving through your cat’s digestive system faster than normal while not absorbing as much water and nutrients in the process. This could be due to bacteria, viruses, worms, or even food.
Monitor Your Cat's Litter Box
Some cats are more prone to diarrhea than others and most of the time, diarrhea will clear up on its own. However, it is important that you monitor your cat’s litter box trips and (I'm sorry!) invetigate their cat litter so that you know when your cat has diarrhea, how long it lasts, and how frequently it is happening.
Is the Cat Diarrhea a One-Off or Regular?
Just like humans, cats’ bowels can change every so often. They could have a random day of diarrhea and be fine the next. You shouldn’t be too terribly concerned if your cat has diarrhea, it’s a natural occurrence.
However, if they start having diarrhea regularly, you may need to help them get their bowels back to normal. Some cats just have sensitive stomachs and require a different diet to alleviate it. If this is a frequent occurrence with your cat, you should consider trying a new cat food.
My Cat Has Diarrhea: is it Due to Food he has Eaten?
Diarrhea in cats is caused by food more often than you think. It could happen because they ate something they weren’t supposed to. Or it could happen when their food or meal plans are changed too quickly.
To prevent cat diarrhea when changing up your cat’s diet, make sure to do it slowly over the span of a week while mixing it with some of their old food, adding a little more new food each time.
Another way food is the culprit behind diarrhea in your cat is its ingredients. Some cat foods are harder to digest than others. And if your cat already has a sensitive stomach, these cat foods would cause diarrhea pretty frequently.
The best way to determine if food is to blame for your cat’s diarrhea is to try feeding them a gentle formula.
Is Cat Diarrhea an Emergency?
If your cat has chronic diarrhea (i.e. they aren’t even making it to the litter box or they aren’t ever having a solid stool), you should go to the vet for advice. They can help you get down to the root of the problem. Not to mention, long term diarrhea can cause health problems like dehydration.
Symptoms of Cat Diarrhea
Besides the soft, loose or runny stools cats experience when they have diarrhea, there are a handful of other symptoms they may have. They could have one of these symptoms or a combination of them, so make sure you are keeping a close on your kitty companion.
Dehydration is Caused by Cat Diarrhea
The biggest concern for cat’s who have diarrhea is dehydration. Since diarrhea keeps your cat from absorbing water and other nutrients, they could easily become dehydrated if diarrhea lasts for a long time.
Sometimes, dehydration can easily be corrected by having your cat drink more water or feeding them watery wet food. However, serious cases of dehydration require a vet to remedy.
Symptoms of dehydration in cats include loss of appetite, sunken eyes, panting, an elevated heart rate, a dry mouth, and lethargy.
Tiredness is another symptom of diarrhea, as well as dehydration. If your cat is acting overly lethargic and not doing as much as they normally do on a daily basis, check their litter box for signs of diarrhea.
A fever is another symptom of cat diarrhea, but one that is not easily determined. If you suspect your cat has a fever and you are brave enough to attempt to take their temperature, do so carefully.
Cat Diarrhea and Vomiting Combined
Vomiting is another sign of diarrhea, especially if the diarrhea is caused by a virus. Like in humans, any issue in the digestive tract or stomach is prone to mess with bowels as well as cause vomiting.
Some cats naturally vomit regularly, especially if they are prone to hairballs. But, if your cat is throwing up in conjunction with diarrhea, a bigger issue may be at hand.
What to Look For in a Best Cat Food for Diarrhea
Must be Rich in Fiber
If you are looking for cat diarrhea treatment food that helps your cat have more natural bowels, the first thing you should look for is fiber. Fiber is great for helping firm up your cat’s stools by absorbing excess fluids that cause runny stools. For more insight read our best high fiber cat food guide.
The next thing you should look for is high amounts of protein. Protein is what gives your cat energy which they may be lacking in if they have diarrhea. Protein also helps your cat build lean muscle and maintain a healthy weight, so it helps several areas of their health.
Free of Grains
Like humans, cats can be very sensitive to grain and many cats have a problem digesting any type of grain. Even though cats are carnivores, they can still digest grain. However, sensitivity or allergy to grain or gluten may be the cause of their diarrhea without you realizing it.
If you want a quick way to see if your cat is especially sensitive to grain, try a grain-free food and see if their diarrhea eases up.
Prebiotics and probiotics have become pretty common staples for humans looking to regulate their digestive system, and they can do the same thing for cats. Specifically, prebiotics are nutrients that help to stimulate your cat’s digestive system.
This helps them produce more good gut bacteria and reduces the chances of digestive issues like diarrhea. Having prebiotics in your cat’s food can assist with cat diarrhea treatment.
Organic or Natural
Another way to rule out certain factors of cat food that causes diarrhea is by going organic or natural. Many cat foods that are non-organic or non-natural typically contain GMOs and those GMOs could be the cause of your cat’s diarrhea.
Vitamins and Nutrients
If your cat just naturally has a sensitive stomach and digestive system, some vitamins may be in order to help make their daily trips to the litter box easier on them. Vitamins A, E, and C are essential vitamins that help. These vitamins are also great for muscle and immune system health.
10 Best Cat Foods for Diarrhea
1. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food - Best Overall Cat Food to Help Diarrhea Option
The Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food is made specifically for cats with sensitive stomachs and skin. It includes prebiotic fibers to support your cat’s digestive health and increase their good gut bacteria.
This highly digestible formula makes it easy for your cat to absorb more essential nutrients while also making it easier to clean their litter box and even reduces puking in some cats. Not to mention, this dry cat food for diarrhea control includes vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids to nourish your cat’s skin.
Even though Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food is on the expensive side, it is a great food for cats who are prone to diarrhea. In fact, it is the number one veterinarian-recommended cat food for sensitive stomachs. Made with natural ingredients and in a yummy chick and rice flavor, even picky eaters love this dry food.
2. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Digest Sensitive - Best Wet Cat Food for Diarrhea Option
The Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Digest Sensitive is a great wet food to feed cats one year or older with a sensitive stomach. It includes various vitamins and minerals for a balanced diet and proteins that are easy to digest.
The easy to digest proteins in this formula help your cat to absorb more nutrients while also reducing diarrhea, stool odor, and puking incidences. Many cat owners also find this wet food helps with weight maintenance and makes scooping the litter box a little less awful.
This wet cat food for diarrhea control is somewhat expensive, but it does appeal to picky eaters. For a nicely balanced diet, you should try to pair this wet food with dry food made for sensitive stomachs.
3. Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Natural Adult Dry - Best Dry Cat Food for Diarrhea Option
The Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Natural Adult Dry Food is a great way to take care of several areas of your cat’s health while also soothing their sensitive stomach. Made from all-natural ingredients, this dry food contains no by-products, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
The number one ingredient in this dry cat food for diarrhea control is chicken and this deboned chicken provides high-quality proteins that are easy to digest and great for keeping your cat’s muscles strong. This dry food also helps your cat absorb more nutrients and includes prebiotics that increase good gut bacteria.
Also included in this dry food for sensitive stomachs, is vitamins and minerals for immune system health, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for skin and coat health, and taurine for heart and eye health. Not to mention, Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Natural Adult Dry Food has balanced calories for weight management.
4. Purina ONE Sensitive Stomach - Best Budget Cat Food for Diarrhea Option
The Purina ONE Sensitive Stomach is a great way to ease your cat’s tummy trouble, especially if you are on a budget. The formula of this dry food is easy for cats to digest. It is also made from natural ingredients, includes turkey as the number one ingredient, and has no fillers, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
The 36 grams of high-quality protein in each serving of this dry cat food for diarrhea control helps keep your cat’s muscles and heart strong and healthy. It also includes antioxidants and vitamins E and A to boost their immune system and omega 6 fatty acids to aid in skin and coat health. This dry food is great for cats with dry skin.
This sensitive stomach dry food also has crunchy bites that appeal to picky eaters and even reduces vomiting in some cats. As it is budget-friendly, the Purina ONE Sensitive Stomach dry food is a great all-around option for your cat. Definitely a very good choice if you are looking for a value cat food for diarrhea control.
5. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Kitten Canned Cat Food - Best Kitten food for Diarrhea Option
The Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Kitten Canned Cat Food was created for kittens up to 12 months old. This formula was created to support the needs of a constantly growing and developing kitten.
This wet cat food for diarrhea control contains an optimal ratio of carbs, fats, and proteins that provide all the energy playful kittens need. It also includes plenty of fiber and prebiotics that are easy for kittens to digest and antioxidants to boost their developing immune system.
Not to mention, the Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Kitten Canned Cat Food is a great way to transition your kitten to solid foods as the small, thin slices of turkey are covered in gravy and easy for them to eat.
6. Royal Canin Aging 12+ - Best Older Cat Option
The Royal Canin Aging 12+ canned wet cat food for diarrhea control was made to keep senior kitties aged 12 and older healthy and active. The optimal ratio of carbs, fats, and proteins was made to appeal to cats’ instincts, so it's great for picky eaters.
This wet food targets several areas of health that senior kitties often have problems with. The omega 3 fatty acids help keep their joints healthy so your cat stays active and controlled phosphorus levels support their kidney health.
While the Royal Canin Aging 12+ wet food is expensive, many older cats have improved their health tremendously while eating this food. And even though it wasn’t specifically made for sensitive stomachs, this wet food has plenty of benefits including nutrients that aid digestion.
7. Earthborn Holistic Primitive Feline Natural Grain-Free Cat Food - Best Holistic Option
The Earthborn Holistic Primitive Feline Natural Grain-Free Cat Food is made with no grain or gluten and is high in protein, which is great for cats with sensitive stomachs. It also includes wholesome ingredients like peas, apples, blueberries, carrots, spinach, and cranberries.
All of the protein in this dry food comes from wholesome sources such as turkey meal, chicken meal, herring meal, salmon meal, and whitefish meal. All of that protein is great for keeping your cat’s muscles healthy and strong. An excellent all round cat food for diarrhea control.
Also included in the Earthborn Holistic Primitive Feline Natural Grain-Free Cat Food are antioxidants and vitamins E and C for immune system health and omega 6 and 3 fatty acids for skin and coat health. As an added bonus, Earthborn Holistic has 100% recyclable, resealable, and BPA free packaging.
8. Solid Gold - Let’s Stay In - Grain-Free - Indoor Formula Dry Cat Food with Superfoods - Best Superfoods Option
The Solid Gold Let’s Stay In Grain-Free Indoor Formula Dry Cat Food with Superfoods is a great dry cat food for diarrhea control for indoor cats with sensitive stomachs. All of the fiber and probiotics in this dry food not only soothes sensitive stomachs but also reduces hairballs.
Real chicken is the number one ingredient in this dry food and it includes no chicken by-products. It also includes several superfoods like almonds, lentils, pumpkin, and broccoli to provide several essential vitamins and minerals.
Besides the probiotics and prebiotics that aid digestive health, this dry food also appeals to picky eaters. And in case you have a very picky cat, Solid Gold offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
9. Royal Canin Feline Care Nutrition Digestive Care Dry Food
The Royal Canin Feline Care Nutrition Digestive Care Dry Food was made specifically for cats one year and older with sensitive stomachs and digestive issues.
Several features soothe sensitive stomachs such as the included prebiotics and dietary fibers. The cat kibble food for diarrhea control also comes in ring shapes which slows down your cat’s eating for healthy digestion. Many cats have decreased their diarrhea, vomiting, and hairballs on this dry food.
Royal Canin states that the Feline Care Nutrition Digestive Care Dry Food has proven results of a decrease in stool production by 42%. However, some picky eaters don't care for this dry food and it is on the expensive side.
10. Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Adult
The Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Adult wet food is a great option for cats with sensitive stomachs and skin. It is made with high-quality proteins and arctic char is listed as the number one ingredient.
This wet cat food for diarrhea control also includes no grain, corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors, or by-products. All of the ingredients are easy to digest and the linoleic acid included is great for skin and coat health.
The tender bites in the Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Adult is great for cats with mouth and teeth problems and even appeals to picky eaters. The one downside is that this small bag seems to go quickly, so you might want to stock up on multiple bags.
Final Thoughts on the Best Cat Foods for Diarrhea Control
When it comes to our best feline friends, we would do anything to make them healthier and happier kitties. That’s why if your cat is experiencing regular cat diarrhea, it would be worth it to spend a little extra and get them the best cat food for diarrhea control.
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food is the best overall option for sensitive stomachs. Not only is it the number one veterinarian-recommended cat food for digestion, but it is also easy to digest, includes prebiotic fiber for good gut bacteria, and includes vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids.
Not to mention, it has proven to reduce cat diarrhea and vomiting and makes litter box cleanup easier for their humans. That sounds like a win to us!
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