Causes and Treatment of Diarrhoea in Cats

Is your cat suffering with diarrhoea? There are many causes of an upset stomach affecting our feline friends. Find the main causes and treatments.

Does your cat or kitten have diarrhoea? Are you unsure what’s causing it, or what to do to ease your pet’s suffering? Learn more about what causes diarrhoea in cats and kittens to understand their needs.

To find the appropriate treatment for diarrhoea in cats, it’s important to first get to the bottom of what’s causing it. Here are some of the most common causes:

Change in diet

A sudden change in diet, the addition of supplements, or even an allergy to a certain food, can cause an upset tummy - especially if your cat is on the sensitive side. If you are changing your cat or kitten’s diet, it’s a good idea to gradually introduce new food in with the old, increasing the amount a little each day.

Parasites and infections

Parasites are another common cause of intestinal problems in cats. The best way to avoid this is to make sure they’re on regular treatment for roundworm and hookworm. Viral and bacterial infections can also lead to diarrhoea, although this is more common in younger cats.


Some medications can cause side effects, which can include diarrhoea. If this is the case, it’s important to contact your vet for advice.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or Colitis

As the name suggests, IBD is inflammation of the bowel. While the exact cause for IBD isn’t known, it may be categorised as a genetic disorder of the immune system that causes a heightened immune response to food, parasites or bacteria. One of the main symptoms associated with IBD in cats is diarrhoea.

Additionally, colitis is another intestinal disease that causes inflammation of the colon, or large intestine. Colitis can disrupt the absorption of water from faeces – leading to diarrhoea. While colitis does often resolve itself on its own, recurring or worsening cases will require veterinary attention.

Although these are the more common causes, there are also other diseases and illnesses that can lead to diarrhoea in cats. These include hyperthyroidism, pancreatitis, liver disease, or even cancer.

Most often, diarrhoea resolves itself in a day or two. However, if it lasts for more than 48 hours, or is accompanied by other symptoms of illness or distress, get in touch with your vet to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment for your cat.