Home Treatment of Diarrhea in Cats

Home Treatment of Diarrhea in Cats

By isak, January 22, 2015

Note: If your cat appears to be in distress or severely depressed, you should seek IMMEDIATE veterinary attention.

Episodes of mild diarrhea/soft stools lasting no more than a few days are not unusual. If your cat is eating and alert, there is no cause for alarm. Switch to a bland diet and feed a normal amount of food (see recipe below) divided into 3 to 4 small servings fed at intervals throughout the day. A general approach to the treatment of more severe watery diarrhea is to withhold food for 8 to 12 hours and then start small meals of the bland diet described below. If the diarrhea has resolved, it is likely to be due to stress, bacterial overgrowth (occurs with sudden diet changes) or dietary indiscretions, such as too many treats. If not, it may be a more serious problem, and we advise you to schedule an appointment for your cat/kitten with your vet and begin testing to rule out other causes. Remember, persistent or severe diarrhea requires veterinary attention.

The most common recommendation for dietary control of diarrhea in cats is to use a low fat, moderate fiber diet. There are diets such as Hill’s i/d available for this purpose. If you choose to try the i/d food, it can be purchased from your vet.

A home-made equivalent diet consists of chicken and rice [1 part chicken /2 parts rice ]
to which can be added a small amount (1/4 to 1/2 tsp) of wheat dextrin or psyllium (such as Benefiber or Metamucil TM). For kittens only, chicken baby food and rice cereal may be more convenient especially if one must force feed with a syringe. Alternate diets that can be tried are:

  • A mixture of two parts rice and one part boiled hamburger with fat removed.
  • Mix one and a half cups of cooked white rice or potato with one half cup of low fat cottage cheese. Some cats prefer pasta to rice
  • Live culture yogurt may help control diarrhea in cat . Dose range is from 2 to 5ml with each meal. This is an attempt to add beneficial bacteria to the digestive tract.

Keep the cat / kitten on the bland diet for 1 – 2 days after the diarrhea clears up before starting to go back to the usual diet. Re-introducing regular food should be gradual, starting with 1/8 regular food mixed in the bland diet. On subsequent days the ratio should be 1?4, 1?2, then 3/4th regular food, before totally back to regular food.

Home remedy medications for diarrhea should be used with caution.

Young kittens with severe diarrhea should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Loperamide (Imodium AD TM) liquid can be used in cats for diarrhea. The usual dosage for cats is 0.1 to 0.2mg/kg every 8 to 12 hours. (1 kg = 2.2 pounds.) It is OK to try this for 1-2 days but if there is no response you should have the cat and especially kittens examined / rechecked . Since there is a small chance of causing excitable behavior in cats when using loperamide, this treatment must be carefully monitored.

Don’t cut off the water. Chronic diarrhea can quickly cause a pet to become dehydrated. Make sure that they have fresh clean water at all times. You may consider using a re-hydration fluid like Gatorade to replenish electrolytes.

source: Elizabethtown Animal Hospital


  1. Bee says:

    This was really helpful — thank you! My two suddenly got the runs when I gave them new food. Both are peppy and as full of energy as always. Just frequent trips to the litter box. Pumpkin helped solidify things on the first day, but then they both called a pumpkin strike and the runs are back. I’ll try this dosage — with caution as you suggest.

  2. Madeline says:

    My Nila is 17 years old…She has been eating the same diet for the last five years. She has been having foul loose stools for a week now. She acts normal and there has been no change in her catitude. I intend to try your chicken/rice formula. Should any seasonings be added??

    • isak says:

      17, eh? That’s wonderful!

      No to the seasonings because you want the food to be bland. Rice is slower to digest, so it should add some bulk to her stool. The chicken provides needed protein. You can try adding a bit of plain pumpkin for fiber. This will also help her stool firm up.

  3. C. Dunn says:

    Your calculations are WAY off: Dosage is 0.1-0.2 mg PER 2.2 pounds ( 1 KG).

    • isak says:

      I think that’s what we said, but there was a sentence in there that was maybe confusing, so we deleted it. Thanks for your input.

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