Causes of Cat Diarrhea

Cat diarrhea involves the frequent excretion of watery feces. If the condition persists for a long duration, it causes dehydration due to the loss of fluids and essential electrolytes. Some cats suffer from diarrhea caused by intestinal irritation, while other cases are caused by more serious conditions like pancreatitis, liver disease or parasite infections.

Chronic diarrhea lasts for nearly three weeks. Pet feces may also contain mucus or blood. The cause of chronic diarrhea in cats can be determined with diagnostic tests such as fecal culture tests, cytology, blood tests, urine analysis, serological tests and physical exams.


  • Straining to defecate
  • Loose, watery stools
  • Bloody stools
  • Mucus in stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss


Cats should be fed well-balanced diets with necessary vitamins and minerals. Cats may experience diarrhea if new food or a change in the brand of cat food is introduced to the diet. Cats may also suffer from intestinal irritation due to the ingestion of foreign objects or substances that are found on the floor.


Cats contract worm infections that are known to cause diarrhea. Hookworms, tapeworms and roundworms are the most common type of worm infections that exist in pets. The cat feces may also appear black and tarry due to blood in the stool. Although fecal exams may not always detect the presence of tapeworm segments, radiographs or ultrasounds can diagnose parasite infections in pets.


Pancreatitis is a condition that occurs due to a sudden inflammation in the pancreas. Dehydration along with electrolyte imbalance is the most common symptom of pancreatitis in cats. The cause of the inflammation can be due to medication, surgery, bowel disease and intestinal trauma. The aim of the pancreatitis treatment is to reduce and control pet dehydration.

Liver Disease

Liver disease is more common in adult or older cats. It's often present along with pancreatitis, thyroid problems and heart disease. Feline liver disease may also occur due to worm infections, diabetes mellitus and Cushing's syndrome. The diagnosis and treatment of feline liver disease is complex. Laboratory tests, ultrasound and radiographs are essential. Along with diarrhea, cats suffering from liver disease also exhibit symptoms of vomiting, weight loss and jaundice.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

IBD in cats occurs due to a chronic invasion of the walls of the intestine by inflammatory cells. Feline IBD is the body's response to certain injury or disease. The most common sign of feline IBD is diarrhea and vomiting.

There are several other causes of diarrhea in pets. Most pets suffering from minor causes of diarrhea recover without medication. However, if the symptoms of diarrhea don't subside in a few hours, vet intervention is necessary. The vet will conduct tests to rule out other known causes of feline diarrhea.

Other Causes of Feline Diarrhea

  • Feline immunodeficiency virus
  • Feline leukemia virus
  • Gastrointestinal neoplasia
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Fungal infections

While most cases of diarrhea can be treated with adequate home care, it's best to conduct a vet check to treat and prevent medical conditions from causing severe damage to the internal organs.