4 Causes of Kitten Diarrhea

Some of the causes of kitten diarrhea are simple to eliminate and solve; others are more complex and may require the assistance of a veterinarian.

Allow your kitten time to adjust to his new environment and diet. These new and somewhat stressful events can cause kitten constipation or other upsets. If your kitten's constipation doesn't resolve itself in forty-eight hours, you may need to consult your veterinarian for help in performing a cat enema.

There are four common causes to kitten diarrhea:

Cat Diarrhea From Parasites

Most kittens have one or more species of internal worms or parasites that can cause diarrhea. Roundworms are very common and are usually transmitted to your kitten from her mother. They cause a pot-bellied appearance. Other kitten worms include whipworms, hookworms and tapeworms. All of these internal parasites can cause a loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting. There are over-the-counter wormers available without a prescription, but you should have a fecal test done on your cat to be sure you are treating the correct worms. Wormers are species-specific and may not kill the worms your kitten is hosting.

Milk Can Cause Constipation

It's tempting to give kittens a saucer of milk because they lap it up with such enthusiasm. Unfortunately, most cats are lactose intolerant and cannot digest cow's milk. There are milk substitutes available in pet food stores-they are a better choice for cats and kittens.

Feline Leukemia

Feline leukemia is an incurable disease caused by a retrovirus. Kittens are very susceptible to this disease which is transmitted by infected cats through their saliva and body fluids. Do not allow your kitten to play outside unsupervised or expose her to cats of unknown diagnosis. A cat or kitten with FELV can live a comfortable life, but her condition must be managed and steps must be taken to prevent the spread of the disease to other cats.


Persistent inflammation of the intestinal lining is known as colitis. It can be acute or chronic and is usually managed by a low fat, high fiber diet.

Danger Signs to Watch For

If the symptoms of digestive upset persist, are recurrent or are accompanied by blood in the stool or extremely watery diarrhea, you cat will need medical attention. Severe diarrhea can dehydrate your kitten quickly and death can result. Other trouble signs include no appetite, fever, discharge from the eyes or excessive vomiting.