Dietary Management of Diarrhea in Cats

Diarrhea in cats is not, in itself, a disease. Rather, it is a symptom that is common to a wide variety of health conditions, some of which are mild, some severe. Your pet may have diarrhea for a brief period of 1 to 2 days or, in rare cases, he may develop chronic diarrhea that persists for longer of recurs frequently. In treating feline diarrhea, your first goal should be to address the symptoms themselves. However, because the diarrhea is always a result of some other, underlying condition, it is important to identify and treat that disease as well in order to prevent future episodes and other negative effects.

Many diarrhea cases, particularly mild ones that last for only a few days, can be treated with changes in diet. Non-severe diarrhea is frequently brought on by improper diet, and a few easy adjustments can help to clear out your pet's system and reset his digestive tract.

Reduce Fats and Treats

One of the most common causes of feline diarrhea is excessive fat and calorie intake. Cats are not designed to receive a substantial portion of their daily caloric intake from fat. Milk and other human foods oftentimes are rich and relatively high in fat in comparison with normal cat foods, and these can contribute to feline diarrhea. Limit your pet's non-cat food and his human food treats as much as possible.

Improve Food Quality

Although all commercially available cat foods will contain a mixture of nutrients suitable to sustain a cat's body, not all of these foods provide high quality nourishment. Inexpensive cat foods may substitute plant proteins and other ingredients, when cats in the wild subsist entirely on meat diets. A low-quality cat food can cause diarrhea in some cases. If your cat suffers from this symptom, try gradually switching his food over to a higher quality diet. Additionally, some brands of cat food offer diets specially formulated to protect against or to treat diarrhea.

Avoid Artificial Dyes and Flavoring Agents

Cats are picky eaters, and the presentation and taste of food may determine whether your pet will eat at all. If possible, avoid all foods that contain any unnatural dyes or flavors. These do not represent a diet that a cat might maintain in the wild, and therefore are unnecessary for your cat at best. At worst, they may contribute to diarrhea or other digestive tract issues.

Clear out Your Pet's System

Consider forcing your pet to fast for 24 hours. During this time, his body will process all remaining food that is in his system. From there, you can begin feeding him on a simple, bland diet that is unlikely to upset his stomach. Gradually re-introduce his typical food over the next few days, and monitor him carefully to ensure that his diarrhea does not begin once again.

If your pet's diarrhea persists or worsens in spite of your efforts to address it via dietary changes, it is a good idea to have a veterinarian examine him for signs of more severe health concerns. Act promptly in order to identify and begin to treat any serious diseases or conditions.