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Kitten Diarrhea: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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Is it Normal for Kittens to Have Diarrhea?

Kitten Diarrhea: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

No, kitten diarrhea is not normal.

Kitten diarrhea can be a sign of dietary problems or other health issues. Even if it is temporary and mild, it is still unpleasant for both the cat and the owner and requires proper attention.

What Are the Symptoms of Diarrhea in Kittens?

Same as in adult cats, the symptoms of kitten diarrhea are:

  • Soft or Loose Stool. The main sign of diarrhea is soft, loose, or even watery stool. It is also common for the stool to have an unusually unpleasant scent.
  • Frequent Bowel Movements. Increased pooping frequency is another sign of cat diarrhea. Sometimes, kittens strain and make no poop, but they will still visit the litter box more often.
  • Litter Box Accidents. New kittens can often have accidents outside the litter box. However, in case of diarrhea, those accidents are likely to be more frequent.
  • Mucus or Blood in Stool. Depending on the underlying diarrhea cause, the stool may contain mucus or blood. Both cases are concerning and require veterinary attention.
  • Loss of Appetite. Young kittens with diarrhea often experience a loss of appetite. The lack of appetite is a general sign that can indicate many potential conditions.
  • Nausea/Vomiting. The same trigger that caused kitten diarrhea can often cause nausea and vomiting.
  • Abdominal Pain. Diarrhea results in abdominal pain. Kittens having abdominal pain should be taken to a vet for x-rays and other gastrointestinal examinations.
  • Dehydration. Losing water via diarrhea causes dehydration. In young kittens, dehydration can be life-threatening if left untreated.
  • Weight Loss. One of the side effects of diarrhea is weight loss from excess poop production and a loss of appetite.

We should note that some kittens can have diarrhea and still act normal.

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What Is the Most Common Cause of Diarrhea in Kittens?

There are many possible causes of diarrhea – some benign and transient and others severe and lasting. Here are the most common causes of diarrhea:

  • Dietary Changes. When kittens are abruptly given new food, it can cause diarrhea. Before switching your cat’s food, consult a vet and make the change gradually so that your kitten’s sensitive stomach can adapt to the new food.
  • Stress. Stress and anxiety are common causes of kitten diarrhea. New kittens can get stressed and develop diarrhea when weaned off or taken into their new homes.
  • Food Allergies. Cats can be allergic to specific foods, such as chicken, beef, or grains. In such cases, they will have diarrhea. A common kitten diarrhea trigger is milk (as kittens grow, they develop lactose intolerances, meaning they cannot process lactose – the main milk sugar).
  • Internal Parasites. Intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, Coccidia, and Giardia, and can cause digestive issues and stunt kitten growth. Regular deworming is an important part of kitten care.
  • Infections. Bacterial infections (Salmonella, Campylobacter) or viral infections (panleukopenia) can also cause kitten diarrhea. Vaccinations help boost the immune system and protect kittens from certain bacteria and viruses.

Can Kitten Diarrhea Go Away on its Own?

Yes, kitten diarrhea can go away on its own.

However, if it lasts for longer than a day or two, or is accompanied by other signs and symptoms, it is best to seek veterinary help. You should also seek help if your kitten has chronic diarrhea.

What Should You Do if Your Kitten Has Diarrhea?

Here are some tips on what to do in case your kitten has diarrhea:

  • Water Intake. Diarrhea leads to loss of water and electrolytes, which may result in severe dehydration. Therefore, it is important to ensure your cat stays hydrated.
  • Pumpkin for Cat Diarrhea. Giving your cat pumpkin has many health benefits, and diarrhea management is one of them. Pumpkin helps with diarrhea because it is rich in fiber.
  • Probiotics for Cat Diarrhea. Probiotics are another excellent choice for kittens with diarrhea. They promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, thus stopping diarrhea.

What Is the Treatment for Kittens Who Have Diarrhea?

Kitten Diarrhea: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

There are several over-the-counter options for treating kitten diarrhea.

Vet Classics Pet-A-Lyte Oral Electrolyte Solution. This is a simple and affordable liquid solution designed to rehydrate young kittens, adult cats, and dogs that are experiencing fluid loss due to gastrointestinal illnesses.

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This supplement was developed by a team of vets to offer a home remedy-style treatment backed by science. Store for up to 30 days in the fridge to combat chronic diarrhea. This safe solution can be added to a kitten’s diet daily until they have healed from their illness.

Vet Worthy Anti-Diarrhea for Cats. This effective liquid treatment helps provide relief for upset stomachs. Formulated by a vet team, this tasty formula provides relief for kitten diarrhea, stomach cramping, and gastrointestinal discomfort.

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The supplement is very easy to give using an oral syringe. As an alternative, it can also be mixed with cat food.

Purina FortiFlora Cat Probiotic Powder Supplement. This supplement is perfect for cats of all ages. It can be used with cat food. For cats and young kittens with chronic diarrhea, this probiotic mix can provide quick and much-needed relief.

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Not only does it resolve gastrointestinal issues, but it can also improve the general health of a cat’s intestine. This flavorful formula is approved by vets and is ideal for lasting immune system support.

Nutri-Vet Anti-Diarrhea Liquid for Cats. This liquid formula was made by vets for pets. The high-quality solution helps to prevent the most common causes of diarrhea.

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Serving as a detoxifying agent, this solution fights bacterial toxins to stop gastrointestinal irritation. The ingredients also work to solidify poop and prevent loose stools or dehydration.

PetUltimates Probiotics for Cats. This highly-rated dry supplement provides important probiotics to cats and young kittens. One scoop gives five billion bacteria that support digestion, healthy skin, and renewed vitality.

This healthy formula can also cause reduced litterbox smells and fewer loose stools. This formula is perfect for both standard daily use and for dealing with periodic or chronic diarrhea.

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Under the Weather Anti-Diarrhea and Relief Liquid for Cats. Another highly rated formula, this liquid treatment soothes symptoms of kitten diarrhea. The powerful ingredients make loose stools firm, provide gastrointestinal relief, and remove toxins.

The easy-to-serve solution can be poured right over any cat food. Ideal for when your adult cat or young kitten is sick, this liquid treatment is a simple way to treat a sick cat.

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What to Feed a Kitten Who Has Diarrhea?

The treatment options above will help with diarrhea. However, until their effects kick in, it is a good idea to put your kitten on a special feeding regimen.

Some home remedies suggest fat-free canned kitten food, cooked ground turkey or chicken, and canned pumpkin. Rice and sweet potatoes are also great options.

How Long Does Kitten Diarrhea Last?

Kitten diarrhea typically lasts between two and four days. However, the exact length depends on the underlying cause and the treatment.

If your kitten has diarrhea for more than a few days, you should take a stool sample to your vet so that they can perform a fecal examination and determine the correct treatment options.