Treat your cat’s diarrhea with home remedies

DIY solutions

Diarrhea in cats and more specifically, diarrhea in your cat, is always super annoying. For your cat because he always feels the urge and for you because you always have to clean the litter box. Or worse, your floor has to be mopped. However, very often it is not a dangerous problem. In this article we discuss the possible cause of diarrhea in your cat, the symptoms you may notice and how a diagnosis can be made. But the most important thing we tell you is how you can treat your cat’s diarrhea yourself with natural remedies and DIY tips and tricks. Your cat will undoubtedly get rid of that annoying diarrhea very quickly. And you’ll also be done cleaning.


cartoon of a lady mopping the diarrhea of her cat
cat with diarrhea is pooping on the floor.

Acute diarrhea versus chronic diarrhea

You can read about the natural treatments we offer for the diarrhea in your cat later in this article. But it is useful to know what is causing your cat, to apply the right treatment. And for that you first need some explanation.

Diarrhea in cats, but actually in all animals, can be divided into two groups. On the one hand, you have diarrhea that develops very suddenly and rarely lasts longer than two to three weeks. Usually only about 3 days. This we call acute diarrhea. But on the other hand, you also have cats that have diarrhea for a long time. We call this chronic diarrhea. The fact that there is a difference between the two is important because the diarrhea in those cases requires different treatment.

Acute diarrhea in an otherwise healthy cat

If your cat has developed diarrhea very suddenly, i.e. overnight, then something has somehow happened or developed in its intestinal tract that is preventing normal digestion. The functioning of the intestines is therefore disrupted. If this is not too serious, your cat will not feel ill. So apart from his diarrhea he is otherwise acting normally. In this case, most of the time, your cat has eaten something wrong, such as a spoiled piece of meat. Or he may have been nibbling on a poisonous plant. But there can also be a viral infection. The most common diarrhea viruses in cats are a rota virus or a corona virus (not to be confused with COVID-19! It is a different virus).

If your cat does not otherwise behave ill, there is no need to have your cat examined further. In most cases, your cat’s diarrhea will disappear after 2-3 days. You do have to make sure that your cat is getting enough water. Due to the diarrhea he also loses a lot more water and he has to replace it with new water.

Acute diarrhea and your cat feels ill

A different story is if your cat has suddenly developed diarrhea and also feels ill. He clearly behaves differently than you are used to from him and he hardly wants to eat. Sometimes they may also vomit. In this case, it is wise to measure whether your cat has a fever. A normal body temperature for a cat is between 105°F and 102.5°F (38.1 °C and 39.2 °C). Above that, your cat has a fever. In that case, your cat has clearly gotten an infection and most of the time it is due to a virus But a bacterial infection can also be the cause in this case. In most cases of a bacterial infection, Salmonella or Campylobacter bacteria are involved. Most of the time these resolve themselves quickly. 

In the meantime, your cat should get some food in his belly and, above all, plenty of fluids. But he doesn’t want to. You can do this using a syringe with which you can give liquid food through his mouth. For example, ground chunks dissolved in water. There is also special wet food that you can easily dissolve and give to your cat with a syringe.

Syringe to force feed a cat
Recovery Royal Canin pet food

As long as your cat is getting food and keeping it inside and he doesn’t look extremely ill, you can wait and see what happens for a few days. In the meantime, you should continue to monitor your cat carefully to ensure that he or she does not show any signs of dehydration. You can recognize this by deep-set, less shiny eyes and his skin that is no longer as resilient when you make a fold on his back. Such a fold should expire immediately. His gums should also not feel sticky. Do you need a video showing how you research this? Then you can watch the next video.

Prolonged, chronic diarrhea

Did your cat have diarrhea for more than three weeks? Then your cat has chronic diarrhea. In that case it may be:


  • A food intolerance in which certain nutrients are not digested properly and therefore can’t be properly absorbed from the food.
  • Either there is a parasite in his intestines. These could be roundworms or hookworms, for example. Very occasionally it is a tapeworm. Or a single-celled intestinal parasite such as Giardia is at play.
  • In addition, intestinal inflammation may be involved (for example inflammatory bowel disease IBD).
  • Food allergies are also common
  • A pancreatitis
  • Intestinal tumors. The latter rarely occur in young cats. In older cats, lymphosarcomas or adenocarcinomas are the most common intestinal tumors that cause diarrhea in cats.

In the case of long-term chronic diarrhea in cats, dehydration symptoms rarely occur. The diarrhea is often more viscous than real watery stools. They can easily replenish the fluid they lose with their feces with their drinking bowl. They will drink a little more than normal, but usually not extremely much.


Cat has diarrhea and often visits the litterbox
Cat has been biting a toxic plant and now has diarrhea.

Causes of diarrhea in cats

Above we have already mentioned quite a number of causes of diarrhea. For the sake of completeness, we list the most common causes of diarrhea below.

Acute diarrhea:

    • Ate something wrong, for example a poisonous plant or spoiled food

    • virus infections, for example Rotavirus or Coronavirus (not Covid-19!)

    • Bacterial infections such as Salmonella or Campylobacter

    • Food intolerance

    • warm weather

    • stress

    • antibiotics

    • deworming

    Chronic diarrhea:

    • Parasitic infections such as roundworms, hookworms as well as single-celled parasites such as Giardia

    • Food intolerance

    • Food allergy

    • Pancreatitis

    • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

    • Tumors in the intestines such as

    • Lymphosarcoma or Adenocarcinoma

Diarrhea in cats due to eating something wrong

When the diet suddenly changes, there is often a different composition of nutrients. The bacterial intestinal flora is then suddenly given different “food”, which can upset the intestinal flora enormously and cause diarrhea in your cat. If you want to switch to a different diet, it is therefore important to gradually mix this diet with the old diet. Feel free to take a week for this. This way the bacteria in his intestinal flora get the chance to change. 

But this can also happen if your cat eats something that has gone bad. Or worse, it may contain toxins that damage the intestinal cells or intestinal flora, resulting in severe diarrhea in your cat. If your cat continues to receive its normal diet, this diarrhea will usually disappear within 1 to 2 days.

Diarrhea in your cat due to a virus

The most common viruses that cause diarrhea in cats are the rotavirus and the (cat!) coronavirus. The latter is a completely different virus than the COVID-19 virus that we all know by now, but it is related to it. Both viruses often cause severe watery diarrhea, especially in young cats. In most cases, this diarrhea lasts 3-4 days and does not make them extremely ill. They do run the risk of dehydration, so make sure they continue to drink plenty of fluids. Most cats also have a fever if they have contracted one of these viruses.


If cats are not vaccinated according to the correct schedule, they are also at risk of contracting feline panleukopenia virus. This is also a virus, causing extreme (usually bloody) diarrhea, general illness, and eventual death due to dehydration. Outbreaks do occur in various regions all over the world. So don’t think that it is not necessary to have your cat vaccinated against feline panleukopenia virus!


Diarrhea in your cat due to parasites

Actually, worms are also parasites, but they are discussed below. In this piece we limit ourselves only to Giardia, Coccidia and Cryptosporidium. All three of these are single-celled parasites that use the intestinal cells to reproduce. Because the intestinal cells are damaged, your cat will have diarrhea if they become infected with it.


The diarrhea often lasts for months without treatment and the diarrhea is usually not extreme. In general it is a somewhat thick diarrhea. Your cat may experience abdominal pain and sometimes a little blood can be seen in your cat’s diarrhea.


Diarrhea in your cat due to worms

Cats contract roundworms and hookworms quite easily by catching mice or birds that are infected. They often get tapeworms from fleas. All worms can cause damage to intestinal cells, especially hookworms. This damage to the intestinal cells causes diarrhea. In general, cats are not too ill from it, but due to a lack of nutrients, they develop a dull coat and lose weight. If there are many worms present, they may also have a worm belly.

Diarrhea in your cat due to heat

Diarrhea in your cat during warm weather is common. But actually it is not the heat itself that is the direct cause of the diarrhea. As a result of hot weather, there are several consequences that can in turn cause diarrhea. There are usually several factors that contribute to diarrhea in your cat when the weather is warm.

    • Dehydration: a cat can lose more fluid as a result of the heat. The intestinal flora and intestinal function then decline, resulting in diarrhea.
    • Food spoilage: Hot weather will cause food to spoil more quickly. This means that there is more bad bacteria in the food with the possible formation of toxic substances. The result is diarrhea in your cat.
    • Less appetite: Because cats eat less due to the heat, their digestion and therefore their intestinal flora changes. Diarrhea can also occur in this case.
    • Stress: Hot weather can make cats feel uncomfortable. And in extreme cases even overheat. The body experiences (severe) stress from this and this in itself causes the intestines to become upset. This will result in diarrhea in your cat.


Diarrhea in your cat as a result of antibiotics or deworming

Deworming is a toxin that kills the worms in your cat’s intestines. But the cheaper deworming products are also a kind of toxin for your cat’s intestinal cells. The intestinal cells can become damaged, resulting in diarrhea in your cat. Usually this diarrhea only lasts 1 to 2 days.

Antibiotics are also a toxin. But this will kill your intestinal bacteria. This is also the reason for the diarrhea.

Diarrhea in your cat due to a food allergy

It is not very common in cats, but a food allergy can also be the cause of diarrhea in cats. This usually starts around one to two years of age. Or after you have switched to a different diet, of course. The allergic reaction causes the intestinal wall to become inflamed, resulting in diarrhea. This diarrhea has been going on for a long time and does not resolve itself after a week.

Cat with diarrhea is not feeling well.
cat with diarrhea also has a fever

Symptoms in case of loose stools in cats

If your cat has diarrhea, you will of course see loose stools. How watery the diarrhea is depends on the location in the intestine where the problem is located. If the cause of your cat’s diarrhea is mainly in the small intestine, the diarrhea will be very watery. If it concerns the large intestine, the stool is more knit-like. And of course there can also be combinations of the two.

But besides the diarrhea, you may notice more things in your cat. This may also be the case:

  • A trace of blood in the stool
  • Pooping (much) more often than you are used to from him
  • Mucus surrounding the stool
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Being generally ill
  • Having a fever

Do you notice that your cat is losing a lot of fluid and looks quite ill overall? Then it is important that you take your cat to your vet for treatment. Dehydration occurs quite easily and must be compensated for. Otherwise your cat may die.

Diagnosis in case of diarrhea in your cat

As we mentioned above, most causes of acute diarrhea resolve themselves. Your cat’s immune system should be excellent. Your cat’s body will then ensure that the cause is resolved. Therefore, it is not necessary to know exactly what the cause of your cat’s diarrhea is in the first instance. Only if the diarrhea lasts too long or if your cat is too sick will it be necessary to make a diagnosis and find out what the cause of your cat’s diarrhea is.


Your vet can examine your cat’s diarrhea for parasites, bacteria and digestive problems. In addition, your vet can also do a blood test or a urine test to obtain additional information about your cat’s diarrhea. If the diarrhea has been going on for a very long time and the first treatments do not help, your vet will be able to take some pieces of tissue, the so-called biopsies, from the intestine under anesthesia and send them for further examination.


However, you can also test for intestinal parasites, including Giardia, yourself. You can do this with the following test. Is the test positive? Then your cat needs a treatment. 


Pet stool test

DIY treatment for diarrhea in your cat

In principle, it is preferable not to stop diarrhea if it does not bother your cat too much. It is a mechanism by which your cat gets rid of the harmful substances that cause diarrhea from his body as quickly as possible. In case of diarrhea, the intestinal contents, including the bad material, will move very quickly from the stomach to the anus. The faster he gets rid of it, the faster he will heal his intestine. However, it is very annoying for us as owners if we have to mop and brush all day to clean up the diarrhea. In addition, some causes are also contagious to us, so it is extra important that our house remains clean. So if your cat can’t control his diarrhea until he reaches the litter box, it is wise to lessen the diarrhea.


Stop diarrhea in your cat with medication

Short-term diarrhea, for example because he ate something wrong or caught a virus, can be prevented by giving your cat a diarrhea inhibitor such as Nutri-Vet Anti Diarrhea liquid. You need to give this twice a day for about 3-4 days to your cat. It is not a cure for the cause of the diarrhea. It just minimizes the fluid in the stool and thus the diarrhea. So you can stop giving it at any time once the diarrhea has gone.

anti diarrhea liquid

To support your cat’s intestinal flora so that bad bacteria and parasites have less opportunity to adhere to your cat’s intestinal wall, you can use probiotics such as Fortiflora. This gives the good bacteria some extra strength to support intestinal function and thus resolve the diarrhea as quickly as possible.


It is also possible to treat your cat against single-celled parasites (including Giardia) and worms, without knowing for sure whether they are there. You can do this by treating your cat with Fenbendazole for 5 days. A 5kg cat should receive a quarter of a sachet once a day for 5 days. Although it is a product for dogs, you can also use it for cats. 

Treat diarrhea in your cat with food

You can also give your cat easily digestible food. This helps if intestinal function temporarily does not work properly, but also if there is a food intolerance. With an easily digestible diet, fewer undigested food ingredients remain in the intestine. Less undigested food then enters your cat’s large intestine. There, the intestinal bacteria, the so-called intestinal flora, will digest any undigested food with the formation of a lot of gas and toxins. It will mainly be the “bad” intestinal bacteria that will multiply, causing an incorrect balance in the intestinal flora.

By feeding your cat easily digestible food, he will get more nutrients from the food while he has diarrhea and the intestinal flora will remain better balanced. If your cat’s diarrhea occurred as a result of a food intolerance, your cat always has difficulty digesting its food sufficiently and therefore always has a problem with its intestinal flora. You will often hear a lot of gurgling in your cat’s intestines. This is an easily digestible food that is very suitable in this case.

Royal Canin Sensitive Stomach
Royal Canin Digestive wet food cat
Do the above solutions not help? Then it is wise to do a food allergy test on your cat. To do this, give your cat food to which he can’t have an allergic reaction. The very best for this test is Royal Canin Anallergenic. You must then give this food for 8 weeks, without your cat being able to eat anything else. So no things from your refrigerator or a treat. You probably won’t notice a difference for the first 4 weeks. But after 4 weeks his symptoms should start to resolve if there is a food allergy. Has nothing changed after 8 weeks? Then it is best to contact your vet to have further examinations carried out. In that case there is no food allergy in your cat. 
Royal Canin Ultamino cat food
a cat drinks more water than usual if is has diarrhea.
Cat drinks from a fountain he was given to make him drink more.

Tips in case of loose stools in your cat

  • By tips we do not so much mean treating the diarrhea, but rather supporting your cat if he has diarrhea.

          • Reduce the amount of stress. For example, if he is suffering from stress from a neighboring cat, keep your cat indoors for a few days so that he is not bothered by the other cat. Unless, of course, staying indoors causes extra stress.
          • Offer your cat sufficient hiding places if the stress is caused by fireworks or thunder, for example.
          • Keep a close eye on your cat. Especially the amount of food he eats in a day, the shine in his eyes, the resilience of his coat to detect dehydration, if he is playing and possibly his body temperature if he has a fever. Do you have doubts about something you see? Please contact your vet. You can do this by using the button at the bottom of this page.
          • Keep a close eye on hygiene. Make sure your house stays clean and that diarrhea does not get on food you eat or on objects you eat with. This is because some causes of diarrhea can also be contagious to humans. So wash your hands well before you eat.

Is diarrhea in cats contagious to humans?

Unfortunately this can be the case, yes. But luckily usually not. The single-celled parasites can be contagious to humans. And you can get your cat’s tapeworm too. That’s why it’s important to maintain good hygiene, especially when your cat has diarrhea. Make sure you always wash your hands before eating and thoroughly clean any surfaces where the diarrhea may have been left on. Especially the countertop and dining table!


When do you go to the vet?

If your cat gets a dull look in his eyes and his skin remains somewhat upright, there is a chance that your cat is dehydrated. In that case, it is important that your cat is examined by your own veterinarian. If necessary, he or she can give your cat an IV. In mild cases, they will opt for a subcutaneous infusion and your cat can go home again. In severe cases, your cat should be admitted to your vet. If necessary, your vet can also prescribe a course of antibiotics and conduct further investigation into the cause of the diarrhea.

It is also wise to contact your vet if your cat has a lot of blood in his diarrhea. A trace of blood won’t hurt. And even if your cat appears ill, it is wise to have your vet examine your cat.

Has the diarrhea been going on for a long time and is it not going away? And did the above advice not work? Then your cat may have pancreatitis or intestinal inflammation. This ensures that your cat’s digestion does not proceed properly, causing diarrhea and abdominal pain. In that case, you will also need the help of your vet to treat your cat.

Good luck in treating this nasty diarrhea!