My Indoor Cat Has Diarrhea

Many pet owners keep their pets indoors permanently to keep them safer. It can be confusing when your indoor cat’s stool is unusual as their food and environment is tightly controlled. Diarrhea is a symptom of a very wide range of medical problems for your cat that range from mild to life threatening. Most causes of diarhhea in indoor cats involves inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. This could be due to something in your indoor cat’s diet but could also be related to a much more serious problem such as parasites or a tumor. Indoor cats that have becomes stressed or have anxiety may also have their stool change consistency. Only a vet will be able to confirm what is happening to your cat. This will most likely involve stool samples and a medical and dietary history of your indoor cat.  

When do I need to be concerned about my cat’s diarrhea?

If you noticed that your cat has had diarrhea a single time you probably don’t need to go to the vet. Whatever the cause of a strange stool may have passed. Keep monitoring their litter box for a while to see if their stool has settled into a healthy consistency and color. PetMD recommends that mild cases of diarrhea may be treated at home if the owner is comfortable with this.

If your cat is elderly, young, or has any other symptoms or health complications they should be brought to a vet immediately. If you cat is consistently having unusually soft stools you need to book an appointment with your vet so they can make an assessment specific to your cat based off of testing and an assessment of your cats history. We would recommend bringing your cat to the vet if they have wet stools for two days in a row. Consistently could also mean that your cat has diarrhea weekly or even monthly.

What will the vet do if my cat has diarrhea?

When you first notice that your cat has diarrhea you should take a note of the time that they passed their stool. You should also try your best to think back to what they have eaten in the past couple of days for meals and treats. Keep monitoring what goes into and out of them before your visit as well as their behaviors to see if they have become more tired or aggressive. This information will be useful to your vet when they deduce what could be happening to your cat.

It is also likely that your vet will need a stool sample to investigate your cat’s health. Ask your vet over the phone if it is worth your time to bring this sample in yourself to the first visit, they may need to provide you with precise equipment to cleanly collect a sample. We would recommend at least taking a good quality photo of the diarrhea to help your vet out. Further work may involve changing your cat’s diet and doing further blood tests. Your vet will likely recommend that your cat to change food to suit a sensitive diet to help settle their stomach. You will need to consistently stick to this approved diet to get the benefits of it. After switching foods, your cat will probably continue to have diarrhea for a number of days as their stomach recovers. You may need to wait up to a week before their stool returns to normal and perhaps more. Be patient and keep to the sensitive diet during this time. Avoid giving them treats during this time. The length of time it will take for their stool to return to normal will vary depending on what is affecting your cat. You should call your vet back if your cat shows no improvement in the time that your vet has specified you should switch diets for.

What should I do if my indoor cat has diarrhea?

The biggest immediate danger that you can address by yourself at home is making sure that your cat is staying hydrated. They will be losing a lot of water through their stool. Make sure they have access to clean fresh water in a clean bowl. You can also add water to their regular wet or dry food to make sure they get more moisture in their diet. Feeding them wet food can also aid in this, but you shouldn’t switch to a new food that your cat is unfamiliar with as this may irritate them further. You may consider changing to a plain diet such as cooked chicken and rice, but you should consult your vet before making this change. They may advise you to use a specific vet approved cat food for intolerant cats.

Monitor and log their litter box as we mentioned. We would also recommend cleaning up the litter box more often and keeping an eye on your cat’s hygiene in the house. Contact your vet as soon as possible if you have concerns or if the criteria that we mentioned in the previous section have been met. Wet stools are easier for your cat to get on their fur and then track through the house. If your cat steps in their wet stool you can clean their paw with lukewarm water and a mild soap. For your safety, wipe down surfaces they have walked on with an antibacterial spray and towels. You should still interact and play with your cat during this time to check if they are still energetic and playful.

My indoor cat has diarrhea but seems fine

When cats have diarrhea they may still seem fine and show no other odd behaviors. This means that they will continue to play and eat normally. Cats will instinctively hide their pain so they don’t seem weak in the wild. It is reassuring to see your cat behaving normally when their tummy is upset but you should still organize a vet appointment if they continue to have diarrhea for more than a day.

Why does my indoor cat have diarrhea?

Only your vet will be able to confirm for certain why your indoor cat has diarrhea, but there are steps you can take at home to check some common causes. A very common cause for diarrhea in indoor cats can come from changes in diet. If you have switched the type or brand of food that your indoor cats eat they can be intolerant to a new ingredient. Sometimes cat food manufacturers change recipes or ship food that has been improperly cooked. It will be worth your time to check if there has been a product recall for your batch of cat food.

Food intolerance can come from foods that your cat isn’t supposed to eat. Perhaps they snuck in a bite from your plate while you weren’t looking or have been through the scraps in the bin or kitchen sink. You can check for scraps in your cat’s hiding spaces to see if they have been hording food. We strongly recommend letting your indoor cat snack on leftovers from your own food. Human food is often cooked with or seasoned with ingredients that cats are intolerant to such as onions and garlic. These foods are toxic to cats and can cause them to have an upset stomach.

There is a chance that the diarrhea has been caused by your cat contracting a such as roundworm. Indoor cats can catch these parasites after humans or other pets bring fleas and eggs into the house after being outside. People have also claimed that stress can cause cats to have diarrhea. If you have recently introduced something new into the house or have been neglecting your cat this may have changed the consistency of their stool.