A cat may suffer from loose stools or diarrhea for many reasons. Usually it's not something serious, but occasionally it can be a sign of a virus or other disorder. Often, cat diarrhea happens if you change your cat's food. If there are more serious signs of something being wrong, such as fever or excessive thirst, get your veterinarian involved. But in the meantime, what should you feet a cat with diarrhea?
What to Feed a Cat With Diarrhea
Canned pumpkin puree is a tasty way to provide fiber in a cat's diet and many cats like the taste. Use the unseasoned, sugar-free kind rather than the pie filling kind. Modern Cat says the high percentage of fiber in canned pumpkin puree will firm up your cat's stool because the dietary fiber is very good at absorbing excess water.
Keep your cat hydrated
Diarrhea can dehydrate a cat very quickly, because the loose stool contains a lot of water. Make sure your cat has access to plenty of fresh water. If he's not feeling well, he may not move to the water bowl often enough. Place one near where he hangs out so he doesn't have to expend effort to drink.
If your vet says it's ok, you can give Pedialyte electrolyte drink to your cat to help replenish any of the electrolytes she may have lost due to the dehydration. She may not be a fan of the taste, so try to find the unflavored kind. And if she doesn't want to drink it, try something like a low-sodium chicken or beef broth mixed in with her food, or with the drink.
When your cat is recovering from diarrhea, he will likely still be hungry but his digestive system may not be fully recovered yet. Rather than starting him back on his normal diet right away, let him get back to normal with a modified diet. VCA Hospitals says your vet may recommend withholding food for 24 hours. Or, the recommendation may be to feed small quantities of a light, easily digestible food.
A vet can provide guidelines for a balanced diet with fiber that can help firm up stool. Mild, easily digestible proteins that you can prepare at home include boiled skinless chicken. Boiled rice or pasta could be cooked with some light broth, and that may encourage them to eat. Canna-Pet suggests wholesome ingredients such as boiled, peeled, and mashed potatoes as a good cat food option for diarrhea.
If you're making homemade food for a cat with diarrhea, avoid dairy, spices, and oils. Also, start with small portions to ensure that the food is not irritating the cat further. Preventive Vet also suggests also adding low-sodium chicken broth or some of the water from cooking rice to your cat's foods to increase the water content. They also say you can replace the chicken breast with cottage cheese or boiled low-fat ground turkey or beef.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in a cat's gut—they live in the guts of humans too. They help break down waste and keep the bacteria in the gut in good balance. Unfortunately when a cat has diarrhea, this can cause some of those good probiotics to be flushed out.
Studies by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine show that probiotics given to cats resulted in less diarrhea. Preventive Vet says that you can try feeding your cat regular, unflavored, probiotic-rich yogurt. There are also prescription probiotics that your vet can provide for you.
Check your cat's food
If your cat comes down with diarrhea, Canna-Pet suggests looking at whether you have recently changed your cat's diet. Sometimes, different ingredients in the new food will irritate your cat's digestive track. Some foods contain artificial flavors, dyes, and ingredients such as soy that could irritate your cat's stomach. Try switching back to your cat's original food while you look for a different food. Ask your veterinarian for a prescription low-fat, highly digestible diet.