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What Is the Best Kitten Food for Diarrhea?


I am an avid animal lover and love to write about cats in particular.

When our kittens get sick, we should feed them the proper foods so that they don't have to suffer from uncomfortable defecation, dehydration, stunted growth, and pain. While a simple case of the runs might seem like a minor issue, it can actually be a sign of something more severe. If it only happens once in a while and lasts for a short period of time, then it may simply be an upset stomach. But if it occurs often or for long periods of time, it could mean anything from a sensitive stomach that requires special foods to severe gastrointestinal disorders.

To help your kitty, you need to identify why the gastrointestinal tract is producing diarrhea rather than normal stool. If environmental and dietary factors are ruled out, then you should see a veterinarian to identify any underlying issues. While you await testing and diagnosis, a switch in diet could provide quick relief and comfort for your cat.

What to Feed a Cat With Diarrhea

You should adjust your kitten's diet to help soothe her digestive tract and reduce diarrhea to the best of your ability.

Natural, Raw Diet

In all honesty, the best food for diarrhea is food that is natural and raw. Of course, this type of diet might cause potential problems, such as foodborne illnesses. But it is natural for cats to eat raw meat, and foodborne illnesses can occur with pre-packaged kibble, too. You can cook the meat if you are really concerned, but many people who feed raw meat to their cats come across very few complications.

Why This Diet Is Good

Feeding raw, or natural, foods to your kitten removes harmful preservatives and chemicals from her diet, which helps you figure out whether or not food is the cause of diarrhea. Raw food also supplies taurine, a vital vitamin that many pre-packaged foods leave out. If the loose stools disappear with a diet change, then you'll know for sure that unhealthy, processed food was the cause.

If you're interested in sticking to readily-available foods, then opt for natural, "fresh" foods rather than dry kibbles. These formulas are kept in a refrigerator and are perishable. They usually do not contain preservatives. They are also convenient if you don't want to prepare anything but want to give your cat the least processed diet available.

Canned food can range from funky mystery mush to chunks of meat contained within natural juices and water. Some are severely unhealthy and some are not so bad.

Canned Food vs. Dry Food

Here's a quick breakdown of the common differences between canned and dry food.

Canned Food

  • These can be healthy depending on how processed they are. You must remember that they can contain as many preservatives as dry food.
  • The cans that contain whole chunks of meat are better than those with mashed mystery goop.
  • Check the ingredients to ensure that you're getting more meat and fewer preservatives.

Dry Food

There are a few problems with dry food.

  • Many argue that cats should, under no circumstances, be fed dry food. The problem with dry kibbles is that they don't contain enough meat but are packed with a lot of carbohydrates.
  • The main complaints are that they contain too much protein from plants rather than meat, and that the sheer amount of preservatives that are required to give this food its long shelf life is extremely harmful.
  • You can still find decent dry food, but you have to do research and compare the different brands, ingredients, and preservatives.
  • On the plus side, dry food brands offer many more options, such as sensitive stomach formulations, indoor formulas, and age-specific formulas.

I Switched Diets: What Else Could Be Causing My Cat's Diarrhea?

  • If switching to a healthier diet did not help your kitten get better, then there is a much more serious issue at hand. If the diarrhea continues, you need to take your cat to the vet for a check up.
  • Chronic loose stool could be a symptom of an irritated bowel, poisoning, cancer, parasites, or another health issue.

Why Do Some Foods Cause Diarrhea?

  • Unfortunately, many store-bought formulas are only good for keeping animals fed and alive, but they are not designed to keep them healthy. They may be cheap, and your kitty may even like the smell and taste, but this does not mean that these foods are good for them.
  • If you take a look at the ingredients, there are many names that you cannot pronounce or even recognize. These chemicals and preservatives are really harmful to your cat's health. They can cause vomiting, skin issues, and, of course, diarrhea.
  • In addition to containing harmful ingredients, these formulas do not contain enough of the foods that cats need, such as high-quality animal protein. They also have vegetables and grains, such as corn or wheat, listed high on the ingredient list. Cats do not graze on vegetation. They are carnivores.
  • This combination of improper ingredients, preservatives, and chemicals can easily cause your kitten to have uncomfortable poops.

A Kitty Food Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Which Type of Animal Are Cats for the Most Part?
    • Carnivores
    • Herbivores
    • Omnivores
  2. Should Wheat or Corn Be Within the First 3 Ingredients of a Cat's Food?
    • Yes
    • No
  3. What Problems Can Preservatives Cause In Cats?
    • Allergic Reactions
    • Vomiting and Diarrhea
    • Gastrointestinal Issues
    • Cancer
    • All of the Above
  4. What Is One Ingredient Cats Require for Eye Health That Many Foods Leave Out?
    • Taurine
    • Protein
    • Carbohydrates

Answer Key

  1. Carnivores
  2. No
  3. All of the Above
  4. Taurine

Causes of Short-Term Diarrhea

There are many different reasons why your kitty has diarrhea for a short period of time.

  • Stress. It could come from introducing a new pet into your home, moving, or some other event that causes your kitten's digestive tract to react to her stress.
  • Illness could also cause diarrhea. Watch for other symptoms of illness as well.
  • If your cat has recently been around stray animals or your neighbors' pets, it is possible that she could have contracted a parasite.
  • A sudden change in diet could cause an upset stomach.

Quiz: How Well Do You Know Your Kitty's Health?

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. When Your Cat Has Diarrhea, What Is the First Thing You Should Do?
    • Change the kitten's diet.
    • Clean the litterbox.
    • Figure out why the kitten has diarrhea.
  2. True or False: A Sudden Diet Change Can Lead to Diarrhea.
    • True
    • False
  3. When Diarrhea Occurs, It Is Usually...
    • A very serious issue, and indicates a dire health condition.
    • A rather minor issue, that should be ignored.
    • An issue that is usually minor, but needs to be monitored just in case.
  4. Why Does Diarrhea Occur?
    • There is no real reason.
    • It is always due to an underlying health condition.
    • It occurs because the digestive system is under stress.
  5. Is It Normal For Stress to Cause Diarrhea?
    • Yes
    • No
  6. If You Bring Home A New Kitten Who Has Diarrhea and It Is In Contact with Other Cats, You Should....
    • Let them mingle as usual.
    • Isolate the kitten until you find out why it is sick.
    • Treat all of the cats for illness immediately, before knowing the cause.

Answer Key

  1. Figure out why the kitten has diarrhea.
  2. True
  3. An issue that is usually minor, but needs to be monitored just in case.
  4. It occurs because the digestive system is under stress.
  5. Yes
  6. Isolate the kitten until you find out why it is sick.

ptcgod on August 16, 2013:

Very nice hub and informative. I have a few Homemade Cat Food Recipes Hubs if you want to check them out.


Other Common Questions About Kitten Food

When Should You Start Feeding Kitten Food?

Kittens start transitioning off of their mother’s milk and onto solid food at around four weeks of age. The weaning process is both voluntary and forced. Kittens might get curious about sharing their mother’s food and when they go back to suckle, she’ll begin to push them away.

It’s a gradual process that usually takes a few weeks. By the time kittens are seven weeks old, they should be fully weaned and eating a solid food diet.

How Often Should You Feed Your Kitten?

Kittens are happiest and healthiest when served three or four small meals each day.

Is It Okay To Feed Your Kitten A Variety Of Foods Or Should They Stick To One Food Only?

To ensure that your cat doesn’t become finicky, it’s a good idea to introduce varied textures and flavors during kittenhood.

Some people, including veterinarians, preach a doctrine of feeding one food for the entirety of a cat’s life. Not only does relying exclusively on a single protein source set your cat up for food intolerances later in life, a limited diet tells your cat that it’s okay to be finicky.

If you allow your kitten to eat nothing but chicken-based pate for the first 12 months of their life, they’ll likely be reluctant to try out a fresh cut of raw rabbit when they’re 12 years old.

When Should You Stop Feeding Kitten Food?

Most cats reach physical maturity around their first birthday. Around that time, you can gradually switch your cat off of their kitten food and onto a diet formulated for adult cats.

Can Adult Cats Eat Kitten Food?

Adult cats can eat kitten food, but it’s not necessarily a good long-term choice. Compared to products intended for adult cats, kitten food may have more calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and other micronutrients that support skeletal development. For an adult cat, those minerals may be excessive.

Remember that kitten food is packed with calories to fuel babyhood growth. For this reason, it may be a good choice if you need to help your adult cat gain weight. If your cat isn’t underweight, however, eating kitten food could lead to obesity.

About the author


Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.

What Causes Diarrhea In Cats?

Diarrhea is caused by an osmotic problem, a gastrointestinal motility problem, a permeability problem, or a secretory problem. Osmotic diarrhea occurs when something causes the intestinal tract to absorb too much water into feces. Diarrhea associated with motility problems occurs when the intestines contract too much, or too little.

GI ulcers or leaky gut syndrome, can cause intestinal permeability problems that result in diarrhea. Secretory diarrhea occurs when the gastrointestinal tract is exposed to toxins from bacterial infections. Sometimes, a cat has more than one cause of diarrhea at the same time.

Common causes of diarrhea, all types, can include:

  • Dietary indiscretion (the cat ate something that caused diarrhea, like garbage or spoiled food)
  • Feeding a new food to your cat
  • Ingredient sensitivity (most common ingredient sensitivities in cats include chicken, beef, eggs, dairy, and soy)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (ibd)
  • Stress
  • Gastrointestinal cancer, like lymphoma
  • Metabolic and hormonal diseases, like addison’s disease, hyperthyroidism in older cats, liver disease, kidney disease, and pancreatic disease
  • Obstruction of the intestinal tract with either food or a foreign body
  • Viral infections
  • Bacterial infections
  • Intestinal parasites, like coccidia, giardia, or roundworms
  • Fungal infections, caused by eating old food that is contaminated by fungal spores
  • Drugs or toxins

Diarrhea in cats can either be acute (omg it happened all of a sudden!), chronic (been going on for a while), or intermittent (starts and stops). Diarrhea is further classified into large bowel or small bowel diarrhea.

Large bowel diarrhea, seen in cats with colitis, involves straining to poop and small amounts of diarrhea that may have mucus or blood. Small bowel diarrhea involves larger amounts of feces, no straining, can be tarry, may cause a cat to lose weight. Both small bowel and large bowel diarrhea may cause loss of appetite.


Wait And See Or Rush To The Vet?

Kittens, adult cats that are small in size, and geriatric cats are at special risk of becoming dehydrated from even a single episode of diarrhea.

If your kitten seems OK after a single bout of diarrhea, it may be safe to simply monitor him. However, if you notice any lethargy, fever or change in behavior, call your veterinarian for an appointment as soon as possible. If your kitten seems fine but has recurrent episodes of diarrhea that do not seem to be resolving, it is also time to call your veterinarian for a non-emergency appointment.

If your kitten is passing blood in his stools or if you notice any weakness or other signs of debilitation along with the diarrhea, contact your veterinarian immediately and have your kitten seen as soon as possible. Red blood in the poop usually indicates a problem with the lower intestine/colon or rectum. Black blood in the poop usually indicates a more serious problem higher up in the digestive tract. Your veterinarian, based on a complete physical and perhaps some lab evaluations, may give you indicated medication(s) and a prescription diet.

If there is no blood, call your vet and ask about over-the-counter medications or options for at-home treatments for your cat. Because there are so many causes of diarrhea, the treatment will vary.

Try to determine how the diarrhea started so you can prevent a recurrence. Overactive thyroid, food allergies, kidney failure, cancer, poisoning (from houseplants, rat poison, human medications, etc.), parasites and infectious diseases, among other things, can result in diarrhea. Obtain veterinary assistance if the cause isn’t apparent or it is an ongoing problem. A food with fewer allergens or treatments for a disease might reduce or eliminate the diarrhea.


About: Diarrhea is the passage of loose and watery stools. Diarrhea is common in kittens, but should always be taken seriously as they can dehydrate quickly.

  • Dietary indiscretion
  • Milk (cows) consumption
  • Sudden change in diet
  • Protozoal infection (giardia, cryptosporidium, coccidiosis, Tritrichomonas fetus )
  • Viral infection (FIV, FeLV, rotavirus, panleukopenia)
  • Bacterial infection (salmonella, e-Coli, Campylobacter, Clostridium)
  • Intestinal worms
  • Stress
  • Heatstroke
  • Poisoning (plants, food, chemicals, medications)
  • Fading kitten syndrome

Treatment: Observe kittens at home for 24 hours if they appear otherwise well. If diarrhea persists longer than that, or if your cat is exhibiting other symptoms such as lethargy, if he has consumed a toxin, loss of appetite or blood in the stool, seek veterinary attention immediately. If possible, bring along a stool sample.

Prevention: Introduce new foods slowly. Keep toxins, poisonous plants, medications out of reach of your kitten.

Worm kittens every two weeks, from two weeks of age and vaccinate at 6-8 weeks.


Watch the video: Best Food for Kittens with Diarrhea, Best Food for Cats with Diarrhea (July 2021).