This adorable but unwell kitten has been experiencing symptoms of kitten diarrhea.

Kitten Diarrhoea: How Did This Happen and What Should I Do?


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We all know kittens are the epitome of adorable chaos, bouncing around with their boundless energy and curiosity. But what happens when that playful dynamo suddenly takes a turn for the messy? Yes, we’re diving into the not-so-cute topic of kitten diarrhoea. In this article we cover everything you need to know about this cat health concern, from the symptoms to watch out for to what kitten food to feed a distressed tummy.

Whether you’re a new cat parent or a seasoned pro, understanding the ins and outs of kitten diarrhoea can help you keep your cat healthy, happy, and back to their mischievous self in no time. So, let’s roll up our sleeves in uncovering the mysteries of kitten diarrhoea and how to tackle it like the purr-fessional you are…

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Why does my kitten have diarrhoea?

Kitten diarrhoea is when a kitten has loose, watery, or frequent bowel movements. Just like with human babies, a kitten’s digestive system is still developing and can be more sensitive, making them more prone to digestive upsets.

Here are a few different reasons why a kitten might experience diarrhoea:

  1. Dietary changes: Switching a kitten’s food abruptly or introducing new types of food too quickly can upset their stomach and lead to diarrhoea.
  2. Parasites: Kittens can sometimes carry intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, or coccidia, which can cause diarrhoea and other digestive problems.
  3. Infections: Infections, whether viral or bacterial, can also result in diarrhoea. Common viruses like feline panleukopenia (also known as distemper and is caused by a specific virus called a parvovirus) can cause gastrointestinal issues in kittens.
  4. Stress: Kittens can be sensitive to changes in their environment or routine, and stress can trigger digestive problems, including diarrhoea.
  5. Food sensitivities or allergies: Just like humans, kittens can have sensitivities or allergies to certain ingredients in their food, leading to digestive disturbances.
  6. Cat health conditions: Some underlying cat health issues, like inflammatory bowel disease or malabsorption disorders, can manifest as diarrhoea in kittens.

What are the symptoms and side effects?

Common symptoms to look out for are listed below along with further complications you need to look out for:

  1. Changes in stool consistency: A key indicator of kitten diarrhoea is a noticeable change in their stool consistency. Instead of the typical well-formed, solid faeces, you’ll notice loose, runny, or watery stool.
  2. Increased trips to the loo: If your kitten suddenly starts visiting the litter box more often than usual, it could be a sign of diarrhoea.
  3. Tummy noises: Unusual gurgling or rumbling sounds coming from your kitten’s belly might suggest an upset stomach.
  4. Loss of appetite: Diarrhoea can sometimes lead to a decreased appetite in kittens. If your normally eager eater shows food disinterest, it could be a sign something’s up.
  5. Lethargy and weakness: Diarrhoea can sap your kitten’s energy, leading to lethargy and weakness. If your kitten seems unusually tired and lacks their usual playfulness, it might be due to gastrointestinal distress.
  6. Dehydration: Excessive fluid loss from diarrhoea can lead to dehydration. Keep an eye out for symptoms like sunken eyes, dry mouth, reduced skin elasticity, and excessive panting, as these can indicate dehydration.
  7. Blood or mucus: While not always present, the appearance of blood or mucus in your kitten’s stool could signal an underlying issue causing the diarrhoea. If you notice these, consult your vet pronto.
  8. Weight loss: Prolonged diarrhoea can lead to weight loss in kittens. Be concerned if you notice a significant drop in your kitten’s weight over a short period. Again, consult your vet urgently.
  9. Straining in the litter box: Difficulty pooping or straining while in the litter box can be another symptom of diarrhoea.
  10. Vomiting: While primarily related to the stomach, vomiting can sometimes accompany it. If your kitten is experiencing both vomiting and diarrhoea, it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention.
This healthy kitten is about to tuck into a bowl of yummy cat cuisine.

How to stop diarrhoea in kittens

Here’s some purr-worthy cat health advice on how to help your kitten bounce back to their usual playful self:

Step one

Hydration, hydration, hydration! Your kittens needs to stay hydrated. Diarrhoea can zap their fluids, so make sure they have access to clean, fresh water at all times. You might even want to try a kitty-approved electrolyte solution to give them an extra boost.

Step two

Keep an eye on their diet. Temporarily switch to a bland diet – think boiled chicken or rice – to give their tummy a breather. You can also whip up a simple homemade meal fit for your furry food critic.

Step three

No buffet hopping. It’s tempting to let your kitten sample every dish in the cat food aisle, but during this tummy turbulence you should stick to their regular food. Consistency is key, and too much variety might confuse their sensitive system.

Step four

Time for a vet chat. If the diarrhoea keeps occurring after a day or two or gets noticeably worse, it’s time to give your vet a ring. They’ll be your trusty guide, ruling out any serious issues and suggesting treatments to get your furball back on track.

Step five

Since accidents might happen, make sure to keep your kitten’s litter box super clean (check out this stylish self-cleaning litter box). It’s like their personal powder room, and they deserve the royal treatment even during the less regal moments.

Bonus tip: While your tiny troublemaker is on the mend, shower them with extra TLC. Cuddles, chin scratches, and soothing whispers can work wonders for their spirits (and yours too).

This kitten is experiencing a cat health issue called kitten diarrhea.

What to feed a kitten with diarrhoea?

When your kitten is dealing with diarrhoea, it’s important to provide them with a healthy cat diet that’s gentle on their stomach while promoting recovery. Of course, always seek your vet’s advice first.

Here’s some stuff they might suggest:

  • Bland diet: A bland diet can help soothe your kitten’s upset stomach. Consider feeding them cooked, boneless, and skinless chicken or turkey. These lean protein sources are easy to digest and provide essential nutrients.
  • Plain rice: Adding plain, cooked rice (white or brown) to the mix can help provide some easily digestible carbs and a bit of fibre to help in normalising stool consistency.
  • Pumpkin: When it comes to your kitten’s well-being, pumpkin has a range of health perks. Among its benefits, managing diarrhoea takes centre stage. The answer lies in its abundant fibre content. By adding pumpkin to your cat’s diet, you’re essentially introducing a natural tool that can help regulate their digestive woes.

Kitten diarrhoea FAQ

If you’re ready to scoop up some knowledge about your cat’s potty predicament, let’s dive right in!

#1 Can worms cause diarrhoea in kittens?

Yes. Certain types of worms, like roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms, can latch onto your kitten’s intestines and start a not-so-friendly wrestling match. As they feed on your kitten’s nutrients, they can cause irritation, inflammation, and yes, you guessed it, diarrhoea!

Keep an eye out for any other symptoms, like a distended belly or visible worm segments in their stool, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

This hungry older cat may be experiencing a cat health issue like digestive distress.

#2 Can kitten food cause it in older cats?

Kitten food is specially formulated to provide extra calories, protein, and nutrients for those growing bundles of energy. But when older cats, who might have slowed down a tad, dig into this high-octane feast it could potentially cause a bit of digestive distress.

You see, senior kitties have different nutritional needs. Their metabolism might be slower, and their systems might not process all that kitten-grade richness as smoothly. So, the kitten food might hit their tummy like a whirlwind, leading to some unexpected rumblings and perhaps a dash of diarrhoea.

Transitioning to a senior-specific cat food might be the solution to keep your seasoned furball’s tummy content. These formulas are designed with their needs in mind. Think easier digestion, joint support, and a touch of extra love for their golden years.

#3 What foods do vets recommend to fix kitten’s diarrhoea?

Vets will differ to some degree in their advice on what to feed kittens with diarrhoea. You may be told about one or more of these:

  • Baby food: Some vets recommend feeding your kitten baby food (meat flavours like chicken or turkey) as a temporary measure. Just make sure it doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients like onion or garlic! Read about some of the food no-goes for cats (in times of health) in these articles: Can Cats Eat … Cheese, Raw Chicken, Chocolate?, Is It Okay For Cats To Eat Peanut Butter? and Christmas Dinner: What Foods Can My Dog and Cat Eat?
  • Commercial prescription diets: In cases of severe or persistent diarrhoea, your vet might recommend a prescription diet. These are formulated to support your cat’s gastrointestinal health, as they’re designed to be highly digestible so can aid in resolving digestive issues.
  • Hydration is key: Diarrhoea can lead to dehydration, so make sure your kitten has access to fresh, clean water at all times. If they’re not drinking enough, you can ask your vet about providing an electrolyte solution.
  • Avoid dairy and treats: While it might be tempting to offer treats or dairy products, it’s best to hold off for now. Dairy can worsen gastrointestinal issues, and treats might be too rich for your kitten’s delicate stomach.
  • Small, frequent meals: Instead of three larger meals, consider offering smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This can help prevent overloading your kitten’s digestive system.
  • Gradual transition: Once your kitten’s diarrhoea has resolved, it’s important to gradually transition them back to their regular kitten food. Sudden changes in diet can trigger digestive upset.

Remember, while a bland diet can help manage diarrhoea, it’s important to monitor your cat’s overall health. If the diarrhoea persists for more than a day or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, or blood in the stool, it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention.

Your vet can diagnose the underlying cause of the diarrhoea and recommend appropriate treatment to ensure your kitten’s well-being.

This healthy kitten is happy because it doesn't have to worry about kitten diarrhea because of eating the correct kitten food.

More goodness for your kitten

Curious about understanding your kitten better? We’ve got you covered with our informative blogs that provide essential insights for being a great cat parent:

  1. How to Train a Kitten to Use a Litter Box
  2. Introducing Your Kitten and Cat for the First Time
  3. First Time Pet Owner: Preparing Mentally
  4. How to Stop a Kitten Scratching Furniture
  5. Your Ultimate Catio Guide: Ideas from Making to Decorating
  6. Yay or Nay – Can Kittens Eat Adult Cat Food?
  7. Is Milk Good for Cats? Discover the Truth
  8. Understanding Cat Behaviour 

Secure your kitten’s health and happiness

Are you on the lookout for a cost-effective kitten insurance solution in Australia that offers comprehensive protection for your beloved new family addition? Look no further! Our tailored PD cat insurance plans empower you to make informed and swift healthcare decisions in the event of accidents, injuries, or illnesses.

This safeguard helps shield both your cherished feline friend and your financial resources. Regardless of your location within Australia, you have the freedom to choose any qualified vet for your cat’s care. Why wait a moment longer, click below to get a quote and begin your pet insurance journey today.

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