Thank you for visiting Thomas Labs
Kitten Diarrhea: Causes and Treatment

Kitten Diarrhea: Causes and Treatment

Similar to other pets and animals, kittens can experience episodes of diarrhea from time to time due to a variety of reasons. While some cases of kitten diarrhea aren't life-threatening and will resolve on their own, other cases of diarrhea can be an indication of a more serious underlying problem.

If your kitten has diarrhea, it's important to determine and treat the cause of diarrhea. A few common causes of kitten and cat diarrhea include parasites, dietary issues, medical issues, and stress. Diarrhea can also be a side effect of antibiotics or medication use.

Kitten Diarrhea Causes

1. Parasites and Bacterial Infections

There are a variety of parasites that can cause diarrhea in kittens. Common parasitic infections include coccidia, giardia, and tritrichomonas. Campylobacter and Clostridium are bacteria that can also cause kitten diarrhea. Other internal parasites often found in kittens are worms, including roundworms and hookworms. If your kitten has a parasite, he may show other symptoms including vomiting, bloody feces, and loss of appetite.

Parasites and bacterial infections are often the most common causes of kitten and cat diarrhea. In fact, gastrointestinal parasites can have prevalence rates as high as 45% in some populations. To reduce the chance of parasitic infections, it’s important to practice parasite prevention.

2. Dietary Issues

In some cases, kitten diarrhea is caused by dietary issues, such as a diet change or food intolerance. Changing your kitten’s food too quickly can upset his stomach and cause diarrhea. To avoid this, it’s important to make diet changes gradually by mixing the old food with the new.

Eating table food or something toxic can also cause diarrhea in adult cats and kittens. If your kitten is still on formula, make sure that it’s a high-quality formula and that you’re following the proper guidelines for feeding. Spoiled or expired formula may cause gastrointestinal upset. You also shouldn’t give cow’s milk to your kitten as it causes diarrhea.

Other kittens may have a food intolerance, sensitive stomach, or experience digestive issues with certain foods. There are foods formulated for cats with food allergies. Your vet may recommend a special diet for your cat if they think a food intolerance or allergy is the issue. If you think your kitten might have a food intolerance or allergy, ask your veterinarian which food they would recommend for your kitten.

3. Medical Issues

There are a variety of medical issues that can cause kitten and cat diarrhea. Underlying medical issues can include immune disorders, inflammatory issues, infectious disorders, feline leukemia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus, and panleukopenia. In these cases, you’ll need a veterinarian to diagnose the issue and develop a treatment plan.

4. Stress

Sometimes kitten diarrhea is simply caused by stress. Young kittens go through a lot of change in a short amount of time, so it's not a surprise that they may experience stress-induced diarrhea. Using pheromones in your home may help calm your kitten and ease the stress of household changes.

Kitten Diarrhea Treatment

If you think your kitten’s diarrhea may be caused by a parasite, bacterial infection, or medical issue, Thomas Labs® recommends that you seek veterinary attention right away. Your veterinarian will be able to perform a fecal examination and start ruling out different causes.

The treatment for your kitten's diarrhea will vary depending on the cause. If the diarrhea is caused by worms, your vet may prescribe a dewormer. If the diarrhea is caused by a different parasite, your vet will prescribe a medication to target that specific parasite. If your kitten's diarrhea is caused by stress or dietary issues, it will probably subside once the body adjusts to the new food or environment.

Supportive Care

If your kitten has diarrhea, it is crucial to keep him hydrated. Kittens can become severely dehydrated due to the loss of fluid in the stool. Having a dehydrated cat or kitten can be a very serious issue and even cause death if left untreated. One easy way to ensure your kitten stays hydrated is to provide an electrolyte replacement supplement, like HydrADE from Thomas Pet. Providing an electrolyte solution will help support normal hydration and encourage water consumption.

HydrADE is formulated to support hydration levels in cats and kittens under stress or during times of fluid loss due to occasional diarrhea. Another option would be to give your kitten unflavored Pedialyte to help keep him hydrated. Additionally, you may also consider supporting your kitten's gastrointestinal health by giving him a probiotic, such as Acidophilus Forte.


The materials and information provided on this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your veterinarian or other pet healthcare professional. Consult your own veterinarian if you have medical questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.

Sign up to receive deals and information