Is Feline Diarrhea a Balancing Act? The SCOOP on Runny Cat Poop Chart

You can learn a lot about your cat or kitten's health from their poop. Whether you’ve just adopted your first kitten/cat or you’ve shared your home with cats for years, watch for a few key signs when you scoop out the litter box.

Cat Poop: What’s Normal?

Most cats will poop at least once a day. If they’re healthy, their poop should:

  • Be deep brown in color
  • Feel not too hard or too soft or mushy
  • Not smell too foul, though some odor is normal

To prevent diarrhea, don’t give your cat dairy products like milk or yogurt -- many cats can’t digest them properly. Also, if you switch the brand or type of food you give him, be sure to introduce it over several days by mixing it with smaller and smaller amounts of the old food until he’s eating only the new stuff.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is fairly common in cats, and there are many reasons why your cat might have it. Sometimes, it comes and goes quickly. Other times, it can last for days, weeks, or months, or come back on a regular basis. Diarrhea that lasts for 24 to 48 hours probably won’t cause a problem unless you have an older cat or a kitten. But if it lasts longer, your kitten or cat can get dehydrated, which can be dangerous. Some common causes of cat diarrhea include:

  • Changes to their diet
  • Food allergies or intolerances
  • Inflammatory bowel disease or other forms of colitis
  • Worms (intestinal parasites)
  • Pancreatic disease
  • Cancer
  • Hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid gland)

If your cat has diarrhea that lasts more than a day or two, see your veterinarian to figure out the cause. Call your vet right away if the diarrhea is black or bloody, or if it happens along with fever, vomiting, sluggishness, or a loss of appetite.

This Cat Poop Chart may help you figure out what may be causing it:

Symptom

Appearance

Frequency

Possible causes

Diarrhea

Black, tarry, runny poop

It varies

Stomach or intestinal bleeding. Call the vet right away

Diarrhea

Smelly, pudding-like poop

2-3 times daily

Food intolerances, inflammatory bowel disease

Diarrhea

Gooey poop filled with mucus

Multiple times daily

Too little fiber; colitis

Diarrhea

Soft, frothy, greasy poop with mucus

It varies

Parasites


The treatment your cat will need depends on what’s causing his diarrhea. Some will need prescription medications, such as metronidazole or prednisolone, to control inflammation. Your vet may recommend a special diet if she thinks a food allergy or intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or colitis is the problem. For some cats, a deworming medication or probiotics for cats may be needed. When selecting a probiotic, look for a high-count, multi-strain, dairy-free version such as Profauna 50.