While there are many reasons a cat can develop diarrhea, oftentimes we can manage the symptoms at home and they will quickly settle.
Feeding cats their regular diet is not generally advised as it may be too rich, so having the best cat food for diarrhea ready to go in your kitchen cabinets is strongly recommended.
During their lifetime, many otherwise healthy kitties will have the odd upset stomach for a day or two and will need supportive care from us until it passes.Subsections
5 Best Cat Foods for Diarrhea
Simple events like changes in the weather or changes in their routine can bring on a bout of runny stool in a cat.
Stresses within the home such as having a party or getting some remodeling done, can also wreak havoc on their bowels.
It’s important to mention that diarrhea that is accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, loss of energy or weight loss, or diarrhea that does not settle in a few days, is reason enough for a check-up with the vet.
The same can be said for runny poo that contains mucus or blood.
In these cases, even after a visit to the vet, a specific cat food such as those in this article will likely be beneficial.
When it is time for your cat to go back on their regular diet afterwards, make sure to gradually wean them on to it over several days, as sudden food changes are not tolerated well.
The following foods are also great to use long-term for those cats with chronic digestive issues such as irritable bowel disease.
Some individuals seem to constantly have loose stools and infrequent vomiting, and many owners will notice an improvement with these guys after switching to one of the following food options:
Coming top of the list, and what is in my opinion the best cat food for cats with diarrhea, is this offering from Royal Canin.
The proteins within this food are highly digestible and should not put too much pressure on an intestine that is already over-worked.
Within a day or two, you should notice the stools becoming noticeably more firmer and less frequent.
The best thing about this food is that it is particularly useful for those cats who are lacking condition and need extra calories.
Cats with chronic gastrointestinal issues that find it hard to keep weight on will really benefit from this diet as it can often be tricky to get them to reach their daily calorie requirement through eating their regular diet.
Just a small portion of this wet food contains a very high energy content, meaning that there is less pressure put on the intestines and less risk of bloating and abdominal discomfort.
For fussy or picky eaters, this food is a good option as it is not only highly palatable, it is so high calorie that even if they do not eat their full portion, they should be receiving a good quantity of the nutrients that they need.
The prebiotics in this food help to settle the gut and are extra beneficial for those cats that may be suffering from diarrhea due to a bacterial infection or those that are receiving antibiotic medication (which can be harsh on the gut and can kill off the good bacteria).
As this is a high calorie food, it should be avoided in obese cats, or those on a calorie-restricted diet, as it may lead to weight gain.
With a relatively high fat content, this food would not be ideal for cats prone to pancreatitis as it may cause unwanted flare ups.
Next on our list is the reliable Hill’s brand:
Hill’s is preferred by many veterinary practitioners, and for good reason.
This food is well-accepted by most cats and can settle the gut within a short period of time.
This food is safe to give both short-term and long-term.
With good palatability, most cats eat it willingly, even if they are not feeling all that well.
Sensibly, this food comes in chicken flavor; a firm favorite of most felines!
Instead of feeding one or two large meals a day, as is suggested for most other gastro-intestinal diets, this food works best if fed in several small meals throughout the day.
Similar to the Royal Canin option listed above, Hill’s I/D is packed full of important nutrients that help support the cat as it recovers from diarrhea.
The antioxidants within the food help to boost the immune system, while the digestible fiber and prebiotics will firm the stool up.
The Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty acids contained can help to reduce the gut inflammation and have the added benefit of improving skin and fur quality, resulting in a glossy coat.
This food is a good option for those kitties that are prone to urinary stones as it is formulated to reduce the risk of them forming within the urine.
The high moisture content also makes it a suitable option for cats that are losing a lot of water in their feces.
Importantly, this food should always be offered alongside water.
One of the best things about this food is that it can be safely used in both adult cats and kittens.
It can be rare to find a kitten friendly food that is specifically formulated for the digestive tract and this is the ‘go-to’ option for most unwell kittens and immature cats seen in veterinary clinics.
Applaws make a huge variety of delicious wet food options, including tuna and crab and a tuna and seaweed variety.
However, their chicken and rice pot is one of the best cat foods for diarrhea out there.
This food is especially useful in those fussy eaters who may not like jelly or patè foods and rather eat something that looks a little more like the real thing.
Try offering a small portion of Applaws warmed up from your hands to tempt a cat that is refusing to eat.
This is also a great option for those owners who like to feed their cats more ‘natural’ food options but perhaps don’t have time to cook and prepare a meal of chicken and rice three times a day!
This food contains no additives whatsoever and has a whopping 60% chicken listed in its ingredients.
Other than chicken, the only two remaining ingredients are chicken broth (35%) and rice (5%).
This small list of ingredients is particularly beneficial to those cats that suffer from food allergies and may not be able to eat certain ingredients that are found in most other foods, such as wheat or pork.
A short ingredient list gives owners the peace of mind that they know exactly what their cat is eating.
The high protein content of this food will aid in muscle retention while your cat is unwell, as well as preventing unwanted weight loss.
It is important that owners are aware that this food is a complementary food, which means it is not a complete diet and should not be used long-term unless supplemented with a complete wet or dry cat food.
This food, however, really comes into its own when fed for a day or two to unwell cats.
The average cat can be fed two pots a day, and the food comes in small pots which are easy to divide up.
Following on from the simple Applaws with chicken and rice, comes number four on our list: Applaws Chicken Breast and Pumpkin.
This is a great option if you wish to offer cats with sensitive stomachs a bit of variety in their life.
The pumpkin adds an earthy taste which cats go wild for.
As well as a great flavor enhancer, pumpkin is high in fiber, which is necessary for firming up stools and keeping the gastrointestinal system healthy.
As with other Applaws products, all of the ingredients are natural and this company uses no artificial flavors or colors.
The company guarantee that the chicken is hormone and antibiotic free.
The chicken that they use is such high quality that it has even been labelled safe for human consumption!
This makes this complementary food a nice option for cats with food allergies who are also prone to bouts of diarrhea.
With 24% of pumpkin, there is plenty of veggie in there, though with a respectable 50% of chicken, Applaws have not skimped on the good stuff either.
At only 0.2% fat, this tin is ideal for cats that need to lose weight or cannot eat a lot of fats due to underlying health conditions such as chronic pancreatitis.
As with the Applaws chicken and rice option, it’s important to note that this food should not be fed exclusively as it is not a complete diet.
However, this food can be safely given for a short period of time and also makes a good treat for those cats that have irritable bowels.
Owners always tell me that their cats go crazy for the chicken and pumpkin flavor, and unlike other cat foods, it doesn’t leave an unpleasant aroma around the house.
This highly digestible food works well for cats that have developed a short bout of diarrhea.
Turkey and potato is a slightly unusual flavor, and some cats may prefer this to the standard chicken options on offer.
Interestingly, a surprisingly high number of felines are allergic to chicken, so trying a chicken free food may be worth a go.
This food is grain free, which makes it a super option for cats that don’t tolerate grains well.
The vast majority of supermarket cat foods will contain some form of grain and it can actually be quite difficult to find a grain-free cat food, making Blue Buffalo Basics one of our favorite food choices.
In fact, not only is this option grain-free, it is also free from dairy, soy and eggs.
This is another nice and natural product, perfect for the savvy pet owner who likes to know exactly what their cat is putting into its body.
With yummy ingredients that include peas, carrots and cranberries, this cat food looks almost good enough for us humans to eat.
Packed with plenty of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, this food supports the skin and keeps the coat lovely and shiny.
Oftentimes, cats with upset stomachs will not be too keen on grooming, so supporting their coat from the inside out is the next best thing.
There are also duck and fish flavors available, so feel free to vary up your cat’s diet.
All of the options come in handy 3 oz cans, with roughly 80 calories in each can.
For larger cats, there is also a 5.5 oz tin.
These cans come with pull lids that are super easy to open.
This product is not suitable for kittens or growing cats, though there is a kitten food option available in the same range.
If you have come to this website today in search of the best cat food for diarrhea, look no further, as one of these wet food diets is sure to tick all of the boxes.
Feeding you cat a wet food can help it to maintain its hydration while it is losing excess moisture through its intestines in the form of diarrhea.
Cats should also be offered as much fresh water as they like alongside their food.
Remember, cats can be precious and often don’t like to be fed beside their watering hole, so always keep their food and water bowls separate.
All of these diets are highly digestible and are gentle on the stomach and you should see the stool solidify within a few short days and don’t be afraid to try different flavors if your cat sticks it’s nose up at one.
5 Best Cat Foods for Sensitive Stomachs and Diarrhea
There is a wide array of potential causes for a cat having a sensitive stomach and diarrhea.
Whether your cat is affected with allergies, parasites, inflammatory bowel disease, an overactive thyroid or something else, it is important that they are fed an appropriate diet to support them.
The best cat foods for sensitive stomachs and diarrhea will provide adequate calories and nutrients to ensure your cat does not lose weight or muscle mass while they are unwell.
The food also needs to be incredibly palatable, as often these kitties just do not feel like eating, and what’s the point in providing them with all of the best ingredients if the meal just doesn’t taste appealing?
Many sensitivity diets will have added beneficial components such as probiotics to support the gut and reduce the duration of the diarrhea.
This is important in all cats, but particularly those that are becoming dehydrated from their ongoing losses and need to retain as much moisture as possible.
As often food is the primary cause of an upset stomach, a restricted ingredient or sensitivity diet may not only support your cat while they are unwell but could even be the cure to their problems.
For example, a cat with food allergies will likely have a sensitive stomach, frequent vomiting and constant diarrhea episodes.
Remember, even though a cat has eaten a certain diet all their life does not mean that they cannot develop an allergy to it later on.
Many owners presume that as the cat tolerated the food in its early years, the food cannot be the source of the problem.
With any cat who has a sensitive stomach or frequent bouts of diarrhea, it is essential that they are checked over by a vet, who will likely want to perform some tests on them to check for potential causes.
Tests may include blood tests, urinalysis, faecal exams and imaging studies of the abdomen and thorax.
Any diet changes should be discussed with your vet at this time.
A popular choice for vets and pet parents alike, the Hill’s brand has been trusted for many years and is often the food suggested by clinicians who regard it as the best cat food for sensitive stomachs and diarrhea.
In fact, most pets that are hospitalised will be fed on I/D as it is so digestible and safe to feed, rarely causing any adverse food reactions.
This selection is a dry food, which has its advantages and disadvantages.
While dry foods are easy to measure out and don’t make a mess, they do not provide as much moisture as wet foods, so may not be the best option in a dehydrated animal or one that is losing a lot of moisture through chronic vomiting or frequent diarrhea.
Dry food may not be as palatable to some cats, and any feline with a sore mouth or dental disease may find it hard to eat.
To combat many of these issues, this food can always be mixed with some warm water.
Not only will this increase the moisture content, it will also create a warm and tasty broth that your cat will be sure to love.
Long-term, it is recommended that your cat eats some dry biscuits, as they can prevent plaque build-up.
The balance of soluble and insoluble fibres within this diet option, as well as the prebiotics contained, can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and encourage regular and more solid bowel movements.
We love that this food can be fed to adult cats and kittens alike, making it a great option for kittens that have an upset stomach around weaning time.
Owners must be aware that while highly digestible, this is not a hypoallergenic diet and does contain ingredients such as barley, gluten, corn and chicken.
Cats with known food allergies should be fed on a more appropriate diet.
Another popular option from the much-loved Hill’s company, Z/D is the ideal choice for cats with suspected or proven food allergies.
Food allergies and intolerances in cats occur when the cat reacts to a certain ingredient (or ingredients) in their diet.
Really, cats can be allergic to any ingredient, though chicken, beef and dairy allergies are the most frequently seen.
Many mistakenly think that as these are common food ingredients they would be uncommon allergens, but this is just not the case.
This is why feeding a cat with food allergies a restricted diet often does not change anything, as many restricted diets use chicken or beef as their first ingredient.
Instead, a truly hypoallergenic diet, such as Hill’s Z/D is required.
As well as chronic vomiting and diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy, food allergies can result in skin infections and generalised itchiness.
Hill’s Z/D is without a doubt the best cat food for sensitive stomachs and diarrhea that is caused by food allergies.
With a single carbohydrate source and protein that has been highly hydrolysed, Hill’s have ensured that regardless of which food allergy your cat has, they should not have a negative reaction to this food.
It is critically important that owners are aware of how to feed a hypoallergenic diet.
It can only be effective if the cat is not fed anything else at all.
Cats should not receive any treats or human food, as this renders the diet completely ineffective.
Cats that have been diagnosed with true food allergies will need to be fed on Hills’s Z/D (or a similar hypoallergenic food) for life.
With the natural fibre content, this food improves both digestion and stool quality.
The essential fatty acids and Vitamin E content help promote healthy skin and fur, often something that allergic kitties struggle to maintain.
This offering from Royal Canin is another superb option for those cats whose gastro-intestinal upset is potentially caused by food intolerance or allergies.
Vitally, this food only contains selected proteins, ensuring that the majority of cats will not react to the ingredients.
As the protein is provided by rabbit (often a novel protein source in most cats’ lives), peas and hydrolysed soy, those cats with the typical beef/chicken and dairy allergies can happily eat this food without experiencing any negative effects.
This dry diet is probably one of the better options for those cats with pre-existing skin issues, as the ingredients can dramatically improve skin health.
The amino acids and B vitamins form a healthy skin barrier while the EPAs and DHAs (omega 3 fatty acids) as well as the coconut oil contribute to a glossy and lustrous coat.
Ensuring your cat’s skin barrier is robust can reduce itchiness and prevent chronic skin infections from setting in.
As this is a dry pelleted food, it is easy to weigh and feed.
The average 4kg cat requires 55g, which can be easily weighed out on a kitchen scales.
While some prefer to eat this in two daily meals (about 27g each meal), others like to graze on it throughout the day.
Other than water, there is nothing else that should be added to your cat’s diet, giving the restricted protein diet the best opportunity to work.
Most cats find this food very tasty, though some may require a little bit of encouragement by mixing in warm water and creating a tasty gravy.
Titbits such as chicken and fish should not be added to the food to encourage eating, as this will negate the benefits.
As with any other diet changes, this food should be gradually introduced to your cat over a period of 5-7 days.
Orijen are well-respected within the pet food industry for making some of the highest-quality diets on the market and using the best ingredients.
With a whopping 40% protein content, this food provides more than enough protein to support a cat through a gastrointestinal upset and prevent unnecessary muscle wastage.
An ethical diet, the vast majority of the fish used (90%) is wild caught from a sustainable source, so you can sleep easy.
Containing some delicious fishes including mackerel, hake and monkfish, this is probably the best food option for those fussy cats that turn their noses up at whatever you buy.
On top of the impressive six fish varieties contained, Orijen have also added in some extra freeze-dried liver bits, which your cat will not be able to resist.
Oozing with flavour, this highly palatable diet is sure to be a hit in most households.
The pumpkin and butternut squash within this dry food are great sources of vitamins and fibre and can assist in keeping your cat’s bowel movements regular and improving diarrhea.
In fact, this food is packed with all sorts fruits and veggies such as carrots, apples, spinach and cranberries, ensuring your cat receives all of its required micronutrients from natural sources.
Orijen have also added the popular probiotic Enterococcus faecium which has been proven to support gut health in felines and reduce the duration of an episode of diarrhea.
Unlike some of the foods on this list (such as Hill’s Z/D or Royal Canin Selected Protein) this food is not specifically hypoallergenic or targeted at sensitive cats.
However, the sheer quality of the ingredients ensure that it is highly digestible and well tolerated by the majority of the feline population.
Last, but by no means least, on our list we have these delicious cat pots from Reveal.
While this is not a complete food and is only a supplement to your cat’s regular diet, these cat pots are a fantastic source of nutrients and moisture for those cats who have upset stomachs and are off their regular food.
In the business, we call these little pots ‘lifesavers’, as they are so tasty that even the most nauseous cat with the worst stomach cramps will find them hard to resist.
It is so important that unwell cats continue to eat during their illness, as otherwise they will become dehydrated and weak.
Top tip: If your cat is not immediately keen on eating the Reveal pot, they may prefer it warmed up to release its natural aromas and flavours.
If they’re still not having it, try hand-feeding them.
As this food pot contains limited ingredients and no grains, as well as no colours or preservatives, it is well-accepted by most and should not cause dietary upset.
Simply containing tuna fillet, fish broth and shrimp, this fishy delight will have even the most inappetant cat drooling for more.
The soft texture makes it easy to eat and also ensures it is a good snack for cats that may have had a recent dental cleaning.
A food with a conscience, all of the fish and seafood within this food (as well as in the other Reveal products) are ethically sourced and fished sustainably.
Conveniently, this snack can be fed straight from the pot, saving on the washing-up!
So, there you have it!
The best cat foods for sensitive stomachs and diarrhea that will not only support your cat when they are unwell but can also prevent gastro-intestinal upsets going forward.
All of the foods listed are made with high-quality ingredients and are well-digested.
Importantly, they are high in flavour, making your cat more likely to eat them on a long-term basis.
Managing a cat with a sensitive stomach can be a real challenge and it can often take some trial and error to hit on the perfect food for them that not only agrees with them but is also something they are happy to eat every day.
We are confident that your kitty will be happy with whichever food choice you select from this list.
Many cats with chronic digestive issues will need lifelong veterinary care and are often managed with medication alongside their diet.
Discussing your cat’s diet with your vet is essential to ensure it is right for them and meets all of their individual needs.