Dr. Marie Menniti's Veterinary Advice
Diarrhea or very moist poops can be a sign of a health problem. If your cat struggles with this issue for longer than 48 hours, consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying clinical cause. The right diet can help with chronic diarrhea and the associated underlying cause.
It is best to check with the vet when picking out a food for a pet with a medical condition, but the following guidelines can help you get started.
1) Choose a diet that has a source of insoluble fiber
One type of fiber, called “insoluble fiber”, helps keep to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract and reduce instance of diarrhea. Examples of insoluble fiber sources include pea fiber, soybean hulls, beet pulp, and rice hulls.
2) Choose a diet with prebiotic ingredients
Prebiotics are ingredients in the diet which feed the healthy bacteria of the gut. These “good bacteria” produce compounds which have been linked to gastrointestinal health. Examples of prebiotic-containing ingredients include cranberries, apples, and carrots.
Remember that these ingredients are incorporated into your cat’s pet food in a balanced way- don’t add them as fresh ingredients without checking with your vet first.
3) Consider a diet for an adverse food reaction
Cats suffering from an adverse food reaction may experience diarrhea. Choosing a diet with alternative ingredients, particularly the protein source, can help to alleviate many gut-related issues. The best choice for a suspected adverse food reaction or allergy is a hydrolyzed protein diet.
This diet uses proteins that are broken down into pieces as their amino acid source. These pieces that are so tiny that they are unlikely to trigger a reaction. These diets are also a top choice to use for a clinical dietary trial to pinpoint the exact ingredient causing the problem.
4) Consider your cat’s energy needs
Obesity can have an impact on gastrointestinal health in cats. If your vet advises that your cat is overweight, you might want to find a less ‘calorie dense’ diet to help her slim down.
Your veterinarian can help you determine how much to feed each day for your cat to meet her ideal bodyweight. You should measure out your cat’s daily portion using a scale, as cups are inaccurate.
5) Don’t change diet too quickly or too frequently
When you are choosing a food for your cat, one important thing to keep in mind is to not switch diets too quickly or frequently. The gut of a cat and healthy gut bacteria need time to adjust to changes in composition and texture of new foods.
The transition should happen over a minimum of 7 days, increasing the proportion of the new food in the bowl each day.