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The 11 Best Cat Foods for Diarrhea

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Medically reviewed by  JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM
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Updated by  Kate Barrington
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Image depicting a selection of the best cat food options for managing diarrhea in cats.

The best cat food for diarrhea gives your cat’s GI tract a break, relieves inflammation, and allows the body to heal. If your cat is experiencing acute diarrhea, that might mean a few days on a bland diet.

In cases of chronic diarrhea caused by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or long-lasting issues, more permanent dietary changes can help. For cats with chronic diarrhea, the best food is free of irritants and allergens, gentle on the GI tract, and ready to encourage healthy digestion.

I spoke to veterinary experts to determine the best cat food for diarrhea and assembled a list of our top recommendations to help you choose.

At a Glance: The Best Cat Food for Diarrhea

Clock
2760
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research
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11
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11
top
picks
Overall Best
10.0
Picked by 31 people today!

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Cat Food

  • Rabbit is a novel protein for many cats
  • Rich in animal-sourced protein and fat
  • Easily digestible with few main ingredients
Runner Up
9.8
Picked by 25 people today!

Smalls Ground Bird Fresh Cat Food

  • Easily digestible fresh food
  • Chicken is the only protein source
  • Rich in hydrating moisture
GET 35% OFF ENTER "CATS35" TO GET 35% OFF YOUR FIRST ORDER
Budget Pick
9.7
Picked by 31 people today!

Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

  • Contains four sources of animal protein
  • Rich in hydrating moisture
  • Relies on animal-sourced omega-3 fatty acids
Best Ethically Sourced
9.6
Picked by 31 people today!

Open Farm Homestead Turkey Rustic Blend Wet Food

  • Single source of high-quality animal protein
  • No fillers, animal by-products, or vaguely named ingredients
  • Contains the moisture your cat needs for hydration
Get 20% Off ENTER "CATS20" TO GET 20% OFF YOUR FIRST AUTO-SHIP ORDER
Best Dry Food
9.6
Picked by 18 people today!

Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food

  • Features highly-digestible animal proteins
  • Significantly lower carbohydrate content than the typical dry food
  • Contains salmon oil as a source of anti-inflammatory fatty acids
Best Wet Food
9.5
Picked by 31 people today!

Wellness CORE Digestive Health Turkey Pate Grain-Free Wet Cat Food

  • Easily digestible and rich in moisture
  • Top four ingredients are all animal-based
  • Prebiotic fiber helps support gut health
Best For Sensitive Stomach
9.4
Picked by 31 people today!

Raised Right Chicken & Pumpkin Paté for Adult Cats

  • Species-appropriate blend of muscle meat and organs
  • Contains pumpkin as a source of dietary fiber
  • Rich in moisture to support your cat’s hydration
Best for Picky Cats
9.3
Picked by 31 people today!

Caru Classic Turkey Stew Wet Cat Food

  • Rich in protein and hydrating moisture
  • Easily digestible with low carbohydrate content
  • Cardboard carton is easy to close for leftover storage
Best for Allergies
9.3
Picked by 31 people today!

Primal Turkey Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Made with turkey—an excellent option for cats who like poultry but can’t eat chicken
  • A limited-ingredient diet for cats with allergies and food sensitivities
  • Free from common irritating ingredients
Best for Kittens
9.2
Picked by 31 people today!

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Kitten Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe

  • Rich in easily-digestible animal protein sources
  • Free of common irritating ingredients
  • Contains salmon, which is a good source of DHA for brain and eye development
Best for Senior Cats
9.1
Picked by 31 people today!

Weruva Truluxe Steak Frites Dinner Canned Cat Food

  • Protein-rich recipe made with beef
  • Easily digestible formula
  • Rich in hydrating moisture

Acute vs. Chronic Diarrhea

If your cat has acute diarrhea due to illness or eating something they shouldn’t have, you don’t necessarily need to permanently change their diet. Fasting for up to 12 hours followed by feeding a bland, easily digestible food for a few days may help. After the stool returns to normal, you should be able to return to your cat’s usual diet.

Chronic diarrhea that occurs intermittently or consistently for more than three weeks may demand significant dietary changes. It could stem from allergies, food intolerances, IBD, or other issues and may manifest as part of an issue generally referred to as a “sensitive stomach.”

If your cat has chronic diarrhea, a trip to the veterinarian is a good idea. The vet can run diagnostic tests, including bloodwork, to determine the cause of your cat’s endless loose stool. On top of treating the underlying cause of your cat’s issues, long-term dietary modification may be required.

Why Trust Cats.com

Several members of our team, each with countless hours of cat food research and testing under their belts, selected the products recommended below and tested them with their own cats at home. Our recommendations were informed by careful research and veterinary advice related to the dietary management of diarrhea in cats.

In testing, our team members analyze the product’s nutritional information, research the brand, read customer reviews, and offer the products to our own cats. We made observations about the products’ packaging, appearance, aroma, and texture while our cats provided their opinion on the food’s taste and general appeal.

Our Top 11 Picks for the Best Cat Food for Diarrhea

We’ve chosen Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels as the overall best cat food for diarrhea. These raw morsels are packed with easily digestible meat and organs, plus sources of fiber and probiotics for digestive health. But it’s not the right choice for every cat.

Every cat is unique and the best diet to resolve diarrhea will depend on the underlying cause of your cat’s issues. Your veterinarian can help you obtain a diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment. If dietary modification is likely to help, one of the foods we’ve recommended may be a good fit.

#1 Overall Best: Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Cat Food

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 44% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 132
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $5.75 per day

This recipe from Stella & Chewy’s is a limited-ingredient, single-protein product with a reputation for helping cats heal and thrive. Because rabbit is the food’s only protein source, it’s a limited-ingredient recipe and not likely to irritate the GI tract of cats with food sensitivities. Several reviewers even say that this food helped to clear up their cats’ chronic diarrhea.

Rabbit is easy to digest, seldom associated with allergic reactions, and a novel protein for most cats. This makes it an excellent choice for cats with suspected allergies and a gut-friendly option for cats with digestive issues of any kind.

In addition to containing nourishing muscle meat, organs, and bone, the food contains pumpkin seed as a source of fiber. The recipe also includes probiotics to help support the gut microbiome and promote firmer, healthier stools.

Ingredients

Rabbit With Ground Bone, Rabbit Liver, Olive Oil, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Dried Ediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Taurine, Tocopherols (Preservative), Dandelion, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Ingredients We Liked: Rabbit with Ground Bone, Rabbit Liver

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 44%
Crude Fat: 30%
Crude Fiber: 5%
Moisture: 5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 46.32%
Fat: 31.58%
Fiber: 5.26%
Carbs: 16.84%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 33.12%
Fat: 54.84%
Carbs: 12.04%

What We Liked:

  • Rabbit is a novel protein for many cats
  • Rich in animal-sourced protein and fat
  • Easily digestible with few main ingredients
  • Probiotics and pumpkin support smooth digestion

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Low in moisture, needs to be rehydrated before feeding
  • One of Stella & Chewy’s most expensive recipes

#2 Runner Up: Smalls Ground Bird Fresh Cat Food

Small Fresh Ground Bird

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 13% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 40
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $4.00 per day

Ingredient quality is particularly significant when you’re feeding a cat with diarrhea. High-quality ingredients are usually more digestible than their cheap counterparts, giving your cat more nutrition while putting less stress on their digestive system. This human-grade food from Smalls is made from restaurant-quality ingredients and processed in a facility that meets U.S. requirements for human food production.

The food is made with chicken and chicken liver as its main ingredients. Compared to extruded kibble, which undergoes a lot of processing, this food from Smalls is minimally processed and retains much of its textural and nutritional integrity. Most of the ingredients are meat-derived and species-appropriate for cats.

In addition to being protein-rich and super hydrating, this formula contains limited plant ingredients and no artificial additives. It’s an easily digestible choice and its finely minced texture makes it easy for cats to chew.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Liver, Green Beans, Water Sufficient for Processing, Dried Yeast, Tricalcium Phosphate, Kale, Magnesium Proteinate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Dandelion Greens, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Cod Liver Oil, Salt, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite, Biotin.

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Cod Liver Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 13%
Crude Fat: 8.5%
Crude Fiber: 1.5%
Moisture: 73%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 48.15%
Fat: 31.48%
Fiber: 5.56%
Carbs: 14.81%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 34.54%
Fat: 54.84%
Carbs: 10.63%

What We Liked:

  • Easily digestible fresh food
  • Chicken is the only protein source
  • Rich in hydrating moisture
  • Made with human-grade ingredients

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Only available as a subscription plan
  • No phone support (text and email only)

#3 Best Budget: Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 11% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 35
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $1.98 per day

This Nulo Freestyle recipe offers plenty of species-appropriate animal protein and hydrating moisture while maintaining a competitive price. The top five ingredients are all animal-based and the food relies on animal-sourced fat. Menhaden fish oil provides omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory benefits and help suppport skin and coat health.

The food contains about 50% crude protein and nearly 30% crude fat, both measured as dry matter. Though we’d prefer to see the dry matter carbohydrate content closer to 10%, it’s still under 20% which is not typical for canned foods in this price range.

One thing to be mindful of with this recipe is that it contains guar gum as a thickening agent. Though gums haven’t been proven harmful to cats, they’ve been known to trigger loose stools in some cats. Start your cat with a small portion and, if it worsens their diarrhea, choose another recipe.

Ingredients

Turkey, Chicken, Turkey Liver, Turkey Broth, Tuna, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Agar Agar, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Menhaden Fish Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Salt, Iron Proteinate, Sodium Carbonate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Magnesium Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Ingredients We Liked: Turkey, Chicken, Turkey Liver, Tuna, Menhaden Fish Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Guar Gum

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 11%
Crude Fat: 6.5%
Crude Fiber: 0.75%
Moisture: 78%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 50%
Fat: 29.55%
Fiber: 3.41%
Carbs: 17.05%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 36.02%
Fat: 51.7%
Carbs: 12.28%

What We Liked:

  • Contains four sources of animal protein
  • Rich in hydrating moisture
  • Relies on animal-sourced omega-3 fatty acids
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Guar gum may worsen loose stools in some cats

#4 Best Ethically Sourced: Open Farm Homestead Turkey Rustic Blend Wet Food

Open Farm Homestead Turkey Rustic Blend Wet Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 8.1% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 27
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $4.46 per day

Digestibility is key in a cat food for diarrhea and this Open Farm turkey flavor wet food fits the bill. Made with humanely raised turkey as the primary ingredient, this formula is protein-rich and full of natural turkey flavor your cat will love.

In addition to being packed with animal-based protein, this formula is moisture-rich which helps support your cat’s digestion. Pumpkin, carrots, and spinach provide natural sources for key nutrients as well as dietary fiber which helps add bulk to your cat’s stool.

The list of ingredients for this formula is fairly limited with helps with digestion and nutrient absorption, though there are more plant-based ingredients than we’d like to see. Even so, the dry matter carbohydrate content is only slightly above our recommended maximum of 10%.
Overall, this is a protein-rich formula with moderate fat and carbohydrate content that contains the moisture your cat needs and plenty of fiber to help relieve diarrhea.

Ingredients

Humanely Raised Turkey, Turkey Bone Broth, Pumpkin, Carrots, Spinach, Red Lentils, Agar Agar, Non-GMO Cranberries, Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas), Chicory Root, Sunflower Oil, Coconut Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Salt, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Dried Kelp, Potassium Chloride, Dandelion Greens, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Turmeric.

Ingredients We Liked: Turkey, Turkey Bone Broth

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Red Lentils, Garbanzo Beans

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 8%
Crude Fat: 6%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 82%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 44.44%
Fat: 33.33%
Fiber: 11.11%
Carbs: 11.11%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 32.56%
Fat: 59.3%
Carbs: 8.14%

What We Liked:

  • Single source of high-quality animal protein
  • No fillers, animal by-products, or vaguely named ingredients
  • Contains the moisture your cat needs for hydration
  • Made from 100% human-grade, ethically sourced ingredients

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Fairly expensive compared to the average cat food
  • Contains several plant-based ingredients

#5 Best Dry: Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food

Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 59% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 114
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $0.90 per day

In general, wet food is the best option for cats with diarrhea. It helps to prevent dehydration and is usually easier for cats to digest. But if your cat loves dry food and you can’t get them to eat anything else, this food from Dr. Elsey’s is one of the best options available.

Unlike most dry foods, which are loaded with starchy binders and inflammatory additives, this food is primarily made from meat. The food also contains salmon oil as a source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, helping to ease gut inflammation. Fructooligosaccharide serves as a source of prebiotic fiber, which helps beneficial gut bacteria to flourish.

Overall, this meat-rich food is one of the best dry options for cats with diarrhea. Because it contains multiple common food allergens, it’s probably not a good choice for cats with food intolerances or allergies, but it’s worth a try for cats who don’t have those dietary issues.

Ingredients

Chicken, Pork Protein Isolate, Gelatin, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate, Fructooligosaccharide, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Calcium Carbonate, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Carbonate, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide), Potassium Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Taurine, Salt, Rosemary Extract.

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Pork Protein Isolate, Gelatin, Chicken Fat, Salmon Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 59%
Crude Fat: 18%
Crude Fiber: 4%
Moisture: 12%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 67.05%
Fat: 20.45%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 7.95%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 53.78%
Fat: 39.84%
Carbs: 6.38%

What We Liked:

  • Features highly-digestible animal proteins
  • Significantly lower carbohydrate content than the typical dry food
  • Contains salmon oil as a source of anti-inflammatory fatty acids

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Dry food doesn’t provide enough moisture
  • Contains several protein sources—not a limited-ingredient diet

#6 Best Wet: Wellness CORE Digestive Health Turkey Pate Grain-Free Wet Cat Food

Wellness CORE Digestive Health Turkey Pate Grain-Free Wet Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 10% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 33
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $4.74 per day

Formulated specifically to support digestive health, this wet cat food recipe contains easily digestible animal proteins, prebiotic fiber, and animal-based omega-3 fatty acids.

The food is centered around fresh turkey with chicken liver and fresh chicken as supplemental proteins. Salmon oil provides a species-appropriate source of omega-3 fatty acids while apple, cranberry, and pumpkin powders provide prebiotic fiber. Not only does fiber help add bulk to your cat’s stool but it acts as a food source for the beneficial bacteria in your cat’s gut.

This canned food recipe is high in moisture which helps improve digestibility and it doesn’t contain beans, legumes, or pulses like chickpeas which can be difficult for cats to process. Overall, this appears to be a meat-based wet food

Ingredients

Turkey, Chicken Liver, Turkey Broth, Chicken, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Apple Powder, Cranberry Powder, Pumpkin Powder, Taurine, Salmon Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Inulin, Choline Chloride, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Salt, Magnesium Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Blueberry Powder, Papaya Powder, Pomegranate Powder, Vitamin E Supplement, Peppermint Leaf Powder, Cinnamon, Fennel Powder, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Ingredients We Liked: Turkey, Chicken Liver, Chicken, Salmon Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 10%
Crude Fat: 7%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 78%
Ash: 2.5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 45.45%
Fat: 31.82%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 6.82%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 35.09%
Fat: 59.65%
Carbs: 5.26%

What We Liked:

  • Easily digestible and rich in moisture
  • Top four ingredients are all animal-based
  • Prebiotic fiber helps support gut health
  • Salmon oil provides animal-based omega-3s

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Carbohydrate content is over 15%
  • Very expensive, over $0.70 per ounce

#7 Best For Sensitive Stomach: Raised Right Chicken & Pumpkin Paté for Adult Cats

Raised Right Chicken & Pumpkin Paté for Adult Cats

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 20% Min
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Calories Per Ounce: 52
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $3.05 per day

This meat-centric recipe from Raised Right features chicken muscle meat and organs. With the addition of cod liver oil as the primary source of added fat, the food is species-appropriate and easily digestible for cats.

While this food isn’t specifically formulated to resolve diarrhea, the short list of whole-food ingredients may help reduce the risk for digestive upset. Pumpkin contributes to the food’s nearly 6% dry matter fiber content and the recipe is made with dried kelp instead of gum binders, which have been known to contribute to loose stools.

Overall, this is a high-protein, fairly high-fat formula with low carbohydrate content. It’s a much more hydrating option than kibble as well, which is important for cats suffering from diarrhea.

Ingredients

Chicken Thigh, Chicken Heart, Chicken Liver, Pumpkin, Organic Spearmint, Cod Liver Oil, Egg Shell Powder, Flaxseed Oil, Parsley, Organic Dried Kelp, Taurine, Sea Salt, Thiamine Mononitrate.

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken Thigh, Chicken Heart, Chicken Liver, Cod Liver Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 20%
Crude Fat: 9%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 66%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 58.82%
Fat: 26.47%
Fiber: 5.88%
Carbs: 8.82%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 44.59%
Fat: 48.73%
Carbs: 6.69%

What We Liked:

  • Species-appropriate blend of muscle meat and organs
  • Contains pumpkin as a source of dietary fiber
  • Rich in moisture to support your cat’s hydration
  • Short list of easily digestible ingredients

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some cats don’t seem to enjoy the texture
  • Only sold in packs of 4 or 16 bags

#8 Best for Picky Cats: Caru Classic Turkey Stew Wet Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 11% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 30
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $3.39 per day

Changing your cat’s diet to relieve diarrhea can be tough if they’re a picky eater. A high-moisture wet food with a gravy-like consistency and plenty of animal protein might pique their interest. This turkey stew from Caru appears to be popular with picky cats and it’s a species-appropriate choice.

Made with turkey muscle meat as the primary ingredient, this recipe gets supplemental protein from egg whites. With no added fat and minimal carbohydrate content, this formula is a digestible choice that should be gentle on your cat’s stomach. The fiber from tapioca, sweet potato, carrots, and apples may also help bulk up your cat’s loose stools.

Ingredients

Turkey, Turkey Broth, Tapioca Starch, Egg Whites, Sweet Potato, Carrots, Apples, Natural Flavor, Tricalcium Phosphate, Choline Bitartrate, Taurine, Calcium Carbonate, Dandelion Greens, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate, Iodine Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite)

Ingredients We Liked: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Egg Whites

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Tapioca Starch

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 9%
Crude Fat: 2%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 82%
Ash: 3.6%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 50%
Fat: 11.11%
Fiber: 5.56%
Carbs: 13.33%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 55.36%
Fat: 29.88%
Carbs: 14.76%

What We Liked:

  • Rich in protein and hydrating moisture
  • Easily digestible with low carbohydrate content
  • Cardboard carton is easy to close for leftover storage
  • Free from irritating ingredients and artificial additives

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some reviewers find the consistency too thin
  • Fairly expensive

#9 Best For Allergies: Primal Turkey Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food

Primal Turkey Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 48% Min
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Calories Per Ounce: 124
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $4.40 per day

If your cat doesn’t like the Stella & Chewy’s food listed as our number one recommendation, you might want to try an alternative raw product. This popular recipe from Primal is made with freeze-dried turkey, which is a good alternative poultry for cats with chicken sensitivities. Primal also offers freeze-dried duck, pork, rabbit, and venison.

Emulating a whole-prey diet, the food contains a mix of turkey muscle meat, organs, and bone. This makes it a species-appropriate and highly digestible source of the nutrition your cat needs.

In addition to muscle meat, bones, and organs, the food contains an array of organic fruits, vegetables, and supplements. It also contains fish oil, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to reduce the inflammation associated with diarrhea.

Ingredients

Turkey (with Ground Bone), Turkey Livers, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Cranberries, Organic Blueberries, Organic Celery, Organic Kale, Organic Squash, Organic Rosemary Extract, Organic Cilantro, Organic Ginger, Organic Quinoa, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Fish Oil, Montmorillonite Clay, Organic Coconut Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Organic Ground Alfalfa, Dried Organic Kelp.

Ingredients We Liked: Turkey (with Ground Bone), Turkey Livers, Fish Oil, Cod Liver Oil

IngredieNonents We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 48%
Crude Fat: 22%
Crude Fiber: 4%
Moisture: 9%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 52.75%
Fat: 24.18%
Fiber: 4.4%
Carbs: 18.68%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 40.53%
Fat: 45.11%
Carbs: 14.35%

What We Liked:

  • Made with turkey—an excellent option for cats who like poultry but can’t eat chicken
  • A limited-ingredient diet for cats with allergies and food sensitivities
  • Free from common irritating ingredients
  • Composed of 93% turkey muscle meat, bones, and organs

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Contains several plant ingredients

#10 Best For Kittens: Instinct by Nature’s Variety Kitten Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe

Instinct by Nature's Variety Kitten Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe Natural Wet Canned

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 12% Min
  • Age Range: Kitten
  • Calories Per Ounce: 42
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $3.20 per day

Diarrhea is more serious for kittens than adult cats. If your kitten has sustained bouts of diarrhea, they are at risk of dehydration and, possibly, death. Kittens suffering from diarrhea should be very closely monitored to ensure the situation doesn’t continue for more than a day or two.

After you’ve identified the cause of the diarrhea and explored treatment, consider switching to a higher-quality, more easily digestible food. This food from Instinct by Nature’s Variety is a meat-rich, protein-heavy food that’s formulated with kittens in mind.

A combination of chicken, beef liver, salmon, and eggs constitutes the bulk of the recipe. The food is formulated for growing kittens, containing appropriate levels of taurine, DHA (a type of omega-3 fatty acid), and key vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients

Chicken, Beef Liver, Chicken Broth, Salmon (Source of DHA), Eggs, Montmorillonite Clay, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3, Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Beef Liver, Salmon, Eggs

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 12%
Crude Fat: 6%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 78%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 54.55%
Fat: 27.27%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 13.64%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 40.58%
Fat: 49.28%
Carbs: 10.14%

What We Liked:

  • Rich in easily-digestible animal protein sources
  • Free of common irritating ingredients
  • Contains salmon, which is a good source of DHA for brain and eye development
  • Low in carbohydrates

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Several plant inclusions
  • Contains several protein sources—not a limited-ingredient or novel protein food

#11 Best for Seniors: Weruva Truluxe Steak Frites Dinner Canned Cat Food

Weruva TruLuxe Cat Food, Steak Frites

  • Made In: Thailand
  • Guaranteed Protein: 10% Min
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Calories Per Ounce: 21
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $5.24 per day

Packed with animal-sourced protein and hydrating moisture, this Truluxe recipe from Weruva offers high digestibility and species-appropriate nutrition. It features beef muscle meat as a single source of protein with beef broth for both flavor and moisture.

This food has a short list of simple ingredients which improves its digestibility. It does contain a few plant ingredients, including potato starch which doesn’t offer much in the way of nutrition. These ingredients add to the food’s carbohydrate content which is still relatively low, under 16% measured as dry matter.

What makes this recipe a good choice particularly for senior cats is that its phosphorus content is lower than the average non-prescription cat food. Controlled phosphorus intake can be beneficial for kidney health. Though any cat can develop kidney problems, the risk increases as your cat gets older.

Ingredients

Beef Broth, Beef, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Potato Starch, Carrot, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Salt, Taurine, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3 Supplement), Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenite, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Ingredients We Liked: Beef Broth, Beef, Taurine

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Potato Starch, Carrot

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 10%
Crude Fat: 1.3%
Crude Fiber: 0.5%
Moisture: 86%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 71.43%
Fat: 9.29%
Fiber: 3.57%
Carbs: 15.71%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 65.12%
Fat: 20.56%
Carbs: 14.33%

What We Liked:

  • Protein-rich recipe made with beef muscle meat
  • Easily digestible formula
  • Fairly low carbohydrate content
  • Rich in hydrating moisture

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Can be expensive
  • Relies primarily on plant-sourced fat

What to Look for in Cat Food to Stop Diarrhea

If your veterinarian recommends dietary changes to stop diarrhea, they may suggest an elimination diet. This stripped-down diet eliminates those familiar ingredients that may have triggered your cat’s diarrhea and replaces them with novel proteins.

If your cat’s diarrhea vanishes while on the elimination diet, you can re-incorporate ingredients one by one to determine which one caused the symptoms. Here are some features to look for in cat food for diarrhea.

Species-Appropriate Formulation

Minimize inflammation by giving your cat a species-appropriate diet centering around fresh muscle meat and organs. Ingredients that aren’t species-appropriate aren’t efficiently utilized by your cat’s body and may contribute to digestive issues like diarrhea, constipation, or flatulence.

Look for a recipe that, when measured as dry matter, contains at least 40% crude protein and around 20% crude fat. High-moisture diets are the most appropriate choice for cats. Cats get most of their hydration from the moisture in food, so if you feed kibble or another low-moisture diet, be sure to supplement your cat’s water intake elsewhere.

Short List of Easily Digestible Ingredients

The shorter the ingredient list, the better. A long list of ingredients means there are more potential triggers for irritation, inflammation, or allergic reactions. By providing a high-quality, meat-based cat food with minimal carbohydrates, plant protein, and irritating additives, you lessen the burden on your cat’s GI tract.

Look for a source of animal protein as the first ingredient followed by supplemental proteins and animal-sourced fats. While the carbohydrate content should be kept low — ideally below 10% when measured as dry matter — cats have a limited ability to digest nutritious plant ingredients like whole grains, low-starch veggies, and fruits. Legumes and processed grains like corn, wheat, and soy may be harder to digest.

Supplements to Support Digestive Health

Gut dysbiosis—an imbalance of good and bad microorganisms in the gut microbiome—is a major factor in chronic diarrhea. To manage your cat’s diarrhea, fortify those “good” populations by administering probiotics. While most probiotics can help, the S. boulardii strain is the gold standard for cats with diarrhea.

Cat foods and supplements that contain slippery elm bark may benefit your cat’s digestion as well. Pumpkin is another option. It contains soluble fiber which may help bulk up your cat’s stool. Just be sure to use cooked fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin free from added spice or sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best food to feed a cat with diarrhea?

In some cases, the best food is no food at all. For cases of acute diarrhea, many vets recommend withholding food for 12 to 24 hours (give plenty of water during this time) to give the cat’s stomach a chance to settle. From there, a bland diet for a few days is recommended, followed by a high-moisture, meat-centric recipe formulated for complete nutrition.

How can I firm up my cat’s poop?

Increasing your cat’s intake of dietary fiber may help. Try canned pumpkin (unsweetened), which is rich in soluble fiber and gentle on your cat’s stomach. Other bland foods like cooked white rice may help as well.

Is dry food better for a cat with diarrhea?

No. A high-moisture diet is best because it’s more digestible and helps prevent dehydration. That said, a high-quality dry diet with plenty of supplemental moisture may be better than a cheap wet food loaded with by-products, fillers, and irritating additives.

Note: The values in our nutrient charts are automatically calculated based on the guaranteed analysis and may not represent typical nutrient values. This may lead to discrepancies between the charts and the values mentioned in the body of the review.
small mallory photo

About Mallory Crusta

Mallory is an NAVC-certified Pet Nutrition Coach. Having produced and managed multimedia content across several pet-related domains, Mallory is dedicated to ensuring that the information on Cats.com is accurate, clear, and engaging. When she’s not reviewing pet products or editing content, Mallory enjoys skiing, hiking, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She has two cats, Wessie and Forest.

5 thoughts on “The 11 Best Cat Foods for Diarrhea”

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  1. Avatar photoSharon

    My cat, Chippie, is 13, and has hyperthyroidism. This is causing chronic diarrhea. The most common treatment for cat hyperthyroidism is methimazole. The methimazole makes the diarrhea worse. Current vet wanted to prescribe Purina Pro Plan Fortiflora probiotics to help with the diarrhea. I declined because it contains the TOXIC SODIUM SELENITE, WHICH HAS BEEN LINKED TO CAT/DOG HYPERTHYROIDISM. (I belive that sodium selenite in Chippie’s previous diets caused the hyperthyroidism in the first place. It is present in MANY cat foods.) So the vet instead prescribed another paste-based probiotic, and an anti-diarrhea med. THE EFFECT WAS MINIMAL TO NONE. I have tried feeding Chippie fresh cooked chicken and rice, boiled chicken and rice, boiled ground beef and rice (because I read there are rare cases if cat allergy to chicken). I tried adding canned pumpkin to the boiled ground beef and rice, with babyfood pumpkin, and Fussy Cat with pumpkin bits. Pumpkin clearly was not working for poor Chippie. The ONLY thing that has been working is FRESHLY COOKED SWEET POTATO. I also put some ground flax seed in it as an anti-inflammatory agent. Another good ingredient to add TO THIS is chicken bone broth with NO ONIONS, NO GARLIC, OR OTHER CAT-TOXIC INGREDIENTS. Bone broth has good nutrients and is a known source of electroytes, which a cat with diarrhea may be losing. I mix about a rounded tablespoon of the sweet potato with some Hill’s Science Diet wet kitten food for extra protein, as Chippie needs to regain some body mass lost from the chronic diarrhea. It took me over a year (might even be 2 yrs) to solve Chippie’s diarrhea problem. Hope this post helps someone else.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I would like to note, for others’ reference, that Fortiflora is not a prescription drug. It’s a food supplement that anyone can buy through many different retailers without a prescription. Additionally, it would be helpful to see some sources on the notion that sodium selenite is toxic to cats. Are you referencing Spallholz, I. E. and Raftery’s 1987 “Nutritional, chemical toxicological evaluation of high selenium yeast” published in the International Symposium of Se in Biology and Medicine, pages 516- 52? I wasn’t able to find this study’s original text, but it does seem to find some dangers to sodium selenite consumption. Nonetheless, I’ve not found any substantial pieces indicating that it causes hyperthyroidism. Anyway, thank you for sharing what’s helped you, and I also hope that it can be beneficial to someone else.

    2. Avatar photoSharon Papademetrious

      4/4/2023 Cat diahrrea update. I recently discovered Instinct Freeze-dried Raw Cage-free pellets, and I am happy to say that feeding them in dry form to my hyperthyroid cat, Chippie, works even better for diahrrea than the fresh cooked sweet potato mixed into his wet food. And the pellets have no sodium selenite (toxic) or kelp (high in iodine).

  2. Avatar photoSharon

    My original comment was focused on the diarrhea problem, but please do review the following references regarding sodium selenite. Note that I have already had 4 cats with hyperthyroidism–all within the last 2 years–3 dead. Chippie is the last one standing. This is NOT a coincidence.

    It may be toxic to blood, kidneys, liver, skin, central nervous system of your pet https://www.essentialstuff.org/essentialstuff.org

    2.94 times more toxic than Selenium Yeast https://truthaboutpetfood.com/truthaboutpetfood.com

    There is no provision in the federal code that states explicitly that sodium selenite is allowed in dog or cat diets https://www.petfoodindustry.com/petfoodindustry.com

    Is Selenium Toxicity a Concern for Our Pets?
    https://truthaboutpetfood.com/is-selenium-toxicity-a-concern-for-our-pets/
    Is raw selenite safe for cats?
    -Damage to the liver and spleen in animals has also been observed, according to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). According to the 1986 edition of the Handbook of the Toxicology of Metals, daily intake of about one milligram of selenium as selenite can be toxic.Aug 24, 2011

    -The EPA (reminder: the EPA sets NOAEL – No Observed Adverse Effect Level – based on very detailed reviews of numerous studies) determined the highest allowable daily intake of selenium (for a 121 pound human, but based on animal studies) to be 0.853 milligrams per day.
    -The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has determined an adult maintenance dog food can have a maximum of 0.57 milligrams per day (based on recommended daily calorie intake, not body weight);
    -AAFCO has no maximum level of selenium established for cat food within their pet food regulations.

    Beware: Sodium selenite in pet food is toxic
    https://www.catsfork.com/CatsKitchen/beware-sodium-selenite-in-pet-food-is-toxic/
    …as counter-intuitive as this sounds, it is a truth: the smaller the concentration of toxic selenium, the greater the harm because small concentrations mimic hormones, especially estrogen.

    Role of Selenium in Pets Health and Nutrition: A Review
    https://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ajas.2011.64.70
    Research (Fan and Kizer, 1990; Olson, 1986) proved that inorganic selenium sources can be toxic in high doses; affecting an animal’s blood, liver and muscles. Inorganic selenium cannot be fully metabolized or stored in the body. Consequently, selenium deficiencies still arise in animals that are supplemented with inorganic selenium (Lopez et al., 1969).
    Selenium concentrations in pet foods is highly variable.
    However because inorganic selenium cannot be stored in the body, organic forms of selenium are being increasingly used as they are safer and more efficiently used in the body.
    CONCLUSIONS
    The role of trace mineral selenium in animals particularly pets is discussed and reviewed. Selenium deficiency is found to be one of the key factor behind many diseases like Kashin beck disease, cardiomyopathy, etc., Selenium levels and its forms in the diets play an important role in managing the trace mineral level in the body of the pet animal. However, toxicity associated with the high dose of selenium makes it vulnerable to pets and other animals due to the narrow difference between its required dose and the toxic dose. Current selenium supplements are mainly dependent on inorganic sources like sodium selenite which are found to be less bioavailable and also toxic. However, relative uses of selenium and its forms would be dependent on its nature of application and end use requirement. Keeping safety of the pet animals and environment as main focus areas, organoselenium compounds would be a good and alternate prospective choices for research scientists working in pet animal nutrition.

    [###### This announcement below indicates the likely timeframe when other pet food companies started adding sodium selenite to cat food. This makes sense to me in that before this timeframe none of my cats–even aging ones–were having any hyperthyroidism issues.######]
    ADDITIONAL INGREDIENT ADDED TO OUR HUMAN GRADE PET FOODS
    [The Honest Kitchen] August 14, 2016
    https://www.thehonestkitchen.com/blog/new-addition-vitamin-premix/

    Reply