Diarrhea is a common problem for cats. It can occur for many reasons, including pregnancy. If your cat is pregnant, you are extra vigilant. You may be concerned if she has diarrhea. Keep reading to learn what’s normal, and when you need to worry. 

Do pregnant cats get diarrhea?

The short answer is, yes. Pregnant cats can get diarrhea. But is it caused by pregnancy? We’ll look at the potential causes of diarrhea caused by pregnancy, as well as other causes. 

What is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea can be loose or watery stools or frequent stools. Diarrhea is caused when poop moves through the intestines too quickly. This can cause a higher frequency of pooping. 

The intestines are designed to pull water out of the poop as it moves through them. This allows the body to get all of the nutrients out before it leaves the body as waste. When it moves through the digestive system too quickly, all of the water isn’t removed. This results in loose or watery stools due to the excess moisture. 

Preparing For Labor

If your cat is nearing her due date, she may have diarrhea because her body is preparing for labor. This can occur for a few reasons. When labor is near, the body releases prostaglandins. This can lead to loose stools. 

The contractions of labor can also cause diarrhea. The intestines are very close to the uterus. So, contractions in the uterus can cause spasms in the intestines as well. This causes the poop to move out faster, resulting in diarrhea. 

Babies on Bowels

Your cat’s body has a limited amount of space. As the kittens grow, things will get cramped. If the kittens are putting pressure on the bowels, this can cause them to move more often, resulting in diarrhea. It’s a natural function of the body to make more room when things are too tight, and ridding waste is a great way to do it. 

Hormones

Pregnancy is a hormonal roller coaster ride. Just as hormonal changes can cause morning sickness in humans, it’s possible for them to cause diarrhea in cats. 

Parasites

Intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea. This isn’t directly related to pregnancy, but her system may be more sensitive during this time. 

You can check her poop for white spots or small worms. If you notice lethargy or weight loss, these are also potential signs of parasites. To find out for sure, your vet will need to test a stool sample. 

Virus

A stomach virus can cause diarrhea. It may be accompanied by vomiting. Your kitty may lose its appetite while having symptoms. If she’s vomitting or generally not feeling well, this could be the culprit. It should be resolved within 48-72 hours. 

Anxiety

Anxiety can also lead to diarrhea. Humans often say they have a “nervous stomach”. They may experience cramping and diarrhea when they are nervous or experiencing anxiety. 

This same phenomenon can occur in cats. Your cat is experiencing many changes during pregnancy, and may be more prone to anxiety. 

Other signs of anxiety include excessive meowing, a constant need for attention, not using the litterbox, aggression, and changes in their activity level. If you notice these signs, anxiety may be to blame for your cat’s diarrhea. 

Change in Diet

Most vets recommend feeding your cat a kitten formula during pregnancy. This will provide the extra calories and nutrients she needs during this time. 

However, a change in diet can also cause diarrhea. It’s best to change their food gradually to avoid this. Begin with 1/4 new food to 3/4 of the food they are accustomed to. Slowly add more of the new food and less of the old food until they are only eating the new food. This process should take about a week. 

Is diarrhea a sign of pregnancy in cats?

Diarrhea can be a sign of pregnancy. However, diarrhea can also occur for many reasons not related to pregnancy. Many cats go through their pregnancy without having diarrhea. 

So, diarrhea can be a sign of cat pregnancy, but it is not a reliable sign. It’s best to look for other signals if you suspect your cat is pregnant. 

Why does my cat have diarrhea all of a sudden?

Diarrhea that appears suddenly is known as acute diarrhea. There are a few common reasons for this symptom. 

Toxic Substances

One of the most alarming causes of sudden diarrhea is ingestion of a toxic substance. This causes over secretion, which adds excess moisture to the poop. It can also increase motility, which causes the contents of the intestines to be pushed out faster than normal. These are natural mechanisms to help rid your cat’s body of the toxin. 

If you suspect your cat has eaten something toxic, they will need immediate veterinary care. Chemicals, houseplants, and even chocolate can all be deadly to your cat. 

Bacteria or Viruses

Bacteria or viruses can also cause diarrhea in your cat. Just like when exposed to toxins, the cats body attempts to rid itself of the bacteria or virus as quickly as possible with diarrhea. 

If your cat has severe diarrhea or it lasts for more than 48 hours, you’ll need to see the vet. In addition to contagious bacteria or viruses, your cat can get sick from spoiled meat or contaminated food. 

Food Allergies

Food allergies are a common problem for cats. They can cause gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea and vomiting. Other symptoms include skin problems, discharge from the eyes or nose, and sneezing. 

Skin and ear infections are also common with food allergies. The most common food allergies for cats are fish, beef, chicken, and dairy products. These foods are commonly found in cat foods. If your cat has a food allergy, they may need a special hypoallergenic food. 

Medical Conditons

There are many medical conditions that can cause diarrhea in cats. These include cancer, hypothyroidism, and pancreatic disease. 

Conditions related to the digestive system include inflammatory bowel disease and colitis. 

What symptoms do cats have when pregnant?

Your cat had their heat cycle, and now you are wondering if you will be welcoming kittens into the world soon. Perhaps you intentionally bred her, and are excited to see if it was successful.

Perhaps she managed to sneak out of the house during her heat, and you are wondering if you have an unplanned pregnancy on your hands. Regardless of how or why, there are some signs your cat is pregnant. 

Heat Cycle

If you keep track of your cat’s heat cycles, this will likely be the first indication of pregnancy. Cats typically go into heat every few weeks during mating season, and they will not have heat cycles during pregnancy. If it’s been more than 2 weeks since she’s had a heat cycle, she may be pregnant. 

Weight Gain

Cats will naturally gain weight during pregnancy. It’s normal for them to gain 2-4 pounds throughout the pregnancy. This may seem like a small change. However, the average cat weighs about 10 pounds. Proportionally, that’s a lot of weight, so it will become noticeable as the pregnancy progresses. 

Pinking Up

Your cat’s nipples will begin preparing to feed the kittens. They will swell slightly and become pink. This is usually apparent around the 3rd week of pregnancy. As she nears labor, you may notice her milk coming in. The area around her nipples will swell, and she may leak milk. 

Swollen Abdomen

As kittens grow within their mothers belly, her stomach will swell to accommodate them. It’s essentially the same process a human mother experiences. 

The pregnancy belly should be visible around week 5. It will continue to expand as the pregnancy continues. 

Personality Changes

You can expect your cat’s personality to change somewhat during pregnancy. Usually, cats become more affectionate. You may notice her wanting more attention, purring more often, and spending more time in your lap. 

It’s also possible for the opposite to occur. Your normally friendly feline can become aloof and want little to do with you. Rarely, they may even become aggressive. 

Regardless of how your cat’s personality changes, don’t take it personally. They are simply responding to their hormones and changes to their body. They need your love and support, even if that means giving them space. 

Appetite Changes

Expect your cat to eat more during pregnancy. She’s now eating for herself and her kittens. Early in pregnancy, there  may be a dip in appetite as hormone levels change, but it should quickly resolve. 

Vomitting

Those hormonal changes can also cause vomitting. It’s similar to morning sickness in human mothers, and occurs due to hormonal fluctuations. As long as they are eating and drinking, occasional vomiting isn’t anything to worry about. 

If the vomiting is severe or continues for more than 48 hours, you’ll need to take her to the vet. 

Sleep and Activity Level

Growing kittens takes a lot of energy. You may notice that your normally active cat is spending much more time sleeping or lounging than usual. This is to be expected. She is conserving her energy for the essential task of growing kittens and preparing for birth and nursing. 

If your cat sleeps excessively and avoids normal activities like pottying and eating, you’ll need to consult your vet. If she’s extremely lethargic, this is also cause for concern. As long as she is still eating, using the litterbox, and grooming herself, she’s probably just resting. 

Is it normal for cats to have runny poop?

Runny poop is common in cats. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s normal. It’s important to know what healthy poop and diarrhea look like so you know when there’s a potential problem with your favorite feline. 

Normal Poop

It’s probably the last thing you want to think about, but your cat’s poop can tell them a lot about their health. 

Normal cat poop will be dark brown and firm. It shouldn’t be firm, but it should be solid. It may have some odor, but it shouldn’t be too strong or unpleasant. 

Diarrhea

Poop that is runny or watery is a sign of diarrhea. Poop that’s very soft and unformed is also considered diarrhea.

In addition, it will typically be lighter in color. Diarrhea poop is often yellow, gray, or light brown. If it’s very dark or black, this indicates blood in the stool. This should be quickly evaluated by your vet. 

You may also notice a stronger smell than normal. Poop will never smell like a rose bouquet, but poop from diarrhea will have a more unpleasant odor. Lastly, you may notice mucus in your cat’s poop. 

When to Worry

Diarrhea can be a minor issue in cats, but it can also indicate a serious problem. If your cat has diarrhea for more than two days, you’ll need to get them checked out. 

If your cat has fever, lethargy, or loss of appetite, you should seek veterinary care quickly. Bloody or black stools are an emergency, and require immediate medical attention. 

Talking to Your Vet

When you take your cat to the vet for diarrhea, expect them to have questions. It’s best to write down everything you can about your cat’s diarrhea, so you can tell the vet. 

Common questions include how long it has been occurring, the frequency of poops, and the consistency and color of the poops. They will usually want a stool sample as well. You may be asked to bring in a stool sample for testing. 

Author

I created and currently run Kitty Cat Tips, the website that you can go to when you have questions about your cat's behavior. It's my hope that you find Kitty Cat Tips to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your cat. You can read more about me and my website here.