The 6 Best Cat Foods for Diarrhea: Reviewed and Ranked

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: May 27, 2024
© iStock.com/Axel Bueckert

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There has to exist a special kind of love between cat parents and their cats to scoop their poop daily. Whether it’s their sassy attitude, the way they purr and make biscuits on you, or the way they flop on the floor exposing that untouchable belly, you are smitten by your fur kitten! Part of caring for them includes keeping an eye on their stool. When it changes, you know something is going on with their tummy that could require veterinary care. When in doubt, don’t hesitate — to call your vet.

Cats can get diarrhea for a variety of different reasons. Maybe they ingested something they weren’t supposed to or maybe their loose stools are pointing to an underlying health condition. Obviously, you won’t know unless you get your vet’s diagnosis. Your cat may have developed a sensitive stomach and if that’s the case, changing their food to something that’s more easily digestible is in order.

If your kitty needs special food to reduce bouts of diarrhea, you’ll be relieved to know that there are several products that are specially formulated to help ease your cat’s tummy troubles. Diarrhea can get messy very quickly and this is especially true if you have a long-haired cat. Although you might need to give your cat a good bath or a sanitary trim until the diarrhea clears up, there is a light at the end of this tunnel.

Below, we share our top cat foods for diarrhea and let you know a little bit about each one, including our personal experiences. If you’re not sure which type of cat food to select, we offer a brief buying guide to help you make an informed decision. We also offer some tips on how to prevent diarrhea in cats and round out this article by answering your most frequently asked questions.

  1. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Gastro-intestinal Fiber Response Dry Cat Food
    • Requires your veterinarian's approval to purchase
    • Promotes digestive health and optimal stool quality
    • Contains highly digestible proteins and probiotics
    • Enriched with soluble and insoluble fibers that help food pass through your cat's digestive tract gently
    • This recipe also supports your cat's urinary health
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Kitten Gastrointestinal Dry Cat Food
    • Kittens require different nutrients than adult cats
    • This recipe is formulated specifically to meet the nutritional needs of kittens with digestive issues
    • Requires a veterinarian's prescription
    • This highly digestible formula includes proteins and probiotics
    • It's extremely concentrated energy-wise, so your kitten can eat smaller portions while meeting their nutritional needs
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Hill's Prescription Diet w/d Multi-Benefit with Chicken Dry Cat Food
    • This formula supports digestive health while managing weight and urinary issues
    • It contains L-carnitine to metabolize fat and help to maintain lean muscles
    • This recipe contains reduced magnesium and sodium levels to support urinary tract health
    • Requires a veterinarian's prescription
    • Promotes digestive health and well-formed stool
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  4. Blue Buffalo Tastefuls Sensitive Stomach Natural Chicken Adult Dry Cat Food
    • Made from high-quality ingredients
    • Reduces vomiting and sensitivity issues
    • Formulated with chicken, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits
    • Also includes prebiotics and omega fatty acids for digestive and skin health
    • Includes Blue Buffalo's proprietary LifeBits, featuring vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote overall health
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Naturals Dry Cat Food
    • Requires a veterinarian's prescription
    • Appropriate for cats of all sizes
    • Highly digestible
    • Promotes nutrient absorption
    • A smaller portion of this calorie-dense formula provides all the nutrients your cat needs
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  6. Hill's Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew Wet Cat Food
    • This canned wet food contains chicken and veggies in a stew
    • Because of its high moisture content, it's particularly good for cats that don't drink enough water
    • Designed to support your cat's digestive system and improve stool quality
    • Prebiotic fiber populates your kitty's tummy with beneficial bacteria
    • Requires a veterinarian's prescription
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

A-Z-Animals’ Top Picks for the Best Cat Foods for Diarrhea

#1 Best Overall: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Dry Cat Food

The best overall cat food for diarrhea is Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response dry cat food. This recipe, which requires a prescription for purchase, is formulated to promote digestive health and optimal stool quality with highly digestible ingredients like proteins and probiotics. If your cat is experiencing gastrointestinal sensitivities, this is a perfect formula to help manage their gastrointestinal (G.I.) health. These kibbles are enriched with a blend of soluble and insoluble fibers so that they can travel gently through your cat’s digestive tract.

This formula is also great for supporting your cat’s urinary health with the exclusive S/O index. (This means that it creates a urinary environment that won’t promote struvite and calcium oxalate crystals or stones.) This highly palatable recipe delivers a complete and balanced set of nutrients for your adult cat. The optimal levels of fiber ensure that your cat’s diarrhea issues are addressed immediately. Additionally, this recipe includes antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.

One customer who has tried this recipe has a cat that experienced unfortunate bouts of diarrhea over the last nine years. You can imagine her frustration, especially after trying different types of solutions. Finally, her vet recommended the Royal Canin veterinary diet, and it fixed her cat’s diarrhea problem right away. It works like magic, and she just wishes she knew about this product sooner. She definitely recommends it to others who have cats with a similar issue. With your vet’s recommendation, you can pick this up right away and help your cat feel better in no time!

Several reviewers remarked that this prescription food is expensive.

Pros and Cons of Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Dry Cat Food

ProsCons
This recipe is formulated to promote digestive health and optimal stool quality with highly digestible ingredients like proteins, and probiotics.You must have a veterinarian’s prescription to purchase this food.
A blend of soluble and insoluble fibers moves the kibble gently through your kitty’s GI tract.It’s expensive.
The formula also cares for your cat’s urinary health by creating an environment that discourages the growth of struvite and calcium oxalate crystals or stones.
It includes optimal amounts of fiber, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
Best Overall
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Gastro-intestinal Fiber Response Dry Cat Food
  • Requires your veterinarian's approval to purchase
  • Promotes digestive health and optimal stool quality
  • Contains highly digestible proteins and probiotics
  • Enriched with soluble and insoluble fibers that help food pass through your cat's digestive tract gently
  • This recipe also supports your cat's urinary health
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best for Kittens: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Kitten Gastrointestinal Dry Cat Food

If you notice that your kitten is struggling with G.I. symptoms like diarrhea, you may want to check out Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Kitten Gastrointestinal Dry Cat Food. This dry food for kittens is formulated for kittens with short-term or long-term digestive sensitivities. This is a prescription diet, so you will need your vet’s approval in order to purchase it.

The recipe is highly digestible and includes proteins and probiotics. Its high-energy formula allows your kitten to eat smaller portions while still getting all of the nutrients it needs. Additionally, this dry kitten food incorporates omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil to help manage gastrointestinal health. Your growing kitten needs plenty of nutrition to reach adulthood in a healthy state and this recipe contains adapted levels of nutrients, including protein and calcium, to make sure that your kitten is getting everything they need.

This kitten food for diarrhea is frequently rated with five stars. 93% of customers who have tried it would recommend it to a friend. One customer shares that she had to visit the vet on multiple occasions and eventually they hit a wall. She was told that her kitten would need to see an expensive specialist to address the chronic diarrhea issue. She even considered rehoming her because the medical costs kept racking up. As her last attempt, she asked her vet to prescribe this kitten food. Within two days, the endless diarrhea was over. Her kitten feels tons better and so does she. She calls this recipe her saving grace.

Pros and Cons of Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Kitten Gastrointestinal Dry Cat Food

ProsCons
This dry kibble is suitable for kittens with short- or long-term digestive sensitivities.You will require a veterinarian’s prescription in order to purchase it.
It’s highly digestible and includes proteins and probiotics.
This concentrated, high-energy recipe ensures that you kitten gets the nutrition they need while eating smaller portions.
It includes omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil to help manage G.I. health.
It includes all the protein and calcium your kitten needs to grow and develop.
Best for Kittens
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Kitten Gastrointestinal Dry Cat Food
  • Kittens require different nutrients than adult cats
  • This recipe is formulated specifically to meet the nutritional needs of kittens with digestive issues
  • Requires a veterinarian's prescription
  • This highly digestible formula includes proteins and probiotics
  • It's extremely concentrated energy-wise, so your kitten can eat smaller portions while meeting their nutritional needs
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best Multi-Benefit: Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Multi-Benefit with Chicken Dry Cat Food

Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Multi-Benefit with Chicken Dry Cat Food supports digestive health and helps with weight and urinary management. If your cat is dealing with multiple conditions that respond to fiber and glucose management, this could be the ideal cat food to help your kitty feel better. It contains therapeutic L–carnitine levels that help to metabolize fat and help with maintaining lean muscle mass. It also includes an optimal blend of both soluble and insoluble fiber and is a lower-calorie cat food that can keep your kitty at a healthy weight. Plus, this chicken-flavored formula promotes healthy digestion and formed stool (no more watery poops for your bestie!).

This formula also supports urinary tract health with reduced magnesium and sodium levels. Hill’s Prescription diet is the number one U.S. vet-recommended therapeutic cat food. If you feel that your cat would benefit from this recipe, consult with your veterinarian to make sure they agree and that they can provide you with a prescription to make your purchase online.

This prescription cat food has an average rating of 4.7 out of five stars. One customer has a beautiful white fluffy cat with piercing green and blue eyes. She needs a special diet for her sensitive system and luckily, her vet recommended this formula. Her bowel movements have gone from being totally runny and super smelly to completely formed and without a horrible stench. Both she and her kitty are relieved to have found something that is gentle on the tummy and that provided a solution to the persistent diarrhea issue.

Several reviewers said that this cat food was overpriced. A few pet parents said that their cats didn’t like it.

Pros and Cons of Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Multi-Benefit with Chicken Dry Cat Food

ProsCons
This dry cat food addresses multiple health conditions, including digestive health, weight, and urinary management.This recipe requires a veterinarian’s prescription for purchase.
It contains therapeutic levels of L-carnitine to help metabolize fat and maintain lean muscle mass.Some reviewers said that this cat food was overpriced.
It includes an optimal blend of soluble and insoluble fiber and is a lower-calorie recipe that can help cats maintain their healthy weight.A few reviewers reported that their cats didn’t like this recipe.
This chicken-flavored recipe promotes healthy digestion and well-formed stool.
This formula supports urinary tract health with reduced magnesium and sodium levels.
Hill’s Prescription diet is the #1 U.S. veterinarian-recommended therapeutic cat food.
Best Multi-Benefit
Hill's Prescription Diet w/d Multi-Benefit with Chicken Dry Cat Food
  • This formula supports digestive health while managing weight and urinary issues
  • It contains L-carnitine to metabolize fat and help to maintain lean muscles
  • This recipe contains reduced magnesium and sodium levels to support urinary tract health
  • Requires a veterinarian's prescription
  • Promotes digestive health and well-formed stool
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best for Sensitive Tummies: Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food is formulated specifically for cats that need food that’s easy on their tummies. The formula, which does not require a veterinarian’s prescription for purchase. incorporates real meat first. The protein comes from chicken so that your cat can maintain strong muscles. It also incorporates additional beneficial ingredients like garden veggies, whole grains, and fruit. It’s formulated with FOS pre-biotics to support your cat’s sensitive digestive system and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to keep your kitty’s skin and coat healthy.

This recipe also contains LifeSource Bits, Blue Buffalo’s exclusive blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that were carefully selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists to provide optimal immune system support. You’ll never see any subpar, filler ingredients like chicken by-product meals, soy, corn, preservatives, or artificial flavors.

This food for cats with diarrhea is rated 4.8 out of five stars. One customer who tried it with his tuxedo cat shares that his poor fur baby, at age 12, started losing his fur. He had developed several different bald spots; his stomach condition was really taking a toll on him. He took a leap of faith after reading several different customer reviews and his cat has been on this formula for about a year now. His cat is now 15 years old, his fur is lusher than ever, and he has the energy and personality of a much younger cat. He enjoys the formula, keeps it down, and his stools are so much healthier. Of course, this cat dad recommends this product wholeheartedly.

A couple of reviewers said that their cats vomited when they ate this food and one reported that their cat still develops hairballs.

Pros and Cons of Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food

ProsCons
This formula does not require a veterinarian’s prescription for purchase.A couple of reviewers said that their cats vomited when they ate this food.
The protein comes from chicken to maintain strong muscles.One pet parent reported that their cat still develops hairballs since switching to this formula.
It also includes vegetables, whole grains, and fruit.
It’s formulated with FOS pr-biotics to support your kitty’s digestive system and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid for skin and coat health.
The recipe includes Blue Buffalo’s proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants — LifeSource Bits — for immune system support.
It’s free from fillers such as chicken by-product meals, soy, corn, preservatives, or artificial flavors.
Best for Sensitive Tummies
Blue Buffalo Tastefuls Sensitive Stomach Natural Chicken Adult Dry Cat Food
  • Made from high-quality ingredients
  • Reduces vomiting and sensitivity issues
  • Formulated with chicken, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits
  • Also includes prebiotics and omega fatty acids for digestive and skin health
  • Includes Blue Buffalo's proprietary LifeBits, featuring vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote overall health
Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best Splurge: Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Naturals Dry Cat Food

You can purchase Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Naturals Dry Cat Food with your vet’s approval. This dry cat food is appropriate for all breed sizes and comes in a 6-pound bag. Cats with G.I. conditions have specific nutritional needs, and this formula caters to those special needs. This highly digestible formula helps to promote nutrient absorption, so your cat will get all the nutrition they need. It’s super energy dense so your cat doesn’t have to eat a lot of it to obtain all the essential nutrients they require.

The recipe is also fortified with vitamins and minerals. The entire recipe is based on science and is the work of a team of veterinarians and nutritionists who collaborated to create a dry cat food that offers a great taste for your kitty and that helps to support their G.I. health. Purina Pro Plan also practices responsible sourcing, meaning you can trace each ingredient back to its trustworthy supplier.

73% of customers rated this product five out of five stars. One customer shares that her cat is a stray that lived off the land in the woods for about four years before she took him in. Although she wanted to give him a better life by moving him indoors, he really struggled with adjusting to store-bought cat food. He kept suffering from bouts of very watery diarrhea. However, since she introduced this recipe, he has been doing great. His digestive tract seems to have settled and he is now producing normal stools.

A few reviewers reported that their cats experienced a variety of G.I. issues after eating this food.

Pros and Cons of Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Naturals Dry Cat Food

ProsCons
This dry cat food, which comes in an 6-pound bag, requires a veterinarian’s approval for purchase.A few reviewers reported that their cats experienced a variety of G.I. issues after eating this food.
It’s highly digestible to promote nutrient absorption and energy dense, so your cat doesn’t have to eat a lot of it to obtain all the nutrients they require.
It’s enhanced with vitamins and minerals.
The company practices responsible sourcing.
Best Splurge
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Naturals Dry Cat Food
  • Requires a veterinarian's prescription
  • Appropriate for cats of all sizes
  • Highly digestible
  • Promotes nutrient absorption
  • A smaller portion of this calorie-dense formula provides all the nutrients your cat needs
Check Chewy Check Amazon

6. Best Wet: Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew Canned Cat Food

Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew Canned Cat Food is a wet canned food made with chicken and vegetable stew. It’s a great option, especially if your cat doesn’t drink enough water, because canned food has a higher moisture content than dry kibble. This formula was designed to support your cat’s digestive system, which helps to improve stool quality.

It’s highly digestible for kitties that have sensitive stomachs and delivers a perfect balance of natural fibers to support regularity. It also includes prebiotic fiber that increases the number of beneficial bacteria in your kitty’s gut. Clinically proven antioxidants are also included so that your cat’s immune system is supported. This is a prescription wet cat food, so be sure that you connect with your veterinarian before you attempt to purchase it online.

On average, this wet cat food is rated 4.7 out of five stars. One reviewer has a kitty that is almost 16 years old. In her old age, she started struggling with tummy issues that were so bad, she would scream when trying to have a bowel movement. Of course, seeing her baby suffering, the owner started researching highly digestible food. She finally decided on this formula, and it has changed everything. She feels that her relationship with her kitty is back to what it used to be because they both feel so much better. Although expensive, she says it’s 100% worth it.

A few reviewers reported that they hadn’t noticed any improvement in their cat’s digestive health since they switched them to this diet.

Pros and Cons of Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew Canned Cat Food

ProsCons
This wet canned food is made with chicken and vegetable stew.You need a veterinarian’s prescription to purchase it.
Canned food contains more moisture than dry kibble, which can be especially good for cats that don’t drink enough water.It’s expensive.
It’s formulated to support GI health and it improves stool quality with the perfect balance of natural fibers.A few reviewers reported that they hadn’t noticed any improvement in their cat’s digestive health since they switched them to this diet.
This recipe is highly digestible for cats with sensitive stomachs.
It also includes prebiotic fiber that increases the number of beneficial bacteria in your kitty’s gut.
Clinically proven antioxidants support your kitty’s immune system.
Best Wet
Hill's Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew Wet Cat Food
  • This canned wet food contains chicken and veggies in a stew
  • Because of its high moisture content, it's particularly good for cats that don't drink enough water
  • Designed to support your cat's digestive system and improve stool quality
  • Prebiotic fiber populates your kitty's tummy with beneficial bacteria
  • Requires a veterinarian's prescription
Check Chewy Check Amazon

How to Choose the Right Cat Foods for Diarrhea

Switching over to different cat foods can get expensive very quickly. This is especially the case if you are purchasing a prescription diet. The beauty of prescription diets, however, is that they have a guarantee. If your cat does not take to the new food, the manufacturer will typically reimburse you or your vet’s office will reimburse you. However, there are other products on the market that do not require a prescription and that may not have a guarantee.

To make the best selection upfront, you should first understand why your cat is experiencing diarrhea as a symptom. If you know that your cat got into some rich food that they weren’t supposed to, then that diarrhea should clear up on its own. However, because diarrhea points to potentially a myriad of different medical conditions, it’s best to know upfront what your cat is dealing with. This way, you can make the most informed decision about the type of food you purchase.

Once you know the reason for your cat’s diarrhea, you can pick up cat food that can help to alleviate the condition they’re dealing with. You can also select a flavor and texture that they’re naturally drawn to. Some cats prefer fishy flavors over chicken and beef flavors. If that’s the case for your cat, you can make sure to select a recipe that includes those familiar fishy flavors so that they take to it more easily.

It’s important that you are patient with your cat. They love their routines and any changes to them can not just upset their tummies but can also stress them out. When you’re switching your cat over to a new type of food, do so gradually. Start incorporating the new food with their old food while you keep reducing the old food. Eventually, you should have taken a few days to transition your cat to the new food. If you try to make this change too quickly, they may become upset and refuse to eat, which would just present another set of problems. Slow and steady is always the best pace when it comes to changes with cats.

How to Prevent Diarrhea in Cats

The best way to prevent diarrhea in cats is to keep a close eye on your little independent fur baby. Cats like to do their own thing, but they do require our extra pair of eyes and their “hooman’s” knowledge to keep them healthy. Cats can also hide any discomfort they feel so if you notice that your kitty is not in their usual spot and have instead chosen to lounge underneath the couch or underneath your bed for longer than usual, this might be an indicator that something is going on.

Being vigilant with your kitty helps you spot any unusual symptoms right away. If they don’t eat as much as they normally do and let their food sit, there may be something going on with their appetite. If you notice that they’re not drinking enough water, this could contribute to diarrhea and other symptoms. Some cats need to be enticed to hydrate sufficiently so maybe a water fountain could be a better solution than a bowl filled with still water. You may even add some extra drops of water to their regular wet cat food to encourage better hydration.

If your cat has been on antibiotics, you can ask your veterinarian if taking probiotics might be a good idea to help restore their gut flora. Maintaining a healthy bacterial population in their intestinal tract is necessary for them to digest their food normally. Probiotics can help to restore that balance and improve the texture of their stool. Additionally, when introducing a new type of food or treat to them, do so gradually. This can help prevent stomach upset. Even if the treat is delicious and they take to it right away, a sudden change to their diet can negatively impact their digestive system.

About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

The 6 Best Cat Foods for Diarrhea: Reviewed and Ranked FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

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

This all depends on the reason your cat has diarrhea. Your veterinarian can help you understand why your kitty’s stool texture has changed. In some cases, your vet may advise you to withhold food or to feed in smaller quantities. A vet may also suggest you switch your cat over to a diet formulated specifically for sensitive stomachs. You may also be encouraged to add a probiotic to your cat’s diet. Ultimately, the best thing to feed your cat depends on the underlying reason for this symptom. Make sure that you connect with your veterinarian to follow through with proper treatment.

What can I give my cat to firm up his stools?

There are a variety of different products and cat foods that can help to firm up your cat’s stools. You might be able to offer a bland diet for one or two days, so long as you have your veterinarian’s approval. Otherwise, switching over to a food that is specially formulated to reduce gastrointestinal upset may be the best long-term solution.

Is dry food better for cats with diarrhea?

If wet food is too rich for your kitty, then switching over to dry food can absolutely help to alleviate the symptoms of diarrhea. However, wet food has a much higher moisture content than dry food, which helps to keep your cat hydrated. Ultimately, it’s best that you connect with your vet to put together a well-informed plan of action.

Does wet cat food give cats diarrhea?

Not all wet food recipes are made the same so what one recipe might cause, another may alleviate. One important thing to remember when serving wet food is that it does spoil if it’s left out too long. Your cat may want to return to their plate after the food has gone bad and of course, that’ll upset their stomach. Whenever possible, keep an eye on their plate and once they’re done eating, remove it and wash it. This will prevent any mishaps.

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