Veterinarians recommend giving a cat no food for 12 to 24 hours if it is experiencing diarrhea. However, the cat needs a lot of fresh water to avoid dehydration. It's also recommended to give the cat unflavored electrolyte beverages for infants.
Sometimes soft stools are caused by dyes and preservatives in cat food. Therefore, switching to a natural cat food keeps the cat's digestive tract from having to work so hard. Bland, home-cooked meals that are high in protein are another treatment option. Veterinarians suggest white rice mixed with boiled chicken or hamburger. If the diarrhea subsides but the stools are still soft, bulk-forming laxatives can normalize a cat's digestive tract.
According to WebMD, some diarrhea cases necessitate taking cats to the veterinarian. If the cat is lethargic, vomits, has a fever or the stools are bloody or dark-colored, medical assistance is recommended. Likewise, straining to defecate, sudden weight loss and loss of appetite can be symptoms of a serious illness.
Common causes of diarrhea are dairy foods and changes in diet. Most cats are lactose intolerant, so they should not be given milk or other dairy products. When changing cat food brands, pet owners should do so gradually to give their cat's digestive system time to adapt. Diarrhea can also be a symptom of disease, allergy, stress or ingestion of spoiled food.