Characteristics of feline diarrhea, likely cause and location

This, I believe, is a useful table if you are a cat caregiver who has full-time indoor cats and therefore have to manage a litter tray or trays. The experts say that it is wise for a cat owner to ensure that they have opportunity to observe their cat’s poop because it is a useful diagnostic tool. This is not going to be normally available to an owner who allows their cat to go outside because normally they will go to the toilet outside if there is access to a backyard where there is earth. There is a trend towards confining domestic cats to their homes for their safety and the safety of the animals upon which they prey, and which sometimes are precious and rare native species. This will allow owners to use this table.

Feline abdominal X-ray from Animal Clinic of Billings
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Feline abdominal X-ray from Animal Clinic of Billings

I am very thankful for this information which comes from the Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook (Third Edition) written by veterinarians: Eldredge, Carlson, Carlson and Giffin.There are other pages on this website on the rather uncomfortable topic of feline diarrhoea, some of which are listed below with illustrations. You might like to visit these pages to further investigate if your cat has diarrhoea, and if you would like some more background information before, when necessary, seeing a veterinarian. This is, of course, no substitute for seeing a good veterinarian to diagnose your cat’s health problems. This page is simply a guide and it is not a substitute for veterinary diagnosis.
ColorLikely causeLikely location
Yellow or greenishRapid transitSmall bowel
Black, tarryUpper GI bleedingStomach or small bowel
Red blood or clotsLower GI bleedingColon
Pasty, lightLack of bileLiver
Large, gray, rancidInadequate digestion or absorptionSmall bowel or pancreas
ConsistencyLikely causeLikely location
WateryRapid transitSmall-bowel
FoamyBacterial infectionSmall-bowel
Greasy, often with oily hair around the anusMalabsorptionSmall-bowel, pancreas
Soft, bulkyOverfeeding, or poor-quality diet high in fibreSmall-bowel (rapid transit)
Glistening or jellylikeContains mucusColon
OdourLikely causeLikely location
Food like, or smelling like sour milkRapid transit, inadequate digestion or absorption (suggests overfeeding, especially in kittens)Small-bowel
Rancid or foulInadequate digestion with fermentationSmall-bowel, pancreas
PutridIntestinal infection, bleedingSmall-bowel
FrequencyLikely causeLikely location
Several small stools in an hour with strainingColitisColon
Three or four large stools a dayMalabsorption, inflammatory bowel diseaseSmall-bowel, pancreas
A week or longerA chronic ailment such as colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, parasite infection, or malabsorption syndromeThroughout the intestinal tract
Condition of the catLikely causeLikely location
Weight lossInadequate digestion or absorptionSmall-bowel, pancreas
No weight loss, normal appetiteLarge bowel disorderColon
VomitingEnteritisSmall-bowel, rarely colon
Below are some more pages on feline diarrhea.
I believe that modern Siamese cats can have weakened immune systems which can shorten lifespans

Do Siamese cats have sensitive stomachs?

Update April 2023: Pancreatitis A study reports that Siamese cats are at increased risk of pancreatitis. Cats with pancreatitis rarely ...
Antibiotics can cause diarrhea in cats

Can antibiotics cause diarrhoea in cats?

You could ask the same question about humans, dogs or other animals. And certainly, antibiotics can cause diarrhoea in cats ...
Infographic on 'Characteristics of cat diarrhoea'

Infographic guide on the characteristics of cat diarrhoea

This is an infographic guide for cat sh*t shovelers ??. Full-time indoor cats and some indoor/outdoor cats use litter trays ...
Sphynx from Russia bred and photographed by Dana Danilova Sphynx Cattery Dani Danati

Sphynx cats producing nightmarish amounts of smelly slushy poop

On my travels through the Internet today I have bumped into what appears to be a huge problem with Sphynx ...
Diarrhea is a symptom

What’s the best food for a cat with diarrhoea?

A cat owner on the website is asking the question in the title. I'm going to respond to her ...
Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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