Is yogurt good for cats with diarrhea?


The answer is that yogurt can be beneficial to cats with diarrhoea but the benefits are limited. Yogurt contains probiotics which is live bacteria and yeasts. The bacteria in yogurt is considered to be good bacteria. If the cat’s gut has bad bacteria in it which is part or all of the cause of the diarrhea than introducing good bacteria helps to restore a balance to the gut flora which in turn stabilises the situation. Some cat and dog owners might feed their companion animals yogurt as a preventative measure and to improve overall health.

Photo by Kristina Savic (I added the words)

However, the use of yogurt as a home treatment is not recommended by the vets who wrote the respected Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook. They rightly focus on discovering the cause of the diarrhea and removing it (diarrhea is a symptom of an illness not an illness in itself). So if home treatment is the objective isolating the cause is the first step.

There is a weakness in yogurt as a home treatment for diarrhea. Firstly, You have to get your cat to eat it and secondly it has to be lactose free because cats are generally lactose intolerant and the intolerance causes diarrhea. This is obviously important as you could make things worse.

I seems that some vets would consider feeding yogurt as a helpful home treatment to deal with minor food intolerances in your cat.

Because diarrhea in a cat, even for a slightly extended period (more than 24 hours), is potentially serious due to dehydration which can cause shock and collapse, the veterinary advice is to consult your veterinarian without delay.

Chronic diarrhea is tricky to diagnose. Therefore treating cat diarrhea at home is not that simple. There are pitfalls and potentially serious health consequences which indicates that consulting with your vet is wise.

Home treatment of cat diarrhoea is only recommended if it lasts for a short time without much loss of fluid. These are the recommended steps:

  1. Stop feeding your cat for 24 hours
  2. Give small amounts of water
  3. Introduce food gradually – 3-4 small meals daily
  4. The diet should be high in protein e.g Hills Prescription Diet Feline i/d
  5. Avoid high carbohydrate foods such as dry cat food (carbohydrates might prolong the diarrhea)
  6. Gradually introduce the usual food provided it is decent food!
  7. Seek vet advice in using Imodium or any other diarrhea meds and avoid meds containing salicylates (this is aspirin which is toxic to cats).

Hope this helps 😉

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • I left out a word or two there, M. We do so much better with our own diets, when paying attention to our beloved cats ;)

  • This use of pumpkin is quite interesting. This is ingenious! If my cat ever has diarrhea, I will definitely try it. My point was simply that if you keep kitty's GI tract healthy, then it can ward off potential bad bacteria because of the strapping presence of good gut flora ;)

    • if you keep kitty’s GI tract healthy, then it can ward off potential bad bacteria because of the strapping presence of good gut flora

      Cal, I think you have elucidated the theory behind pumpkin for cats. The big question is will the cat eat it? This must depend on individual cats.

      • If you mix it in with what they like to eat, will they eat it? It's worth a try. M, it does wonders to feed your cat better than what you would. ;) My Shrimptaro is resolving his vocal chords, which is MUSIC to my ears. :)

        • and I truly believe it is because of the raw chicken and salmon. The taurine is so much available in raw chicken and salmon, than in cooked.

      • Agreed Michael
        Every cat/kitten have their own personalities which covers their likin/dislikin

        LAILA don't love RAW MEAT, she just become MAD. Sniff it and stand uo on her legs and arms on the air as she is dancing but I see she just jump on that plate and fight with RAW meat.

        So, They say, FIVE FINGERS ARE NOT EQUAL :)

          • I gave my LAILA canned RAW food, both chicken and tona fish but the result was same, so I decided to feed her home made chicken + Dry food + Milk + Water.

            I will share how LAILA prefer to drink milk only on my arms. I will share the video and pics today via email :) <3

          • Sounds interesting. All cats could and perhaps should eat raw food but it takes a period of transition to wean them off commercial food or cooked food.

  • Well my Kitty Jasmine seems to have a Love of Yoghurt its hard to get her to stop. I've never had a situition like that. I guess I trust what your all saying as I wouldnt really have a clue.

  • I have bit the comments, Michael, but my thinking is this: if you give your felines, your best care that you can give, then let them lick your yogurt or kefir spoon/jar, and you both will be the happier for it!

  • Very useful article Michael, thanks for writing, This is I really need for the cats and kitten welfare theory which I keep in my mind always for sure. :)

    I used to feed the following recipe at home and my cats and kittens are okay after 2 days or 1.

    Recipe:

    1. 1OZ of carrot
    2. 3 OZ of fresh chicken meat (RAW)

    Boil only the carrot so it comes in a melting/easy to chew or inhale for the cat. Mix it with raw Chicken meat. Remember to cut the chicken in very small portions so cat does not use much of her teeth and effort to chew it or inhale it.

    The same, instead of carrot, you can have (MAGICAL vege like) Pumpkin The same proportion and the same method mentioned above.

    Thank you again as your articles really helps me <3 <3 <3

  • What I do is freeze a couple tablespoonfuls in each sandwich baggie as I don't use the whole can at once and defrost one as needed. Works like a charm most times.

  • I was surprised to learn that pure canned pumpkin works well to clear up diarrhea in cats and dogs. Mind you, if the cause is worms or other serious condition vet treatment is the answer.

    • So happy you mentioned the pumpkin. I just got a can as there are bouts of very loose stools here.
      Have you tried it?
      I'm going to try it tomorrow.

      • Pumpkin seems to be more popular as a part of a cat's diet in the US compared to the UK. The only time I have read about it is on US websites. I'll explore this more.

      • Pumpkin works magic! I use it every time my boy has the slightest hint of loose bowels!! I always keep a small can on hand. He loves it as well so its easy to feed. Yipee.... =)

  • I have never seen that probiotics including yogurt have helped or improved in the slightest the condition of any cat with diarrhea. Improvement, as you rightly said is achieved by diagnosing the cause and administering the right treatment. Yogurt is a good food for kittens and young cats but it doesn't cure anything except hunger.

    • Thanks Harvey. I trust your information a lot because you have a lot of hands on experience in a multi-cat environment. The benefits of yogurt if they exist seem to be slight perhaps more as a preventative. Jayme who commented says pumpkin works. Have you heard of that?

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