Cat Stress & Diarrhea

Written by jacqueline lerche
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Cat Stress & Diarrhea
Stress induced diarrhoea in cats may be a symptom of illness. (cat 2 image by Dragan Saponjic from

Stress can be detrimental to a cat's well-being. The stress that affects a cat can be both emotional and environmental. Highly sensitive cats are especially susceptible to illness due to changes in their surroundings, according to Ohio State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. Diarrhea due to stress can be a symptom of a deeper health issue. There are environmental changes and feline health conditions which may lead to diarrhoea when the cat is exposed to stress.

Environmental Stressors

Changes in a cat's environment can trigger diarrhoea, according to Ohio State University. The change can be significant, like a move, or seemingly minor, like a change in food. Other common stressors to cats include home construction, visits to the veterinarian, visitors in the home and the absence of a human or animal friend. Alleviating the cat's stress may help to relieve her physical symptoms.

Tritrichomonas Foetus

Tritrichomonas foetus is generally considered a parasite in cattle but is also pathogenic in cats, according to Texas A & M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science. All cats are at risk of contracting this parasite. However, cats in shelters and other densely populated situations are more susceptible. Cats with this parasite appear healthy until they are exposed to stress. The stress instigates chronic diarrhoea of the large intestine.

Addison's Disease

Addison's disease occurs when the adrenal glands produce too few hormones like cortisol, according to Washington State University. These hormones help the cat to deal with any type of stress. However, feline sufferers of Addison's disease do not have enough hormones and cannot handle stress. Instead, these cats manifest symptoms of Addison's disease, which includes diarrhoea and dehydration. Addison's disease is rare but occurs with greater frequency in young cats.


Your veterinarian may use a variety of tests to diagnose the root cause of the cat's diarrhoea, according to Washington State University. The veterinarian may examine the cat's stool or take blood tests. More involved diagnostic techniques can include ultrasound, X-rays or endoscopy. The endoscopy procedure may be done rectally to examine the large intestine or through the oesophagus to view the stomach and small intestine. Anaesthesia is required for an endoscopy procedure and may also be necessary for X-rays and ultrasounds.


Treatment will depend upon the veterinarian's diagnosis of the cat's illness. Cats with T. foetus may be prescribed the drug ronidazole to eradicate the parasite. Addison's disease is often treated by administering hormones with shots or pills. However, intravenous fluids may be required to treat severe diarrhoea before the long-term treatment can begin. Although more research is needed, probiotics, beneficial bacteria for the intestines, may help to reduce stress diarrhoea and encourage well-formed bowel movements in cats, according to Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences.

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