Diarrhea is probably the most common problem with kittens. Runny poop seems to be a kitten—s preferred response to almost all stress or illness. It can be dangerous for kittens because the water lost in the stool tends to dehydrate them rapidly.

One easy thing we can do to lessen the chances of kittens getting diarrhea is to only feed them one type/brand of wet and dry food (preferably the Science Diet we send with you). We do understand that kittens can sometimes be picky though, and if you need to feed a different kind of food, please tell us prior to making the switch.

Diarrhea Protocol

Please contact our shelter Veterinarian utilizing the Support Contacts page right away if you notice your kitten/s having:

A) Diarrhea that lasts for more than 48 hours


B) Diarrhea in conjunction with failure to gain weight or weight loss, for any length of time

Please be ready with updated weights and the daily health monitor sheets. After communicating with our medical team, we may have you do the following: 

  • Collect a sample of the stool using one of the fecal sample containers provided to you in the Baby Bag and bring it to the shelter (provided the appropriate staff are there that day to do a fecal examination). If asked to bring in a fecal sample, please do the following:
    • The ideal sample is at least the size of a Milk Dud or a half inch round sample
    • If the cat has diarrhea then scoop up a teaspoon worth into the tube provided
    • Make sure the sample has very little or no litter
    • Ideally, collect the sample within 1 hour of bowel movement and bring it in immediately. However, we realize this can be difficult to time, so start collecting stool the night before the kitten/s come in for an exam and/or before dropping off stool sample. We will schedule this with you to make sure there is a Vet Tech or Veterinarian on site to examine the sample.
    • It can be refrigerated for up to 12 hours if necessary


  • C.A.R.E. medical staff will contact you if any parasites are found in the fecal test and to prescribe any additional medications.
  • If your foster kittens need medication, you will need to return to the shelter to pick up medication (if you do not have it in your kitten Baby Bag).
  • If you have not received results within 24 hours or have questions about your results, please contact us using the Support Contacts page. 

If there are no parasites found on the fecal test and still no improvement in diarrhea, then:

  • Contact our vet tech and schedule an appointment for the kittens to be seen by the shelter veterinarian.


Depending on the results of the Veterinary examination, here are some treatment options we may begin:

  • All foster kittens will be sent home from C.A.R.E. with a supply of Proviable, a probiotic powder that helps with digestive health that can be sprinkled in the kittens wet food. We may instruct you to start giving this. 
  • All fosters will be sent home with Amoxicillin. We may instruct you to begin using this. DO NOT administer Amoxicillin without C.A.R.E. medical staff consent.
  • Depending on our findings, we may also prescribe Panacur (fenbendazole) daily for 5 days, or Marquis Ponazuril daily for 3 days. Both are oral prescription medications. Sometimes we give SQ fluids, B12, and other treatments as well.

Please note that any time during this protocol, if your kittens are vomiting or dehydrated, failing to gain weight, have liquid (not forming) diarrhea, diarrhea dripping from their bottoms, refusing to eat for more than 8 hours, training to pass stool or urine, vocalizing while passing stool or urine, or acting lethargic, you should immediately alert C.A.R.E.

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