Varying the Diet-Changing Brands of Pet Food

Variety is the spice of life-but cats can get gas & diarrhea. Pick a good diet & stay the course.



I live alone and my cat is my constant companion. I know I spoil her but I can’t help it. She’s 4 years old and I have noticed that she seems to grow tired of a particular food after a while. So, like the doting cat mother I am, I give her something different. The problem is that I often find loose or fluid stool in her litter pan. She smells gassy too. What can I do?


Dr. Nichol:

What you are describing is something very familiar to most of us cat owners. They can be finicky. But you can allow your kitty to be fussy and still enjoy good health.


To manage this problem you need to first understand that the stomach and intestinal tract of cats is truly a creature of habit. In other words, most cats do best eating the same diet every day, long term. With frequent changes in the diet, the intestine has to change the way it manages the differences in fiber, proteins and fat. Bloating with gas and diarrhea can result. When these problems occur, you are also likely to notice your cat making urgent, more frequent trips to the litter pan too. This problem is not only unpleasant for you but uncomfortable for your cat.


The best prevention for the loose stool and gas problem is to use the same diet. Your best choice is one of the higher fiber cat foods. While not all cats have this problem with changes in diet, those who do usually need more fiber. Ask your veterinarian for a recommended diet. Prescription diet r/d is a good choice.


What about the enjoyment? Use cat treats. Be sure to limit your kitty to 2 per day. Treat her like a child (our pets are really just furry children anyway). Give her one cat treat after she finishes her breakfast and another after dinner. If you stick to that structure, she’ll go along too.