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Kaopectate NO longer safe to give to cats with diarrhea
14 years ago

It has been years since I had a cat with a case of diarrhea. It was always recommended by all the vets whose services I used, to administor a dose of Kaopectate.  This product was always considered safe for cats....well...NO MORE.

Recently, when I noticed one of the ferals had diarrhea, I was about to go out and buy a bottle of Kaopectate. Luckily, I contacted my vet first and discussed the situation with him.  During the conversation, I had asked how much Kaopectate I should give the cat (since it had been years, I could not remember the dosage) This is when he told me the formula had changed and he advised me not to no longer use Kaopectate.

I did not know (like I said, it has literally been years) that the Kaopectate formula has been changed and now contains salicylates (an aspirin-derivative) and could result in toxicosis. According to the AVMA,

"Kaopectate, the over-the-counter diarrhea treatment for humans, recently has been reformulated to contain an aspirin derivative that is toxic to cats in high doses.

Kaopectate's new formula contains bismuth subsalicylate (the same stuff in Pepto Bismol BTW), which may cause salicylate toxicosis in cats if they are overdosed. Previously, the product contained attapulgite, an inert clay aluminum. The original kaolin pectin formula of Kaopectate was replaced by the attapulgite formula in caplets in 1984, and liquid attapulgite formulations were first introduced in 1989.

According to a Pfizer Animal Health spokesman, the new formulation of all liquid forms of Kaopectate began shipping in December 2002. Reformulated caplets begin shipping no later than April 2004.

A tablespoon of reformulated children's or regular-strength Kaopectate contains 130 mg aspirin equivalent, and extra-strength Kaopectate contains 230 mg aspirin equivalent. A tablespoon of extra-strength Kaopectate given to a 5-pound cat would yield 120 mg/kg aspirin equivalent and would likely result in toxicosis. Cats typically don't metabolize and excrete many compounds, including aspirin, efficiently, which means we're much more likely to have effects"

Whew! Good thing I called the vet first! I remember the old formula Kaopectate worked wonders, usually correcting the diarrhea within 24 hours. So, I went and searched for products which contain the ingredients of the old formula. I found two products which are relatively inexpensive. Below are the links. One product contains kaolin and pectin, both have been used safely for the treatment of noninfectious diarrhea in animals, including cats. The other product contains activated attapulgite clay, a specially treated mineral clay that adsorbs toxins and toxic materials present in the gut of animals with symptoms of diarrhea. Attapulgite clay was the main ingredient of the old formula Kaopectate. Neither of these products contains bismuth or salicylates.

Kaolin Pectin

Attapulgite clay

(However, if symptoms persist for more than a few days, it is best to get a specific diagnosis to determine the cause of the peristent diarrhea. There may be the presence of parasites, or a serious underlying problem such as liver disease, kidney failure, inflammatory bowel disease, hyperthyroidism, pancreatic disease, panleukopenia, or cancer, that is contributing to the diarrhea. Persistent or severe diarrhea requires veterinary attention.)

great to know...
14 years ago
Thank you Sharon
14 years ago
Gosh, I just bought a big bottle, and gave one of my kittens a dose of it the other day. Diarrhea is a big thing here right now. I red pinned this as it is very important stuff. Thanks
14 years ago
Good information to know! My kitties and I thank you!

Thank you Sharon
14 years ago

A good thing to know!


13 years ago

I worked at a vets office 22 years ago and am glad to know the update on that medication!


Thank you Sharon!
13 years ago

Thanks for the info Sharon. As a pharmacist I knew about the reformulation, but never thought to think of animal usage!

BTW, anyone who has a cat with diarrhea might want to try one of the "low-carb" cat foods. My cat was diagnosed with IBD a year ago and went through several different medications to treat it (and almost didn't survive!). The vet for our shelter recommended trying her on Purina DM. Most people know this is used in diabetic cats, but it is also indicated for cats with "chronic diarrhea". My cat Edina and I went through 6 months of hell, trips to a specialst, etc, etc, only to switch to this food and have her diarrhea completely resolve within 24 hours. It was amazing. Some other "low carb" cat foods are Hill's MD, Solid Gold, and Azmira. The last two do not require a vet's prescription.

Just a thought for anyone who is an a similar situation to mine.

Michael, Patsy and Edina

13 years ago
Thank you for the info about Purina DM. I will try to get some this weekend from the vet. I have to drive to another town(25 mi) but it is worth it. I have a Siamese mix that is having some problems, probably some of it triggered by the recent move.
Thanks for the info
13 years ago

With all my kitties, especially the older ones, it is good information to know. 


Thanks for this
13 years ago
Aspirin is very dangerous for cats... actually our vet usually gives them an antibiotic and tells us to starve them for 24 hours...
13 years ago
that is really good info to know thank you very much!!!

How about pepto or MOM is either one of them save for kitties???
Well when i say kitties i guess i should remind you that my babies are close to 18 and 15 year old!!  But they are still my babies.....i got some good pics of them so when i get em developed i will ask them to put them on a disc then i can share with you!!!

Thanks all you are a super great group!! I am glad i found u or someone found me can't remember now..but am very very glad!!!!!!

13 years ago
Thanks for the info! You may have prevented somone accidently poisoning their beloved kitties!
thank you
13 years ago
thank you thats a really useful thing to no
13 years ago

Thats a really good thing to know. when something like that happens they should broadcast it over the radio and T.V.

13 years ago
Whoa,, thanks.  I know we used to give it to our dog for flu, but luckily, the cats haven't needed it.
Thanks so much!!!!
13 years ago

Thank you for that info ,Sharon. I am a Catmom of a large group of kitters and used to give Kaopectate for any diarrhea problems. So will make sure I talk to my vet next time I am in. I know they sell a Petpectate formula there. Imagine it's like the old Kaopectate of sorts, without the reformulation.

So thanks again for the heads up!!


13 years ago
I use 100% pure pumpkin for the runs and for constapation and for hairballs. It'shealthy, most cats like it and it's got a high fiber content and works great. This goes for dogs and cats.
I believe that it is good
13 years ago
But I don't believe that most cats love it. I couldn't get any of these guys, who will try everything, to eat it. It was thumbs down here.
13 years ago
just wanted everyone to know that Purina DM worked wonderfully for my siamese mix. He is a changed cat. Thanks Michael
Thank you!
13 years ago

Thank you so much for the info!

Pumpkin Haters
13 years ago

Donna, have you tried stirring it into some wet food? That might do the trick for the kitters. But the dogs just really like pumpkin. My elderly Dachsie used to get it in her food all the time to help her not feel so hungry. The fiber made her feel full. She was a little fatty, eating machine and I read about that tip in a natural vet book. So pumpkin is really a nice thing for a variety of stuff.     Let me know if you can trick them into eating some by disguising it.


13 years ago
Just wanted to say thanks for the info (I will forward to my vet tech friend who is temporarily out of work and in school) and NO PEPTO BISMOL either (as someone else asked).

Pepto contains bismuth salicylate. Salicylate is the precursor for aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and will also result in poisoning (although I am not sure of the amount in pepto).

Anything with ingredients resembling the name salicylate should be avoided.
13 years ago
I've heard about using pumpkin before...but do other similar veggies work too? Like acorn squash? I only ask because I personally don't eat pumpkin much so it would be easier on me to share other squashes with my animals.
Kaopectate for diarrhea
13 years ago
I never heard before about giving that to a cat for diarrhea. A few months ago one of my cats had the diarrhea problem and with 3 of them I was not sure at first which one was sick. I was about to take him to the vet but after a few days his "movement" was back to normal. One of my cats sometimes throws up his/her food just after eating. I've heard that this can be caused if a cat eats too quickly. Best to all who read this. I have not been to this board in almost 2 months. I need to make a list of which boards I've joined so I don't forget to check them out about once a week or so! Sandra in Tennessee
13 years ago
Would that mean bentonite clay (green clay powder to use inward) is good one to use?

I have used that one to cleanse my intestines and I read they found out that bentonite clay is very healing through the cows...

Some farmers just let the sick cows wander by themself and was puzzled that the cows came back after a week or two, healthy....

So they followed the sick cows and saw that the cows digged up this clay and ate it.

Bentonite clay is good to use for diahrrea (I cant spell it right) too.


13 years ago
I was wondering what I should do for my 2 baby KITTENs (wrote that, bcause all of our kitties our are babies no matter what age) who is 8 wks. old and just brought home last saturday has had a lot of diahrreah. The Vet. hasn't asked for a fecal sample. She just said switch them off the kitten food I'd been feeding them and give them baby food and see if that helped. But, I hear their little tummies rumbling. Any advice please? 
13 years ago

Hi Wendy,

Try cooking up some chicken, and add some rice to that. Make sure the chicken is cut up real small for them. This might help with the diarrhea.

If you don't have chicken or turkey, use some ground beef. Lean ground beef with rice. You will have to give it until you see improvement. Kittens can get diarrhea from being over fed too, but from books I have read, it says to feed them as many as 10 small meals per day.

Round worms can also cause diarrhea, but I'm not sure off hand when the round worm pill can be given. My new ones have round worms, and probably the Mother too. I saw them in some vomit. Great. They won't even come near me yet.

Thanks Screaming
13 years ago
Thanks Screaming...In terms of cooking the chicken, I may sound like a complete moron here... should I get the uncooked chicken parts and boil them until they're soft and then cook some rice? I remember when my one dog was really sick with cancer, having to cook TONS of Lamb with rice. YUCK! That had the most horrible stench....And with the chicken, should I cook up a batch and then refrigerate it?

I'm sorry about your babies and their not feeling well. I have lost two cats over the last 8 months, (One was 8 mos. old and the other just this last weekend, and she was 8 yrs. strange all these 8's) and so I'm like hypervigilant. My babies are eating really, really well. And vomiting yet. Just constantly going to the litter box and explosive diahreah. I'm so glad you brought up that issue about the kaopectate. That was an old standby here at my house.

Thanks again for answering my questions.
13 years ago

100% pure pumpkin is a great use for this because of the high fiber content.

13 years ago
8 weeks is old enough for some dewormers.
13 years ago

I was as surprised as you are to read that about the Kaopectate. It was an old stand by here too, and I guess it was ok at one time, but since they changed it it isn't. I do have pet pectillan I think it is called that I got from petsmart or from Omaha vaccine, not sure. That is how old it is now.

You are probably right to boil up a bunch of it, and then cook the rice, and add it to the chicken. No skins of course. Cut it or flake it enough that they won't pick out the chicken and not eat the rice. I think brown rice would be better, but I always used white.

I am sorry to hear of your loss. I lost my oldest cat a couple of weeks ago. I find it hardest when I lose a young one, as I am not mentally prepared for that, and the younger ones tend to be a bigger part of my every day life as they get into things, while the older ones are more reserved by then.

By the way, if their little bottoms get sore or raw, use some corn starch on them. It is very soft and silky smooth and soothing.

13 years ago

PS, If your kittens are fussy like my cats are, use the boneless chicken, and pan fry it adding enough water that it doesn't dry up and burn. Make some rice on the side, and add it to the pan when you are done, and cut up the chicken with a pair of scissors to make it very small.

Put some into containers or baggies for later, and warm to room temp or a little warmer.

13 years ago
Thank you Jen for the "dewormer" suggestion and to Screaming...thank you, thank you, thank you, mommy cat!

Wow, their din-din is sounding more delicious with each post. Soon, I might start adding a little cabernet on the side, followed by a little brie and crackers

I gave them a bath today as they were getting very pungent. And the cornstarch idea is great. I used to use that for my son instead of all those commercial talcs. Oh when I lost my little girl Tabitha to leukeimia, I mourned, well still am...I really didn't think I'd be able to get any more babies. I haven't had these babies tested yet. That's why at FIRST, I was tempted to get purebred Bengals from a breeder, to minimize the chance of FLV, but there are just so many needy babies in the shelters. And I adore, adore black cats. Very much like my Avatar, Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman who is a HUGE animal activist for cats!

I'll get an album up for her at my profile as she really is just the hottest and most wickedly fun woman...Brown rice? hmmm. Well, I guess I can stomach that for them. Then I have two older males who have to be on a special diet for urinary problems...

But, living is just not living without cats. So, first thing tomorrow, off to the market. Right now, I have Selina and Bella lying on my lap purring contentedly...Again, thanks for the "recipe's" and advice...
13 years ago
Connie, would your cats or have they eaten pure pumpkin? If so how do you prepare it? I'm impressed...
13 years ago


I haven't posted here before but noticed the topic and thought I would share that I bought some Lambert Kay Pet-Pectillin from which contains nothing but Pectin and kaolin (no aspirin or artifial colors like the new kaopectate). Just thought this might be helpful.


Replying To: Kaopectate NO longer safe to give to cats with diarrhea
13 years ago
You can buy about a gallon of Kaolin Pectin (which is basically the same formulation as kaopectate and made specifically for pets) from tons of pet supply places fairly cheaply.   Here's an example:



Hi Joy
13 years ago

to the cat lovers board, and thank you for letting everyone know about the pet pectillan. I use it here. I thought I bought it at petsmart, but it is possible that I ordered off of the internet. I have made orders from Omaha vaccine and Drs Foster and Smith though, and I think one more place, not sure.

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