Cat Bloated Stomach Causes

The causes of cat bloated stomach may be varied and range from parasites to a late stage life-threatening illness. It is important to know what may cause a bloated stomach, to be able to assist the cat with suitable treatment. It is equally important to get a proper diagnosis so that the treatment will be effective.

Intestinal Worms

Intestinal worms are a common cause of a bloated stomach in felines. Worms are more frequently met in kittens, but may also be found in adult cats. The symptoms of intestinal worms include vomiting, diarrhea, mucous discharges, blood in the stool, weight loss or lack of appetite. There are several types of internal worms which need to be identified though a stool sample, so that the vet can prescribe the right dewormer.

The bloated stomach is caused by a buildup of fluid and air, which is due to the presence of the worms. In addition to the bloated aspect, the accumulation of fluids and air may cause a lot of discomfort, so you should act immediately.

Worms are rarely fatal, but they may deprive the cat of nutrients and cause complications. Once detected, the intestinal worms can be safely removed with a dose of dewormers. You may also prevent future worm infestations by administering regular dewormer treatments.

Fluid Retention

Fluid retention may also cause a bloated stomach; in addition to the presence of intestinal worms, fluid retention may be caused by other conditions as well including:

  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure

If the cat is affected by one of these conditions you may also look out for symptoms such as increased thirst, jaundice, weight loss, discolored gums and tongue.

The kidney failure or liver failure makes it impossible for the cat to eliminate toxins and these may build up in the stomach. Typically, when the fluid builds up, the condition is very severe. Cats may do well even if 70% of the kidneys are affected, so the 30% can still process the toxins; however, if over 70% of the kidney tissues are damaged, the cat will experience kidney failure and may have a bloated stomach.

Kidney or liver failure can be helped with fluid therapy; however these conditions are rarely reversible and may often be fatal.

Indigestion or Constipation

A bloated stomach may also signal that the cat has indigestion or is constipated. You should monitor the cat's elimination behavior for a few days. The indigestion and constipation may be relieved with the administration of some fiber supplements.

In rare cases, constipation may be a symptom of an underlying cause (i.e. stomach tumors, intestinal occlusion). If the constipation is chronic, visit the vet for a clear diagnosis.


Cats rarely eat more than they need, but it may happen that your cat eats more, which will cause a bloated stomach. This is not a cause for worry, but you should see if your cat is constantly eating more, which can be a symptom of a disease.