Cat Stomach Problems

Cat stomach problems can originate from the intestines and surrounding organs present in the gastrointestinal tract. Although the symptoms exhibited are similar, the underlying health concern present may differ. Pet owners should prevent the use of over the counter medications to treat vomiting, diarrhea or constipation and conduct a thorough medical examination to determine the severity of the condition. Since the cause of gastrointestinal disorders can vary, the diagnosis is often complex and involves several different tests.

Common Symptoms of Cat Stomach Problems Include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloody stools
  • Constipation
  • Straining to defecate

Common Feline Stomach Problems Include:

  • Feline inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Cat hairball
  • Pancreatitis
  • Constipation
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Intestinal obstruction

Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

This condition occurs when parts of the intestine or digestive tract are affected by inflammatory cells such as lymphocytes and eosinophils. Feline IBD is chronic in nature and the cause of the condition isn't established. However, there are certain treatments administered to control it. Treatment involves anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by the vet and diet modification. Cats suffering from IBD benefit from certain hypoallergenic and low fat diets.

Cat Hairball

Cat hairball occurs due to ingestion of excessive fur during routine self-grooming procedures. Cats ingest loose hair that sticks to the tongue and enters the gastrointestinal tract when swallowed. Undigested hair is coughed up in an attempt to expel a hairball from the body. Cats suffering from frequent hairballs require dietary modification to facilitate easy movement of food through the digestive tract. In addition, certain oral lubricants help to alter the condition.


Inflammation that sets in the pancreas is termed as pancreatitis. The inflammation may occur due to reactions to certain medicines, trauma, surgery and other infections in the abdomen. After careful diagnosis that confirms the condition, pets are prescribed certain corticosteroid medicines to reduce inflammation. If pancreatitis occurs due to reaction to other drugs, it's necessary to discontinue the drugs for the symptoms to subside.


Cats that are constipated have difficulty passing stools, infrequent bowel movement and often no bowel movement altogether. Since constipation is often a symptom that accompanies other illnesses, it's necessary to rule out other health concerns during diagnosis. Constipation that develops due to dietary inadequacy is treated with diet modification. A diet higher in fiber and food that's easily digestible is recommended for cats that are constipated.

Intestinal Parasites

Roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms are some of the intestinal worms that attach themselves to the lining of the intestine and feed on essential nutrients and sometimes cause intestinal bleeding. Since worm eggs or segments are released in cat feces, a fecal examination is necessary to determine the type of gastrointestinal parasite present. Treatment options include deworming medication and supportive care.

Intestinal Obstruction

Intestinal obstruction is life-threatening and develops due to internal tumors, hairballs or ingestion of foreign objects that block the intestines. After conducting various diagnostic tests such as x-rays and abdominal ultrasounds, the vet will perform surgery to eliminate the obstruction present in the intestine.

Pet owners should administer prescribed medication on time and take the cat for follow up checks to determine response to treatment. Cats treated with surgery also require rest and adequate home care. It's best to identify the cause of cat stomach problems and take preventive measures to avoid reinfection.