Digestive Problems in Cats

Digestive problems may affect felines of all ages and may manifest mainly through diarrhea or constipation. Most cats will experience digestive problems at least once during their life. The condition may be caused by the ingestion of unusual items of food or non food items, but there are felines that have chronic digestive issues which are caused by an underlying condition such as stomach or intestinal cancer. An isolated incidence of diarrhea or constipation doesn’t necessarily require veterinary assistance, but if your pet has digestive problems on a recurrent basis, a vet should be consulted.

Causes of Digestive Problems in Cats

Cats often experience digestive problems following the ingestion of table scraps or non food items. If you suddenly change your pet’s diet, this may also lead to digestive issues. Other possible causes of digestive problems in cats include:

  • Viral infections
  • Bacterial infections
  • Stomach cancer
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Gastric ulcer
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Food allergies
  • Internal parasites
  • Intestinal polyps, cysts or tumors

Symptoms of Digestive Problems

A cat with digestive problems may display the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Blood in the feces
  • Parasites in the feces
  • Foaming at the mouth (if he has ingested a toxic material)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dehydration

The cat should be taken to the vet if there are alarming symptoms such as foaming at the mouth or blood in the feces or if the condition becomes chronic. The presence of a malignant tumor can be fatal. The ingestion of toxic materials may also lead to death if the substances are not removed immediately from the cat’s system. The ingestion of a non food item can cause intestinal occlusion if the object is larger or it may cause respiratory tract damage.

Treating Digestive Problems in Cats

Most commonly, an isolated digestive problem will resolve without any treatment and the cat may instinctively fast for 12 to 36 hours or reduce his intake of food to facilitate the healing process. However, if you notice alarming symptoms or if the digestive issues persist, you will need to ask for veterinary help.

The treatment depends on the findings during the checkup and the lab tests. The treatment options may range from a simple change in diet or a cure of dewormers to chemotherapy or surgical removal of the tumor or foreign object.

Digestive Problems Prevention

Digestive problems are not always preventable, but you may take a few steps towards keeping your pet’s digestive system healthy. If your cat is prone to digestive problems, you need to pay attention to his diet. Avoid feeding him table scraps and introduce a fiber or probiotic supplement in his diet. Keep him away from toxic substances such as rat poison, alcohol, caffeine or xylitol.

Make sure your pet is worm free and either administer preventive dewormers or perform periodical checkups to detect any intestinal worms in a timely manner.

Get veterinary help whenever your pet displays unusual digestive symptoms.