Causes of a Swollen Cat Belly

Cat belly or feline stomach may at times appear swollen. There are varying reasons why the belly swells and it's a strong indicator that your cat is sick.

Components of the Canine Digestive System

  • Mouth
  • Teeth
  • Salivary glands
  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Intestines
  • Pancreas
  • Liver and gall bladder

The digestive system processes ingested food, absorbs nutrients and eliminates waste.

Some Causes of Feline Swollen Stomach

  • Fluid accumulation due to intestinal tumor
  • Intestines severely affected with parasites that causes fluid accumulation
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
  • Inflammation in and around the stomach
  • Enlarged organs
  • Cancer

If your cat shows signs of a swollen belly coupled with lack of appetite or difficulty to defecate, it's best to promptly take him to your vet. There are many tests that can be conducted to determine the cause of the swollen stomach.

  • Physical exam
  • Blood Test
  • X-ray
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Fluid sample testing
  • Urine test

Remember to keep your cat in clean surroundings and to watch for any signs of ill health. Many stomach related diseases are caused due to parasites or viruses. FIP in particular is a disease caused by corona virus. This virus can be transmitted through environmental contamination of litter boxes. Often the mother can pass on the virus to her kittens through her milk. If cats come in contact with the corona virus their immune systems try to combat the infection. However, if they have weakened immune systems the virus will uncontrollably multiply. Kittens from 4 to 6 weeks and adult cats over 10 years of age are highly susceptible to FIP. This disease is fatal and you should watch for symptoms in your cat.


  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • Swollen belly

FIP is a progressive disease and although the chance of survival is slim the vets will provide necessary medication and supportive care to make the cat feel more comfortable.

Some Preventative Tips

  • Try to make sure your cat doesn't get into cat fights as their wounds or bruises get contaminated and infections thrive.
  • Keep fleas under control as they are the source of parasite infection in cats.
  • Do not allow your cat to hunt rodents.
  • Clean litter regularly and watch for worms in cat feces.
  • Schedule routine visits with the vet.
  • If you have brought home a new kitten, keep her away from other cats as kittens are likely to have a few infections.
  • Give your cat fresh water and fix regular meal times.
  • Do not feed your cat food that's harmful like raw pork, chocolate, onions and human food rich in sodium and sugar.
  • To make your cat's immune system stronger, provide your pet with a diet high in vitamins and minerals. Make them exercise each day so that they don't become fat and lethargic.
  • There is a lot of care required for optimal feline health. If you follow good health practices your cat will be less susceptible to disease and will live longer.