Symptoms of Common Cat Digestive Problems

Cat digestive problems are among the most common conditions affecting pets around the world. Virtually every cat will suffer from some form of indigestion or a related health problem at some point in his life. The scope and severity of these problems vary significantly according to the cause. While most indigestion resolves itself as your cat's body processes food and evacuates waste, other problems related to indigestion are chronic, and others still may be life-threatening. Recognizing the symptoms of cat digestive problems is key to being able to identify and resolve those issues quickly.

The Most Common Symptoms Related to Indigestion

If your cat is suffering from indigestion of some kind, he will likely display one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Blood or mucous in vomit
  • Lethargy or fatigue
  • Difficulty moving

These symptoms are common to a large number of diseases, including ones that are not related to indigestion at all. It is important to recognize when these signs are indicative of a disease or warrant further attention.

When Indigestion Is a Danger

Cats of all ages experience indigestion, with kittens generally having a higher frequency of cases than other cats. Whether caused by eating something that they shouldn't have or through overactivity, it's common for cats to regurgitate their food in certain circumstances. This is a normal process and should be expected. If your cat experiences the symptoms listed above for more than a week, consider whether your pet may suffer from one of the following conditions.


Internal parasites may cause digestive problems. Cats with parasites will typically experience bouts of diarrhea, often with traces of blood or mucous. They generally have increased appetites but unexplained weight loss. In some cases, you may even be able to see signs of the parasites in his system by examining his stool. A vet will conduct a thorough stool sample and analysis in order to fully diagnose the presence of parasites in your pet's system.

Internal Blockages

Cats may eat items that don't pass through their system as they normally should. These may be foods that your pet's system cannot process, like plant matter, or they may be made of inorganic matter as well. In either case, your pet's digestive system may be thrown off by the presence of an inappropriate object. If this is the case, surgery may be necessary to remove the blockage.

A related condition to this is improper diet. Cats require diets that are primarily meat-based. Any commercially-available cat food will meet the standards of a feline diet, although some are better than others. If your cat does not eat a diet that generally matches that of a standard cat food, he may experience a combination of the symptoms listed above.

Serious Conditions

Inflammation and infection of the pancreas, liver and other internal organs may lead to symptoms of indigestion as well. These conditions are typically linked with a variety of other symptoms, so it's important to keep note of any unusual behaviors or physical changes that you notice in your cat.

With prompt treatment and veterinary attention, your pet stands a good chance of making a full recovery from the most common digestive problems.