A healthy, functioning digestive tract is essential for a cat. But how can you recognise the signs of digestive problems in your cat? Here you can find the most important information surrounding the topic of feline digestion.
Your cat may suffer from flatulence in combination with other digestive issues. If your cat appears to be in pain, you should seek veterinary help.
Diarrhoea can either occur suddenly (acute diarrhoea) or be present over a longer period of time (chronic diarrhoea). The consistency of the stool can vary from episode to episode. Depending on the cause, it may also contain mucus or blood.
If your cat’s stool is hard and round, rather than being sausage-shaped, this is generally a sign that your cat is suffering with constipation. This can cause pain or restlessness when trying to pass stool.
If your cat is vomiting, it needs to be kept under observation. Be sure to check if there are any foreign objects or blood in the vomit. Occasional vomiting is generally harmless, but if your cat is vomiting frequently, consult your vet.
It is not easy to recognise when your cat is in pain. However, in cases of stomach pain, you will usually find that your cat reacts sensitively when its stomach is touched or stroked. A cat with stomach pain may also eat less than usual.
Almost every illness can result in feeling tired or lethargic, robbing your cat of its usual strength and energy. Therefore, it is important that you pay attention to when your cat does not want to play, or simply flops down in a corner.
Food allergies are widespread in cats, regardless of age or breed. This can often result in your cat experiencing vomiting, diarrhoea or itching. If your cat seems to be reacting to a particular food, there are a number of specially-tailored diets for allergy-sufferers. Sometimes it may be enough to simply avoid certain ingredients, such as grains or multiple sources of protein in one dish. To find out which food is right for your cat, consult your vet.
Many pets such as breeding cats can suffer from stomach sensitivity. Whether it be rapid changes in temperature or drastic household changes, there are various factors that can have an impact on the stomach. If your cat is particularly sensitive, it may benefit from a specially tailored food made with easily digestible ingredients.
Changing your cat’s food is something that should be done gradually over a period of at least eight to ten days. Moving to a different diet too quickly can have a negative effect on your cat’s stomach, especially if it is sensitive.
Outdoor cats may frequently come across spoiled food or other edible waste in rubbish bins around the neighbourhood. Although a cat’s stomach tends to be able to cope with rotten food better than a human’s, it can still cause problems.
Many cats are prone to wolfing down their food far too quickly. This can be another cause of constipation or stomach pain. In order to reduce the risk of this happening, it may be helpful to try splitting your cat’s food into multiple smaller portions throughout the day or feeding your cat using a slow-feeder bowl.
Stress can be the cause of various issues for your cat, including those in the digestive system. Make sure you are offering your cat its own space or hideout to get away from any potential household stress. It can also be helpful to get a scratching tree or board, which can provide your cat with health benefits and a way to relieve its tension.
It’s very simple; if your cat isn’t drinking enough water, its stool will thicken too much. This can very quickly lead to painful constipation. If your cat struggles to drink enough water, providing it with a drinking fountain can be a great way to rouse its interest.
Exercise is not only vital for helping your cat to maintain an ideal bodyweight, but also for its overall health. It can help to combat obesity and digestive problems. If your cat is not moving enough, consider a scratching tree or special toys that encourage it to get active!
Certain gut parasites including giardia, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms can trigger digestive issues such as diarrhoea in your cat. This is why it is so important that you follow veterinary advice and regularly check your cat’s stool for signs of parasites, approximately three times per year.
Bacterial or viral infections such as FeLV and FIP can also lead to digestive problems for your cat. If you have any suspicion that your cat may be suffering from an infection, you should seek veterinary advice in order to catch and treat it as early as possible.
If your cat is affected by a hormonal disorder (e.g. hyperthyroidism) or a metabolic disease (e.g. diabetes mellitus), this can also have an effect on digestion. If presenting with any digestive problems alongside its usual condition, it is vitally important that you take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
Cats can suffer from pain just as us humans. The problem is simply that our pets often hide this from us. But without treatment, chronic pain can soon develop, therefore it is important to pay attention to changes in your cat's behaviour to start with the right pain treatment at an early stage.