How to deal with your Cat’s upset stomach

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Help, my cat has an Upset Stomach!

Have you noticed your cat has bloody poop or keeps being sick? Lots of cats suffer from upset tummies from time to time. While the specific details sometimes don’t make pleasant reading, it’s important that you know what to expect and how to act. Vomiting and diarrhoea are no fun for our pets or us as owners but occasional episodes of sickness or runny, watery poop are part and parcel of life with our pets.

Check Out the Signs 

If you hear your cat making sounds as if it is about to be sick, act quickly to place some newspaper or an old bowl or tray in front of them. This way you avoid moving them if they are uncomfortable but keep the mess to a minimum. Similarly a cat scratching at the door to be let out may be suffering from loose motions and may not have the same control over their bowels that they normally do. Some cats can seem restless, if they have pain in their abdomen, or they may just curl up and look miserable. Other signs to be on the lookout for include weight loss, changes in appetite, flatulence, a gurgling stomach or straining while passing a motion.

What’s the Trigger? 

Most of the time stomach upsets are caused by cats eating something that they have a reaction to, such as a bird or a mouse they've caught, bolting their food or hairballs. With a little help, most cats get over these kinds of upsets relatively quickly, so do ask your vet for advice at an early stage. Some pets though have more long lasting disorders that never seem to fully resolve, or that flare up at various times. A vet will usually need to perform various tests to establish the cause of tummy troubles that are more long lasting. Keep a diary of when the cat has problems, the signs they show and what they ate in the days leading up to an episode to help establish a diagnosis.

Top Tips

  • If your cat is vomiting, remove immediate access to food and make sure fresh water is readily available.
  • If the cat seems unwell, continues to vomit or has blood in the vomit or diarrhoea, contact your vet.
  • Ask your vet about when you can start to offer small amounts of highly digestible cat food. Therapeutic cat food, available from veterinary practices, is often recommended for pets after a stomach upset.
  • Continue feeding the recommended pet food for around 5 days, or as directed by your vet.
  • After this time slowly add in some of your cat’s normal food, gradually increase the amount and reduce the amount of the therapeutic food over the next 7 days, until your cat is being fed normally.

Always seek the advice of your vet if you are concerned about the health of your pet.

Reviewed by Dr. Hein Meyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl-ECVIM-CA and Dr. Emma Milne BVSc FRCVS