Cats are usually pretty resilient little critters. Well known for their fleet-footedness, fearless attitude, and the 'nine lives' myth, our feline friends have rightly been lauded for thousands of years. However, they're not invincible. Cats are just as susceptible to injury and sickness as other animals, including us humans. An upset stomach in cats can actually occur quite regularly. Cats can get upset tummies for a variety of reasons, some quite manageable, and some rather more serious. Here, we'll let you know what causes an upset stomach in cats, and tell you about some home remedies you can whip up to help!
What Causes an Upset Stomach in Cats?
As we said, there are lots of reasons cats get upset stomachs. If you've found vomit around the house, they're probably not feeling too good. And, while there are many reasons cats can feel sick to their stomachs, you can split these into two areas; those inside the gastrointestinal - or GI - system, and those outside the GI system. For those wondering, the GI system starts at the mouth, goes down to the stomach, then the intestines, and finally ends at the rectum.
So, let's start with internal GI issues.
These are issues that cause the gastrointestinal system to become inflamed. They can be caused by:
- stomach ulcers
- ingesting toxic or poisonous material
- Bowel issues
- objects like string or pennies
- Parasites or bacteria
- Food allergies
These are issues that take place in other parts of the body that can affect the GI system. They include:
- Kidney or liver issues
- Hormonal issues like diabetes
Home Remedies to help your cat's upset stomach
If things don't seem too serious, you can try some homemade remedies and see if they help in the short term. The good news is that, if symptoms do go away, you've saved yourself an unnecessary trip to the vets! However, if symptoms persist, or if there is excessive vomiting and/or diarrhoea, you should go see a veterinarian immediately!
Here are some things to try.
Naturally, when cats experience the symptoms of an upset stomach, they refrain from eating. This process can ensure anything nasty leaves sooner rather than later. And, while they will typically follow their body's advice and avoid food, a bowl full of cat treats might be too hard to ignore.
So why not help your little pal along? Clean out their food bowl, and hide any open packaging away from tempted eyes. Do this for around a day, and be sure to keep their water bowl full so they don't dehydrate. The more water they drink, the quicker they'll flush any unwanted contaminants from their system.
But don't leave it longer than a day. Over 24 hours without food could do more harm than good to your furry friend. And for kittens, don't leave it more than 3-4 hours. As their bodies are still growing, they need food much more regularly to help them get big and strong. Not too big, mind.
Alternatively, if your cat tends to gulp their food down without pausing for breath, try feeding them smaller portions. Eating too much, too fast can also irritate their GI system and cause them to vomit.
What to feed them after a fast?
When they're ready to eat again, make sure you give your cat bland food. Something like boiled chicken with the fat trimmed off will settle better than their usual, more rounded fair.
And feed them smaller portions more often. A small bowl of boiled chicken 5 times a day for a week or so will do them wonders.
If your cat isn't hungry after fasting
If you're trying to feed your cat and they're simply having none of it, try giving them an offer they can't refuse.
Check your cat is staying hydrated
Make sure that if they're being sick or have diarrhoea, they have enough fluids. Like humans, you can check by confirming the springiness of their skin. If it doesn't spring back immediately, try letting your cat lick ice instead of water, as it's less likely to be vomited back up. If they continue to be dehydrated, take them to a vet as soon as possible.
Help with hairballs
If you think hairballs are the culprit, let the cat lick a little lubricant like some Vaseline, or oil from a tin of sardines. This will help the furball on its way.
And that's it! Now you know about the signs to look out for that point towards your cat having an upset stomach. You also know what could be causing it, and some home remedies you can put to use to get your cat fighting fit.