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5 signs your cat’s stomach is upset

Cat Napping

In times of sickness — particularly when it comes to the gut — a pet parent’s instinct is their best friend. If you’re noticing certain changes in your cat’s behavior, demeanor and all-around wellbeing, you can bet your intuition is telling you something. 

With all that said, it always helps to have a few defined markers of illness in the case that we’re debating a phone call to the vet. While hardly comprehensive, here’s a quick-and-dirty checklist to give you a better clue as to whether your cat’s stomach is upset.

  1. Burping. Cats don’t burp like we do. In fact, they’re rarely given the opportunity to trap excess air in their GI tract, since most of their respiration begins with their small, delicate nostrils as opposed to wide-open mouths. Anything that resembles belching, hacking or coughing could be a sign of an upset stomach — especially if it’s a repeat occurrence. We recommend taking a video if possible to show your vet.
  2. Stress, lethargy or other behavioral shifts. A stomach issue may not always yield a logical, one-to-one connection in your cat’s observable symptoms. Cats are prideful creatures that would rather hide their discomfort than meow it out loud, so it’s important to keep a discerning eye on small changes in their behavior. Is your cat less active than normal? Are they hiding more frequently? Little tells could be indicators of something bigger.
  3. Reduced appetite. If your cat isn’t finishing their meals (or isn’t even starting their meals), it could be a sign of GI issues such as gastroenteritis. The chewing, swallowing and digestion process could be painful for a cat that’s under duress, which means they may show less-than-normal interest in what’s in their bowl, no matter how yummy it appears.
  4. Abnormal stools. Keep one eye on the litterbox if you suspect your cat may have an upset stomach. If you notice any blood, diarrhea or otherwise uncommon defecation, it’s typically a sign of GI disruption. Similarly, a cat may not even make it to the litterbox if their stomach issues are pressing enough. If you find a mess elsewhere in the house, that’s a flag.
  5. Vomiting. Cat vomit may feel like it needs its own translation guide, as different colors, consistencies and frequencies may be separate and distinct indicators. That said, any chronic vomiting could be a telltale sign of stomach issues. Snap a picture if you can to help compare notes with your veterinarian.

Don’t wait it out

If you notice any of the signs and symptoms above, your best bet is to get in contact with your vet. While they may not be indicators of anything life threatening, they are almost certainly indicators of something that can’t be waited out.

And remember, your vet’s knowledge of medications and therapeutic techniques can help get them on the mend faster than any home remedy.

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