Choosing the Best Food for Cats with Digestive Problems

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Cats are carnivores. They need to eat their prey whole and raw. Due to their high metabolism, they cannot keep up with the high-calorie requirements of a diet that is primarily meat-based. Some cats can also develop a food allergy to some proteins in raw food and meat, leading to digestive problems like diarrhea or vomiting. They may have food allergies that cause them discomfort when eating certain foods.

This article discusses digestive problems in cats, their common causes and treatments, and the best food you can give your feline friend! If your pet has a digestive issue, such as a problem in its GI tract, read this post!

Let’s get going!

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Source: Basepaws

Signs Your Cat May Have a Sensitive Stomach

Cats occasionally cough up hairballs, which is simply a result of swallowing hair accidentally while grooming. The food you’re feeding your cat may also not be compatible with their stomach if they experience vomiting or diarrhea after meals.

Acat with a sensitive stomach may show the following symptoms:

  • Throwing up
  • A change in stools, diarrhea, or constipation
  • The urge to drink more
  • Weighing less than usual
  • The condition of the coat is poor
  • Sleepiness and lethargy
  • Skin problems such as itchiness

Ask yourself whether your cat is suffering from an acute or chronic problem if they are experiencing any of these symptoms. Digestion issues that appear suddenly are acute, while chronic digestion issues develop gradually. The acute digestive upset may be caused by a change in diet, an infection, intestinal disease, or even stress. There are foods specially formulated to relieve digestive problems caused by food allergy, issues in the gastrointestinal tract, or a sensitive stomach.

Digestive Disorder and Gastrointestinal Disease in Cats

When your cat eats, does she often regurgitate it shortly afterward? Does she sometimes suffer from sudden bouts of diarrhea that you just can’t seem to find the cause of? Does she occasionally lose her appetite no matter how much you tempt her with her favorite dry and wet food? You’re not alone if your cat experiences any of these issues. We, humans, suffer from a variety of digestive disorders, but dogs, cats, rabbits, and even our avian friends can be affected by numerous digestive disorders as well! A variety of practical, natural treatments is available for tummy troubles, which are generally classified as acute or chronic.

Common Causes of Acute Digestive Disorders in Cats

Parasites, Viruses, and Bacteria

It is common for cats to contract intestinal parasites from eating rodents or other infected prey. These parasites can cause vomiting and diarrhea as well as other health issues. When cats bury their feces in the same litter tray as others, they can pick up Giardia from their feces.

It is also possible for cats to develop digestive upset due to several different strains of viruses, some of which (such as Feline Enteritis) is highly contagious and life-threatening. Besides eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water, bacteria can also be transmitted from animals to humans.

Indiscretion in diet

Your cat most likely developed sudden onset, acute stomach problems because they ate something that shouldn’t have been eaten. Might she have taken a bite out of last night’s leftovers or nibbled on that exotic plant your friend gave you? Aspirin is an example of a compound cat cannot process effectively as a result of the absence of specific chemical pathways. In either case, cats may suffer from vomiting and diarrhea after overeating rich food.

Dietary mistakes

In our canine friends, flatulence and unpleasant breath (called Halitosis) are more prevalent than in our feline friends. Still, an incorrect diet can lead to a gassy stomach and a less than pleasant aroma emerging from either end! In cats fed fresh and raw meat, flatulence is less common and often associated with cereals and sugars in a diet. Any number of things can cause bad breath. It can be caused by an improper diet, a kidney disease, or even something less severe like teething. Your cat’s pong may be the reason you avoid snuggling with them because of a less than pleasant pong. If that is the case, try changing the diet first. If you feed a cooked chicken wing that has been chopped into manageable pieces, both flatulence and bad breath can be relieved. By using this as a natural toothbrush, your cat can soothe teething pains and brush its teeth naturally.

Hair Balls (Furballs)

A cat may develop hairballs from time to time. They are caused by your cat grooming itself and swallowing hair in the process. In most cases, cats’ digestive systems can handle hair, and it passes through the intestinal tract and out in their feces. However, there are times when a little extra help is needed, and products can help make things easier. Furballs may require veterinary intervention if they become tremendous.

Pancreatitis

During pancreatic inflammation, enzymes are disrupted, forcing them out of the pancreas to enter the abdominal area, causing the body to begin digesting itself. A swollen pancreas, medications, or eating something hard for the pancreas to digest, such as fat-rich meals or meals with too much sugar, can cause pancreatitis.  By eating chicken breasts with their skin removed and drinking plenty of water, a low-fat diet can relieve liver stress. Alternatively, you can boil some chicken breasts and let them cool, giving your cat a healthy, nourishing, hydrating meal.

Common Causes of Chronic Digestive Disorders in Cats

Allergies to food

In today’s modern diet, there are so many added ingredients that food allergies are becoming more common in cats. If your cat seems to be affected, try going back to a simple, raw meat meal (such as chicken or fish) until you see improvements. As your cat knows the food is going to make her nauseous, she may hold off eating for as long as possible because of food allergies. This is especially common with cats who have food allergies. If your cat is allergic to the first food you introduce, the symptoms will worsen, and you will know straight away what to eliminate from the diet.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

It is similar to IBD in humans in that the gut wall is irritated and normal tissue is replaced by fibrous tissue (similar to a scar).

Hemorrhagic gastritis

Bloody diarrhea and profuse vomiting are symptoms of hemorrhagic gastritis, which is caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. The presence of worms in the digestive system can lead to chronic as well as acute digestive discomfort, including vomiting and diarrhea.

Treatment of Upset Tummy in Cats

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Source: Ambassador Animal Hospital

There is no cure for diarrhea, unfortunately, but you should consult your veterinarian if your cat suffers from diarrhea. If your cat begins vomiting, contact your veterinarian immediately. The following steps should be taken:

You should first listen to what your cat is saying. Just like us, some cats will crave food while others will starve themselves, so follow your cat’s instincts while watching for signs that they might not be coping with, such as dehydration or weakness that may look serious. It is not uncommon for your cat to seek warmth and cold. In such circumstances, consult a veterinarian if you observe a collapsed cat seeking heat or cold, as they may not be able to regulate their temperature.

Keep them hydrated at all times by providing plenty of fresh water. To prevent your cat from losing fluids due to diarrhea, you should take this step right away.

Ensure your cat is eating a balanced diet. Try a bland diet, such as human food like boiled chicken and rice, or a therapeutic cat food designed to treat digestive problems.

After three to five days of gradually increasing the amount of your cat’s food, or as instructed by your veterinarian, your cat can return to its “regular” diet. Your veterinarian may recommend that you put your cat on therapeutic pet food permanently if you experience stomach problems again.

The Best Cat Food for a Sensitive Stomach

For cats with sensitive stomachs, digestibility is equally vital as balanced nutrition. Healthy digestion depends on the inclusion of beneficial supplements like prebiotic fibers and probiotics.

Find out which cat food is best for sensitive stomachs in our list below.

Ziwi Peak Mackerel and Lamb Recipe (Canned)

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You can feed your cat this protein-rich wet food containing grass-fed lamb and mackerel in New Zealand. Several omega fatty acids are packed into this product to help keep your coat and skin healthy, as well as essential vitamins and minerals.

Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe

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Known for its sensitive stomach food, Blue Buffalo offers real chicken, vegetables, fruits, and probiotic supplements in addition to carbs and mixed grains like oatmeal and brown rice. The balanced diet in this option both aids in digestion and boosts immunity in cats by providing the right vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe

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To reduce the risk of upset stomach, this formula uses a limited number of ingredients, including real chicken and grain-free carbs, such as chickpeas, peas, and alfalfa meal.

Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Digest Sensitive Loaf in Sauce Canned Cat Food

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This sensitive stomach formula contains vitamins and minerals specifically formulated for cats to support digestive health. This product helped my cat vomit consistently when our vet recommended it to us. 

Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Duck Cat Food

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This raw option is an excellent choice for cats who may be sensitive to chicken or beef protein sources, even though it has not been specifically formulated for cats with digestion problems. Some felines may find duck a more digestible protein than others. Our favorite part of Smalls is that it freeze-dries high-protein morsels, which means no mess. For cats transitioning from dry kibble to raw, this is an excellent option. 

Talk With Your Veterinarian

Just like what you have read above, besides food sensitivity, vomiting can be a sign of many different illnesses. When a cat coughs up a hairball, it may look very similar to general coughing and sneezing, which may indicate the presence of feline asthma. A veterinarian should examine cats that vomit food or hairballs regularly or who lose weight.

If your cat exhibits these behaviors at home, you should also try to get a video of him to show your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can determine what’s causing the stomach upset by checking for clues. To find out the cause of the GI upset, they may recommend diagnostic tests such as blood work, X-rays, or ultrasounds.

It is imperative to rule out other medical issues so that you can ensure that they receive the appropriate medical treatment for any underlying problems.

Conclusion

That’s it! You will inevitably have to deal with stomach issues at some point in your cat’s life if you own one. Follow your veterinarian’s advice when it comes to getting a thorough veterinary workup to ensure you have the proper diagnosis and treatment. You should choose the food you will give your feline friend wisely to prevent intestinal disease in cats. Whether it is wet cat food or dry food, cat owners should make their pet’s digestive tract happy by picking carefully!

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