How to help a cat with an upset stomach


As a cat owner, you want your feline companion to always be happy and healthy. But One common issue that many pet owners have to deal with is their cat having an upset stomach.

This can cause a tremendous amount of discomfort and stress for both the cat and you.

Let’s explore some things that may help if your cat has an upset stomach and some potential causes.

The signs of an upset stomach in cats

An upset stomach in cats may manifest in several ways such as stomach pain and nausea. But there are also other signs that may develop including

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in behavior

Early detection and timely management of these symptoms can help prevent them from becoming worse.

If your cat experiences any of these signs like vomiting or diarrhea for more than a day or two it is imperative that you take them to the veterinarian immediately.

Cats should not go for long times without eating as it can negatively impact their liver health as they can develop fatty liver disease.

If you notice blood in their vomit or stool this can be a sign of something serious like a foreign body, inflammatory bowel disease, or stress colitis.

Excess vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to dehydration which can be fatal.

Potential causes of an upset stomach in cats

While there are a variety of potential causes of an upset stomach in cats these are some of the most common

  • Food intolerance
  • Parasites
  • Frequent diet changes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Renal disease

If your cat exhibits any of these signs your veterinarian will probably want to run some tests like x-rays or blood work to determine the underlying cause.

What can you do for your cat’s upset stomach

Anti-nausea medication

If your cat has vomiting and nausea you may have to take them to the veterinarian and they can give some anti-nausea medication

Appetite stimulant

If your cat is not eating you may also be able to get some appetite stimulants from your veterinarian. If this does not work your cat may need to be hospitalized for IV administration of nutrients.


Ensure that your cat has proper hydration, especially if they have diarrhea. You can provide ice chips for them and your vet can prescribe an electrolyte solution or give you the correct dose of Pedialyte to give your cat to help them maintain their fluid levels.

Bland diet

When reintroducing your cat to food you should make sure to do so slowly and gradually.

A bland diet should consist of easily digestible foods like boiled chicken and bland rice. These foods are gentle on your cat’s stomach and can help alleviate their discomfort.

To learn more about how to feed your cat a bland diet read our latest article here: A mini-guide to feeding your cat a bland diet.

Foods that are common in a bland diet for cats include

  • Boiled chicken breast (boneless and skinless)
  • Cooked white rice

Reintroduce A Regular Diet Gradually

While a bland diet is very beneficial to introduce food back into your cat’s diet bear in mind that it is not a nutritionally sound diet and your cat should not be on it for a long period of time.

A bland diet should be temporary to help your cat recover from an upset stomach.

You should reintroduce your cat’s regular diet gradually over a period of one to two weeks.

Hairball formulations

Hairballs can contribute to a cat’s upset stomach. Because cats regularly groom themselves pet owners often find themselves finding hairballs on the floor or worse on their beds.

If a hairball becomes lodged in the stomach it can cause some gastrointestinal upset. Some things that can help are lubricant gels like Laxatone and hairball diets formulated specifically to help prevent this issue.

Some owners have also had some success by incorporating pumpkin or tuna into their cat’s diet.

Sensitive Stomach Cat Food

If your cat has a sensitivity to some proteins or common ingredients found in over-the-counter diets you may have to speak with your vet about introducing a food for cats with sensitive stomachs.

Sensitive stomach cat food options can help prevent future issues and promote overall digestive health in cats that suffer from irritable bowel disease or food sensitivities.

How to change your cat’s food

When transitioning your cat’s food it is advised to do so gradually by introducing the new food over a period of 7-14 days by reducing the amount of their current food and increasing the amount of the new or regular food.

This is done to help prevent any gastrointestinal distress and ensure a smooth dietary change.

Can probiotics help with an upset stomach in cats?

Probiotic supplements can play a vital role in improving your cat’s digestive health by providing a natural blend of live, beneficial bacteria to their gut microbiome. Probiotics can help by

  • increasing the amount of good bacteria in your cat’s digestive system
  • Help in resolving stomach ailments
  • Prevent the recurrence of stomach issues in the future

Prior to adding any probiotic supplement to your cat’s diet, it is important to get the okay from your veterinarian to ensure the supplements meet your cat’s specific needs and health conditions.

When to consult a veterinarian

If your cat has symptoms for over 48 hours or they seem to decline rapidly you should see your veterinarian immediately.

Be prepared that they may need to be hospitalized for treatment and observation and need some tests as well.

In conclusion, understanding the signs of an upset stomach in cats and addressing the issues promptly is essential for maintaining your cat’s health and well-being. Home remedies such as hydrating and introducing a bland diet can provide some immediate relief while placing your cat on a sensitive stomach formula and introducing probiotic supplements may provide some long-term digestive health.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I settle my cat’s stomach?

To help settle your cat’s stomach, feed them a bland diet such as boiled chicken with the fat trimmed off. Give them smaller portions more often, like a small bowl 5 times a day for a week or so

Is wet food better for cats with an upset stomach?

Wet food can be a good choice for cats with upset stomachs due to its high moisture content

Can i give my cat Pepto Bismol?

It is not recommended that you give your cat Pepto Bismol it contains salicylates which can be toxic to cats and cause respiratory failure and hyperglycemia. So, no you should not give your cat Pepto Bismol.

Key Takeaways

  • Recognize signs of an upset stomach in cats to prevent health complications
  • Reintroduce regular cat diet gradually over three to four days for diagnosis and treatment
  • Provide immediate relief with fasting and hydration, a bland diet, sensitive stomach diet options, probiotics, and hairball prevention.
  • Consult your veterinarian if needed

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