Jump to section

What are Bloating in Cats?

Cats can be masters at hiding illness until their condition might become severe. When the cat begins to show symptoms such as pain, unexpected weakness, attempting to belch or vomit, or difficulty breathing, it should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.

Bloating in cats is a condition that is potentially deadly. Bloating can develop if the cat has overeaten or had too much water to drink, or may develop as the result of one of several underlying medical causes. If the condition isn’t detected early, it can be fatal because the cat’s organs are being compressed, making it difficult for the animal’s body to function normally. If the bloated stomach gets large enough, the cat may have difficulty breathing. 

Compare Pet Insurance & Wellness Plans

Save up to $273 per year

Compare plans
advertisement image

Bloating in Cats Average Cost

From 424 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,500

Symptoms of Bloating in Cats

Cats usually develop several signs that can tip the pet owner off to a major problem. Until the veterinarian knows just what has caused the bloated stomach, knowing the cat’s signs helps the pet owner fill the veterinarian in more accurately:

  • Repeated attempts to vomit or belch
  • Swollen abdomen and stomach
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Lowered body temperature
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sudden weakness or collapse

If the cat has developed gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV), its symptoms may include:

  • Depression
  • Signs of pain
  • Shock
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Bloating in Cats

While quite uncommon, kittens and cats might develop bloated stomachs because of several different reasons:

  • Intestinal parasites (roundworm, hookworm, protozoal parasites)
  • Retaining too much fluid (develops from liver or kidney failure)
  • Overeating (If this is chronic, an underlying disease may be the cause)
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Swallowing too much air while eating
  • Blocked valve at the end of the stomach
  • Gastric dilation and volvulus (stomach twists, then swells)
  • Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

In kittens, mild to severe stomach bloating can develop from one of these causes:

  • Infection in mother cat’s mammary glands or uterus lead to toxic milk syndrome
  • Improperly mixed milk replacement formulas
  • Spoiled replacement milk or abnormal cat’s milk
  • Too many carbohydrates in kitten food (dry)
  • Congenital defects
  • Viral infections (enteric corona viral diarrhea, panleukopenia)
  • Insufficient good intestinal bacteria
  • Intestinal inflammatory illness combined with beneficial intestinal bacteria
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Bloating in Cats

The veterinarian conducts a full physical exam of a cat with abdominal bloating and makes note of every sign. To help the diagnostic process, the veterinarian might also take X-rays, or examine a stool sample or urinalysis, which can help to rule out other illnesses. The stool sample can tell the veterinarian if the cat has intestinal worms or parasites. A complete blood count (CBC) and systemic bloodwork can allow the veterinarian to determine whether the cat is suffering from a different illness.

If the veterinarian begins to suspect that an underlying illness has set off the bloating, they may need to conduct even more testing on the cat to confirm or rule out these conditions, including liver or kidney disease. Even constipation can tip the veterinarian off to other, more serious illnesses, such as an intestinal occlusion (blockage) or tumors.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Bloating in Cats

Treatment of a bloated stomach should begin just as soon as the veterinarian has a solid diagnosis.

Although quite rare, if the cat has gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV), the only cure for this condition is emergency surgery. The surgeon physically straightens the stomach out. During surgery, the surgeon should closely inspect the stomach to make sure no other injuries have taken place. Once the cat has suffered GDV, it is vulnerable to repeat incidences. For this reason, the veterinarian may attach the stomach to the wall of the abdomen, reducing the risk of a future twisting event.

Bloating that develops as a result of intestinal parasites can be treated with the right deworming medication. If the cat or kitten has protozoal parasites, it will need a different medication to eradicate this infestation.

Panleukopenia and diarrhea caused by the enteric coronavirus, or FIP, can be treated, though the prognosis for a cat or kitten with feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is not as positive.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Bloating in Cats

When a cat’s bloated stomach is the result of overeating, intestinal worms or parasites, the cat should recover well and resume living a normal, happy life. Cats with worms or parasites may need to receive preventive treatments to avoid a new infestation that could cause future episodes of bloating.

The cat’s owner should change some daily routines and keep a close eye on the cat as well. Overeating can make the cat’s stomach larger, and can make a future bloating episode more likely. Knowing this, the pet owner should provide the cat with several smaller meals throughout the day instead of giving only two or three larger meals.

If cats are allowed to roam outside, they may scavenge food from other sources, such as garbage cans. The new food may cause intestinal symptoms, gas and bloating. If the cat’s owner knows the cat has a tendency to do this, the cat should be retrained to live indoors. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Bloating in Cats Average Cost

From 424 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,500

arrow-up-icon

Top

Written by Michele K.

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Published: 12/05/2016, edited: 02/24/2021

Bloating in Cats Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

domestic cat

dog-age-icon

Five Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

7 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bloating, Excessive Vaginall Discharge

What is causing my cat to be bloated and have yellow/white vaginal discharge? She’s not pregnant as she has never been outside.

Feb. 21, 2021

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Sara O. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

7 Recommendations

Hello, this sounds like your cat has a pyometra. This is an infection in her uterus. She would need to be spayed as soon as possible. I would recommend going to the ER vet tonight with her as this can be life-threatening.

Feb. 21, 2021

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Bombay Cat

dog-age-icon

Three Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

6 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bloating

Bloating in kitten and diarrhea and squishy stomach/feels like it’s a balloon

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

6 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Parasites are very common in kittens, and can cause bloating and diarrhea. The best thing to do would be to have a veterinarian see that kitten and look at a stool sample for parasite eggs. They will be able to help with that bloating, and make the kitten feel better. I hope that all goes well!

Oct. 4, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Domestic cat

dog-age-icon

4 months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bloating Diarrhea

Is it worms?

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It may be worms, or she may be pregnant. It would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine your pet and see what might be causing this, and let you know what treatment might help.

Oct. 11, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Kitten

dog-age-icon

N/A

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Abdomen

I found this kitten and it poops everywhere and the poop is runny I noticed its belly is swollen

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my response, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. Since I cannot see your pet, it would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be causing this, and get treatment if needed.

Oct. 13, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Siamese

dog-age-icon

Four Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Hard Belly

Why does my cat have a hard belly

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment if needed.

Oct. 14, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Baby

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

5 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Bloating And Wheezing

This summer we found a small liter of 3 kittens under our wood pile at the cabin, the mother looked malnourished and sickly and the kitties looked starved so we took them home. I have 2 kitties, and my friend has the other. The 2 I have, have eaten the same food, same amount same time, meow mix dry kitten food (soaked in water till mushy) mixed with iams kitten portions wet food the 2 i have are extremely bloated, normal poop and pee, but hard bellies. The one my friend has isn't bloated and has only had purina kitten dry food if it was a parasite or worms (no worms in stool that I could see) they would all 3 have them so my question is, is it just the food?

dog-name-icon

Diesel

dog-breed-icon

Cat

dog-age-icon

15 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Abdomen
Bloating
Large Abdomen
Firm Stomach

Hello, so our Diesel randomly had a large swollen hard abdomen around 3 weeks ago after eating her usual portion of food at teatime. It was very noticeably swollen on both sides but no other symptoms and she was happy for us to touch it. The next morning back to normal. The vets advised to monitor her and feed little and often rather than 2-3 set meals. This worked great. Then we reverted back to 2-3 set meals a week ago and after each meal she bloats as she did previously and then it is back to normal a few hours later. She seems her normal self, going to the loo as normal, drinking water, happy in herself, usual routine. Anybody experienced this and have any ideas? Why would she be so bloated after eating 1 sachet of food per sitting it isn't over the daily recommended amount and she is a larger than average cat. Thanks

dog-name-icon

Mace

dog-breed-icon

domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Loss Of Appetite
Does Not Drink Water
Lack Of Grooming

7kg,6year old,orange short hair, male cat, spayed and neutered,up to date with vaccines, no underlying conditions with appetite loss, lethargic, abruptly hiding. He used the litter box 12 hours ago. He had dilated pupils for 10 hours, now pupils are back to normal.No apparent signs of pain. Loss of appetite and dehydration visible, even after forcefully made to drink water. Gums very white.

dog-name-icon

Bella

dog-breed-icon

Long hair mixed breed

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hard Belly
Hard Belly Meowing Loudly

My girl has been meowing loudly continuously for about a week now . She is very playful and eating and drinking regularly. I was trying to calm her down from the meowing and picked her up and rubbed her belly which she loves. She started purring like normal but I noticed that her belly is hard. I'm debating bringing her to the vet but also thought she may be constipated. Any thoughts? The meowing is like she's in heat she is not fixed as she's an indoor cat and our other cats are also females.

dog-name-icon

Kitty

dog-breed-icon

Calico

dog-age-icon

8 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Sleepy
Sleepiness

I'm actually not sure whats wrong with my kitten and I was hoping someone could help me figure it out. Shes fairly young, she was a stray when we first got her and she has always kind of had a bloated stomach since we got her like 2 months ago, but about a week ago she started having diarrhea and at first it wasnt that bad but its gotten progressively worse and more uncontrollable, and my mom and I thought maybe it was just some kind of sickness or something but my other cat has been fine. I'm really worried about my kitten and was hoping someone could help me out.

Bloating in Cats Average Cost

From 424 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,500

Compare Pet Insurance & Wellness Plans

Save up to $273 per year

advertisement image
Need pet insurance?