Common Cat Gut Health Issues

Common Cat Gut Health Issues

As cat owners, we all want to ensure our furry friends lead happy, healthy lives. One essential aspect of their well-being that often goes overlooked is gut health. Just like in humans, a cat's digestive system plays a crucial role in their overall health and happiness. 

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help prevent digestive issues and promote optimal gut health in your feline companion.

Signs of Digestive Issues in Cats

Digestive issues in cats can manifest in various ways, and it's essential to monitor your cat's behavior and physical symptoms for any signs of problems. Here are some common signs of digestive issues in cats:

  • Persistent vomiting
  • Diarrhea or loose stool 
  • Constipation
  • Sudden changes in appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Excessive gas
  • Lethargy
  • Changes in litter box habits

If you notice any of these signs in your cat, it's essential to consult with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Some digestive issues can be relatively minor and easily resolved, while others may require more extensive investigation and management.

Common Causes of Digestive Issues in Cats

Many internal and external factors can impact your kitty’s digestive health. If your cat is experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal issues, it’s important to monitor your cat and dive in to determine the root cause. 


What you feed your cat is important. Abrupt changes in diet or poor-quality food can upset a cat's digestive system. Cats may also have food sensitivities or allergies to certain ingredients, leading to gastrointestinal issues.


Cats ingest quite a bit of hair during their normal grooming process. Hairballs can accumulate in the stomach and intestines, causing vomiting, constipation, or intestinal blockages.

Intestinal Parasites

Worms such as roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms can infest the digestive tract, causing symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and poor coat condition.

Gastrointestinal Infections

Viral and bacterial infections such as feline panleukopenia (parvovirus) can cause digestive upset in cats.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

This condition involves chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition. It can impact all ages and breeds of cats. 

Foreign & Toxic Objects

Cats are notoriously curious and often get themselves into trouble by swallowing things they shouldn’t. Ingesting non-food items such as garbage, string, rubber bands, or small toys can lead to stomach issues and gastrointestinal obstructions. Toxic substances such as certain plants, chemicals, medications, and cleaning products can also lead to gastrointestinal symptoms and other major concerns.

Stress or Anxiety

Cats are very sensitive to changes in their routine and home turf. Stress from major environmental changes — such as moving to a new home, introducing a new pet or baby, or changes in feeding schedules — can result in digestive issues.

Existing Health Concerns

Cats with existing health concerns may experience gut health issues at a higher frequency. Conditions such as hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, liver disease, or diabetes can affect digestion and cause gastrointestinal symptoms in cats.

Tips to Improve Your Cat’s Gut Health Issues

Maintaining good gut health in cats is crucial for their overall well-being. Here are several steps you can take to help prevent digestive issues in your cat:

Provide a High-Quality Diet

Feed your cat a balanced, species-appropriate diet that meets their nutritional needs. Look for foods with meat as the top ingredient. There should be minimal artificial ingredients, as additives and fillers may disrupt your cat’s microbiome. 

Gradually Introduce New Foods

If you change your cat’s food, make the transition slow and gradual to give their digestive system a chance to adjust. 

Start by adding a little bit of your cat's new food to their diet. Then, slowly start adjusting the ratio of old food to new food over the course of 7-10 days until you’ve fully transitioned to all new food. 

Monitor Portion Sizes

Overeating and obesity can contribute to digestive issues. Monitor how much your cat is eating and follow guidelines provided by professionals. You may need to adjust portions based on your cat's age, weight, activity level, and overall health. 

Pet auto feeders are a great option for regulating times and food amounts. The consistency can help get your cat into an established feeding routine. 

Cat eating from auto-feeder dish

Provide Access To Fresh Water

Ensure your cat has access to clean, fresh water at all times to stay hydrated. Dehydration can exacerbate digestive issues and lead to other health problems.

Some cats aren’t particularly great at staying hydrated. Consider a combination of wet and dry food to add more moisture to their diet. Some cats also enjoy pet water fountains, and the moving water encourages them to drink more. 

Promote Regular Exercise 

Play and exercise are key to supporting healthy digestion, weight, and your cat’s mental health. Set aside at least 15-20 minutes of dedicated play time each day with your kitty. 

Invest in climbing structures and fun toys such as laser pointers, catnip mice, balls, and more to help encourage activity. Rotating out your cat’s toys can also help keep them interested and engaged.  

Groom Your Cat

Brush your cat regularly to help reduce the ingestion of loose hair and prevent hairballs. This grooming time not only helps remove excess hair but can also be a stress reliever and bonding activity with your cat. 

While many cats enjoy having humans groom them, some are sensitive. Try a variety of different brushes or grooming tools until you find one your cat seems to enjoy. If your cats are hesitant, start by letting them sniff or rub up against the brush until they build up more of a tolerance. 

Prevent Access To Toxic Substances

If you have an especially curious cat, you may need to take some extra steps to prevent them from getting into things that could make them sick or cause stomach issues. 

Lock up household chemicals, medications, and other toxic substances to prevent accidental ingestion. Always double check that any plants you bring into your home are safe for cats or keep them out of reach. 

Minimize Stress

Minimize gut issues from stress by creating a calm and stable environment for your cat. Creating an engaging environment and minimizing routine changes is a great place to start.  

Provide hiding spots, vertical space, and comfy places for your cat to curl up, especially if your home is noisy or there are other pets and kids around. Stick to daily feeding times and schedules to help your cat feel less anxious. 

Try a Gut Health Supplement

A gut health supplement like Maya Pet may help provide a much needed boost in addition to diet, exercise, and environmental changes. 

Maya Pet contains 10 Smart StrainsTM of good bacteria that may help support your cat’s gut health and wellness. Unlike some common pet probiotics on the market, it doesn’t contain additives or artificial ingredients that can trigger allergies and other gastrointestinal issues. 

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