A Cat’s Finicky Digestive System

August 6, 2012

If you have experience with more than one cat, you know how delicate the digestive system of some felines can be.  The least little disruption in their routines might deliver a smelly mess of barf for you to clean up.  Our large Siamese-mix, Chico, is one of those finicky felines.  He scarfs down food like it’s his last meal and once in awhile, we are greeted with a repeat appearance of that meal.  If our grandson comes to visit, Chico will vomit.  Guaranteed!  He’s deathly afraid of children – all children!  It doesn’t take much to upset Chico’s tummy, and we’ve learned to mostly ignore his issues, because he quickly recovers.

Lucy, a very small Siamese-mix kitty,  is a dainty eater, never pigs out and nothing seems to bother her or cause her stress.  Last year when she failed to eat her breakfast and subsequently vomited twice, we knew there was a problem.  Lucy visited her veterinarian that same day.  Fortunately, her illness wasn’t serious, and she was back to normal within a couple of days.  Sure, we could have waited it out but had her problem been something serious, her recovery and life might have been in jeopardy.  Pet owners usually can’t diagnose a stomach illness in cats.

Learn the recognize the “hairball hack.”  Novice cat owners often believe that their pet is ill when they first hear the sounds of Fluffy trying to hack up a hairball.  It may take several tries over several hours, but the end result will be a nasty glob of gunk in the middle of bile, often deposited where you least want to see it.  That behavior is normal for a cat.  Feline grooming includes a whole lot of licking, which results in a whole lot of fur being swallowed.  That fur is not easily digestible and usually reappears as a hairball.  You can purchase products to help minimize the hairball problem at wag.com and your purchases will benefit Seniors for Pets, a non-profit helping senior citizens pay for basic veterinary care for their dogs and cats.

The key is in knowing when to pay attention to a cat that vomits or has diarrhea.  If the vomiting occurs several times in a short period of time, or the cat shows signs of a sore belly, or has blood in the vomit, take that kitty to a veterinarian pronto to rule out a serious condition.

Diarrhea can occur for many reasons – from eating spoiled or moldy food, to consuming milk products when she has an intolerance for it, or something more serious.  In most cases, only a veterinary professional will know for sure.  Sometimes, lab work is needed to rule out more serious issues.

Don’t take chances with your pet.  When in doubt, consult the expert.

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G.snyder September 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Thanks for new info on cat feeding. And particularly hair balls. Two of them today when there haven’t been any for awhile. Always seem to come up with the dry food I leave down at all times. Always look to make sure, yes!, there’s the undigested hair (fur) in the midst. Guess I will need to hunt up some laxatone which I have used with other cats before Rosie. (don’t tell her).

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