There’s a fine line between being a picky little brat that has gotten used to being hand-fed by its owners and being a cat that can’t tolerate certain foods because of a sensitive stomach. For most people, the difference between the two is not easily noticeable, but there are certain behaviors that should make you ponder.
Like people, cats can suffer from gastrointestinal and digestive disorders. If digestion or absorption of food is reduced or its passage through the digestive tract is altered, your feline friend is most probably suffering from a digestive disorder. They are quite common and most clear up within a few days. However some cats need long-term management due to regular or permanent digestive issues. Dehydration, malnutrition and acid-base and electrolyte imbalances are consequences that need to be dealt with efficiently, so it is essential that you recognize the signs and consult with your veterinarian.
Most often, the signs of these afflictions are soft stools and diarrhea, but you should also check for other possible symptoms such as vomiting, change in appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain, flatulence, diarrhea/constipation, regurgitation, blood or mucus in the feces or weakness.
It’s best not to delay diagnosis, because when a gastrointestinal disease becomes chronic it can be a debilitating problem for your cats and testing and a thorough diagnosis from the vet will be required. In simple cases of a sensitive stomach, the situation can easily improve by checking the source of the problem.
Spoiled or questionable food could have provoked any of the aforementioned symptoms. Even hairballs are often at fault, in which case giving your cat a specialized “hairball formula” cat food is recommended.
Milk or dairy products can also be the cause of a sensitive stomach in your cat. While cats might be fond of the taste, you should remember that they often lack the ability to digest dairy products properly and they are often considered human foods that could be dangerous to animals.
Feeding your cat according to package directions might seem extreme to some, but it is ultimately a wise decision as eating too much can upset a cat’s digestion. You should also keep in mind that any change in nutrition can irritate your cat’s system.
Switching your cat’s food should be done slowly by gradually mixing greater and greater proportions of the new food with the old one.
Cats that eat fast also swallow a lot of air. By dividing big meals into smaller portions, fed throughout the day, you could easily solve this problem!
Lastly, always feed your cat a nutritious, high-quality food! It’s not just about the taste, it’s also the fact that food made with low-quality ingredients cannot be easily digested by cats.
Be mindful when dealing with these issues and remember to confirm with your vet whether it is a simple and easily treatable problem or a serious health issue!