How Can I Tell if My Cat is Bloated?

Cats can suffer from bloating. It can be caused by eating and drinking too much, but it also can be a sign that something more serious is going on that will require a visit to the vet. It is important to know if your cat really is bloated, so that you can act fast if necessary. Bloating can cause breathing difficulties, and usually there are other physical signs that suggest that your cat may not be feeling well.

Bloated or Not?

The most obvious sign of bloating is that the cat’s belly has become distended. Your cat’s tummy should be smooth and be in a direct line with the hips. He or she may have a soft paunch too, and this is perfectly normal. If your cat is overweight you will have noticed this already – the paunch will hang down and sway slightly as he or she walks.

Bloating often comes on fast. If you can touch your cat, see how he or she reacts if you try to touch the distended area. If your pet does not want you to, don’t force it, but if this is a change to normal behaviour, your cat may be experiencing pain or sensitivity around the area.

Is My Cat Ill?

Your cat will likely have other symptoms that you will be able to notice. Does your pet keep trying to vomit or belch? Cats do vomit hairballs occasionally as we all know, but this combined with a bloated belly could suggest an underlying illness or intestinal blockage.

Other signs of illness in your cat may include:

·       Drooling

·       Lethargy

·       Pale gums

·       Lowered body temperature

·       Shortness of breath

·       Rapid heartbeat

What Causes Bloating in Cats?

Bloating can be caused by a variety of reasons and they are not always serious. However it is important to get your pet checked out if this is accompanied by other symptoms and has come on very quickly.

Bloating can be caused by:

·       Overeating

·       Constipation

·       Indigestion

·       Swallowing too much air while eating

·       Intestinal parasites and worms such as hookworm and roundworm

·       Retaining too much fluid – potentially a sign of liver or kidney disease

·       Blocked valve at the end of the stomach

·       Gastric dilatation and volvulus (stomach twists, then swells)

·       Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)

Does My Cat Need to See a Veterinarian?

The best way to decide whether or not to take your pet to the vet is to know your cat and his or her habits.

You should always ensure that your cat does not have worms, and you can do this by buying an OTC worming treatment.

You should also make sure that your cat does not overeat by limiting portion sizes and keeping a check on your cat’s whereabouts and behavior. Is your pet scavenging food from the bins, or being fed by neighbours? This type of overeating can be hard to spot and will often lead to bloating or gas. (If it’s indigestion, try Digest Cat Daily Enzyme Powder by Vital Planet to help support your cat’s digestive system.)

However, if your cat is ill, there may be other symptoms such as lethargy or drooling. Your pet may just seem generally off color and unwell. In this case, you should definitely visit the vet, and it goes without saying that if your cat seems to be in pain or has breathing difficulties such as wheezing or panting, you should make sure you visit the vet as soon as possible.