How To Naturally Treat Common Digestive Disorders In Cats

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
Your cat’s tummy troubles mean more than hairballs – here’s how to make her stomach feel better, naturally

From diarrhea to constipation to vomiting, your cat may encounter a digestive issue every now and then. Sometimes these digestive problems are fleeting and will resolve completely on their own. Other times, however, they can indicate a more serious problem. If your cat has been experiencing digestive problems on a recurrent basis, you should have her examined by your vet to rule out any underlying conditions that could be at fault. And once you know what the problem is, you can even take a more natural or holistic approach to your cat’s care to help get her body back in balance.

Related: What’s Wrong With Feeding Your Cat Kibble?

Treating Constipation

Constipation is pretty common, especially in older felines, and hairballs at any point in your pet’s life may also lead to this condition. Below are a few steps you can take to naturally alleviate your cat’s constipation.

  • Feed your cat twice daily. These larger amounts of food may push stool through more effectively than smaller meals that are eaten throughout the day.
  • Because dry food can lead to dehydration, a canned or homemade diet may be better at promoting normal stools and keeping everything moving smoothly.
  • Herbal remedies that may help include dandelion root, yellow dock, slippery elm, Oregon grape, and chickweed. Be sure to work with a holistic vet when choosing the herbal remedies and dosages that are best for your cat. These remedies are not guaranteed to work, and your vet may even recommend trying conventional remedies in conjunction with natural options to enhance their ability to help digestion.
  • Choose a feline-appropriate food that contains ingredients that have a lot of fiber, such as pumpkin and squash, as these can help alleviate constipation. You may even choose to add some extra canned pumpkin (pureed, not pie mix) to your cat’s food in order to promote digestive balance.

Related: Benefits Of A Raw Food Diet For Cats

Treating Diarrhea

Diarrhea can be caused by a variety of factors. If you suddenly switch your cat’s food, this could lead to loose stools, which is why it’s so important to gradually switch from one type or brand of food to another. If your pet ate something that she shouldn’t have, this could also result in an upset stomach and diarrhea. If the diarrhea passes on its own or with home treatment, you don’t need to bring your cat to the vet unless complications, such as dehydration, occur. However, for chronic cases of diarrhea, bring your cat and a stool sample to your vet, as she may be suffering from a parasitic infection or may have inflammatory bowel disease.

  • If your cat has been on antibiotics, they may have depleted the body’s natural store of probiotics that assist in digestion. Supplementing with natural, feline-specific probiotics, therefore, can help bring balance back to the body.
  • Digestive enzymes that are designed for felines may also be added to your pet’s food. Your vet will be able to tell if your cat is suffering from malabsorption of nutrients or the pancreas is being overworked and is unable to produce enough digestive enzymes on its own to properly break down food.
  • Some vets also recommend fasting your animal for about 24 hours. Do this only under the guidance of your veterinarian, who can tell you how to properly go about fasting your cat.

It cannot be stressed enough that chronic digestive problems should be checked by your veterinarian, especially since inflammatory bowel disease can cause symptoms that include constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. Targeting the cause of your cat’s digestive problems, whether it is an underlying health condition or simply the food you are feeding him, will allow you to then take appropriate steps to alleviate your pet’s discomfort and ensure the food he is eating will be properly absorbed to prevent malnutrition.

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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