Why does my cat keep getting sick?
While it's normal for your cat to occasionally experience digestive discomfort, it shouldn't be a regular occurrence, and it should be addressed by a veterinarian when it does occur. Through a combination of the right diet, hygiene, and feeding behaviors, you can help protect your cat from having an upset stomach.
The symptoms of a digestive issues in cats
If your cat has an upset stomach or another digestive issue, some of the most common signs are vomiting and diarrhea. You may also notice your cat eating less or struggling with eating.
Stomach upsets can have a variety of underlying causes, including:
- Parasites which can disrupt your cat's gastrointestinal tract
- Hairballs, which can cause blockages and vomiting
- Systemic conditions like diabetes or kidney disease
- Ingesting toxic food or material
- Gastrointestinal tract problems that occurs as a primary problem, unrelated to the above issues
Your cat's diet can also give them an upset stomach if it doesn't contain the right mix of nutrients, or contains specific ingredients known to aggravate their digestion.
Using diet to help decrease digestive issues in your cat
One of the simplest ways to protect your cat against digestive issues and avoid an upset stomach is to make sure you are giving them a complete, nutritionally balanced food. If your cat has particular digestive sensitivities, food designed to support their gastrointestinal health can be an excellent way to keep up their well-being. Your vet may also recommend this type of diet as a "recovery" food to rebalance their system. It’s important to feed this diet exclusively, and not combine with treats, human foods, or other extras.
These foods contain highly digestible protein sources which are easy for your cat's body to absorb, meaning their digestive system has to work less to access nutrients. They may also contain single sources of protein or carbohydrates or those which are less common in manufactured food, to avoid any allergens which your cat may react to. The food is likely to be energy-dense, which means your cat can eat smaller portions and still get everything they need from their food—particularly important if they are recovering or find eating difficult.
A food designed to improve the gastrointestinal health of your cat may also include prebiotics like fructo oligo saccharides and mannan-oligo saccharides (FOS and MOS). These encourage the growth of "beneficial" bacteria in your cat's digestive tract and contribute to the strength of their natural defenses.
Feeding your cat to prevent an upset stomach
As well as selecting a diet which will support their digestive health, following some simple guidelines on feeding your cat can also help.
Avoid any sudden changes in their diet, as this can cause stomach problems; transition your cat to a new food over a week, mixing their old and new food together or offering at the same time, and gradually increasing the percentage of new food.
You can also divide their daily ration of food into several small meals which you place out at different times. This helps prevent an upset stomach by alleviating the workload a large meal causes on their digestive system. Leave your cat in peace when they are eating; if they're disturbed, they might become stressed and this can generate an upset stomach.
It's very important, too, to not give your cat leftovers or scraps. Extras could result in an upset stomach, or my even harm them – raw eggs, liver, and dairy products can call have damaging effects on your cat’s body and gastrointestinal tract.
If you're concerned about your cat's digestive health and want to know more about the best ways you can support them, talk with your vet for advice.