What Foods Are Good for Cats That Have Problems With Digestion?

"I feel so much better now that you changed my meals."

"I feel so much better now that you changed my meals."

Poor kitty. Something's not right with his digestive system, whether it's frequent vomiting, diarrhea, bloating or gas. What he eats can make a difference in his condition, but take him to the vet to find out exactly what's causing the problem. She can make dietary suggestions to help your cat.

Food Allergies

Your cat might react to certain foods or substances in commercial cat food. In cats, food allergies often result in skin infections, including hair loss and itchiness. They also cause diarrhea and vomiting, so your cat loses weight and becomes dehydrated. Your vet conducts blood and skin tests to determine exactly what sets off your cat's food sensitivity and immune reaction. She might recommend a so-called "elimination" diet, which consists of feeding your cat meats he hasn't consumed previously, such as rabbit or venison. It should be a single protein source, meaning one kind of meat only. Warning: the elimination diet can take months before you find a food that doesn't produce gastrointestinal symptoms in your pet. Once you find a food that doesn't cause a problem in your cat, stick to it.

Flatulence

While a gassy cat might stink up your house, remember that his condition likely causes him discomfort. Take him to the vet to make sure he's not suffering from serious gastrointestinal issues causing flatulence, including inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, a virus or even cancer. If he's not up to date on deworming, your vet can recommend or administer a broad-spectrum dewormer to eradicate any internal parasites. If there's nothing obviously wrong with him, transition him to a low-fiber food that's easy to digest. Rather than feeding him once daily, give him the same amount of food in smaller portions at several feedings.

Bland Diet

If Puffy experiences a short bout of vomiting, you want to let his system rest before feeding him his regular cat food. A bland diet consists of rice with either chicken or turkey. Chicken or turkey baby food can fit the bill. If he's vomited, wait at least 4 to 6 hours after he's last thrown up and give him some water or chicken broth. Continue offering him liquid for the next 4 to 6 hours. If he keeps it down, give him a small amount of the bland diet. For best results, feed him this diet for a few days, divided into three or four daily meals. If he appears better, transition him back to his regular food. Always consult your vet if your cat vomits more than once.

Feces

Don't think of your cat's feces as gross, although no one claims they're pleasant. Instead, think of them as indicators of the state of your cat's gastrointestinal system. If your cat frequently produces diarrhea, try a bland diet. Constipation, the opposite problem, might resolve if you feed your cat a high-fiber diet, including a little canned pumpkin mixed in his meal.

Prescription Diets

Your vet might recommend a prescription diet especially formulated for your cat's digestive issue. These prescription diets vary in the amount of fiber contained in the particular food or the protein source. One thing veterinary diets have in common is easy digestibility for cats with gastrointestinal problems.

 

About the Author

Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.

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