Why Do Baby Kittens Have Fat Bellies?

Growing kittens eat frequently and can develop big bellies.
i Martin Poole/Photodisc/Getty Images

Is anything cuter than a roly-poly baby kitten? With their fuzzy bodies and round tummies, they're the epitome of adorable. But if that tummy is really round, your little bundle of fuzzy joy could have a problem. Have her checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any health issues.

Be Vigilant

When it comes to your kitten's well-being, be safe rather than sorry. Always consult a veterinarian regarding your kitten's health if anything seems unusual. Keep a close eye on every aspect of kitty's digestive process. He should have a healthy appetite and drink plenty of fresh water. If he's under 6 months old, he should eat three to four times per day, according to the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. His litter-box eliminations should be brown and firm. If he strains while defecating, has diarrhea or is constipated, his fat belly may be a sign that something is wrong. If you notice any change in his bathroom habits -- including the consistency of his poo -- get him to a veterinarian, post-haste.


A little fat on your kitten's tummy is normal, but if your little darling's belly bulges significantly, there's a good chance he has intestinal parasites. In some cases, mama cats transfer parasites through their milk; early deworming can nip parasitic problems in the bud. Ingesting infected fleas or rodents can also lead to infestation. If your kitten looks more pot-bellied than chubby, if he loses his appetite, vomits, or has diarrhea -- especially poo with mucus or blood mixed in -- or a dull coat, the cause of your kitten's bulbous belly could be worms.

Serious Problems

If your kitten's belly goes from flat to fat in a short period of time, he could have a serious bowel obstruction. Left untreated, it may lead to death. Sudden bloating caused by a buildup of gas can, in some cases, cause your kitten's stomach and spleen to rotate. This is an emergency situation -- seek help immediately. If your kitten's belly grows disproportionately large over a longer period of time, fluid could be building in his abdominal region. Heart and liver diseases may also cause a distended appearance in your kitten's tummy. The bottom line? If you're concerned, it's time to pay a visit to your friendly neighborhood veterinarian.

Take Action

Your kitten could have a fat belly for a very simple reason -- he's overeating. If this is the case, feed your pet on a set schedule with a gradually diminishing ration of food rather than allowing him to eat whenever he pleases. If your kitten is a Ragdoll, his big tummy is genetic. Ragdolls have an extra padding of fat in their abdomens. Your can rid your kitten of worms by using a veterinarian-prescribed medication. Don't hesitate in seeking treatment, though, just because worms are common. In young kittens, worm infestations lead to serious complications -- or death.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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