How Can I Settle My Cats Stomach?

Causes of Upset Stomach in Cats

An upset stomach in cats can be caused by a variety of issues. Some of the most common causes include:

Dietary changes – An abrupt change in diet can lead to gastrointestinal upset. Switching foods too quickly, eating people food, or getting into the trash can cause vomiting, diarrhea, gas, or loss of appetite.

Eating something toxic – Cats can get into things they shouldn’t and ingest toxic substances, plants, or objects, which may irritate the digestive system. Toxic foods like chocolate, onions, raisins, garlic, and xylitol should not be given to cats.

Stress/anxiety – Stressors like changes in environment or routine, traveling, loud noises, new people or animals, or negative interactions can trigger stomach upset in cats. The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotions.

Parasites – Intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, giardia or coccidia can inflame the intestinal lining and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Kittens and outdoor cats are especially prone to parasites.

Viral/bacterial infections – Infections with common feline viruses like panleukopenia or calicivirus can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. Bacterial infections like salmonella may also lead to gastroenteritis.

For more information, see these sources:

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Signs of an Upset Stomach

There are several common signs that may indicate your cat has an upset stomach. The most common symptoms to watch for include:

Vomiting – Repeated vomiting or throwing up food, liquid, or bile could signal an upset stomach or other gastrointestinal issue. Vomiting may occur right after eating or drinking or may happen randomly throughout the day. According to, vomiting is one of the most obvious signs of an upset stomach or nausea in cats.

Diarrhea – Loose, watery, or abnormally frequent stools point to diarrhea and intestinal upset. Cats may pass gas, have smelly stools, or need to use the litter box more when diarrhea strikes. As per, diarrhea and other changes in bowel movements can signify irritation of the stomach or intestines.

Loss of appetite – A finicky appetite or refusal to eat are common with an upset stomach. Cats may sniff at their food and walk away or eat very little. Lack of appetite prevents cats from getting needed nutrients.

Lethargy – An upset stomach may cause cats to act listless and low energy. They may sleep more or lose interest in playtime and interact less. This is likely due to nausea or discomfort.

Gurgling noises – Audible gurgling, burping, or flatulence can indicate gastrointestinal distress. These noises point to abnormal amounts of gas or fluid in the stomach and intestines.

Excessive licking – Frequent lip licking or licking of surfaces can signal nausea in cats. Vetster says this is a telltale sign your cat isn’t feeling well and has an unsettled digestive system.

When to See the Vet

Vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration quickly in cats, so it’s important to see the vet if your cat has an upset stomach that persists for more than a day. The general guidelines from vets for when to seek medical attention include:

It’s always better to be safe than sorry if your cat is showing any of these symptoms. The vet can provide IV fluids, anti-nausea medications, and determine if there is an underlying condition causing the stomach upset. Don’t hesitate to call the emergency vet if your cat’s symptoms are severe.

Dietary Changes

When your cat has an upset stomach, it’s often best to withhold food for 12-24 hours to give their digestive system a chance to rest. After this short fast, you can gradually reintroduce bland, easily digestible foods like boiled chicken and rice.

A bland diet of boiled chicken and rice is gentle on the stomach. The chicken provides lean protein while the rice gives carbohydrates for energy. Make sure the chicken is cooked plain without any seasonings or oils. Mix a ratio of 2 parts rice to 1 part chicken and gradually reintroduce small portions every 4-6 hours.

You can also try mixing in a spoonful of canned pumpkin, which has fiber that can help firm up loose stools. Just be sure to introduce new ingredients slowly and monitor your cat’s symptoms. Small, frequent meals are easier to digest than large portions.

Giving probiotics designed for cats can also help restore gut health and microbial balance after an upset stomach episode. Probiotics contain live, beneficial bacteria that support digestion. Choose a pet-specific probiotic and give as directed on the product label.

As your cat’s symptoms improve, you can gradually transition back to their normal diet over 3-5 days. But if nausea or diarrhea returns, go back to the bland diet for a longer period of time. Check with your vet if symptoms persist beyond 2-3 days on the bland diet.


When cats have diarrhea, they can quickly become dehydrated due to the loss of fluids. It is critical to keep your cat hydrated when they have an upset stomach.

First, provide fresh, clean water at all times. Change the water frequently to encourage drinking. You can place bowls around your home so water is always available. Use a fountain-style water bowl if your cat prefers moving water.

You can also provide an oral rehydration solution such as unflavored Pedialyte. Give about 5 mL every 2-4 hours with a syringe or dropper. This helps replenish electrolyte loss.

If your cat is not drinking on their own, use a plastic syringe or dropper to give them water every few hours. Squirt the water into the side of their mouth slowly so they swallow naturally.

Keeping your cat hydrated will help their body recover more quickly. Monitor their hydration status by checking the elasticity of the skin. If the skin does not bounce back right away when lightly pinched, they may be dehydrated.


Probiotics can help restore good gut bacteria when a cat has an upset stomach. Giving your cat a probiotic supplement or probiotic-fortified food can repopulate the gut with beneficial microorganisms like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species. This helps restore digestive balance. Some examples of probiotic products for cats include Purina Fortiflora, VetriScience Vetri Mega Probiotic, and UndertheWeather’s Probiotic Powder. According to one source, “VetriScience Vetri Mega Probiotic helps cats recuperate from diarrhea, vomiting, and other digestive upset. It supplies a number of strains that work synergistically to promote healthy digestion” ( Probiotics can be given during and after a stomach upset to help restore normal gut function.

Anti-nausea Medications

There are some over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help relieve nausea in cats. Two common OTC options are:

  • Cerenia (maropitant) – This is an FDA-approved medication specifically for treating vomiting and nausea in cats. It can be given as an injection that lasts 24 hours or as a tablet that lasts 24 hours. The injectable form often works faster and is useful for cats who won’t take a pill. Recommended dosage is 2-4 mg/kg for the injection or 2-4 mg/tablet once a day (source).

  • Zofran (ondansetron) – This anti-nausea medication is sometimes prescribed off-label for cats. It can be given 1-2 times a day. Recommended dosage is 0.1-0.2 mg/kg per dose (source).

If OTC medications are not effective, your vet may prescribe other anti-nausea medications like metoclopramide or prochlorperazine. Be sure to follow your vet’s dosage instructions. These prescription medications for cats should only be given under veterinary supervision.

Anti-diarrheal Medications

Anti-diarrheal medications like Kaopectate can help soothe diarrhea in cats. These are typically over-the-counter (OTC) medications that can be purchased from pet stores or online retailers like Amazon or Chewy.

Some popular anti-diarrheal medication options for cats include:

  • Kaopectate Anti-Diarrheal for Pets
  • Nutri-Vet Anti-Diarrhea Liquid for Cats
  • Vet Worthy Anti Diarrhea for Dogs & Cats

It’s important to carefully follow the dosage instructions on the package or from your veterinarian when giving anti-diarrheal medication to your cat. Providing the proper dosage helps ensure the medication is safe and effective.

Too much can cause constipation, while too little may not adequately treat the diarrhea. Monitoring your cat for improvement or side effects is also recommended.

These over-the-counter medications can provide relief, but diarrhea lasting more than 24 hours may require veterinary attention. Consult your vet if your cat’s condition does not improve or worsens while using anti-diarrheal medication.

Stress Reduction

Reducing stress is an important part of settling your cat’s upset stomach. Stress can cause a range of digestive issues in cats including vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Try the following tips to create a calmer, more relaxing environment for your cat:

Give your cat more playtime and affection. Regular play and positive interactions can greatly reduce stress. Set aside 10-15 minutes 2-3 times a day for play and cuddling. Use toys like feather wands and laser pointers to stimulate hunting instincts.

Use cat appeasing pheromones. Synthetic pheromones mimic cat facial pheromones to create a sense of comfort and security. Diffusers, sprays, or collars containing these pheromones can help relax your cat.

Keep to a consistent routine. Cats feel calmer with predictable schedules for feeding, play, and sleep. Try to stick to the same times each day and give your cat advance notice of any changes.

When to Try Home Remedies Again

After your vet has examined your cat and ruled out any serious or underlying conditions causing the upset stomach, home remedies can be attempted again for mild, intermittent episodes of an upset stomach.

Home remedies should not replace veterinary advice or treatment, but can be tried concurrently for recurring upset stomach issues after getting your vet’s approval. Some cats may be prone to intermittent, mild stomach upsets due to stress, diet, or other factors. In these cases, home remedies can provide temporary relief when flare-ups occur.

It’s important to monitor the frequency and severity of stomach upsets. If they persist beyond 72 hours or worsen, veterinary assistance should be sought again. Additionally, if your cat is experiencing repeated episodes, have your vet re-examine them to ensure an underlying condition isn’t being missed.

With your vet’s guidance, home remedies can provide a natural way to soothe mild or intermittent upset stomachs in cats. However, they should not be used in place of medical treatment when warranted. Close monitoring of symptoms and open communication with your vet is key to getting your cat back to optimal digestive health.

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