Can Cats Get IBS? 10 Things You Need to Know

The gastrointestinal condition known as irritable bowel syndrome is painful and distressing. IBS is widespread in humans, but is it also possible in cats? The following ten items will help you understand IBS in cats.

1. Can Cats Get IBS?

IBS can occur in cats, however the exact cause is unknown.

Most people believe that IBS is a bowel sensitivity. Constipation, discomfort, and an abrupt start of severe diarrhoea are the main symptoms that it causes. It is challenging to diagnose and treat because the symptoms are similar to those of many other conditions. Cats of all ages can get IBS, but it is more common in middle-aged and older cats.

We’ll go into more detail about each of the causes of IBS later. Nevertheless, stresses, food allergies or intolerances, and gastrointestinal issues including infections or inherited predispositions are the main causes of IBS in cats.

2. Symptoms of IBS in Cats

Cats with IBS experience a wide range of symptoms. While some cats may only have one symptom, others may experience a combination of symptoms or none at all:

The most typical symptoms are as follows:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Pain when pooping
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Excessive gas
  • Painful stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Pooping around the house
  • Lethargy
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss and weight gain

Each cat experiences these symptoms at a different frequency. Some people only get symptoms sometimes, while others could get them every day.

3. Reasons Why Cats Get IBS

Researchers and veterinarians are unsure of the exact cause of IBS in cats and kittens. While the precise cause is frequently difficult to determine, dietary intolerance and stress have been linked to a number of cases.

Intolerance to food:

Like people, some cats have food allergies or intolerances. Dairy products are frequently accompanied by grain. IBS may also result from dietary fibre deficiency. When it comes to food intolerances, figuring out which foods could trigger IBS requires a trial-and-error method.


Although it would be hard to describe every stressor that affects cats, the following are some of the most common ones:

Accident or disease
Anxiety associated with separation
loud sounds, like fireworks
Existence of another animal, such as a dog owned by a neighbour or a new cat in the house
The outsiders’ presence within the home
Rearranging furniture
Journeying and boarding
Changes to the cat’s routine

Cats who are under stress may also urinate erratically, even inside the home, and groom themselves excessively. Cats who are under stress frequently rip off their fur, especially on their rear legs. Another indicator of a stressed-out cat is stress-induced cystitis.

Infection or colon abnormality

IBS in cats can sometimes be brought on by an infection or a genetic anomaly. There is still research being done on parasites and bacterial illnesses. Tests can often be ordered by a veterinarian to rule out this cause of IBS in cats.

4. Can Worms Cause IBS In Cats?

Worms are frequent parasites in cats, including roundworms and tapeworms. Experts believe that IBS in cats may be brought on by or exacerbated by bacterial infections as well as perhaps parasite diseases.

Even if worms aren’t the problem, it’s still critical to give your cat a potent anti-parasite medication. Not only can parasitic illnesses make your cat sick, but some can also spread to humans.

5. How It’s Diagnosed

Your cat’s stomach will be felt as part of a physical examination, and your veterinarian will also inquire about any symptoms.

They’ll probably inquire about any recent stressors—moving or adopting a new cat, for example—as well as whether you’ve lately altered your cat’s nutrition. A veterinarian may advise additional testing based on your responses in order to rule out an illness or injury with comparable symptoms. Tests could include a colonoscopy, x-rays of the abdomen, a faecal examination, or blood chemistry.

Making a diagnosis of IBS often involves ruling out other medical conditions, so this process may take some time.

6. Difference Between IBS and IBD In Cats

IBS and irritable bowel disease (IBD) are not the same. It is a chronic, long-lasting illness that causes digestive tract inflammation.

Rather than stresses, intolerances, allergies, genetics, or illnesses are more frequently the cause of IBD. In order to look for thicker intestinal walls, stomach biopsies, endoscopies, and/or laparotomies are necessary for the diagnosis of IBS. IBS in cats typically manifests as acute, transient flare-ups rather than chronic symptoms or thickness.

7. IBS in Cats: Treatment

Since there is no known cure for IBS, management focuses on reducing pain and diarrhoea symptoms as well as figuring out what triggers them. Managing IBS triggers is a component of longer-term treatment. Long-term therapy for cats with IBS include managing their diet, eliminating stress, and conducting food intolerance tests.

Dietary Changes

An elimination diet will assist in determining which food, if any, is the source of your cat’s IBS.

Eating foods low in gluten or allergies is frequently the first step towards curing IBS. Cats are not allowed to eat treats or get food from neighbours during this testing time. Another diet adjustment is planned if the initial one does not relieve IBS symptoms. We implement each modification gradually over a few weeks to allow your cat’s digestive system to adjust.

For cats with IBS, hypoallergenic food that is high in protein and dietary fibre is ideal. It can be triggered by fatty foods, fillers, and grains. Remember that your cat can get allergic as it gets older.

Stress Management

Long-term stress reduction could aid in the management of IBS. Finding the source of the stress is crucial to reducing or eliminating it. Though every scenario is unique, it’s important to take variations in sights, sounds, and scents into account. Long-term absentee owners may want to think about interactive food toys, background music, or a visiting cat sitter to make sure their cat is doing well.

Make sure the new cat in the house has separate food and litter trays in various rooms if they are acting off. A relaxed cat needs a place to sleep that is peaceful and quiet.

Cats who are unable to reduce their stress levels may benefit from plug-in pheromone diffusers; otherwise, a veterinarian may recommend anti-anxiety medicine.

Medical Care

To assist treat cat IBS, your veterinarian may recommend drugs that treat diarrhoea, such as antispasmodics or stool softeners. Pre- and probiotics may also aid in maintaining a cat’s digestive system, according to some data.

Antibiotics or rehydration medicine may be necessary in severe situations.

8. What To Feed A Cat With IBS

Their diet is crucial because one of the main causes is food intolerance or allergy.

Finding the right food for an IBS cat requires patience and effort as it may not be something they can tolerate. The best meal for a cat with stress-related IBS is high-quality, easily digestible, low-fat, but high-fiber chow. IBS cat food comes in a variety of brands. Consult your veterinarian about suggestions.

9. Exercise For Your Cat Is Important

Because it enhances intestinal function and blood flow, exercise is beneficial. Additionally, it stimulates and energises their brain. Because indoor cats are prone to inactivity, provide them lots of human connection and stimulating new toys to play with, such laser pointers.

Exercise is a stress reliever. If your cat suffers from stress-related IBS, giving them lots of exercise will help them manage.

10. How Long Can a Cat with IBS Live?

When appropriately controlled, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in cats should not shorten their life expectancy, despite its discomfort and occasionally upsetting nature. Your cat should have a good quality of life once the underlying cause of their IBS is identified and appropriately addressed.

On the other hand, lethargy, poor coat condition, and an inability to absorb vitamins and minerals are consequences of poorly treated or disregarded IBS. Additionally, it’s critical to rule out conditions like IBD because they have the potential to develop cancer in the long run.

If IBS is fully examined and the right medicines are used, it is controllable. Don’t give up and ask your veterinarian for assistance. Patience and the commitment to maintain a new routine are key factors in the resolution of many feline IBS cases.