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Irritable bowel syndrome in cats: what is it and how does it express itself?


Regular diarrhea is the main symptom in cats with irritable bowel syndrome. The causes for this are mostly stress or food intolerance. But since there are a lot of other reasons that can cause digestive problems, it's important to take your velvet paw to the vet.

Irritable bowel syndrome in cats is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and is often confused with chronic bowel inflammation called Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) due to the similar symptoms. Irritable bowel syndrome is uncomfortable, but if you keep a close eye on your loved one, you can usually get a good grip on the problem with the help of your veterinarian.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in cats: diarrhea and digestive problems

The most important symptom of IBS is diarrhea: if you often find large amounts of liquid feces in the litter box or your darling lets out small amounts of diarrhea from time to time outside the litter box, there is usually a digestive problem. The tricky thing is that diarrhea can be a symptom of a large number of diseases and alone is not proof of IBS.

In addition to diarrhea, the velvet paws often also suffer from some of the following symptoms:

Flatulence
● cramps
● Pain when touching the belly
● nausea
● vomiting
● Weight loss due to the diarrhea
● very sudden urge to bowel movements
● Problems with dropping the faeces

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Causes of IBS: stress and intolerable food

In most cases, it is stress that leads to irritable bowel problems. Since cats are very sensitive beings, even small things can be very stressful for them, such as:

● new environment
● Change your daily routine
● too little employment, boredom
● strange people and other animals
● trauma and anxiety disorders

A second trigger can be the feed, for example by:

● new, unfamiliar feed
● difficult to digest food
● Low fiber diet
● intolerance

Difference between IBS and IBD

With IBS (irritable bowel), the digestive tract is completely organic and a tissue sample would not show any noticeable changes - nevertheless your cat has digestive problems because the intestinal tract is simply very sensitive at times. In IBD (chronic intestinal inflammation), on the other hand, the intestine is seriously inflamed - there is therefore a clear physical cause that can be proven by tests.

Diagnosis: Only the veterinarian gives security

Diarrhea and digestive problems are very diffuse symptoms that can indicate a lot of other problems. These, in turn, can be completely harmless or life-threatening. The veterinarian's job is therefore first to rule out all other typical causes. Only the veterinarian can use tests to tell exactly whether your cat's symptoms are IBS, i.e. irritable bowel syndrome, or whether there is a dangerous inflammation of the intestine, IBD. The following examinations are conceivable to make the diagnosis:

● blood test
● Stool and urine samples
● X-ray
● Ultrasound
● Taking a tissue sample from the intestine
● Questions about your cat's habits (medical history)

If the vet concludes that your cat has irritable bowel syndrome, he will discuss with you what you can best do about it. For example, he will give you tips on what food might be suitable and how you can take the stress out of your loved one, which often triggers the indigestion.

Therapy for IBS: minimize stress and optimize feed

How you can lower the stress level of your salon lion depends of course on what triggers it - getting more employment is usually easier than undoing a move. Pheromone sprays and similar sedatives can be useful in some cases, but it is best to consult the veterinarian beforehand.

In the pet store, there is now a large selection of foods especially for very sensitive cats. You may have to try different strains slowly and patiently and watch carefully how your cat reacts to them. Generally, easily digestible, high-fiber feed is a good option. Also get veterinary advice so that your darling gets all the important nutrients.