Cat with Distended (bloated or swollen) Abdomen

Listing the causes for a cat with a distended or bloated abdomen. I was prompted to write this because of a comment to the page on home treatment for cat constipation page. Hightops, the cat in question has a bloated stomach and is constipated (June 23rd 2012). A blockage in the colon is one reason for a distended abdomen. Chronic constipation might be the cause.

Other possible causes for a distended stomach are:

1. The well known disease toxomplasmosis can cause swelling of the abdomen. This disease is usually asymptomatic (no symptoms in the cat). Other symptoms of a cat suffering from toxoplasmosis are: lethargy, loss of appetite, cough, fever, ‘visual and neurological signs’.

2. Overeating. I won’t elaborate.

3. Eating fermented foods.

4. Worm infestation (kittens).

5. Cushing’s disease.

6. Heart failure.

7. FIP.

8. Sudden swelling: Urgent treatment required if there is also pain or discomfort. This can be caused by an intestinal obstruction in the bowel or bladder outlet, abscessed uterus or peritonitis (FIP).

9. Gradual swelling: days or weeks – possibly ascites – fluid accumulation in the abdomen which can be caused by FIP, liver disease or heart failure (right side of heart).

10. Obstruction of urethra (tube that connects the urinary bladder to the genitals). Lower abdomen can be extended.

11. Uterine infection. Pyometra (abscess of the uterus). Inflammation of walls of uterus plus pus in the cavity of the uterus.

12. For kittens toxic milk syndrome causes diarrhea and bloating.

13. Kitten: blood infection. Septicemia. Other signs are straining to defecate.

This is not a comprehensive list but quite extensive.

Source: Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook.

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


Cat with Distended (bloated or swollen) Abdomen — 2 Comments

  1. I have just recently found out my kitten is feline leukemia positive. He had the sniffles that never went away. Became sleepy and now has had his belly enlarge like a balloon. We had just lost a kitten to FIP, before we went to find another. Now, my once healthy kitten no longer acts as he did just weeks ago? I have one other kitten that we had adopted along with the first kitten that passed with FIP. Concerned for him, we had him tested and he too is feline leukemia positive. I am just heartbroken to have 3 very fatal diagnosis for my kittens. All adopted from local humane shelter.

    • Oh Michelle, that is terrible. I really feel for you and the poor kittens. I think you make the point that Elisa makes. I’m a shocked that this shelter has done this. There should be a radical change in their procedure. Thanks for posting.

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